Category Archives: Aviation

Emirates passengers can apply for UAE visa from mobiles

Emirates Airline customers flying to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) can now apply for a visa using their mobile devices. In a first-of-its-kind initiative in visa application, applicants anywhere in the world can use the mobile app, launched by Dubai Visa Processing Centre (DVPC), to complete the entire visa application process for UAE visa using mobile devices. The transactional app involves one-time profile creation, and allows data and document upload, payment and service delivery. Essa Sulaiman Ahmad, VP (India & Nepal), Emirates, said, “The launch of the mobile app will allow our customers in India an even more convenient way to apply and complete their entire visa process through their phones. At Emirates, we are always looking for initiatives to enhance our customers’ experience online.” Vinay Malhotra, COO-South Asia and DVPC, VFS Global, added, “We are in a constantly evolving environment in terms of developing best-in-class technologies, and with this app, we aim to deliver exceptional levels of service and enhanced convenience for travellers. The DVPC mobile app will serve as a one-stop shop for UAE visa applicants, offering users an end-to-end platform for UAE visa applications.” Smartphone and tablet users can download the free DVPC mobile App from Google’s Play Store or Apple’s App Store. Customised versions of the app are available for iOS and Android devices. Through the app, passengers can apply for the 96-hours, 30-days or 90-days single entry visas, based on their Emirates itinerary. Customers may apply up to 4 international working days in advance of their Emirates flight departure date.

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Air Seychelles adds capacity to Mumbai

Air Seychelles, the national airline of the Republic of Seychelles, has announced a major fleet and network expansion in Europe and the Indian Ocean in 2017. This will see the airline introduce a second Airbus A330 aircraft, commence non-stop services to Düsseldorf, Durban, and increase its existing network to Mumbai. Roy Kinnear, Chief Executive Officer of Air Seychelles, said, “The addition of a second wide-body A330 to our fleet is set to open up significant growth opportunities, enabling Air Seychelles to extend its network footprint in Europe and the Indian Ocean region. In addition to flying to Europe, the Airbus A330 will be used to increase capacity on the airline’s five-per-week regional services to Mumbai, Johannesburg and Mauritius which are currently operated on a narrow-body A320. The introduction of a second wide body A330 will facilitate the upgrading of capacity on Mumbai on Saturdays, Johannesburg on Thursdays and Saturdays, and Mauritius on Sundays, increasing the combined seat capacity on these routes by 23 per cent. This development will allow Air Seychelles to allocate an Airbus A320 to launch flights to Durban, the second point served by Air Seychelles in South Africa, offering 14,171 seats to and from Seychelles each year as well as quick connections over Seychelles to Düsseldorf and Mumbai.”

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India records double digit growth in domestic passenger demand in Sept

India and China continued to register double-digit growth in domestic passenger demand in September 2016, according to International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) global passenger traffic report. The results showed that global demand, measured in revenue passenger kilometers (RPKs) grew 7 per cent compared to the same month in 2015. This was the strongest year-over-year increase in seven months. Capacity climbed 6.6 per cent and load factor edged up 0.3 percentage points to 81.1 per cent. Growth in domestic traffic slightly outpaced growth in international traffic. Domestic passenger demand climbed 7.2 per cent in September as compared to September2015, which was up from the 4.1 per cent year-on-year growth recorded in August. International RPKs climbed 6.9 per cent with airlines in all regions recording growth compared to 2015. Total capacity climbed 7.2 per cent, causing load factor to slide 0.2percentage points to 80.4 per cent. “September’s growth in passenger demand was healthy. Importantly, this rebound from August weakness suggests that travel demand is showing its resilience in the aftermath of terror attacks. We must, of course, be ever-alert to the ongoing terror threat. And overall the industry is still vulnerable to being buffeted by rising geopolitical tensions, protectionist political agendas, and weak economic fundamentals. This will still be a good year for the airline industry’s performance, but our profitability will continue to be hard-won,” said Alexandre de Juniac, Director General and Chief Executive Officer, IATA.

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Mega Maldives to start Delhi-Male flight from Nov 15

Mega Maldives Airlines, is all set to start its thrice a week flight between Delhi and Male on November 15.  The airline has introduced an inaugural offer for this flight at a price of Rs 22,990 for the round trip. “We are thrilled with the positive response both in India and in Maldives to our new services to India. The resort and hospitality community of Maldives is clearly throwing open their doors to an excited and dynamic Indian market,” said George Weinmann, founder and Chief Executive Office, Mega Maldives Airline. “The Maldives is consistently ranked among the world’s best tourist destinations. It is also increasingly popular with Indian tourists with over 52,000 guests arriving in 2015, and growing at almost 20% per year in recent years.” As the first non-stop service between the two capital cities, Mega Maldives Airlines provides significant advantages to what is available in the market. At a journey time of just 3Hrs 40Min (outbound) and 4Hrs and 20Min (Inbound), this is the fastest and only non-stop connection between the two cities, cutting journey times on other existing flight options by between 2-8 hours.

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Etihad Airways launches new android mobile App

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the UAE, has extended its digital reach with the introduction of a new mobile application for Android smartphones, enabling guests to manage their journeys with even greater ease. The new mobile app provides comprehensive trip management and giving guests the information they need in a way that suits them. Guests can now organise their journeys directly on the app, which includes booking flights, checking in for flights, securing a mobile boarding pass, checking flight status, or viewing their Etihad Guest miles balance. Additional key features include a simple flight search function, a credit card scanner for payments, a passport scan facility to check in, and improved flight seat maps. Justin Warby, Vice President of Direct Sales for Etihad Airways, said: “This is a step forward in our innovation strategy to enable a convenient, more personalised digital travel experience.  Our guests are central to how we develop these services, and their feedback has been important in the creation of this latest app. Technological innovation will be vital in the development of our industry, and as a leading airline, we want to be able to provide services that make travel simple for everyone.” The airline recently launched an iOS application for iPhones, and partnered with Abu Dhabi Airports to enable guests to navigate their way around Abu Dhabi International Airport using indoor maps. This was a first for the Middle East and there have been over 350,000 downloads from the App Store since it launched in April of this year. The app has also delivered over 25,000 bookings and 130,000 check ins.

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DXB records 10% growth in Indian passengers during Jan-Sept

Dubai Airports welcomed 8.5 million Indian passengers during January-September, 2016. The total number of Indian passengers who travelled to Dubai (including transit passengers) in 2015 was 10.5 million. Lorne Riley, Director Corporate Communications, Communications and Business Development, Dubai Airports, says, “India is the largest source market for Dubai. Traffic from India till September has been recorded at 8.5 million but we will surpass the total traffic from last year by the end of 2016 and the total growth rate right now is 10 per cent between Dubai and India.” On an average 79 daily flights or 550 flights per week are operated between India and Dubai, informed Riley. He added, “Despite the capacity constraints, Indian airlines as a group are the fastest growing airlines that we have operating into Dubai International. Over the past 12 months, (November 2015 to November 2016) we have seen a 35 per cent increase in seats and 29 per cent increase in number of flights between India and Dubai.” Riley believes that by the end of 2020 Dubai International Airport will not only be the number one airport for international passenger traffic but also for total number of passenger traffic.

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Finnair celebrates 10 years of operations in India

Leading Nordic airline, Finnair is celebrating its 10-year anniversary in the Indian market. Finnair commenced operations to New Delhi on November 1, 2006, flying three times a week. Currently, Finnair offers three weekly services between Delhi and Helsinki during the summer timetable period and five weekly services during the winter period. Thanks to Helsinki’s optimal geographical position, flight time from Helsinki to New Delhi is only 6 hours and 35 minutes, over 30 minutes faster than on any other route from Western Europe to India. Finnair’s convenient day time departures from Delhi fly the short and efficient route via Helsinki, to more than 50 major destinations in Europe. The convenience of Finnair’s flights ensures customers arrive refreshed for business or leisure once they arrive at their destination. Finnair operates a modern Airbus fleet ensuring maximum passenger comfort while minimizing the environmental burden of air travel. “This is an important milestone for our airline. In the last decade, Finnair has offered excellent day time departures from Delhi and efficient flight connections to the European continent,” says Desmond Chacko, General Manager for Finnair in India. “With our modern fleet and the convenience of our Helsinki hub as a transit point for our Indian customer, we aim for another 10 years of successful operations.”

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Delta, Virgin Atlantic and Jet Airways expand codeshare

Delta Air Lines and Virgin Atlantic announced expanded cooperation with Jet Airways to provide convenient codeshare connections for customers between key destinations across North America and India via London-Heathrow. Effective Nov 2, Jet Airways customers flying between India and North America will be able to connect through London-Heathrow on to nine U.S. destinations operated by Delta. These destinations include: Atlanta, Boston, Detroit, Minneapolis, New York, Philadelphia, Portland, Salt Lake City and Seattle. In turn, Delta and Virgin Atlantic customers flying between North America and India will be able to connect with Delta codeshare onto Jet Airways’ flights to Mumbai and Delhi via London-Heathrow and onward to 20 destinations within India. The new Delta codeshare destinations include Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Bengaluru, Calicut, Chennai, Cochin, Coimbatore, Goa, Hyderabad, Indore, Jaipur, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mangalore, Pune, Trivandrum and Vadodara. The new routes complement Delta and Jet Airways destinations available through existing codeshare agreements via Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and Paris-Charles de Gaulle. “With up to 11,000 people flying daily between India and North America, and with trade and tourism flows increasing between the U.S., U.K. and India, we are giving our customers more versatile schedule options between North America and India,” said Nat Pieper, Delta’s Senior Vice President – Europe, Middle East, Africa and India. “For the first time, customers will be able to hold a single Delta ticket from North America through London to India providing coordinated customer service all the way through to their final destinations.”

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Vistara celebrates its 3 millionth customer

Vistara surprised its three millionth customer at Kolkata’s Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport with a grand welcome and a live acoustic music performance. The passenger also received a courtesy upgrade to Vistara’s Business Class cabin on his flight to Delhi. Expressing delight on the milestone achievement,  Phee Teik Yeoh, CEO, Vistara, said, “There’s nothing more satisfying for us than to see our customers reacting positively to our product and service. 3 million is not just any number to us. It is a significant milestone in our journey to become a world-renowned airline of choice esteemed for its exceptional customer service. This milestone celebration could not have been more timely, taking place just before Diwali. Our fast growing fan base is a strong endorsement of our brand and a fruition of our relentless commitment to transforming the flying experience in India, forever. This milestone achievement only strengthens our resolve further to delight our customers at every encounter, on every journey. We look forward to welcoming our five millionth customer on board soon.”

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Air New Zealand appoints Global Destinations as GSA

Mumbai-based Global Destinations will provide all General Sales Agency support to Air New Zealand in India effective November 1, 2016. Pranav Kapadia, Managing Director, Global Destinations, said, “With our strong knowledge of destination New Zealand, we will be a valuable partner to Air New Zealand. Over the coming months, we will appoint two new staff – a sales manager for Air New Zealand and a Market Development Executive for Air New Zealand. We are excited about this new partnership as Air New Zealand expands its sales and marketing activity in India.” Global Destinations has more than 18 years of experience in the industry. Mischa Mannix-Opie, Area Manager South & South East Asia, Air New Zealand, added, “While Air New Zealand continues to grow its sales and marketing activity in India, it’s vital we work alongside effective agency partners. We’re confident Global Destinations will help us to further strengthen our relationships across the India travel industry.” Air New Zealand’s alliance and code share services with Singapore Airlines connect customers from 11 Indian cities on Singapore Airlines and SilkAir services to Singapore. From there, customers can access three non-stop flights a day from Singapore to Auckland and Christchurch, four times a week to Wellington; connecting to Air New Zealand’s 21 domestic destinations within the country.

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