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Monday, August 8, 2011

Flydubai launches flights to Ahmedabad

Taking off from August 27, weekly flight will be Dubai-based carrier’s 3rd Indian destination

Dubai-based budget carrier Flydubai has announced plans to launch flights to the Indian city of Ahmedabad, with CEO Ghaith Al Ghaith confirming the same in an exclusive interview with Emirates 24|7.

The once weekly flight will launch from August 27, marking Flydubai’s third Indian destination, after Lucknow and Hyderabad. The flight is expected to depart every Saturday from Dubai at 10:10pm and reach Ahmedabad on Sunday morning at 2:50 am.

The same aircraft will depart for Dubai on Sunday at 3:35am and will reach Dubai at 5:05am.

Said Ghaith: “We will be operating the Boeing 737-800 aircraft on the route, which has a seat capacity of 189 passengers. With a one flight per week initially we are expecting a healthy passenger load factor of 70 to 80 per cent at least.”

Earlier news reports in the Indian media had reported the low cost carrier’s plans to enter Ahmedabad, with a July 11 start date having been announced by sources at the airport; however, Ghaith said all those were cases of jumping the gun.

“An airline has to prepare for the flight and route launch externally and these things take time; you can’t just wake up one day and announce a new city,” said Ghaith. “There are bilateral agreements that are signed between the UAE and India and we have to follow procedures before making any statements.”

Talking about choosing the thriving commercial city in the Indian state of Gujarat, Ghaith said: “India remains an important market for us and there is strong multi-faceted relationship with the UAE that stretches beyond commercial gain and also encompasses families and workers here. These strong links will direct us towards markets that we see have potential for the airline.”

When quizzed if any for Indian cities are on the flightplan for 2011, Ghaith said that Flydubai had no plans to announce any more routes to the country this year, but there will be other countries that will make the cut before year end.

He added: “There are still five months to the year-end; I’m sure we can make a few more announcements for new routes.”

Flydubai’s entry into its third Indian city comes nearly a week earlier to the September 1 launch date of IndiGo, the Indian budget carrier, which connect Dubai-Delhi with daily flights; IndiGo will also launch the Dubai-Mumbai sector from October 2.

However, Ghaith seemed unfazed with this new competition entering the market, saying: “More airlines flying to Dubai makes things better off for us. Competition is always healthy and with more demand, any route can always have room for further enhancement.”

The CEO also confirmed that the airline had no plans to order more aircraft, with deliveries of its 18th aircraft taken last week; this was the latest in an investment of $80 million of the order of 50 placed by Flydubai at the 2008 Farnborough Airshow.

Robbie Mehoke Joins Etihad as Vice President Eastern USA

Etihad Airways has appointed Ms Robbie Mehoke as Vice President Eastern USA. Ms Mehoke is based in the airline’s New York office.
Ms Mehoke began her career with United Airlines as an Account Manager in San Francisco and Philadelphia. She was then promoted to Global Account Manager in Chicago, where she was responsible for major corporate business.
In a management position to establish the new marketing organization within United, Mehoke was responsible for developing and executing all strategic and tactical marketing initiatives in support of individual business units for United. She served as District Sales Manager, North America where she led a team of 12 Account Managers and led the Star Alliance regional sales committee.
A graduate of the University of Michigan, Ms Mehoke holds a Master of Organizational Development degree from the University of San Francisco. She joins Etihad from Cars.com.
Geert Boven, Etihad’s Senior Vice President Americas, said, “Robbie has a proven track record of sales success and brings our team a wealth of knowledge and experience in leadership, sales, marketing and customer relationship management.”

Etihad marks two more Manchester milestones

Etihad Airways has marked two significant milestones in Manchester, officially launching a new line maintenance facility and double-daily services to the city.
(with plane in background) Andrew Harrison, Manchester Airport Managing Director and Jeff Wilkinson, Etihad Airways Vice President for Maintenance and locally recruited aircraft engineers and mechanics.

From today, the airline operates 14 non-stop Manchester-Abu Dhabi return flights, with onward connections to more than 60 global destinations across the Etihad network.
The opening of the new Manchester maintenance facility this afternoon is the airline’s sixth outside Abu Dhabi, and has created seven new jobs for locally skilled workers. Etihad’s existing facilities are in Bombay, Dublin, Lahore, London-Heathrow and Sydney.
Etihad has employed a team of four aircraft engineers and three aircraft mechanics, with over 50 years’ combined experience, to manage the new maintenance operations at Manchester Airport.
The new facility is equipped with the latest technology and will perform all scheduled and non-scheduled line maintenance. Services to be undertaken in Manchester include transit, daily and weekly checks, scheduled engineering services and fault repairs for the aircraft systems and in the cabins.
Commenting at the opening of the new facility, Etihad Airways Vice President for Maintenance, Manchester-born Jeff Wilkinson, said: “We are delighted to open this line maintenance facility here in Manchester, especially on the day when we’ve started our double-daily services to Abu Dhabi. Our investment in Manchester illustrates the remarkable growth of the airline, our ambition to bring key services in-house in markets we operate to, and also to recruit locally.”
(Shaking hands centre) Andrew Harrison, Manchester Airport Managing Director and Jeff Wilkinson, Etihad Airways Vice President for Maintenance, surrounded by Etihad Airways technical staff. 

Mr Wilkinson said: “Over the coming months, Etihad will seek approval to enable this new facility to offer maintenance services to other airlines with the same aircraft types as Etihad Airways.  We will continue to work with Abu Dhabi Aircraft Technologies, in the United Arab Emirates, for more extensive maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services for our fleet of aircraft.”
Andrew Harrison, Manchester Airport's managing director, said: "We are proud to welcome this new facility on the day that Etihad has doubled the frequency of its service. These initiatives reflect Etihad's consistent commitment to the north of England, which will enable individual travellers and local businesses to use Manchester as a convenient hub to travel throughout the world. Etihad is a hugely important player in our long-haul network and we welcome its new staff to Manchester Airport."

Man killed in plane engine testing accident

Hercules C-130
An engineer who was killed when he was sucked into a Hercules plane engine at Woodbourne Airport near Blenheim this morning has been named by police.

Miles Hunter, 51, from Renwick was killed during a "routine maintenance operation" at the airfield's engine testing area about 8.15am.
Tasman police acting district commander Inspector Steve Caldwell said emergency services performed CPR on Hunter, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.
He was employed by Safe Air, a subsidiary of Air New Zealand.
Caldwell said police were assisting with a Department of Labour investigation.
A source said Occupational Safety and Health were on site and the C-130 Hercules engine had since been taken into the RNZAF hangar.
He said Hunter had been working on a contract to maintain the C-130.
A former employee said the engine wasn't fitted to an aircraft when he was killed.
He said Safe Air tested Hercules engines on a frame in a remote corner of the airport once they had been serviced.
Hunter had reportedly entered the testing enclosure while the engine was running.
Safe Air confirmed that Hunter died during what it called a "routine maintenance operation" at its Blenheim base.
An Air New Zealand spokesman said the engine was being tested without its propellers.
The airline was working with police and the Department of Labour on the investigation.
Air New Zealand chief executive Rob Fyfe was in Blenheim to support the Hunter's family, friends and colleagues following the accident, the airline said.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Travellers hit by ash cloud disruption

Travellers hit by ash cloud disruption
Jen Rosenberg June 13, 2011

Stranded planes in Sydney yesterday. Photo: AFP

TENS of thousands of passengers hoping to return from the long weekend have no way of knowing when they can leave Sydney as airlines cancelled flights to Melbourne, Tasmania and New Zealand due to volcanic ash spreading from an eruption in Chile.
Qantas was the first to act, stopping most flights to NZ and Tasmania yesterday morning - 22 flights affecting about 1500 passengers - and adding flights into and out of Melbourne and Auckland last night. Virgin, Jetstar, Tiger and Emirates also restricted their flights around the region, leaving thousands of passengers grounded and unable to learn when they could travel. It is estimated 25,000 people have now been forced to change plans.
Frustration was building among passengers whose flights were cancelled with no sign of when they might resume.

Christine Compson and her mother, Betty Lewis, came from Auckland on Thursday for a few days of shopping to celebrate Mrs Lewis's birthday. They learnt of their return flight cancellation in a taxi on the way to the airport, and were lucky to book a seat on Air New Zealand, but it had been an anxious wait.
''We'll do whatever's practical'' to get home, said Mrs Compson.
Air New Zealand is continuing to fly to the affected areas, choosing to fly at a lower altitude, but a spokeswoman for the company said the airline was continuing to monitor the situation in consultation with aviation and meteorology authorities.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

AirAsia announces special discounts

Low-cost airline AirAsia announced promotional offers for the travellers at an exciting travel fair in Kolkata on Thursday by which they can avail a flat 20% discount on return flights from Kolkata to Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok.

"Customers can grab this offer exclusively at well known shopping destination of Kolkata, South City Mall, between June 10-12, 2011, for travel between June 15 and Oct 31," said an official spokesperson.

Guests can fly from Kolkata to Bangkok and Kolkata to Kuala Lumpur for an all-in return fare from INR 6,650 and INR 8,200 respectively.

The fair potential customers can also avail special AirAsiaGo Package that allows them a discount of 20 per cent on hotel bookings during this period at the following hotels Bundarika Villas and Suites, Phuket, Ibis Bangkok Nana, Bangkok, Furama Chiang Mai, Renaissance Kuala Lumpur, Golden Sands Resort, Penang, Sheraton Beach Resort, Langkawi and the Grand Seasons Hotel, Kuala Lumpur.

Suresh Nair, Regional Manager, AirAsia India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka said, “This travel fair in Kolkata is a platform to introduce an exclusive promotion and also leverage the opportunity to interact with potential customers directly and underscore AirAsia’s brand awareness in the local market.”

Airbus starts assembling first A380 for Malaysia Airlines


Airbus started final assembly on the first A380 for Malaysia Airlines Tuesday in Toulouse, France, 
the company announced Thursday.
Final assembly starts with assembly of the front, central and aft fuselages, wings and horizontal
 and vertical tails, then moves to general tests on electric/hydraulic systems, mobile parts 
and landing gear, along with engine installation, then goes to ground and initial engine tests
 and, finally, first flight to Hamburg, Germany, for cabin installation and painting.
The first of Malaysia Airlines six A380s on order is scheduled for delivery next year.