Category Archives: Aviation

Emirates Skywards reaches 20 mn members

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Emirates Skywards, a loyalty programme popular for its unique offerings has reached 20 million members. Those travelling from Dubai on Emirates flights during the week beginning March 4, 2018, can look forward to surprises at check-in, onboard and in the lounges for some of its longest-standing members. “The programme has evolved in the 17 years since its inception in line with changing travel and lifestyle habits. Emirates Skywards is focused on delivering ever more personalised experiences for its members. We provide a wide array of earn and redeem options across a number of categories – travel, retail and lifestyle and across geographies, leveraging more than 100 partners worldwide,” explains Dr Nejib Ben Khedher, Senior Vice President, Emirates Skywards. In an average month, Emirates Skywards welcomes 220,000 new members across the globe. The top five countries with the largest member bases are spread across four continents reflecting Emirates’ six-continent global network. UK has the biggest membership base at 2.6 million, followed by the US with 1.8 million members, Australia with 1.7 million members and India and the UAE following closely with 1.4 million members each.  

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Air India launches non-stop New Delhi-Amritsar-Birmingham flight

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Air India has introduced a non-stop flight from New Delhi to Amritsar in Punjab and Amritsar to Birmingham in the United Kingdom. The inaugural flight was flagged off from Amritsar airport by Vijay Sampla the Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment in the presence of other dignitaries including Pankaj Srivastava the Director of Air India, Shwait Malik and Gurjeet Singh Aujla Member of Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha respectively. The direct flight is scheduled to operate twice in each week on Tuesday and Thursday on the Delhi- Amritsar-Birmingham-Amritsar-Delhi route. The Dreamliner aircraft AI 117 will take off from the Indira Gandhi International airport in New Delhi at 11:20 am and is scheduled to reach Amritsar at 12:25 am. After a break, the flight will then depart from Amritsar at 1:55 pm and is scheduled to reach Birmingham at 5:15 pm. The return flight will take off from Birmingham at 6:45 pm and reach Amritsar the next day at 7:45 am. After a brief break, the flight will depart for Amritsar at 9:15 am and will arrive at Delhi at 10:30 am. Source: ANI

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Vistara to launch Delhi-Chennai direct service from March 1

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Vistara will launch a daily direct service between Delhi and Chennai and is set to double its frequency between the two cities from March 1, offering convenient same-day return options in both directions. Besides, the airline will fly daily direct between Chennai and Port Blair from March 1, and will further expand its operations from the city from March 25 with daily direct flights between Chennai and Kochi and double daily flights between Chennai and Kolkata. Sanjiv Kapoor, Chief Strategy & Commercial Officer, Vistara, said, “Many of our customers had been waiting for us to bring ‘the new feeling of flying’ to Chennai, and we’re pleased to finally inaugurate our service to the city. We may have been late in coming to Chennai, but our aggressive expansion plan from the city truly signals its importance to Vistara. The new Chennai service would offer additional connections through Delhi to many additional destinations including Srinagar, Jammu, Amritsar, Chandigarh, Lucknow, Varanasi, Bagdogra, and Guwahati.”

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SriLankan to increase flights to Mumbai & Delhi

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SriLankan Airlines will now increase its frequency to Delhi and Mumbai due to peak demand. The airline intends to further increase these frequencies to 13 flights per week to Delhi- Northern India and 14 flights a week to Mumbai-Western India this year. According to Chinthaka Weerasinghe, Country Manager, Srilankan Airlines, “With the new development ventures, we anticipate significant passenger numbers from our key contributors to inbound tourism traffic that includes India, China, Europe, Australia, and the Maldives. We have already introduced three new destinations in 2017 namely Visakhapatnam, Hyderabad and Coimbatore commenced operations with four frequencies a week.” The Delhi-Northern India and Mumbai-Western India flights were increased from seven to 11 frequencies in July 2017. India has been a vital partner in SriLankan Airlines’ route network from the early days since it is Sri Lanka’s number one source of inbound tourist traffic. Today, the airline directly operates to 14 Indian destinations with a total of 135 flights a week.

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flydubai unveils advanced Business Class in 737 MAX

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Dubai-based flydubai has recently unveiled its brand-new Boeing 737 MAX 8, the technologically-advanced Boeing 737 Max aircraft. The latest addition of the fleet is the Business Class which has been customised by flydubai, keeping in mind the needs of its business class passengers. The newly designed business class takes comfort to a whole new level to offer an exceptional travel experience. Some of its features are: Space and privacy – The first-of-its-kind ’Throne’ seat in the flydubai business class provides utmost privacy and space in the cabin while mid-air. High, curved Shell seat – The curved shell surrounds the seat and provides a sense of seclusion. Convertible seat – For a perfect snooze, the seat can quickly and easily be converted into a bed, 78 inches from top to toe. Spacious entertainment – Every MAX Business Class seat has a 15.6-inch 1080p HD built-in touchscreen for an immersive in-flight entertainment experience.

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Jet Airways to commence second Bengaluru-Singapore daily

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Jet Airways will commence a second daily flight from Bengaluru to Singapore from March 15, 2018. The new daily flight – 9W 26, will depart from Bengaluru at 02:05 hrs (IST) and arrive into Singapore at 09:15 hrs (LT). Aside from providing choice for corporate travellers, the timings of the new flight are also expected to be of significance to the fast expanding MICE segment in Bengaluru. During its return journey, flight 9W 25 will depart from Singapore at a comfortable time of 10:15 hrs (LT), arriving in Bengaluru at 12:10 hrs (IST), allowing guests arriving in Bengaluru to travel onwards to destinations such as Chennai, Coimbatore, Hyderabad and Mangalore using convenient connections on Jet Airways’ extensive domestic network. Gaurang Shetty, Whole Time Director, Jet Airways, said “This second daily service will benefit business travellers who are looking at tapping into India and Singapore’s promising commercial opportunities. In addition, Singapore boasts of a huge Indian diaspora that can avail of this opportunity to strengthen ties to their roots.” To celebrate the introduction of the new frequency, Jet Airways has announced special ‘introductory’ return Economy fares from Bengaluru, starting at INR 11,768 only. Guests can book tickets with these special fares starting February 15, 2018. These inaugural fares are applicable for journeys commencing from March 15, 2018 onwards. During the summer schedule, the timings of the new flight will change to depart from Bengaluru at 01:30 hrs (IST) to arrive in Singapore at 08:55 hrs (LT). The return flight from Singapore will however, continue to depart at 10:05 hrs (LT) to arrive into Bengaluru at 12:10 hrs (IST).

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Emirates Group signs MoU with Andhra Pradesh government

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The Emirates Group, and its affiliated entities including flydubai, signed an MoU with the Andhra Pradesh Economic Development Board, Government of Andhra Pradesh, to establish a framework for collaboration in various aviation areas to support and invest in the development of Andhra Pradesh’s aviation sector. The MoU was signed by His Highness Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive Emirates Airline & Group, and Krishna Kishore, CEO, Andhra Pradesh Economic Development Board (APEDB). Under the terms of the MoU, the Emirates Group and the State of Andhra Pradesh will work together to support the development of Andhra Pradesh’s aviation infrastructure by sharing industry expertise and identifying development and investment opportunities. His Highness Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, said, “The Emirates Group is committed to future investment and expansion in support of India’s 2020 goal to be the world’s third largest aviation market. Through this agreement, Emirates and flydubai will work closely with APEDB to share expertise, discuss opportunities, enhance and support the growth of the aviation sector in the state of Andhra Pradesh.” “We are confident that this significant partnership with the Emirates Group will be a major boost to APEDB’S strategic efforts to elevate, enhance and develop the aviation industry in Andhra Pradesh,” said Kishore. Under the MoU, the two parties will look to collaborate in areas such as the potential development of aviation facilities and skill development projects in the State of Andhra Pradesh.  

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Air India to launch Delhi-Tel Aviv flight with 750,000 euro grant from Israel

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Air India will get a one-time grant of 750,000 euros from Israel for launching direct flights between New Delhi and Tel Aviv, likely to be rolled out next month. “The conditions of the directive includes a grant of 250,000 euro per weekly flight, up to a total of three weekly flights. It is a one-time grant for an airline opening a new direct route into Tel Aviv (TLV) from a destination that has potential for incoming tourism,” said Lydia Weitzman, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Tourism. Informed sources said that the Indian flag carrier could start its direct flights into Israel from New Delhi on March 20, flying thrice a week on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. Dubbed a game changer in Israel’s efforts to promote inbound tourism from India, Air India’s direct flight between New Delhi and Tel Aviv would be operating on the shortest route and is expected to bring down significantly the cost of travel between the two countries. “The number of tourists from China to Israel doubled in one year after the start of direct flight by Hainan Airlines. We expect something similar with India,” said Amir Halevi, Director General, Ministry of Tourism, Israel.   Source: PTI

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SpiceJet to connect Assam’s Lakhimpur and Jorhat

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SpiceJet will soon enable connectivity to Assam’s northern district of Lakhimpur with Jorhat in the south. This was announced by Ajay Singh, Chief Managing Director, SpiceJet at Advantage Assam-Global Investors Summit’18 in Guwahati. The move will, if it comes through, form part of Centre’s UDAN or Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS), an initiative taken to make air travel to India’s Tier-II and III cities affordable and at the same time putting remote regions on the country’s aviation map. “For India to grow, it is critical that North East grows. And, the region cannot grow without connectivity. SpiceJet connects cities of Guwahati, Silchar and Dibrugarh to other parts of the country and under UDAN, we will soon be connecting Lakhimpur and Jorhat,” Singh said. The two-day event showcased the state’s manufacturing opportunities and geostrategic advantages to foreign and domestic investors. The summit was organised by the Assam Government, in association with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI). There were a number of focus sectors identified by the state, which includes agriculture and food processing, organic farming, bamboo, handloom, textile and handicrafts, inland water transport, riverfront development and logistics. Source:ANI 

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MoCA looking at 20-min benchmark for immigration

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Addressing a gathering at CAPA Conference in Mumbai via a video link last week, Jayant Sinha, Minister of State for Civil Aviation, said that the ministry is looking at a benchmark of 20 minutes for passengers at immigration. Speaking about the steps taken at the Delhi airport in response to the recent spike in international travel, he said, “We recently saw a dramatic spike of 30 per cent in international travel in the winter schedule, particularly at the Delhi airport. Mumbai did not grow as much due to slot constraints. But these are two airports where we are facing some congestion. In response to that, we along with the Ministry of Home Affairs acted swiftly by massively increasing capacity for immigration officers as well as immigration counters at the Delhi airport. In Mumbai however we are much more constrained even though we have added capacity, although it is not at the same level as Delhi. We are thankful to Ministry of Home Affairs for acting so swiftly. Our benchmark as far as immigration is concerned is 20 minutes. If anyone has to wait more than that, then we are not doing our job well.”  

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