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Old December 4th, 2005, 08:30 PM   #101
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Gulf Air Launches Direct Flights To Dublin, Johannesburg
4 December 2005

DUBAI (AP)--Gulf Air on Sunday launched direct flights from Bahrain to Dublin and reinstated its flights to Johannesburg.

Gulf Air, owned by the governments of Bahrain, Oman and the United Arab Emirates, said it would fly three times a week to Dublin.

The flights to Johannesburg, which were stopped in 1997 for commercial reasons, resumed with three weekly flights.

"With the growing contact between South Africa and the Gulf region for business and tourism, we felt that the time was right to return to Johannesburg," said Chief Executive James Hogan.

In April, Bahrain-based Gulf Air said it had turned a profit last year for the first time since 1997, overcoming years of management troubles and general airline industry woes.

In December 2002, the owners of the carrier agreed to inject 90 million dinars ($239 million) into the airline. At that time, it had run up an estimated debt of $500 million.

Gulf Air's network stretches from Europe to Asia and covers 46 cities in 30 countries. It has a fleet of 34 aircraft.

In September, the government of Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates, announced it was withdrawing from Gulf Air. Industry officials said that pullout would be completed in six months.
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Old December 6th, 2005, 10:39 AM   #102
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Etihad's Johannesburg route takes off in style

5 December 2005


ABU DHABI — Etihad Airways has launched its new service to Johannesburg, with flight EY603 taking off from Abu Dhabi International Airport on Thursday.


The latest route follows the airlines' ambitious plans to link Abu Dhabi to the world's most important commercial and cultural centres, and will provide a major service to the 5,000 South African nationals based in the UAE.

"The UAE and South Africa have enjoyed a tremendous bilateral relationship for many years and the new Etihad Johannesburg service will significantly enhance this. Guests will be offered both choice and flexibility with the service, whilst enjoying Etihad's hospitality," said Dr Shaikh Ahmed bin Saif Al Nahyan, the Chairman of Etihad Airways and Chairman of the Civil Aviation Department of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.
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Old December 19th, 2005, 05:43 PM   #103
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Singapore Airlines to link Dubai and Moscow shortly


Dubai: Singapore Airlines customers in Dubai will benefit from direct flights to Moscow, the Russian Federation's capital, from March 1.

Originating from Singapore three times a week, the Boeing 777-200 services in three classes will depart Dubai early morning on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday and land at Domodedovo Airport later in the day.

It will be Singapore Airlines's 62nd destination in 34 countries and will bring to 13 the number of flights a week on the Dubai route.

"This new service will enhance the already extensive business and leisure ties between Russia and the UAE. It will also increase options available to customers when travelling between Eastern Europe, the Gulf, South East Asia and the South West Pacific," a spokesperson said.

Both Russia and the Gulf are benefiting from rising tourist and trade flows and Singapore Airlines services linking Moscow and Dubai will facilitate greater econ-omic, social and cultural exchanges.

Despite the pace of change and redevelopment of the city's infrastructure, Moscow retains its enigmatic character through landmarks such as the fortress of Kremlin, one of the world's most beautiful ensemble of churches, monuments and other architectural attractions.
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Old December 25th, 2005, 05:21 AM   #104
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Emirates Airlines plans to fly to Cambodia
24 December 2005

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) - The government has struck an initial deal with Emirates Airlines for flights between the United Arab Emirates and Cambodia, an official said Saturday.

If a final agreement is reached, the Emirates Airlines will become the first Middle Eastern airline company to fly the route.

Officials from Cambodia's civil aviation authority and the Dubai-based airline signed a memorandum of understanding on the service Friday, said Sek Savorn, a government spokesman.

No date has yet been set for the first flight.

Deputy Prime Minister Sok An said the airline could operate up to seven flights per week, using Boeing-777 jets.

"Because Dubai is the central point for air passage between Europe and Asia, I hope the new flight service will bring more tourists to Cambodia," Sok An said in a speech Friday.

There are currently about a dozen foreign-owned airlines flying to and from Cambodia daily. Most of the arrivals are tourists who come to visit the famed Angkor temples in Siem Reap province, 230 kilometers (143 miles) northwest of Phnom Penh.

Cambodia does not have its own flag carrier but has adopted an open sky policy for attracting foreign tourist dollars needed for developing its economy.
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Old December 29th, 2005, 08:21 AM   #105
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Standard Chartered arranges $75 mln Gulf Air loan

MANAMA, Dec 27 (Reuters) - Standard Chartered bank has arranged a $75 million loan for debt-ridden Gulf Air to help finance growth in 2006 after its part-owner, the Gulf emirate of Abu Dhabi, pulled out of the airline.

A Gulf Air statement on Tuesday said the syndicated loan, extended by seven banks, will be repayable after three years.

It will be signed in early January and be used to fund Gulf Air's three-year restructuring programme.

"Abu Dhabi's withdrawal has necessitated a rethink of our strategy," CEO James Hogan said. "This will require changes to our network, routes, fleet, and allocation of resources."

Abu Dhabi announced its intention to withdraw from Gulf Air earlier this year. The Manama-based carrier is now co-owned by Bahrain and Oman. It returned to profitability in 2004 after years of losses during which the owners

pumped in millions of dollars to keep the company afloat.
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Old January 9th, 2006, 05:48 PM   #106
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Austrian Airlines to start regular flights to Iraq

VIENNA, Jan 9 (Reuters) - Austrian Airlines plans to start two weekly flights from Vienna to Arbil in northern Iraq on March 9, making it the first European airline with a regular service to Iraq, the company said on Monday.

The airline, which will expand the schedule to the Kurdish city to three flights in May, said it expected passengers mainly from Europe and North America to fly to Iraq via Vienna.

Partly state-owned Austrian Airlines serves a large network of routes into eastern Europe and the Balkans. It was the first European airline to start services to Sarajevo and Pristina after the civil war in the former Yugoslavia.
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Old January 29th, 2006, 07:56 PM   #107
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Iran to buy jumbo souvenir from Air France

TEHRAN, Jan 29, 2006 (AFP) - Iran is set to buy the Air France Boeing 747 jumbo that flew revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini back to Tehran from exile in 1979, a government newspaper said Sunday.

Sanctions imposed by the United States prevent Iran from buying Western aircraft, but the Iran newspaper said the plane was no longer fit to be used for commercial purposes and that the clerical regime only wanted it as a souvenir.

"After contacts with France, Iran is set to buy the plane that carried the founder of the Islamic republic the February 1, 1979, as the symbol of this magnificent day," the newspaper said.

The report did not say if a deal had already been signed, or how much the Islamic republic would pay.

Although Iran's US-backed shah had already fled the country when Khomeini returned from exile in the small French town of Neauphle-le-Chateau, the 747's landing is seen as the true start of the Islamic revolution.

Archive film of the landing of the 747, specially chartered for Khomeini and greeted in Tehran by millions of people, is still regularly shown on Iranian state television.

Ayatollah Khomeini went on to become Iran's supreme leader, and died in 1989.
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Old January 29th, 2006, 07:58 PM   #108
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Iran's supreme leader orders air transport probe

TEHRAN, Jan 29, 2006 (AFP) - Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has set up a special body to probe the condition of the Islamic republic's ageing fleet of civilian and military aircraft, officials said Sunday.

The new investigative council will begin its work by looking into Iran's two most recent air disasters, in which a military transport crashed in downtown Tehran killing 108 people and a small jet carrying top army brass went down in the northwest.

"Their brief goes beyond the recent crashes," a member of the Iranian parliament's security commission, Reza Talaienik, told AFP.

"The council has been set up to provide more coordination in order to upgrade the aviation fleet and improve security and safety," he said, adding that it was headed by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and includes top military commanders and two government ministers.

Since the 1979 Islamic revolution, Iran has been subject to tough US sanctions that hinder the purchase of critical spare parts for nearly all the planes in its air force, civilian flag carrier Iran Air and domestic airlines.

On January 9, several top brass in Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards were among 11 people killed in the crash of a Falcon jet in the mountainous northwest. The crash was blamed on landing gear failure.

That disaster came barely a month after a decrepit Lockheed C-130 transport plane -- bought from the US before the revolution and starved of spares -- crashed after take-off from Tehran and killed 108 people. Engine failure was cited as the cause.

Interior Minister Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi on Friday blamed Iran's foreign "enemies" for the two crashes, saying that "my appraisal is that even the crash of the C-130 and Falcon was planned by the enemy and was done electronically."

But that claim has not been backed up by other officials, who openly acknowledge the poor state of Iranian aircraft.

"The capability of the enemies to use modern electronic equipment and disturb navigation systems is no secret, but we have not reached such a conclusion for the crash of the C-130," deputy armed forces chief Alireza Afshar told the ISNA news agency.

MP Esmail Gerami-Moghadam meanwhile told ISNA that the new probe ordered by Khamenei also put an end to moves by some deputies to impeach the country's defence minister, Mostafa Mohammed Najjar, over the December crash.
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Old January 30th, 2006, 06:49 AM   #109
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Emirates to start Addis Ababa flights from March 27

DUBAI, Jan 29, 2006 (AFP) - The Dubai-owned carrier Emirates is to start three-times-a-week flights to Addis Ababa from March 27, the company announced Sunday.

The service forms part of the airline's efforts to expand its network in Africa, said Emirates, which already flies to 78 destinations. Two-way trade between Dubai and Ethiopia reached 76 million dollars in 2004.

Emirates announced net profits of 251 million dollars for the first six months of the 2005-2006 financial year.
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Old January 31st, 2006, 12:34 AM   #110
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Iran Seeks US Landing Rights, Will Reciprocate - Report
30 January 2006

TEHRAN (Dow Jones)--Iran will grant landing rights to U.S. airlines if its request for such rights in New York and Los Angeles receives a positive response from Washington, a state-controlled daily newspaperquoted the head of the country's Civil Aviation Organization, or CAO, as saying Monday.

In a letter to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, or FAA, last week, the CAO asked permission to establish direct round-trip flights from Tehran to the two U.S. cities.

"If the U.S. gives Iran a positive answer on the request for the flights, their flights will also get landing permits at Iran's airports," said CAO director Reza Niaraki.

He said the CAO had asked the FAA for a quick answer but no response has yet been received. The request by Iran for resumption of direct flights comes more than 25 years after diplomatic relations and air links between the two countries were severed.

The U.S. government is currently making efforts to have Iran referred to the U.N. Security Council for punitive measures for its efforts to develop nuclear weapons manufacturing capability. According to the CAO, the idea of resuming direct flights was proposed by Iranians living in the U.S. to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad when he New York in September.

-By Hashem Kalantari, Dow Jones Newswires
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Old February 7th, 2006, 05:43 AM   #111
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Gulf Air to replace 9 aging Boeings at $900 mln

MUSCAT, Feb 6 (Reuters) - Gulf Air [GULF.UL] announced on Monday plans to spend $900 million to replace 9 aging Boeing 767s but did not name the aircraft it intended to buy.

James Hogan, chief executive officer of Gulf Air, told reporters the airline would seek a long-term loan to finance the purchase once approved by the airline owners, the governments of Bahrain and Oman.

Gulf Air, which returned to profitability in 2004 after years of losses, carries a debt of about $500 million.

"Our idea is to change the type of aircraft to two within ten years from four now," he said after a board meeting in Muscat, which will become the airline's other hub in March.

Hogan said the Manama-based Gulf Air, which operates a fleet of 34 aircraft, would start placing orders by May. He said the airline also plans to refurbish its fleet but did not give further details.

Abu Dhabi, which launched its own airline in 2004, has announced its intention to withdraw from Gulf Air. Abu Dhabi and other former co-owner Qatar have injected millions of dollars to keep the airline afloat in its red years.
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Old February 7th, 2006, 04:41 PM   #112
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World experts aim to boost air security in Arab world

ABU DHABI, Feb 7, 2006 (AFP) - World aviation experts on Tuesday opened a conference in Abu Dhabi to discuss ways to boost the security of air travel in the Arab world.

Delegates at the first conference of its kind in the Middle East will examine "the future of air transport in the region ... because of the new dangers facing civil aviation", including terrorism, said Abdullah Rahimi, president of the Arab civil aviation commission.

The air transport "industry cannot develop if we do not boost aviation security", he said at the opening of the conference.

The three-day event was being attended by aviation officials and experts from across the Arab world as well as from Europe, the United States, Australia and Asia.

Participants hope to draw up a protocol on international cooperation in civil aviation in the Arab world, according to Jalal Haidar, director of the Middle East and North Africa region at the International Civil Aviation Organisation.

In September 2004, the heads of airport security in the six Gulf Arab states met to coordinate positions following terrorist threats.

The Arab region has been the target of increasing terrorist attacks, mostly attributed to the Al-Qaeda network of Osama bin Laden who claimed the September 11, 2001 suicide plane hijackings in the United States.
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Old February 7th, 2006, 10:45 PM   #113
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkskyline
Iran Seeks US Landing Rights, Will Reciprocate - Report
30 January 2006

TEHRAN (Dow Jones)--Iran will grant landing rights to U.S. airlines if its request for such rights in New York and Los Angeles receives a positive response from Washington, a state-controlled daily newspaperquoted the head of the country's Civil Aviation Organization, or CAO, as saying Monday.

In a letter to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, or FAA, last week, the CAO asked permission to establish direct round-trip flights from Tehran to the two U.S. cities.

"If the U.S. gives Iran a positive answer on the request for the flights, their flights will also get landing permits at Iran's airports," said CAO director Reza Niaraki.

He said the CAO had asked the FAA for a quick answer but no response has yet been received. The request by Iran for resumption of direct flights comes more than 25 years after diplomatic relations and air links between the two countries were severed.

The U.S. government is currently making efforts to have Iran referred to the U.N. Security Council for punitive measures for its efforts to develop nuclear weapons manufacturing capability. According to the CAO, the idea of resuming direct flights was proposed by Iranians living in the U.S. to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad when he New York in September.

-By Hashem Kalantari, Dow Jones Newswires
Is this a political stunt or something? Anyone who is familiar with US visa policies know that Iranians stand little or no chance of ever being granted a US Visa. Visitors from predominantly Muslim countries such as Indonesia are already finding it impossible to get a US visa. Iran is not only a predmoninantly Muslim nation but one that endorses terrorism in the eyes of the US as well. Therefore, the chances of iranians getting a US visa is improbable. Islamaphobia Americans have little or no reason to visit Iran either. Where on earth is the demand for direct flights between US and Iran. I can safely bet that Iranian visitors to the US only consist of government officials making working visits.
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Old February 16th, 2006, 05:47 AM   #114
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Gulf Air says to have funding for new planes by May

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 16 (Reuters) - Bahrain-based airline Gulf Air expects in May to have arranged funding for its $900 million plan to replace nine ageing Boeing 767s, Chief Executive James Hogan told reporters on a visit to Malaysia on Thursday.

He also said the airline was headed for a loss in 2005 with its results under pressure from high fuel costs.

Gulf Air returned to profit for the first time since 1997 in its 2004 results. In past years, state owners Bahrain, the emirate of Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates and Oman pumped in millions of dollars to help the carrier recover from losses.
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Old February 17th, 2006, 05:04 PM   #115
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Search under way for civilian plane missing in Iraq

SULAIMANIYAH, Iraq, Feb 17, 2006 (AFP) - A small civilian aircraft, en route from Azerbaijan to Iraqi Kurdistan, is missing in mountainous northern Iraq and search teams have been dispatched to look for it, the director of Sulaimaniyah airport told AFP Friday.

"We lost radio contact at 11:14 pm (1914 GMT) with the private plane which was transporting five Azerbaijani businessmen and have not heard from the plane since," Kamaran Ahmad Abdallah said.

Interior ministry troops and Kurdish militiamen have been dispatched to an area near the Iranian border, some 100 kilometres (65 miles) north of the town of Halabja, to search for the missing plane, he said.

The weather was snowy at the time contact was lost with the pilot, he added.

Sulaimaniyah airport, some 330 kilometres (205 miles) north of Baghdad, was recently opened to international flights.
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Old February 18th, 2006, 06:55 PM   #116
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German plane might have crashed in Iran: Iraqi security

SULAIMANIYAH, Iraq, Feb 18, 2006 (AFP) - A German business jet, missing in northern Iraq for more than a day, might have crashed across the border in neighbouring Iran, a local Iraqi border force commander suggested Saturday.

"We arrived at the border and saw on the other side Iranians with shovels standing around something we think might be the wreckage of the plane," Colonel Ahmed Ghraib, head of the border force in Iraqi Kurdistan's region, told AFP.

"We have been in touch with the Iranians but have received no answer yet."

A massive hunt was underway Saturday in the mountainous terrain northeast of Sulaimaniyah for the plane that disappeared in snowy conditions Thursday night.

The twin-engine C501 Cessna jet had taken off Tuesday from Munich with five Germans from a Bavarian firm, including the pilot, and an Iraqi, German police said. It stopped in Baku, Azerbaijan, before flying on to northern Iraq.
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Old February 19th, 2006, 06:44 PM   #117
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Six victims of German plane crash found in Iraqi Kurdistan

BUSHEIN, Iraq, Feb 19, 2006 (AFP) - The bodies of the six people on board a German business jet that crashed in the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq were found on Sunday, a Kurdish government official said.

"We have found the bodies of the six passengers," Shaho Mohammed Said, a senior official with the Kurdistan administration told AFP.

Said said that wreckage of the business jet that crashed last week was also found near the village of Bushein in Arbat region, some 30 kilometers (19 miles) from the city of Sulaimaniyah.

"We have found two parts of the plane and a bag and our search is continuing in the vicinity of the village of Bushein," he said.

The wreckage and the corpses were discovered by accident by a local shepherd from Bushein as he was tending his flock of sheep in the hilly terrain of the village.

"I was with my animals on a hill-top when I saw parts of the plane and some bodies," a security guard quoted the shepherd Ghaffur Fattah as saying.

At the site of the wreckage, clothes and parts of the plane were scattered around as security guards cordoned off the area.

Iraq had launched a hunt for the German-registered plane in the mountainous terrain of northern Iraq after it went missing Thursday night some 100 kilometres (62 miles) north of Halabja, near the Iranian border.

The twin-engine C501 Cessna jet took off last Tuesday from Munich with five Germans from a Bavarian firm, including the pilot, and an Iraqi, German police said. It stopped in Baku, Azerbaijan, before flying on to northern Iraq.

Sulaimaniyah airport director Kamaran Ahmad Abdallah told AFP on Saturday that the plane's last radio communications with the airport gave no indications of trouble on Thursday night.

Abdallah added US troops were also helping in the search which was badly affected by snowy weather.
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Old February 22nd, 2006, 04:48 PM   #118
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Oman Air plans to buy three aircraft by May 2007

MUSCAT, Feb 22 (Reuters) - Oman Air wants to buy three wide-bodied aircraft by May next year and is considering models from both Boeing and Airbus , the airline's chief executive said on Wednesday.

Oman Air is pushing through a five-year modernisation programme as it takes on fierce competition in a region that is home to some of the world's fastest growing airlines.

The airline, in which the sultanate's government has a 33.8 percent stake, wants to renegotiate fuel supply contracts to bring down costs and is looking for bank loans to fund the aircraft purchases, chief executive Ziad al Haremi said.

"Initially, we are looking for three 200 or 220-seater aircraft and are evaluating different options now," al Haremi told reporters. "The ideal plane for our business model will be either Boeing 787s or Airbus 330s or 350s."

The new aircraft are expected to join the fleet by May next year, Al Haremi said, adding that the airline's board had yet to approve the plan.

Oman Air now has a fleet of 10 aircraft serving destinations in the Middle East and the Indian sub-continent.

Oman Air, already facing stiff competition on regional routes from the likes of Dubai-based Emirates [EMIR.UL], also has to share its Muscat hub with regional carrier Gulf Air [GULF.UL].

Oman's government has a stake in Gulf Air as does the Gulf kingdom of Bahrain. Another co-owner, the emirate of Abu Dhabi, announced last year that it was pulling out of the airline, which is now moving more flights to Muscat.

"But this will not affect our operations now. We are a niche carrier and the preferred airline of Oman," said Haremi.

Gulf Air will operate 189 flights a week from Muscat from the end of March against the current 124 flights.

Haremi said Oman Air would be talking to Gulf Air on how the two airlines could cooperate.

"Oman Air expects to improve its net profit during the current year due to cost cutting measures," Haremi said.

"We are looking at renegotiating with our fuel suppliers to bring down aviation fuel costs."

Oman Air's 2005 net profit rose 32.9 percent to 1.1 million rials ($2.86 million).
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Old February 26th, 2006, 06:23 PM   #119
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21st Feb 2006
EMIRATES INTRODUCES SECOND DAILY FLIGHT TO DÜSSELDORF
Corporate Press Release


Emirates will operate its A330-200 aircraft in a three class configuration on its additional services to Düsseldorf.

Emirates, the Dubai-based international airline, is introducing a second daily non-stop service from Dubai to Düsseldorf on May 1st, increasing both seat and cargo capacity on the route.

On the second daily flight the airline will use a 237-seat Airbus A330-200 aircraft, configured in three classes with 12 seats in First, 42 in Business and 183 in Economy. The new flight will also increase cargo capacity to Düsseldorf, giving customers of Emirates SkyCargo greater flexibility in their operations.

Tim Clark, President Emirates Airline, said: “The launch of Emirates' second daily flight to Düsseldorf is in direct response to the increasing demand for our services and product throughout Germany. All of our routes in Germany are proving to be extremely successful and with the 2006 FIFA World Cup, of which Emirates is an Official Partner, taking place in June we expect to see greatly increased demand for our services into the country and this second daily service should help us to meet that demand.

“We are delighted to offer our customers the convenience of an optional timing from Dubai to Düsseldorf, which will make it easier for them to meet their travel needs whether they are flying Emirates on business or pleasure."

Emirates has seen consistent growth of passengers travelling in both directions on this route and so a second daily service is the logical extension to the airline’s existing flight to the city. Premium passengers will enjoy a host of benefits including access to Emirates lounge in Dubai and complimentary chauffeur drive to and from the airport in both Dubai and Düsseldorf.

Emirates new service, EK 057, will depart Dubai at 14.45hrs, arriving in Düsseldorf at 19.40hrs the same day, the return flight, EK 058, will leave Düsseldorf at 21.05hrs, arriving in Dubai at 05.35hrs the next day.

Emirates currently operates a Boeing 777-300 aircraft on the daily route to Dubai. EK 055 departs Dubai at 08.50hrs and arrives in Düsseldorf at 12.55hrs the same day, with the return service, EK 056, departing Düsseldorf at 14.35hrs, arriving in Dubai at 23.55hrs the same day.

The addition of this second non-stop service offers Emirates’ passengers the flexibility of travelling to the city in the morning or in the afternoon depending on what best suits their requirements. Members of Skywards, Emirates' frequent flyer programme, can earn Skywards Miles when flying in any class between Dubai and Düsseldorf in either direction.
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Old March 1st, 2006, 06:23 PM   #120
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INTERVIEW-Virgin eyes 10-12 pct of market on new Dubai route
By Will Rasmussen

DUBAI, March 1 (Reuters) - Britain's Virgin Atlantic Airways [VA.UL] said on Wednesday it aims to capture a 10-12 percent market share within a year of starting flights between London and Dubai, the Gulf region's tourism and trade hub.

Virgin Atlantic begins flying between the Gulf Arab emirate of Dubai, its first Middle Eastern location, and London on March 28 and will offer daily flights starting June 2.

"We're looking at a 10-12 percent market share in our first year," Andrew Fyfe, Virgin Atlantic's Middle East and India manager told Reuters. "If we are doing very well we would increase our flights from a daily flight to double daily."

Dubai -- one of seven emirates in the United Arab Emirates federation -- is one of the five most popular destinations from Britain's Heathrow Airport, said Fyfe.

Traffic between the two cities could grow by as much as 15 percent in 2006, he said in an interview.

The Dubai government is investing $12.3 billion over the next 15 years on airport development projects, including the expansion of Dubai's main international airport and a new international terminal at Jebel Ali. The emirate said it aims to nearly treble the number of passengers at Dubai airport to 60 million by 2010.

Competition is strong, with Emirates [EMAIR.UL], one of the world's fastest growing airlines and a competitor on the Dubai-London route, ordering $9.7 billion worth of wide-bodied Boeing Co. 777 aircraft last year.

Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways is also expanding its fleet.

"We haven't come in here expecting to take business from everybody," Fyfe said. "We're coming in and offering the Virgin brand...and we're offering a different experience onboard."

Virgin Atlantic, challenged by overcapacity on its key North Atlantic route, has launched new routes to Australia, China, India, and now the Middle East, which Fyfe said will form a growing portion of Virgin's revenues.

"I think we're (currently) looking at around 25-30 percent of the revenue coming from outside the North Atlantic region."

Virgin's target market, he said, is Dubai's large British expatriate community and Londoners seeking a vacation or second home in the sun-soaked emirate.

About 100,000 tickets per year are sold in Dubai for flights to London, he said.

"It's that market that we obviously have to look at as step one," Fyfe said. "In step two, we're opening to a broader range of communities here, in particular UAE nationals, many of whom like to go to London."

Fyfe also said Virgin Nigeria, which is 49 percent owned by Virgin Atlantic, will launch flights from Lagos to Dubai three times per week in May.
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