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Old June 27th, 2006, 05:58 AM   #141
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Firm headed by former U.S. State Department official lands contract to rebuild Iraqi airport
By JIM KRANE
26 June 2006

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) - A security company headed by a former U.S. State Department official will oversee the US$300 million (euro238.83 million) construction of a large international airport in Najaf, Iraq, the company said on Monday.

The World Strategic Initiatives Group is headed by Henry E. Wilkins, 48, who worked for the State Department advising the governments of Afghanistan and Bosnia on police issues, and a former sheriff's investigator in Citrus County, Florida.

The WSI Group, with offices in Dubai, Florida and Washington, will be joined on the project by Iraqi construction firm Sahel al-Jazera Group, known as SAG, said Saeed Abdulla, project manager who works for SAG.

Najaf provincial governor Asad Abu-Kalal entered Monday into a 10-year agreement with WSI Group and SAG that is expected to cost more than US$300 million (euro238.83 million), the companies said.

The WSI Group is a three-year-old firm that handles police training missions in Afghanistan and has landed a contract in Iraq to provide security along the dangerous highway between Baghdad and the Jordan border, the company said.

The now-shuttered Imam Ali Airport at Najaf, 160 kilometers (100 miles) south of Baghdad, is being expanded and modernized to serve millions of Shiite Muslim pilgrims and other travelers who now take dangerous bus journeys to Iraq's holy cities of Najaf and Karbala, a prepared release from the company said.

The Imam Ali Mosque in Najaf, site of a grueling, weeks' long battle between U.S. Army and Shiite militants in 2004, is the third most visited site in Islam, behind only Mecca and Medina.

Another Iraqi contractor, Fahad al-Basra, had started to rebuild the Najaf airport but abandoned the job without finishing it. Much of the rebuilding work in Iraq has failed in the midst of rebel attacks, power failures and corruption.

"They erected tents and were supposed to get the runway ready. But the tents blew away and nothing ever got done," Wilkins said during a visit to Dubai.

Abdulla said SAG asked the WSI Group to oversee the airport project because the company holds the neccessary qualifications to build an airport that meets international security standards.

The Dubai-based WSI Group is investing as much as US$10 million (euro7.96 million) in the project and will be allowed to recoup its investment, as well as a 10 percent profit, from a US$15 (euro12) surcharge on airline tickets to Najaf and other airport charges, Wilkins said.

After that, the airport will be turned over to Iraqi authorities, said Haider al-Maiali, head of the Najaf construction council.

"As we collect revenue, it will be used toward the building cost," said Wilkins, who lives in Washington.

Plans provide for widening and lengthening the airport runway so it can handle wide-body passenger jets, as well as construction of a passenger terminal that can handle 15 jets at a time. The contract also includes installing modern security and passport control systems, as well as restaurants, lounges, duty free shops and a hotel.

The company's release said more than 1,000 Iraqi construction workers will be hired during the building phase, with the finished airport expected to employ some 3,000 people.

WSI Group was formerly known as World Security Initiatives Group, but Wilkins said he changed the firm's name to reflect its foray into construction work.
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Old June 29th, 2006, 07:09 PM   #142
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Iranian airline launches direct flights to Hungarian capital, starting Thursday
29 June 2006

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) - An Iranian airline on Thursday will launch its first direct flight to the Hungarian capital, an airport spokesman said.

The TU-154M of Iranian Caspian Airlines is scheduled to fly into Budapest from Tehran at 6 p.m. (1600 GMT). The flight will operate weekly.

"Connecting Budapest with a capital in the Middle East offers manifold opportunities to our customers as well as to us," Budapest Ferihegy Airport Zrt. spokesman Domokos Szollar said.

Until now, passengers traveling from Budapest to the Middle East and South Asia could only reach their destination by connecting through junction cities such as Frankfurt, London or Paris, Szollar said.

"Tehran makes an excellent connection to the Middle East and will help link Hungary to a market of 186 million people," he said.

Round-trip tickets from Budapest to Tehran start at 98,700 forints (US$438, euro350).
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Old July 28th, 2006, 03:34 PM   #143
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Kuwait's Jazeera eyes 50 pct market share in Gulf

KUWAIT, July 1 (Reuters) - Kuwait's no-frills Jazeera Airways hopes to capture at least 50 percent of the Gulf Arab region's market share in one year, the airline's chairman said on Saturday.

"When it comes to the Gulf, it's a different ball game because of the huge transit market," Marwan Boodai, who is also the chief executive, told Reuters.

"We will be offering connectivity to passengers, by picking them up from Bahrain and Dubai, bring them to Kuwait and then fly them to international flights in Asia," he said, adding that the airline will be offering this service starting September.

Gulf Arab countries have a large percentage of expatriate workers, especially from the Asian sub-continent. The United Arab Emirates population, for example, is comprised of 85 percent expatriates. Jazeera Airways will start flights to New Delhi and Mumbai on Saturday.

Boodai also said he aimed to capture a 50 percent market share in the rest of the destinations the airline flies to within one year. Jazeera Airways flies to a total of 10 destinations.

Currently, Jazeera Airways has captured 18 percent of market share in Bahrain and 12 percent in Dubai.

Jazeera, Kuwait's first private airline which launched operations in October, hopes to be operating five aircraft and to fly 1 million passengers to 16 destinations by March 2007.
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Old July 31st, 2006, 06:54 AM   #144
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Oman Air parent posts H1 loss on higher fuel cost

MUSCAT, July 30 (Reuters) - Oman Aviation Services posted on Sunday a 663,000 rial ($1.7 million) loss for the first half of 2006, mainly due to soaring fuel costs.

The result compared with a profit of 14,000 rials for the same period last year, a company statement said.

The company, which operates flag carrier Oman Air, said last year's result included a one-time 602,000 rial gain from a sale of investments.

Fuel prices soared 25 percent in the period, adding 1.77 million rials to costs, it said adding that a fuel surcharge recovered less than half of the additional cost.

"But for the fuel price impact, the airline results would have been significantly better compared to the previous year, and the company would have reported profit," the statement said.

The airline carried 601,000 passengers in the period, up 19 percent over the year-ago period.
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Old September 2nd, 2006, 07:39 AM   #145
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Plane catches fire on landing in Iran, killing 29
By NASSER KARIMI
1 September 2006

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - A landing Iranian passenger plane skidded off the runway and raked its wing along the ground, sparking a fire that killed 29 of the 148 people on board in the latest deadly crash of a Russian-made aircraft.

Rescue workers in the northeastern city of Mashhad carried survivors of Friday's crash on stretchers out of the gutted craft, which lay in a pool of water near the runway with its middle charred and its roof collapsed. Iranian television footage showed firefighters spraying the engines with water.

"The plane was shaking badly during the landing, then it suddenly lurched to the left," one survivor, Sahar Karimi, told The Associated Press by telephone from a hospital in Mashhad.

"Then it caught fire, and all the passengers rushed to the emergency exit," she said.

State television reported that a tire exploded as the plane landed, but the spokesman for Iran's Civil Aviation Organization, Reza Jafarzadeh, said investigators had not confirmed that and it was still not clear what caused the plane to slide off the runway.

The 11 crew members survived, "and this can help the investigation team to reach its conclusions sooner," he said.

The flight by Iran Airtour, which is affiliated with Iran's national air carrier -- was arriving from Bandar Abbas on Iran's southern coast when the accident occurred.

The plane slid off the runway, "then its left wing hit the ground and caught fire," civil aviation chairman Nourollah Rezai Niaraki said in a television interview.

He said 29 passengers were killed, correcting an earlier television report of 80 dead.

The craft was a Russian-made Tupolev 154. A Tu-154 owned by Russia's Pulkovo Airlines crashed in Ukraine on Aug. 22 while en route from a Russian resort to St. Petersburg, killing all 170 people on board.

In 2002, a Russian-made Tu-154 -- also operated by Iran Airtour -- crashed in the mountains of western Iran, killing all 119 people aboard.

Mashhad, located 620 miles (1,000 kilometers) northeast of Tehran, is visited by some 12 million people a year on pilgrimage to its Shiite Islamic shrines. It was not clear if Friday's flight included pilgrims.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad issued condolences to the families of the victims, while state radio read off the names of hospitals where the injured had been taken.

Iran has frequent air accidents, blamed on its aging fleet of aircraft and poor maintenance. In the deadliest recent crash, 110 people were killed in December when a military transport hit a building near Tehran's airport.

The country often blames the accidents on U.S. sanctions barring American companies from selling to Iran. Its airlines have tried to upgrade their fleet by buying European aircraft, but have been turned down amid U.S. pressure on Europe not to sell.

However, it does not have similar difficulty buying parts for its Russian planes. Iranian airlines have bought Russian craft in recent years, but usually secondhand ones to save money.

Western nations have offered to open the door to sales of new planes and spare parts in an incentive package aimed at getting it to roll back its nuclear program. Ahmadinejad has vowed never to give up the program.

Iran's 13 airlines have 120 planes, with an average age of 16. Iran Airtour has 12 Tupolevs.

The country's main carrier, Iran Air, has seven Tupolevs among its 43-plane fleet. It also has seven Boeings bought before the 1979 Islamic revolution and 28 European Airbus and Fokker aircraft.

The workhorse of passenger airlines in the former Soviet Union, the Tu-154 has been in commercial service since 1972. More than 900 have been built and more than 160 exported to airlines around the world, particularly in former Soviet-bloc countries and Iran. Because of noise and pollution regulations, the planes do not fly to Western destinations.

Since they were introduced, 62 of the planes, or about 7 percent, have been damaged in crashes or hard landings -- the deadliest in 1984 when a Tupolev landing at an airport in eastern Siberia smashed into cleaning vehicles left on the runway, killing 174 people.

About 5 percent of the comparable 1,800 727s built by Boeing have been involved in crashes, and about 1 percent of the 1,400 Airbus 320s.
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Old September 3rd, 2006, 07:21 PM   #146
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Emirates nurtures network in the Asia Pacific


On the wings of its successful start of services to Nagoya and the pre-launch road-show in Beijing, Emirates has announced it will strengthen its route network in the Asia Pacific to better serve its customers and consolidate its presence in the region.

September 1st will become a red-letter-day on Emirates' Asia-Pacific calendar with increased frequency to Perth, Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur, and the launch of daily services to Beijing.

On the day, the airline's service to Perth will become a double daily from the current 11 weekly flights, sending a strong signal of commitment to its Australian stakeholders and sealing Emirates' presence in the country for the long-haul. The second daily will be served with the Boeing 777-200 aircraft, offering a total of 290 seats - 12 in First Class, 42 in Business and 236 in Economy - and 18 tonnes of cargo.

Emirates has designed its timetable carefully for quick and convenient connections between Perth and the Middle East as well as Europe - enabling same day travel to several destinations. The airline will then serve Australia with 49 weekly flights to four gateways - Perth, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

There's more good news in store for Perth - in December Emirates will increase its capacity to the city, upgrading its other daily from an Airbus A340-300 offering 267 seats to a Boeing 777-300ER with 364 seats, a jump of 36 per cent.

The sustained and explosive growth of China has increased the country's appetite for travel as well as trade, and Emirates will satisfy this customer demand with three additional flights between Dubai and Hong Kong.

Flight EK380 will become the second daily to this fascinating city, which will now be served with a total of 17 weekly flights. EK380 is operated by an Airbus A330-200 in a two class configuration offering 27 seats in Business and 251 in Economy and 14 tonnes of cargo capacity.

With a daily service and six dedicated freighter operations to Shanghai; daily service to Beijing, and 10 Boeing freighter services to Hong Kong in addition to passenger services, the airline has clearly highlighted the importance of China on its route network.

Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, will be served nine times a week, with the additional flight operating every Friday with an Airbus A330-200 in a two class configuration. From 1st September the Sunday and Tuesday service on EK352 will be upgraded from A330-200 to a Boeing 777-300ER.

Richard Vaughan, Emirates' Senior Vice President East Asia and Australasia said: ''Emirates' business strategy in the Asia Pacific is one of planned and steady growth, backed by strong commercial principles. The region is growing incredibly fast, undoubtedly led by the phenomenal growth in China, established tourism trails to Australia and buoyed by the economic prospects in the entire region.

He added: ''Emirates ''walks the talk'' by investing in the region and catalysing both tourism and trade. This philosophy, coupled with our culturally-relevant service orientation and the powerful brand equity we have built in the region, have resulted in a sustained demand for our services. By the end of this year, we also intend to upgrade our services and increase capacity to Bangkok, Singapore, Jakarta, Manila, Hong Kong, and Kuala Lumpur.''

Emirates launched services to Singapore, its first destination in the Far East, way back in 1990. From 1st September the airline will serve the Asia Pacific region with 129 flights every week.
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Old September 3rd, 2006, 07:23 PM   #147
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I think Emirates Airlines & Etihad Airways should have one Thread !! Would that be possible ??
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Old September 4th, 2006, 07:43 AM   #148
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Qatar Airways says to fly direct to Beirut on Mon

DOHA, Sept 3 (Reuters) - Qatar Airways will resume direct flights to and from Lebanon's capital Beirut on Monday despite an Israeli air and sea blockade imposed on the country in July, an airline spokeswoman said on Sunday.

"We will operate daily flights to Beirut tomorrow. Flight 422 will leave Doha at 12:30 local time and arrive at 15:35 Beirut time," Salam al-Shawa said.

Asked if the airline had contacted Israeli authorities before deciding to fly directly to Beirut, Shawa said: "We were in touch with the Lebanese authorities and we received approval from them to fly directly to Beirut".

She added that it would be the first direct flight to Beirut by any airline.

Lebanese and Israeli authorities could not be immediately reached to comment.

Israel has kept an air and sea embargo on Lebanon after its 34-day-old war with Lebanon's Hizbollah ended on Aug. 14. Israel says the blockade was aimed at preventing Hizbollah rearming.

Last month, it allowed Lebanon's Middle East Airlines and Royal Jordanian to fly to Beirut on condition that all flights pass through Amman first for security reasons. All ships and aircraft require Israeli permission to use Lebanese waters and airspace.
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Old September 4th, 2006, 06:33 PM   #149
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Oman Air Postpones Flights to Beirut

MUSCAT, Sept 4 Asia Pulse - Oman Air has postponed indefinitely its plan to resume operations between Muscat in Oman and Beirut in Lebanon, official sources said.

"While we have the approval from the Lebanese civil aviation authorities to operate, the situation, technically and operationally, is not viable to warrant our flight," the sources said.

"We will continue to assess the situation on a daily basis. Once we are assured of safe operating parameters, we will be able to schedule flights in a matter of days," the sources said.

Oman Air had been operating daily flights to Beirut before the eruption of war in Lebanon.

It earlier planned to resume operations to Lebanon's capital on 5 Sept 2006.
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Old September 5th, 2006, 08:47 PM   #150
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Qatar plane flies to Beirut despite Israel blockade

BEIRUT, Sept 4, 2006 (AFP) - A Qatar Airways passenger jet flew to Beirut international airport from Doha Monday despite an ongoing Israeli air and sea blockade of Lebanon.

Flight QR 422 arrived in the Lebanese capital shortly before 1230 GMT with 142 passengers who were greeted by a cheering crowd that gave them roses as they cleared immigration.

One passenger said that many of those on board, including Lebanese, Palestinian and foreign nationals, had flashed victory signs and burst into applause as the Airbus passenger jet landed.

The plane, which was also transporting humanitarian aid, headed back to Doha with 124 passengers on board.

The airline plans to operate the flights daily barring "unexpected events", a company spokesman in Beirut said.

Lebanese Transport Minister Mohammed Safadi encouraged other carriers to follow Qatar Airway's example.

"I urge all airlines, whether Arab or other, to force the Israeli air blockade.

But a spokesman for Israel's foreign ministry, Mark Regev, said Monday's flight would not have been possible without clearance by Israel.

"The entrance into Lebanon of aircraft and ships necessitates coordination with Israel," he said.

On Sunday, a Qatar Airways spokeswoman had said the flight was aimed at breaking the Israeli blockade.

"We have asked for authorisation from the Lebanese authorities and they have given it. Therefore flight QR 422 is going to go to Beirut," the spokeswoman said on condition of anonymity.

Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem bin Jabr al-Thani slammed the blockade during a joint press conference in Doha with UN chief Kofi Annan Monday and said there was no reason why the flight could not proceed.

"No official blockade of Lebanon has been declared by the United Nations or the international community," Sheikh Hamad said.

"There is only a blockade by the Israelis which is a violation of UN Resolution 1701."

He said resumed service was crucial to helping Lebanese who had been affected by the conflict.

An Israeli diplomatic source told AFP on Monday the Qatar Airways flight had in fact been cleared by the Jewish state.

"This is a flight that was coordinated with Israel a week ago within a framework of the humanitarian corridor," the source said on condition of anonymity. "We find it strange Qatar has made an issue out of this."

In Doha, Annan repeated his call for Israel to lift the embargo.

"The embargo is not sustainable," he said. "It is a particularly destructive act because it's at a time when Lebanon is trying to reconstruct. I think we will need to see the embargo lifted as soon as possible."

Israel imposed an air and sea blockade on Lebanon at the outset of its 34-day conflict with Hezbollah on July 12, aimed at preventing the Shiite militia from receiving arms.

However, aid flights have regularly landed at Beirut international airport after receiving Israeli authorizations.

The only two companies currently able to operate regular commercial flights to Beirut, via Amman, are Lebanon's Middle East Airlines and Royal Jordanian.

Israel has said the blockade would be lifted once a UN brokered truce that went into effect on August 14 has been implemented fully under Resolution 1701.
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Old September 6th, 2006, 09:13 AM   #151
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That's interesting. So did they already fix the runways at BEY or did this plane have to land on the taxiway?
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Old September 6th, 2006, 09:30 PM   #152
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Kuwait Airways asks to resume flights to Beirut: report

KUWAIT CITY, Sept 5, 2006 (AFP) - National carrier Kuwait Airways Corp. (KAC) has asked the Lebanese authorities for permission to resume flights to Beirut, a newspaper quoted the company chairman as saying Tuesday.

"The KAC sent a letter to the Lebanese authorities last week asking to organise its flight schedule to Beirut," KAC chairman Sheikh Talal al-Mubarak al-Sabah was quoted as saying by Al-Rai Al-Aam daily.

"The KAC is awaiting the approval of the Lebanese authorities to resume its flights to Beirut's (Rafiq Hariri) Airport," Sheikh Talal said.

"This would be the first step; the second step would be to ensure the safety of flights," he said, in reference to the Israeli air and sea blockade of Lebanon.

Sheikh Talal was quoted as saying he expected a response from the Lebanese authorities by next week.

Israel imposed an air and sea blockade on Lebanon at the outset of its 34-day conflict with Hezbollah on July 12, aiming to prevent the Shiite militant group from receiving arms.

However, a Qatar Airways plane landed in Beirut Monday in what a company spokesman earlier said was aimed at breaking the blockade. Israeli officials said the flight had been coordinated with the Jewish state.

Unlike its Gulf neighbour Qatar, which has an Israeli commercial office, Kuwait has defied US pressure to initiate contacts with Tel Aviv, with its officials saying it would be the last Arab country to establish ties with Israel.

The only two companies currently authorized to operate commercial flights to Beirut, via Amman, are Lebanon's Middle East Airlines and Royal Jordanian.
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Old September 6th, 2006, 09:31 PM   #153
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FM 2258


That's interesting. So did they already fix the runways at BEY or did this plane have to land on the taxiway?
I would think the runway has been repaired. Otherwise it would be too risky and unsafe for a passenger jet to land on a taxiway or on a bad runway.
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Old September 7th, 2006, 07:22 AM   #154
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British Airline Resumes Beirut Flights
By HUSSEIN DAKROUB
6 September 2006

BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) - British Mediterranean Airways resumed commercial passenger flights to Beirut on Wednesday, becoming the first Western carrier to break Israel's air blockade of Lebanon.

The British flight, which originated at London's Heathrow Airport, came as Israel announced Wednesday that it will lift its sea and air blockade of Lebanon on Thursday evening. Israel has faced international pressure to end the embargo that was hampering Lebanon's efforts to rebuild following 34 days of fighting between Israel and Hezbollah guerrillas.

An Airbus-320 of BMED, as the British Airways PLC franchise partner is known, landed at Beirut airport at 9:30 p.m. carrying some 67 passengers, 27 of whom disembarked while the rest continued to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Company officials said they had not sought Israeli permission to land in Beirut.

"We have taken permission to come to Lebanon only from the British and Lebanese governments. This was in response to the call by (Lebanese) Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri," Naji Mehdi, the company's regional manager, told reporters at Beirut airport shortly after the plane landed.

Lebanese legislators, led by Berri, began an open-ended sit-in at the Parliament building last Saturday to protest the Israeli blockade, which began two days after fighting erupted on July 12.

Berri has urged Arab planes and ships to break the Israeli blockade.

Israel said the blockade was necessary to prevent new arms shipments to Hezbollah. U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan has been working to get the blockade lifted since a U.N.-brokered cease-fire went into effect on Aug. 14.

Mehdi said BMED considered Beirut a "very important destinations in the Middle East."

"We have a great hope that Lebanon will regain its recovery, prosperity and activity with the utmost speed. This is one of the reasons that prompted us to take this decision," he said.

BMED was forced to suspend its eight flights a week between Heathrow and Beirut airport following Israeli air attacks that closed the airport on July 13.

Despite the air blockade, a Qatar Airways plane landed at Beirut airport on Monday carrying 142 passengers, the first commercial flight from the Gulf country to Lebanon since the war. Though company officials said the plane flew without Israeli permission, Israel said it had agreed to the flight and that more were expected.

Israel has allowed only Lebanese and Jordanian commercial flights to land in Beirut, on condition they stop in Amman before proceeding to the Lebanese capital.
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Old September 7th, 2006, 04:36 PM   #155
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United cleared to offer first U.S. commercial flight to Kuwait
5 September 2006

WASHINGTON (AP) - The State Department said Tuesday that United Airlines has received approval to offer the first American flight from the U.S. to Kuwait City, starting in October.

The airline, a unit of UAL Corp., previously announced it will offer nonstop service between Dulles International Airport and Kuwait City, with U.S. flights departing Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

Flights will provide combined passenger and cargo service using Boeing 777 aircraft.

The U.S. ambassador to Kuwait signed an agreement with the Middle Eastern country last Wednesday that allows U.S. and Kuwaiti airlines to make commercial decisions with little government intervention. The agreement will allow companies to open new routes, set pricing and control capacity and frequency of flights between the two countries.

"We're pleased to expand our global network and look forward to providing our passenger and cargo customers direct access to the Middle East and one of the world's key economic centers," said spokeswoman Jean Medina of Elk Grove Village, Ill.-based United.

Shares of UAL Corp. rose 37 cents to $25.20 in afternoon trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market, down from $40 when the company emerged from bankruptcy in February.
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Old September 8th, 2006, 06:46 AM   #156
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Lufthansa to resume flights from Germany to Lebanon on Saturday
7 September 2006

BERLIN (AP) - Lufthansa AG will resume flights from Germany to the Lebanese capital Beirut on Saturday after Israel lifted its blockade of Lebanon, a spokesman for the airline said.

The first Lufthansa flight will leave Frankfurt for Beirut on Saturday evening, airline spokesman Boris Ogursky said Thursday. Lufthansa will then fly the route five times a week, he said.

Lufthansa last flew the route on July 14. after the kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers by Hezbollah guerrillas triggered 34 days of fighting in southern Lebanon.

Lufthansa and other German airlines also made special flights on behalf of the German Foreign Ministry to Syria, Jordan and Cyprus to evacuate German citizens fleeing the fighting in Lebanon.

Israeli lifted the air and sea blockade of Lebanon on Thursday.
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Old September 8th, 2006, 10:33 PM   #157
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Airlines resume flights to Lebanon

NICOSIA, Sept 8, 2006 (AFP) - Cyprus Airways and Egyptair said Friday they will resume scheduled flights to Beirut after services were cancelled during the Israeli offensive in Lebanon.

The Cypriot airline was to fly daily from Larnaca to Beirut from Friday, with the first 45-minute hop scheduled to take off at 10:00 pm (1900 GMT), the state-run carrier said in a statement.

"Cyprus Airways is among the first airlines to carry out flights since a ceasefire agreement was achieved in Lebanon," it added.

During Israel's 34-day assault against the Lebanese Shiite militia Hezbollah that began on July 12, Cyprus served as a hub for the evacuation of 60,000 foreign nationals from Lebanon.

The Mediterranean island's airport at Larnaca also offered refuge for the Lebanese Middle East Airline's fleet of aircraft during Israeli attacks on Beirut's airport.

In Egypt, the national carrier Egyptair was also to resume flights to Lebanon on Friday after a 52-day halt due to the Israel-Hezbollah conflict, said airline officials.

"There will be four flights a week until the end of the month, after which there will be daily flights to Beirut," said Safwat Mossalem.

Friday's one-hour flight to Beirut from Cairo is due to take off at 6:15 pm (1515 GMT).
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Old September 8th, 2006, 10:34 PM   #158
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Air France resumes Beirut flights
8 September 2006

NEW YORK (AP) - Air France resumed flights to Lebanon on Friday with a Boeing 777 flying to Beirut -- with French Transport Minister Dominique Perben aboard.

The aircraft took off from Paris with a nearly full load of passengers, the company said.

Air France, a subsidiary of Air France-KLM SA, canceled service in mid-July after Israeli aircraft bombed Beirut International Airport. Bookings resumed Thursday after Israel lifted its air blockade of Lebanon, Air France said.

Perben was to meet with Lebanese authorities to discuss French participation in the reconstruction effort, particularly with regard to temporary bridges and oil cleanup equipment, his ministry said.

Air France has scheduled four flights in the coming week -- three less than before the start of the hostilities between Israel and Hezbollah militants.

American Depositary Shares of Air France-KLM were unchanged at $27.48 in afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
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Old September 26th, 2006, 06:32 PM   #159
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Sunday September 24, 7:28 PM
Qatar Airways leases Airbus planes to meet demand

DUBAI (Reuters) - Qatar Airways, which plans to more than double its fleet to 110 aircraft by 2015, said on Sunday it had leased six Airbus planes from U.S. -based CIT Group Inc. to meet rising passenger demand.

State-run Qatar Airways, which operates an all-Airbus fleet of 49 planes, leased the single-aisle A320 and A321-200 aircraft for delivery in 2007 and 2008, the carrier said in a statement.

"Qatar Airways is growing at a phenomenal rate and, in order to meet our expansion plans, we have looked carefully at ways to boost our fleet size," Akbar Al Baker, the airline's chief executive, is quoted a saying in the statement.

Qatar Airways flies to 70 destinations, it said.

The statement did not give the value of the deal.

The Middle East is home to some of the world's fastest growing airlines. Passenger traffic in the region rose 6.4 percent in the first seven months of the year, according to the International Air Transport Association.
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Old October 3rd, 2006, 09:21 PM   #160
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Kuwait to spend 2.1 bln dlrs to expand airport

KUWAIT CITY, Oct 1, 2006 (AFP) - The oil-rich state of Kuwait is to spend around 2.1 billion dollars on a major expansion project for its international airport, the communications minister said in comments Sunday.

The project, part of the emirate's bid to become a regional financial and trade hub, includes infrastructure work, expanding the airport's two runways and building a new runway, Maassouma al-Mubarak told the daily Al-Qabas.

The ministry has already signed a contract with consultants for the project, said the minister who gave no timeline for its completion.

Constructed about three decades ago, Kuwait's international airport currently handles around four to five million passengers a year. The expansion is expected to double its capacity.

Kuwait, which has posted tens of billions of dollars in oil revenue during the past several years, has been vying to open up its borders to foreign visitors in a bid to revitalise its economy.

The emirate is also planning several multi-billion-dollar giant projects like a railway network, an ultra-modern container harbour and major roads.

The Gulf state has a native population of one million people, in addition to two million foreign residents.
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