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Old May 10th, 2005, 04:01 AM   #41
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Doha - Abu Dhabi Flights Increased From Three To Four Daily
8 May 2005
Corporate Press Release

DOHA, Qatar – Award-winning Qatar Airways has increased frequency between Doha and Abu Dhabi with an extra daily flight to offer UAE residents with convenient morning connections to the airline’s global network of services over Qatar.

The new 0755 early morning departure from Abu Dhabi provides business and leisure passengers with a wave of suitable connections in Doha to Qatar Airways’ extensive network of services covering the Middle East, Europe, Africa, Indian subcontinent and the Far East.

Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said the additional frequency strengthened its position as an airline of choice, giving passengers greater flexibility.

“Abu Dhabi is a key neighbouring market for Qatar Airways with plenty of passengers travelling from the Emirate to Doha to do business in Qatar or to catch onward connections to rest of the world,” he said.

“We are extremely pleased to be providing passengers with additional travel benefits and look forward to increasing capacity even further as and when demand permits and extra aircraft capacity is available.”

The additional Abu Dhabi frequency is Qatar Airways’ last arriving flight into Abu Dhabi from Doha at 0140 each day and is the first morning departure from the Emirate to the Qatari capital at 0755.

In addition to Abu Dhabi, Qatar Airways operates seven flights a day between Doha and Dubai in the UAE.

Qatar Airways operates a fleet of 40 modern all-Airbus aircraft to 62 destinations across the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Indian subcontinent and Far East from its operational hub of Doha, capital of the State of Qatar.

The airline added Tunis and Algiers to its route network on May 2, with services to the Greek capital Athens due to start on June 15.
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Old May 10th, 2005, 04:10 AM   #42
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useless move, the passengers between abu dhabi and doha number only between 15-20 per flight. they could just have one flight per day.
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Old May 13th, 2005, 06:48 PM   #43
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Oman Air Adds New Destinations

MUSCAT, May 13 Asia Pulse - Oman Air has recently obtained approval from aviation authorities to operate direct flights to Delhi and Hydrabad and obtain addition seats on its current flights to other destinations in India. The company will start its flights to the new destinations at the start of June 2005.

Following negotiations held with the Indian side, Oman Air seats to India were increased from 3,700 to 5,275 per week.

Oman Air will operate 7 flights to Cairo per week during the upcoming period after Gulf Air conceded its flights on the Muscat Cairo route to it.

The company transported 317,747 passengers during the first four months of this year, compared to 302,970 during the same period last year.
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Old May 24th, 2005, 08:30 AM   #44
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Dubai meet to examine 'impact of A380" on Mideast

DUBAI, May 22 (AFP) - An aviation conference is to be held in Dubai in September to examine the impact of the Airbus A380, the world's biggest passenger airliner, on the Middle East, organizers said Sunday.

The September 18-19 Middle East Aviation Conference will be held under the theme "The impact of the A380 on the Middle East" and bring together world leaders in aviation technology, airport development, tourism and travel, a statement said.

"The Middle East region underpins the A380 order book to date. (Dubai's) Emirates airline has placed the biggest order, with commitments from Qatar (Airways) and (Abu Dhabi's) Etihad Airways also secure," the statement said.

The mammoth long-haul airliner, which can carry between 550 and 840 passengers, is due to enter commercial service in 2006, debuting with Singapore Airlines.

Emirates is the largest future client of the A380, with 43 aircraft ordered.

Airbus Industrie deputy commercial director Christian Scherer said in Toulouse, France last week that it was "possible, even probable" that deliveries of the first of the superjumbos to top clients would be delayed.

But he said the deliveries would start in 2006.

Airbus has already delayed the delivery of the first aircraft to Singapore Airlines from the first half of 2006 to the second half.

The conference, organized by Britain's Jane's Information Group and the Dubai Consultancy Research and Media Center (DCRMC), is expected to be attended by industry experts from the United States, Europe, Asia as well as the Middle East.
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Old May 25th, 2005, 12:01 AM   #45
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Emirates says 7-yr dlr Sukuk bond is worth $550 mln

DUBAI, May 21 (Reuters) - Emirates airline [EMAIR.UL] said on Saturday that a seven-year dollar-denominated Islamic bond, or Sukuk, it plans to issue will have a value of around $550 million.

Banks managing the deal said this week that roadshows for the deal will take place in Dubai on May 22, Abu Dhabi on May 23, Kuwait on May 24 and Bahrain on May 25.

The first coupon would be payable after 12 months and thereafter semi-annually, issue price will be at par. Saturday's statement said the Sukuk benchmarked at around $550 million will be issued in June, listed initially on the Luxembourg Stock Exchange and offered to institutional investors in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, Europe and Asia.

Dubai Islamic Bank, HSBC and Standard Chartered will act as joint bookrunners for the deal with UBS, Gulf International Bank and National Bank of Abu Dhabi as joint lead managers, the Emirates statement confirmed.

"The money raised from the bond will be used to finance the new Emirates Engineering Centre and its new headquarters building, both currently under construction," it quoted Riyaz Peermohamed, senior vice-president Corporate Treasury, as saying.

Islamic bonds comply with Sharia law, which forbids interest payments. Instead, investors receive regular payments based on profits from approved investments.
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Old June 4th, 2005, 01:44 AM   #46
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Saudi group aims to set up first private domestic airline

RIYADH, June 3 (AFP) - A travel group in Saudi Arabia aims to set up the first private airline to operate internal flights in the vast kingdom, breaking the monopoly of national carrier Saudi Arabian Airlines in the domestic sector.

"We have asked the civil aviation authority to license us to operate internal flights," said Nasser al-Tayyar, deputy board chairman and managing director of Al-Tayyar Travel Group Share Company.

"The authority has still not published the specifications required to operate such flights, but it is expected to do so anytime now, and we will certainly meet the conditions," which are common everywhere, he told AFP.

Air transport and airport services are among the vital fields the Saudi government has opened to the private sector as part of an ambitious privatization drive.

In June 2003, it decided to break a decades-old monopoly of Saudi Arabian Airlines by opening the domestic aviation sector to local competition.

But Tayyar said the proposed airline would "complement, rather than compete with, Saudi Arabian Airlines," although it would offer lower fares.

"This is a government-owned company which we cannot rival. We would help fill the gaps by serving regions they don't cover and alleviate (their load)," he said.

Tayyar said the Saudi air transport market was huge, as evidenced by the six to seven million passengers Saudi Arabian Airlines carries on internal flights every year, and there is room for another carrier in the kingdom, which is about four times the size of France with an area of 2,240,350 square kilometers (865,000 square miles).

Tayyar said his company has negotiated the purchase and lease of aircraft with manufacturers such as Boeing and Airbus, but he would not say which choices it would eventually make.

The decision "will depend on what regions the government will allow us to serve," he said.

The company has requested permission to cover all regions, but its purchase and leasing strategy hinges on the government's response and whether it will be allowed to fly to major cities such as the capital Riyadh, the Red Sea city of Jeddah, and Dammam in the oil-rich Eastern Province, Tayyar explained.

Saudi Arabia has around 25 airports, including three international airports: King Khaled in Riyadh, King Abdul Aziz in Jeddah, and King Fahd in Dammam.

Tayyar's group, which is headquartered in Riyadh and has 130 offices across the Gulf country, recently turned from a limited liability company into a shareholding company as part of its plans to set up a local airline.

The company has a capital of 50 million dollars and 27 shareholders, including Saudis and nationals of other Gulf Arab states.

The group provides all kinds of travel services, including pilgrimage trips to Islam's holiest sites in Mecca and Medina in the west of the country.

Tayyar did not rule out naming the proposed airline after his company and family. "Tayyar" means pilot in Arabic.
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Old June 8th, 2005, 03:43 PM   #47
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Qatar Airways expected to order some 60 planes at Paris Air Show

DUBAI, June 8 (AFP) - Qatar Airways, the fast growing Gulf airline, is expected to order some 60 new planes during the Paris Air Show which opens June 13, an aviation industry source said Wednesday.

The airline, which surprised the last air show in 2003 at Le Bourget, near Paris, with an order for 32 new Airbus planes, is negotiating with the European aerospace giant and its US rival, Boeing, a "new order of some 60 aeroplanes", the Doha-based source said.

"The deal will comprise either the new Boeing 787 or Airbus's A350, or both," depending on the final outcome of the negotiations, he told AFP, requesting anonimity.

"Negotiations with Boeing and Airbus have reached an advanced stage," he said.

Qatar Airways lays claim to be one of the world's fastest-growing airlines, operating a fleet of 40 aircraft from its Doha hub. Founded in 1994, it is owned equally by Qatar's government and private investors.
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Old June 11th, 2005, 05:48 PM   #48
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Middle East set to dominate Paris air show orders
By Michael Smith

LONDON, June 9 (Reuters) - Middle Eastern airlines are set to dominate orders at the Paris air show next week as rapid development in the oil-rich region prompts more multi-billion dollar deals for new planes, analysts said.

Two of the world's fastest-growing airlines, Emirates and Qatar Airways are both considering a new mid-sized model from Europe's Airbus, while Boeing could also win fresh orders for wide-bodied aircraft.

Doha-based Qatar Airways, a likely buyer for Airbus' new mid-size A350 aircraft, is seen most likely to announce a major purchase next week, with a source and analysts saying the carrier was in the market for 60 planes.

No decision had been made on whether to choose the A350 or Boeing's rival 787 model but an announcement was possible in Paris, a source close to the airline told Reuters.

Qatar plans to double its all-Airbus fleet of 40 planes in the next few years following its $5.1 billion order of 18 Airbus planes and 16 options at Paris two years ago.

Dubai-based Emirates, which said last month it hoped to announce orders at the show, is also expected to buy up to 50 A350 aircraft, although it is unclear whether the order will come by next week.

"Such an order would be worth $6 million based on list prices. We believe the chances of an Airbus order are high," JP Morgan analysts told clients this week.

The airline has also said it is considering Boeing's rival 787 model, although analysts say an Airbus order is more likely.

Emirates was also looking at buying the Boeing wide-bodied 777 aircraft, with a deal for over 30 planes seen as possible, analysts said.

Middle Eastern airlines, benefiting from massive development programmes and a push to woo tourists to the region, are key in the battle for customers between the two biggest plane makers.

Emirates stole the last Paris show two years ago with a whopping $19 billion in total orders, including a surprise move to double its existing order for Airbus A380 double-decker jets.

It plans to take delivery of a plane a month for the next seven years to cater for massive growth in tourism to Dubai and funnel through traffic between Europe and the Middle East.

DELIVERY DELAYS

Emirates is also the biggest customer for Airbus's double-decker A380 superjumbo, with 43 of the massive planes on order. However, it now faces delays on deliveries of the Airbus jet which may also impact the manufacturer's A350 plans.

Etihad Airways in Abu Dhabi, also an A380 customer, and Gulf Air in Bahrain have also been big buyers in recent years.

Middle East carriers have reported staggering growth compared to rivals in the United States and Europe which were hit far harder by a slowdown in growth after 2001.

Emirates is key in plans to transform the emirate into a top tourist destination that is no longer dependent on dwindling oil reserves.

Massive airport developments, new luxury hotels and Palm Jumeirah -- a web of interlocking artificial offshore islands in the shape of a giant palm frond -- are part of the boom.

International traffic being directed through Dubai and Doha, as well as access to India's fast-growing economy are also boosting passenger numbers.

"They have certainly got quite a few orders coming. It is very easy to buy airplanes but the challenge is to continue to deploy them profitably," said Chris Tarry, aviation analyst at London-based industry consultancy Ctaira.

JP Morgan says the Middle East represents 7 percent of thee total backlog in aircraft orders

"We estimate that Middle Eastern airlines currently have 164 aircraft on order with Boeing or Airbus, or almost 31 percent of the region's total installed base (of aircraft)," JP Morgan said. (additional reporting by Odai Sirri in Doha)
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Old June 13th, 2005, 02:46 PM   #49
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Monday June 13, 7:18 PM
Qatar Airways Plans Boeing, Airbus Orders

AP - Qatar Airways said it planned to order at least 20 Boeing 777s and up to 60 Airbus A350s as the Paris Air Show opened Monday, with the battle between the trans-Atlantic rival plane makers taking center stage.

The Qatar order, which is still being finalized, is a boost for Airbus at a time when it was struggling to launch the A350 with only 10 nonbinding orders to date _ and a disappointment for Boeing, whose rival 787 "Dreamliner" has so far won 266 orders and commitments.
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Old June 17th, 2005, 10:36 AM   #50
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Banks to arrange Etihad's aircraft financing

ABU DHABI, June 14 (Reuters) - National Bank of Abu Dhabi and Calyon Corporate and Investment Bank will lead arrange over $1.5 billion of financing for Etihad Airways to acquire 12 Airbus planes, a senior banker said on Tuesday.

He told Reuters the Abu Dhabi-based carrier had mandated the two banks to lead arrange the financing.

The daily Gulf News said state-owned Etihad will take delivery of the 12 aircraft comprising four A340-500s, four A340-600s and four A380-800s between April 2006 and June 2008.

In July, Etihad signed a memorandum of understanding with Airbus to acquire up to 36 planes worth as much as $7 billion.

Earlier this year, Etihad signed an agreement with National Bank of Abu Dhabi to syndicate the financing of the $1.09 billion purchase of five Boeing 777-300ER planes, to be delivered in 2005.

Eithad Airways, launched in 2003, is one of several fast-growing airlines in the Gulf, where big state budgets and a desire to boost tourism to the region have led to a surge in demand for new aircraft.
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Old June 21st, 2005, 06:30 PM   #51
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Emirates Boosts UK Connections for Shanghai Services

SHANGHAI, June 21 Asia Pulse - Emirates has launched a second daily direct flight from Dubai to Birmingham, providing a route for passengers from Shanghai to Europe via the Middle East.

The new flight takes off from Dubai at 13:45 p.m. local time daily and lands at Birmingham at 20:45 p.m. local time on the same day, according to sources from the airline's office in Shanghai.

And the return flight No. EK038 takes off from Birmingham at 21:55 p.m. local time and arrives at Dubai at 7:45 a.m. local time next day.

Emirates opened its first air route to Birmingham in December 2000. Its daily flight No. EK039 leaves Dubai at 7:50 a.m. local time and lands at Birmingham at 12:20 midday.

At present, Emirates' Shanghai-Dubai daily flight No. EK303 takes off from Shanghai Pudong International Airport at 23:55 midnight Beijing time everyday and lands at Dubai at 5:25 a.m. local time next day. Passengers from Shanghai can therefore take the flights to Birmingham daily.
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Old June 27th, 2005, 08:48 AM   #52
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Engine fire forces Saudi plane to land in Cairo

CAIRO, June 25 (Reuters) - A fire in one of the engines of a Saudi Arabian Airlines Boeing 747 on Saturday forced its pilot to return to Cairo airport where the passenger plane made a safe landing, Egyptian airport officials said. The plane bound for Jeddah had taken off from Cairo 15 minutes earlier. It was carrying a crew of 22 but no passengers.

The pilot was able to bring the fire under control using the engine's built-in fire extinguishers.
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Old July 10th, 2005, 06:47 PM   #53
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First Saudi woman pilot to fly as driving debate rages on

RIYADH, July 10 (AFP) - While the debate over whether Saudi women should be allowed to drive rages on, Captain Hanadi Hindi will soon become the first woman to fly a plane with the private fleet of a prince.

Hindi, 27, is preparing to take to the skies at a time when supporters and opponents of lifting the ban on women's driving in the conservative kingdom are still fighting it out in the local press.

"I never meant to be a pioneer. When I started learning to become a pilot, I did so for my father, who himself had aspired to be a pilot. I then got attached to flying," Hindi said by telephone from her home in the Muslim holy city of Mecca.

Prince Al-Walid bin Talal's decision to make Hindi part of his private crew has drawn criticism from some conservative Muslim scholars, who object to any easing of constraints that bar Saudi women from mixing with men other than relatives or traveling without the authorization of a male guardian.

But Hindi said the billionaire entrepreneur's Kingdom Holding Company had also hired her father, Zakariya Hindi, as a legal consultant.

He will accompany her on all her trips "so that no one will say that I am traveling without a male relative."

Hindi said she is heading to London in about three weeks for a three-month training course before she takes up her job as a pilot for Prince Al-Walid.

Kingdom Holding hired Hindi even before she clinched her Commercial Pilot's Licence and an Instrument Rating (CPL and IR) from the Mideast Aviation Academy in Jordan last month.

The company, which runs a worldwide business empire, had offered Hindi a scholarship to carry her through her last year at the Jordanian academy, and Prince Al-Walid took out doublespread advertisements in the press to congratulate her on taking her CPL.

"I thank God that Prince Al-Walid has given me the opportunity to serve my country and serve his highness, bearing in mind that he is a member of the royal family," Hindi said.

Hindi said that before the prince offered her a 10-year contract, she feared she might not find a job in Saudi Arabia.

Her apprehensions were well-grounded, given that women in the Muslim country are still excluded from many professions that would appear less controversial than piloting a plane and are the only women in the world banned from driving a car.

The appointed Shura (consultative) Council in May shelved the suggestion of Mohammad Al Zalfa, who cited a host of economic reasons to end the ban, such as the fact that the prohibition has led to the presence of around a million foreign drivers who cost the country 12 billion riyals (3.2 billion dollars) a year.

Advocates of an end to the ban also cite the prohibitive cost of hiring drivers for families of limited means.

They also defend their case on social grounds to counter the religious-based arguments of opponents, pointing out that by having to rely on drivers, Saudi women end up spending much time alone with male strangers.

Hindi said she was "not against" allowing women to drive because some women either cannot afford to employ drivers, which forces them to rely on public transport, or have no able-bodied men in their families to take them around.

It would be good if women could get behind the wheel "with certain restrictions," such as granting that right only to women of middle age or more, she said.

But despite having blazed a trail by becoming the first Saudi woman pilot, Hindi diplomatically shifted the issue away from ideological grounds.

Being a pioneer "is a very big responsibility... I hope I will be a good example for Saudi women," she said.
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Old July 17th, 2005, 02:10 AM   #54
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Gulf Air workers stage protest after union chief sacked

MANAMA, July 13 (AFP) - Gulf Air workers staged a protest outside the airline's head office in Manama Wednesday after the man they chose to head their union was sacked for taking up his post.

"They informed me that they insisted that I resign as head of the syndicate in return for keeping my job," Mohamad Salem told AFP as he took part in the protest.

"I informed the management that this violates trade union law. I have informed the ministry of labour and the general union of Bahraini workers ... who tried their best, but management insisted on its position," he added.

A Gulf Air official who did not wish to be named told AFP that management had wanted to fire Salem a few months ago for an unspecified reason, but had given him a second chance "for humanitarian reasons".

"He had then signed an agreement in which he pledged not to speak to the media or present himself at the employees' syndicate elections," he said.

"It is clear that he has broken his promises," he added.

Abdel Ghaffar Hussein, president of the general union of Bahraini workers, told AFP that such an agreement was "in violation of labour laws".

Salem was elected head of the syndicate of Gulf Air employees in June.

Labour syndicates have been authorized in Bahrain since 2002.

Gulf Air, launched in 1950, is owned by the governments of Bahrain, Abu Dhabi and Oman.
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Old July 17th, 2005, 07:11 AM   #55
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Baghdad paralyzed by choking sandstorms
14 July 2005

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - Flights were canceled and traffic slowed to a crawl in Baghdad and much of Iraq on Thursday as choking sandstorms swept through a wide area of the country.

Royal Jordanian Airlines and Iraqi Airways canceled all flights to and from Baghdad, the companies said. The U.S. military does not comment on its flight operations, but the routine hum of low-flying helicopters disappeared from the capital.

Visibility was so limited in Baghdad that traffic was sharply reduced -- even from levels normal on most holidays. July 14 is a national holiday marking the overthrow of the Iraqi monarchy in 1958.

Officials at Baghdad International Airport said the forecast for Friday is for only a slight improvement in the storms, which are uncommon this time of year.
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Old July 17th, 2005, 02:21 PM   #56
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I reckon Emirates are going to have to seel tickets dirt cheap to fill all those A380s they ordered. That will put pressure on others in the region too. I sometimes think Dubai builds more capcity than it has the means to fill - the same with scrapers as airlines. All said and done it's a small place with a small population.
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Old July 17th, 2005, 07:16 PM   #57
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Qatar is stepping up its India service
By ROGER BRAY
14 July 2005
Financial Times

Fares to and from India look certain to come under more downward pressure following a significant increase in flights there from the Gulf. Qatar Airways is almost doubling the number of seats it operates to India from its Doha base.

Today it is scheduled to launch a new service to Delhi, flying seven round trips a week. From tomorrow it will offer seven round trips a week to Mumbai, adding a new Friday night flight from Doha. And from Monday and Thursday respectively it will expand its Cochin service from three to five flights a week, and increase weekly flights to Hyderabad from three to four.

The moves are the latest result of India's progressive liberalisation of its international bilateral air agreements, which has seen a large expansion of services, including to and from the UK.
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Old July 18th, 2005, 03:42 AM   #58
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First private Saudi airline prompts protest from would-be rival

RIYADH, July 14 (AFP) - A Saudi company has been licensed to operate internal flights, prompting a protest Thursday from another firm which had aimed to become the first private operator of domestic trips in Saudi Arabia.

National Air Services (NAS) will from Saturday operate four scheduled VIP flights from the capital Riyadh to the Red Sea city of Jeddah every weekday, newspapers reported.

The service, called Al-Khayala, will also provide chartered flights to tourist destinations throughout the week.

It is meant to cater for VIPs, businessmen and corporate or banking leaders whose business requires them to travel frequently between Riyadh and Jeddah, commercial capital of the oil-rich kingdom.

The English-language Arab News said it would cost 3,000 riyals (800 dollars) for a roundtrip aboard one of the airline's Airbus A319 aircraft, in which only 44 luxurious seats have been installed although they can be configured with up to 170 seats.

A senior executive of a travel group which had aimed to set up the first private airline in Saudi Arabia said he was "surprised" that the civil aviation authority had licensed the Al-Khayala service before publishing the specifications required to operate such flights.

"We have been waiting for the civil aviation authority to publish the specifications, and we were surprised to hear that another company has been granted a commercial aviation license before they are out," said Nasser al-Tayyar, deputy board chairman and managing director of Al-Tayyar Travel Group Share Company.

"A commercial license is the same whether you plan to operate luxury or ordinary flights," he told AFP.

Tayyar's group announced earlier this year that it had applied for the license to operate internal flights, and that it planned to offer lower fares than national carrier Saudi Arabian Airlines.

Air transport and airport services are among the vital fields the Saudi government has opened to the private sector as part of an ambitious privatization drive.

In June 2003, it decided to break a decades-old monopoly of Saudi Arabian Airlines by opening the domestic aviation sector to local competition.

Tayyar's group has requested permission to cover all regions of the vast Gulf country, which is about four times the size of France with an area of 2,240,350 square kilometers (865,000 square miles).
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Old July 18th, 2005, 04:09 PM   #59
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Gulf Air to begin Dublin-Bahrain route from Dec 1

DUBLIN, July 15 (Reuters) - Gulf Air [GULF.UL] said on Friday it would begin a thrice-weekly service from Dublin to Bahrain starting on Dec. 1.

The service is Dublin airport's first scheduled long-haul route to a destination outside North America. The arrival of Gulf Air brings to 48 the number of scheduled airlines operating from Dublin airport to 116 destinations worldwide.
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Old July 19th, 2005, 01:40 AM   #60
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High Fuel Prices To Widen Kuwait Air's Loss
July 18, 2005

Losses at Kuwait Airways for the year ended March 2006 may rise to 40 million dinars (USD$137 million) if jet fuel prices remain high, its chairman said.

"Kuwait Airways is one of the firms most impacted by the high jet fuel prices as it is the main purchaser of jet fuel from the Kuwait Aviation Fuelling Company (KAFCO)," Kuwait Airways Chairman Sheikh Talal al-Mubarak al-Sabah said in remarks published by local newspapers on Monday.

KAFCO is the sole provider of jet fuel in OPEC member Kuwait, which controls nearly a tenth of global oil reserves.

These added expenses "will boost Kuwait Airways losses for fiscal 2005-2006, estimated at 28 million dinars, and they are expected to increase to 40 million dinars," Sheikh Talal added.

Kuwait Airways' expected loss for fiscal 2004-2005 is 32 million dinars.

The airline's 2005-2006 budget was drawn up with a jet fuel bill at 39 million dinars and a litre priced at 85 fils, compared with 136 fils per litre currently, causing the bill to rise by 60 percent. There are 1,000 fils per Kuwaiti dinar.

Kuwait Airways is heavily in debt as it is still paying for a new fleet, purchased after the 1991 Gulf War, which includes 15 Airbus and two Boeing 777 jets. The carrier lost nearly 85 percent of its assets during the seven month Iraqi occupation that was ended by US-led forces in 1991.

In September, Sheikh Talal said he would continue a cost-cutting drive aimed at returning the carrier to break-even or a small profit after three years. The last time it made money was in fiscal 2000, when it logged a USD$77 million profit -- partly from compensation for Iraq war losses.

The state-run airline will soon face competition from the country's first private airline, no-frills carrier Jazeera Airways.

(Reuters)
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