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Milan Airport to be close for three months due to renovation works

Monitoring Desk

MILAN: ITALY’s popular airport in Milan will be closed for three months in 2019 during the busiest season of the year due to renovation works, affecting millions of passengers.

Italy’s Milan Linate Airport is one of the busiest in the country, welcoming more than nine million passengers annually.

In 2019, renovation projects have been planned for the airport to tarmac the single runway, according to airline news report OPSGROUP.

This will mean the closure of the airport for three months between 27 July and 27 October.

Britons booking their holidays to Italy next year may need to find alternative routes.

Flights from the UK to Milan include British Airways and easyJet who operate a number of flights to the city.

The closure is to be during one of the busiest seasons with the peak summer holiday during this time.

However, there is an alternative airport Britons can choose if heading to the Italian city.

Milan Malpensa is a popular airport for many to choose with international flights, meaning they could book flights to that location instead.

British Airways and easyJet also fly to the large airport as well as Flybe and Ryanair.

The increase in passengers, approximately two million who would travel during the three months of closure, could also put pressure on the airport

This comes with a downside – the distance to the city centre.

Despite being smaller, Milan Linate Airport is approximately five miles from the centre and takes just ten minutes by taxi.

Milan Malpensa, however, is 25 miles from the centre which can take just under an hour by train.

The increase in passengers, approximately two million who would travel during the three months of closure, could also put pressure on the airport.

A spokesperson for easyJet told the Independent: “We are currently working with the airports to move our existing Linate programme across to Malpensa for the period of the closure.”

Earlier this month, Rome Airport came to a standstill following a suspicious package let in the terminal.

The airport was closed for approximately 15 minutes during the incident as the terminal was shut.

Bomb experts rushed to the scene to explode the abandoned suitcase following the scare.

However, it was later found to be full of coconuts as opposed to anything sinister.

Ned Donovan, a freelance journalist, tweeted: ”Amazing, the Italian police have blown up a bag full of coconuts and have now reopened Rome airport.”

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Violent sickness strikes 300 passengers on luxury Mediterranean cruise

LONDON: Cruise passengers were forced to stay in their cabins and eat bread and water after a sickness bug swept the luxury liner, it has been claimed.

Around 300 passengers were left suffering from vomiting and diarrhoea by the suspected virus onboard the cruise ship Aida Prima.

The ship departed Palma in Majorca, Spain on 22 September but its Mediterranean voyage was cut short by the mass illness

The vessel was due to visit Corsica, Rome, Florence and Barcelona but had to turn back to Majorca when passengers began suffering from gastroenteritis.

The mass illness left on-board doctors unable to cope and caused them to order afflicted cruisers to stay in their cabins.

The German cruise company were forced to call in medical personnel to help, who arrived from Berlin by plane.

Spanish newspaper El Mundo reported that ill passengers had to queue for three hours to give officials details on their illness.

They then allegedly had to wait for five hours for the doctor to come to their cabin, only for the medical professional to stay just a few minutes.

Staff are said to have distributed leaflets with hygiene advice while sick passengers were brought bread and water in their cabins.

The ship docked back at Palma earlier than planned. To prevent the disease from spreading, passengers were taken by bus to a farm on the outskirts of the city t wait for flights back to Germany.

However, some guests refused to wait and took the first flights available they could to get home.

Aida Cruises told German newspaper Bild: “Despite the high hygiene measures that apply on board, there were cases of gastroenteritis among passengers.” has contacted Aida Cruises for further comment on the incident last month.

It’s not the first time an Aida Cruises ship has been struck by onboard illness.

Last month 70 passengers fell ill on Aida Prima’s sister ship the Perla. Those who were sick were quarantined on board after it moored in the Dutch port city of Rotterdam.

Aida Cruises said in a statement that crew increased hygiene measures after “gastrointestinal infections occurred among passengers.”

Food poisoning happens when you eat something that has been contaminated with germs – you may be surprised to know that any type of food can cause food poisoning.

One way this can take place is when it is left out for too long which can particularly be an issue when it comes to hotel buffets.

“Make sure your food has been thoroughly cooked and is still hot or chilled when served,” an ABTA spokesman told

“Avoid any uncooked food, apart from fruits and vegetables. Also, try not to mix up different food types by piling everything on one plate, remember you can always go back for another course.”

Keep an eye out for signs of poor hygiene, the WHO recommends, such as the presence of pests and flies or uncleaned surfaces. Consider whether the food is handled manually of whether there are enough utensils to handle the food without contaminating it. (


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Countdown on for world’s longest non-stop flight

NEW YORK (BBC): The battle to offer the world’s longest non-stop flight steps up a gear on Thursday, when a new Singapore-to-New York service takes off.

Singapore Airlines is relaunching the service five years after they withdrew it because it had become too expensive.

It will cover more than 15,000km and is scheduled to take just under 19 hours.

Qantas launched a 17-hour non-stop service from Perth to London earlier this year, while Qatar runs a 17.5-hour service between Auckland and Doha.

The flight from Changi Airport to Newark’s international airport in New Jersey will be taking off amid much fanfare and with barely a seat to spare. Singapore Airlines (SIA) said there was demand for customers for non-stop services which help cut travelling times compared with flights which have a stopover.

The airline told the BBC that business class seats for the flight were fully booked.

However, there were “a very limited number” of premium economy seats left.

The airline is not planning to offer any economy bookings on the route. A business class ticket will entitle passengers to two meals, and the choice of when they are served, plus refreshments in between. They will also have a bed to sleep in.

Premium economy fares will get three meals at fixed times, with refreshments in between.




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Lufthansa and Ryanair settle dispute over leased planes

Monitoring Desk

LONDON: Lufthansa and Ryanair-backed carrier Laudamotion settled a dispute over leasing contracts, avoiding a London court hearing that was scheduled for November, both airlines said on Tuesday.

The German flagship carrier said in July it wanted to end an agreement to lease planes to Laudamotion, claiming the Austrian leisure airline had failed to meet payments. A London court was scheduled to start proceedings in the case next month, as Laudamotion rejected the allegations.

Lufthansa and Laudamotion have now agreed that the Austrian group will redeliver the nine Airbus aircraft it has leased from Lufthansa between Dec. 31 and the end of June next year, the two groups said in a statement.

‘On that basis the parties have settled the litigation between them,’ the two companies said. ‘The matter will not therefore be heard by the High Court in London in November 2018.’

The dispute highlighted the battle for market share in Germany, Austria and Switzerland after the collapse of Air Berlin and has shown how keen airlines are to get planes.

Laudamotion was formed by former Formula One ace Niki Lauda out of the Austrian Niki unit of collapsed Air Berlin early this year. Ryanair agreed to take a majority stake in the leisure airline soon after in a major push on the German and Austrian markets.

Lufthansa, which had wanted to take over Niki itself but had to abandon the plan for antitrust reasons, sees Laudamotion as a threat to its dominant position in the German market, especially on routes to Spain, according to analysts.

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Qatar Airways will continue its operations to Iran despite US sanctions

Monitoring Desk

DOHA: Qatar Airways Group has expressed its commitment to continuing flights to Iran, saying it will not be affected by the US sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

Addressing a high-profile business conference in the Qatari capital of Doha on Monday, the airline’s Chief Executive, Akbar Al Baker, said services to Iran would continue despite a tightening economic and political squeeze on Iran by the United States.

“Aviation is not a sanctioned industry, Qatar Airways will continue to operate into the cities we are currently operating in Iran,” he said.

He added, “Our flights to Iran will not be affected.”

According to the website of Qatar Airways, the airline’s Iran destinations include the cities of Mashhad and Shiraz and daily flights to the capital of Tehran.

The United States imposed a first round of its sanctions on Iran in August, targeting the Islamic Republic’s access to the US dollar, metals trading, coal, industrial software, and auto sector after Washington withdrew in May from a 2015 international nuclear deal. A second round, forthcoming on November 4, will be targeting Iran’s oil sales and its Central Bank.

US President Donald Trump said in August that companies doing business with Iran will be barred from the United States.

“These are the most biting sanctions ever imposed, and in November they ratchet up to yet another level. Anyone doing business with Iran will NOT be doing business with the United States. I am asking for WORLD PEACE, nothing less!” Trump tweeted.

In response to Trump’s tweet, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the world is “sick & tired” of Washington’s unilateralism by the US president.

“Tantrums & CAPPED TWEETS won’t change the fact that the world is sick & tired of US unilateralism. Stopping US trade and killing 100K US jobs is fine with us, but the world won’t follow impulsive tweeted diktats. Just ask EU, Russia, China & dozens of our other trading partners,” Zarif tweeted.

Major European airlines including Air France and British Airways have previously stopped flights to Iran, following the reinstatement of the US sanctions.

Russia’s Sukhoi Civil Aircraft said in May that its plans to sell planes to Iran will not change despite the US re-imposing sanctions.

The company announced that it would continue to cooperate with Iranian airlines within the framework of interim agreements on the delivery of SuperJet 100 (SSJ100) passenger planes.

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Emirates starts cancelling flights

DUBAI (Gulf News): The upcoming Dubai International Airport runway repairs will not just cause the diversion of some flight operations to the terminal in Jebel Ali, it will reduce the capacity of some airlines as well.

UAE-based carrier Emirates confirmed on Sunday that it has already started cancelling some flights for next year in preparation for the major refurbishment work at the southern runway of Dubai International Airport (DXB).

A source said some April to May 2019 flights have already been cancelled, as the airline prepares for a major capacity cut during the airport runway scheduled repairs next year. “Some flights have already ben closed off for booking,” a spokesperson told Gulf News on Sunday.

All flight schedules have yet to be finalized, though, but during the repair period in 2019, the number of available flights will be reduced by about 28 per cent.

Emirates logged more than 3,600 flights on average per week, or more than 191,000 flights in 2017 alone.

The airline has been on an expansion mode, acquiring 21 new aircraft in 2017. Also last year, Emirates expanded its network to 158 destinations. It also boosted frequencies and upgraded capacity to several points across its network.

For 45 days next year, between April 16 and May 2019, Dubai International airport will shut down the southern runway for upgrade works, and during this period, there will be a significant reduction in aircraft movements.

In a statement sent to Gulf News, an Emirates spokesperson said next year’s repairs will necessitate airlines operating at Dubai International to lower their capacity.

“Emirates can confirm that it will be required to reduce its operating schedule by approximately 28 per cent during this time, as single runway operations necessitate capacity cuts.” “During the runway closure period, Emirates will cancel certain flights, reduce frequencies to some destinations and re-time some flights based on slots availability at DXB,” the spokesperson said.

“Emirates is working closely with all stakeholders to ensure we optimize our operations and minimize the impact on our customers.”

Budget airline flydubai announced on Thursday that it will move some flights to 39 destinations from their current base at DXB to Al Maktoum International Airport in DWC during the 45-day period of the refurbishment project, to ensure minimum disruption to passengers’ travel plans.

Dubai Airports confirmed in February that it will undertake some repair works next year in order to strengthen and resurface DXB’s southern runway and adjacent taxiways. Workers will lay down about 60,000 tonnes of asphalt and 8,000 cubic metres of concrete.

When a similar project was implemented in 2014, capacity at the world’s busiest airport was cut by 26 per cent for 80 days.



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Passengers through Turk airports on rise in Sept

Monitoring Desk

ANKARA: The number of passengers going through Turkish airports rose 11.4 percent year-on-year in the first nine months of this year.

Nearly 164 million people traveled through airports in Turkey between January and September, the General Directorate of State Airports Authority said on Friday.

The country’s airport served 1.6 million planes during the same period.

In September, the number of air passengers reached 20.8 million, up 4.4 percent compared to the same month last year.

The number of international passengers climbed 12 percent to reach 10.9 million in September, while the number of passengers in Turkish airports taking domestic flights fell 2.7 percent to 9.9 million.

Cargo traffic was also on the rise, up 7.4 percent year-on-year to top 382.6 tons.

Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport remained Turkey’s busiest airport with 6.1 million passengers in the month — some 1.7 million passengers on domestic flights and nearly 4.4 million passengers on international flights.

Sabiha Gokcen Airport, Istanbul’s main air hub on the Asian side, served 3 million air passengers in September, an annual increase of four percent. (AA)



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EU airports council calls for focus on sustainability

Monitoring Desk

ANKARA: The Airports Council International (ACI) Europe on Thursday called on EU to give importance to sustainability and consumer interest.

The EU Transport Ministers, EU institutions and aviation stakeholders met in Vienna for the high-level European Aviation Summit on Oct. 3-4, organized by the Austrian Presidency.

“In order to effectively address this growth challenge, the EU aviation strategy needs to place a greater emphasis on sustainability across the board,” the statement read. During the two-day summit, Olivier Jankovec, director general of ACI Europe said that both businesses and policy makers should come to terms with changing societal values.

“Aviation growth must not only be reconciled with the EU’s environmental objectives, it must also serve wider social purposes and prove its relevance to citizens beyond its economic benefits,” he stressed.

Jankovec noted that the EU aviation strategy — launched in Dec. 2015 — “should evolve” and determine a clear vision, ambition and roadmap for sustainable air connectivity.

ACI Europe expressed its readiness on supporting the European Commission in this matter, as well as advised close cooperation with industry for favorable delivery.

The airport authority also urged the EU to continue opening up access to external markets through air traffic rights liberalization agreements.

The statement revealed that aviation sector provides employment to 12.2 million people and contributes to 4.1 percent of all GDP in European countries, while the air passenger traffic at EU airports climbed by around 30 percent over the past 5 years.

ACI Europe — founded in 1991 — represents over 500 airports in 45 European countries, with its members facilitating over 90% of commercial air traffic in Europe, according to its website. (AA)



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Libya suspends flights at Mitiga airport after shelling

Monitoring Desk

TRIPOLI: Air flights were suspended Tuesday at the Mitiga International Airport in Libyan capital Tripoli after a shell fell on the airport late Monday. The airport said on its official Facebook page that aviation was suspended “due to the repeated falling of shelling on Mitiga International Airport by an irresponsible side.”

The airport said flights will be grounded “until a further notice” and shared a number of photos of vehicles damaged by the shelling. Last week, Libyan authorities resumed air aviation at the airport after a two-week closure.

Since August 26, the Libyan capital has been the scene of on-again, off-again clashes between armed groups loyal to Libya’s Tripoli-based unity government and others said to oppose it.

On Tuesday, the “Tripoli Protection Force” affiliated with the unity government assumed control of the capital’s southern districts. Libya has remained dogged by turmoil since 2011, when a bloody NATO-backed uprising led to the ouster and death of long-serving President Muammar Qaddafi after more than four decades in power. Since then, Libya’s stark political divisions have yielded two rival seats of power one in Tobruk and another in Tripoli and a host of heavily armed militia groups. (AA)


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Ryanair warns on profits as strikes hit income

LONDON (BBC News): Ryanair has warned investors its full-year profits will be lower than expected, partly due to the recent wave of industrial action.

The airline said its profits would be 12% lower than the €1.25-1.35bn (£1.11-1.2bn) previously forecast, and it now expects profits of between €1.1-1.2bn.

Ryanair said this was due to higher oil prices, higher costs associated with EU flight compensation rules, and weaker fares due to the recent strikes.

It warned it may lower forecasts again.

Shares in the airline opened down 8%.

Last week, cabin crew and pilots in Germany, Holland, Belgium, Spain and Portugal took industrial action which led to a number of flight cancellations.

Bigger fuel bill

Ryanair said fares for the third quarter of the year were lower as forward bookings, particularly for the October school mid-terms and Christmas, were being affected by fear of further strikes.

The carrier said it had not hedged its fuel bill against prices rises, and this meant it would be paying 10% more for its fuel thanks to the recent rise in the global price.

Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary said: “While we successfully managed five strikes by 25% of our Irish pilots this summer, two recent co-ordinated strikes by cabin crew and pilots across five EU countries has affected passenger numbers (through flight cancellations).

“Customer confidence, forward bookings and [third quarter] fares have been affected, most notably over the October school mid-terms and Christmas, in those five countries where unnecessary strikes have been repeated.”

The airline is making cuts to some routes and closing some of its bases.

Its four-aircraft Eindhoven base in the Netherlands will close, although most routes to and from Eindhoven will continue on overseas-based aircraft. It is taking the same action at its two-aircraft Bremen base in Germany and is making cuts at its Niederrhein base.

Ryanair says all affected customers have been contacted by email or text message, and will be re-accommodated on other flights or refunded as they wish.


After many years of ignoring workers’ attempts to get it to recognise unions, Ryanair finally agreed at the end of 2017.

But staff in a range of countries have continued to have issues with the company’s employment practices, in particular its use of contracts based on Irish employment law and its insistence on paying staff through Irish bank accounts, which cause those based elsewhere extra inconvenience and costs.

In a complex industrial relations background, involving different disputes in different countries with cabin crew and pilots with their own grievances, Ryanair broadly says it is offering staff what they have asked for.

But staff in certain parts of the company’s cross-border operations plainly do not agree, because the possibility of further strike action remains.

Ryanair said in its statement it “cannot rule out further disruptions in [the third quarter], which may require full-year guidance to be lowered further and may necessitate further trimming of loss-making winter capacity”.

‘Long-term damage’

David Madden, an analysts at CMC Markets, said it was plain Ryanair’s aggressive stance was having a negative impact on its business: “In August 2017 the airline’s share price hit an all-time high as the company made a concerted effort to improve customer service prior to that, and it clearly paid off.”

He pointed out that since then, the shares had lost 38%

“Clients like cheap airfares, but they value flight certainty more, and the company is running the risk of doing long-term damage to the brand. The airline is still aiming to make over €1bn profit, so it’s not like they can’t afford to pay their staff well.”