Thursday, March 24, 2011

Austria is refusing for Emirates' landing rights

Austria’s air traffic control centre has rejected Emirates Airline’s bid to almost double its daily flights to Vienna under its planned summer flight schedule, amid a wider row between Austrian Airlines and the Dubai carrier over access to the European market.
Emirates, the Arab world’s largest airline, had planned to increase lights on the route to 13 a week from March 27 in response to high customer demand, but the request was denied by Austrian authorities over what Emirates has called a “technical disagreement.”
The state-backed carrier told Arabian Business it is still in talks with Austrian authorities to secure the landing slots and is optimistic of the outcome.
“Emirates is confident that from 27th March 2011, a total of 13 flights per week will be operated from Vienna to Dubai in response to a high demand for our services,” a spokesperson said.

“Talks continue with the Austrian authorities to resolve a technical disagreement concerning the air services agreement between the UAE and Austria and our additional flights, which passengers have booked on, Emirates has invested in promoting and hired new staff for.”

The refusal follows explosive comments from the co-chairman of Austrian Airlines (AUA) who this week accused Emirates of leveraging its state links to undercut its European rival.
“It’s not a match of airline against airline – it’s a game between a state and AUA,” Peter Malanik told Austria’s Kurier newspaper Tuesday.
“The hub Dubai is being expanded regardless of the project’s profitability. It’s just about the location. The owner is also the lawmaker, the regulator, it owns the airline and the airport and is in charge of air traffic monitoring. It also provides the kerosene. Money doesn’t matter.”
Malanik said labour rights rules and consumer protection regulations in Europe prevented the region’s airlines from being able to compete fairly with Gulf carriers.
“The situation is similar to the production of T-shirts using child labour. AUA would need to hire 1,000 staff from Bangladesh immediately to be able to compete. Do we want that? Certainly not,” he said.

Austrian Airlines is one of a number of European carriers, including Air France KLM, British Airways and its parent company, Lufthansa – which earlier this year was accused of lobbying its government to stop Emirates securing new landing slots - to call for curbs on the expansion of Gulf carriers on long-haul routes.
The carriers claim Gulf airline use unfair subsidies to finance aircraft deals and to take market share from existing airlines.
A number of US and European airlines are impacted by a so-called 'home market rule,' which states that countries where Boeing and Airbus build aircraft cannot use export credit agencies to help their carriers buy passenger airliners.
The rule, which impacts carriers in the US, UK and France, among others, is seen as offering an unfair advantage to Gulf carriers unaffected by the law.
Malanik said AUA had scrapped flight routes to Mauritius and Australia due to competition from Emirates.
“[The airline’s] next target is to kill our link to Bangkok," he added.

Emirates Airline’s president Tim Clark said in February that European carriers must address their own failing business strategies rather than attacking the growth of Gulf airlines.
“It has taken European carriers donkeys’ years to adapt their business models to the changing dynamics of global civil aviation,” he said. “They haven’t been able to align their traffic flows to what is going on, whereas we have.”


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

QR's A380 First Class

Qatar Airways has reversed course and will include first-class cabins on its coming fleet of Airbus A380 superjumbos to try to woo wealthy leisure and business travellers.

Airline officials are tight-lipped about what offerings will be in store for the airline's version of the double-decker aircraft, but passengers choosing to fly first class will be chauffeured to the plane in BMW 7 Series cars.

Qatar Airways will compete directly with the A380s operated by Emirates Airline, with their enclosed suites and showers, and Singapore Airlines, where first-class travellers are treated to a full-sized bed, desk, seats and personal storage.

The plans come as the Doha-based airline carries out a wide-ranging programme elsewhere in its fleet to rely only on business and economy cabins as the global economy recovers from the recent downturn.

The A380 "will be the only model in our fleet which will have a first-class cabin", Akbar al Baker, the chief executive of Qatar Airways, said last week.

Mr al Baker added the premium cabin would have eight seats in first class from a total of 517.

A typical layout on the A380 accommodates 525 passengers, with 10 first, 76 business, and 439 economy-class seats, Airbus said.

But the European aircraft maker has long marketed the superjumbo as having enormous potential for customising to an airline's specifications. The superjumbo's size led to Airbus at one stage touting the scope for features such as relaxation areas, bars, duty-free shops and beauty salons.

Configurations for the world's largest commercial airliner vary widely, from Korean Air's 407-passenger fit-out to the all-economy set-up for 840 passengers planned by Air Austral, a carrier based in the French island of Reunion in the Indian Ocean.

In terms of luxury appeal, Air France installed an electronic art gallery exclusively for first class and business class on its A380s, while Virgin Atlantic has said it plans to put casinos, double beds and gymnasiums on its superjumbos.

Qatar has ordered five of the jets, which cost about US$300 million (Dh1.1 billion) each before standard industry discounts, and plans to order several more, possibly this year, Mr al Baker has said.

It has one of the fastest-growing fleets in the world with 93 jets, up from 80 one year ago.

First-class cabins are not being installed on its new Boeing 777s and are being removed from its fleet of Airbus A330s. In 2009, the airline ripped out the first-class lounges on its Airbus A340-600 jets to make more room for economy seats, with plans to eventually retire the planes.

The appeal of flying the A380 has led passengers to pay a premium for the flights, with Emirates charging nearly Dh40,000 for first-class travel between Dubai and New York.

The first commercial flight of the A380, by Singapore Airlines in October 2007, included a charity auction for seats. Passengers reportedly spent between $560 and $100,000 for the short flight between Singapore and Sydney.


Etihad to start flights to MLE

Etihad Airways announced today that it will commence operations to Malé, the capital city of the Republic of Maldives, on November 1, subject to government approval.

Etihad will operate a daily return service from its home base in Abu Dhabi to Malé International Airport, operating Airbus A320 aircraft on the route, configured with two cabins and offering 1,904 seats each week.

James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ Chief Executive Officer, said: "Malé is the gateway to the premium leisure destination, the Maldive Islands, and given the strong increase in visitation numbers we are seeing in the market, the time is right to launch services to this popular holiday destination.”

Mr Hogan said the commencement of the services in November was perfectly timed to coincide with the start of the busy Northern winter period.

“We expect the services will appeal to UAE leisure travellers, as well as customers from our major European markets, particularly with the strong connectivity options on offer and following the additional frequencies that will come online on a number of our key European routes this summer,” he said.

“Etihad’s schedule, which offers an attractive afternoon arrival and evening departure, has been carefully designed to offer customers maximum leisure time at their destination. In fact, European travellers can take advantage of our overnight flights in both directions, offering them a full extra day in the Maldives.”

The Maldives is made up of close to 1,200 islands grouped into natural atolls; including 200 inhabited islands and 97 resort islands, with a population of close to 300,000 people*. The region features deep blue seas, sandy beaches and turquoise reefs, and with its tropical climate and warm temperatures year round, is a renowned honeymoon and leisure destination.

Etihad Holidays has special packages on offer for the most spectacular of the islands. Offering a wide range of experiences for all budgets, Etihad Holidays has developed tailored packages for honeymooners or families, sun worshippers or divers. The packages include flights, hotel accommodation and island transfers. For further information, call 800 2324 or visit an Etihad shop for more details.

Etihad Guest Members who book early and fly during the first 30 days of operation will be rewarded with twice as many Etihad Guest Miles. For further information, go to Terms and conditions apply.

Malé will become the 67th destination on Etihad’s global network.

EY 278 AUH - MLE 0915 1430 4hrs 15mins
EY 279 MLE - AUH 2040 0005+1 4hrs 25mins

source: forum