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Tourism minister: Turkey hosted 32m tourists in 2018

ANKARA (AA): Turkey has hosted around 32 million tourists in the first three quarters of 2018 with a 23 percent increase, said the culture and tourism minister on Wednesday.

“It looks like we will pass 40 million [tourists] and break Turkey’s record,” Mehmet Nuri Ersoy told Anadolu Agency’s Editor’s Desk.

Noting that there was an increase in the number of tourists, Ersoy said the tourism sector has experienced a rapid recovery.

Ersoy said apart from the common tourists enjoying the “sea, sand, sun”, tourists interested in culture also started to visit Turkey.

He said as part of a protocol with the national flag carrier Turkish Airlines (THY), scheduled flights were going to start in 14 countries and 17 destinations as of April.

Destinations included the UK, Germany, Russia, Ukraine, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Algeria, Kuwait, as well as the Turkish coastal cities or districts of Antalya, Dalaman, Bodrum and Izmir, he said.

He also praised Turkey’s newly opened Istanbul Airport, which will be one of the world’s largest airports once completed, and said it was a key investment to boost tourism in the country.

Ersoy also said the long efforts for the repatriation of missing pieces of a Gypsy Girl mosaic — located in southeastern Gaziantep province — were close to an end.

The 12 Roman-era mosaics, which depict extinct birds and mythological characters, are currently held by Bowling Green State University in Ohio.

“As of Nov. 26, it will be brought to Gaziantep from [the US’s] Chicago on a THY plane,” he said.

He added that 4,319 historical artifacts had been repatriated to Turkey from abroad in 2003-2018.


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1st Turkish Airlines flight flies from Istanbul

ISTANBUL (AA): Turkey’s flag carrier Turkish Airlines on Wednesday took its inaugural flight from the new Istanbul Airport to the capital Ankara. The TK 2124 flight took off at 11.32 a.m. local time (0832GMT) from new Istanbul Airport — which, when all phases are operational, will be the world’s largest airport — and touched down at Ankara Esenboga Airport at 12:25 (0925GMT).

With Monday’s opening, two runways — stretching 3,750 and 4,100 meters long — went into service as a part of the massive airport’s first phase, including three separate airstrips.

Transport and Infrastructure Minister Cahit Turhan and a number of journalists were among the passengers on board, along with other passengers who arrived at the airport for check-in.

At full capacity — with the completion of all four phases with six runways — Istanbul Airport is set to become a global aviation hub, featuring more than 100 airlines and flights to over 300 destinations worldwide.

The €6 billion ($7.2 billion) first stage, which was built in about three years through a public-private partnership model, is one of a series of mega-projects planned for Turkey’s 2023 centennial.

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Emirates expands A380 network with Osaka as demands increases

Monitoring Desk

DUBAI: Emirates has expanded the network of destinations served by its flagship A380 aircraft with the launch of new scheduled A380 services to Hamburg and Osaka.

The inaugural A380 service from Dubai to Osaka landed on October 28 while the second A380 service launch from Dubai to Hamburg landed a day later.

For Emirates, the A380 inaugural flight to Hamburg was a special celebratory event, marking the homecoming of the aircraft to the city where it was manufactured and fitted out, the airline said in a statement.

To celebrate the launch, Emirates’ chefs created a special menu allowing passengers to have a taste of the region in flight and enjoy specialty German dishes.

Emirates said it has grown demand for its services on both routes, prompting the decision to deploy its A380 aircraft.

With 105 A380s in its fleet, Emirates operates to the most number of cities of any airline. Osaka became Emirates’ 49th global A380 destination while Hamburg became number 50.

Flights to Osaka’s Kansai International Airport were introduced as a daily service in April 2004 and Emirates has since transported nearly 2.6 million passengers between Osaka and Emirates’ Dubai hub.

Emirates started operating daily Hamburg flights in March 2006 and introduced a second daily service from September 2011.

“We are finally bringing our flagship aircraft ‘home’ as all our A380s are being fitted at Airbus in Hamburg. We are the first airline to offer scheduled A380 services into Hamburg and we are proud to operate the A380 on flights to all German gateways,” said Thierry Antinori, Emirates’ executive vice president and chief commercial officer.

“Osaka is a significant gateway for Emirates in Japan and this capacity increase allows us to extend our A380 service to passengers who appreciate an unrivalled travel experience,” he added.





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Emirates to initiate world’s first ‘biometric path’ for passengers

Monitoring Desk

DUBAI: Emirates passengers can soon check in for their flight, complete immigration formalities, enter the Emirates Lounge, and board their flights, simply by strolling through the airport.

Emirates is gearing up to launch the world’s first “biometric path” which will offer its customers a seamless airport journey at Dubai International airport.

Utilizing the latest biometric technology – a mix of facial and iris recognition – Emirates passengers can soon check in for their flight, complete immigration formalities, enter the Emirates Lounge, and board their flights, simply by strolling through the airport.

The latest biometric equipment has already been installed at Emirates Terminal 3 and can be found at select check-in counters, at the Emirates Lounge in Concourse B for premium passengers, and at select boarding gates.

Areas where biometric equipment are installed will be clearly marked.

Once its internal tests are completed, Emirates will shortly launch trials for biometric processing at the other key customer points at the airport – check-in, lounge, and boarding gate – and subsequently at transit counters/gates, and for its chauffeur drive services.

Initially focused on First and Business class travellers, Emirates intends to extend the “biometric path” to Economy class travellers in Dubai, and in the future potentially to other airports outside of Dubai, and also for its own dedicated crew check in facility.

Adel Al Redha, Emirates’ Executive vice president and chief operations officer said: “Emirates continuously innovates and strives to improve our day-to-day business. After extensive research and evaluation of numerous technologies and new approaches to enhance our passenger journey, we are now satisfied with the preliminary work we have carried out and are ready to commence live trials of the world’s first biometric path at Emirates Terminal 3.”

Major General Mohammed Ahmed Almarri, Dubai General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) said: “We are pleased to roll-out these new initiatives at Terminal 3 in collaboration with Emirates and our airport stakeholders. The Smart Tunnel tests are running smoothly, and we are now preparing to mobilise the other biometric systems at the other areas in T3.”

Emirates said that eventually, the “live” passenger tracking capability will also improve security and enable the airline to locate and assist ‘late’ customers who would otherwise miss their flights.

The move follows trials for the Smart Tunnel, a project by the General Directorate of Residence and Foreigners Affairs in Dubai (GDRFA) in collaboration with Emirates, was launched earlier in October.

It is a world-first for passport control, where passengers simply walk through a tunnel and are “cleared” by immigration authorities without human intervention or the need for a physical passport stamp.


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Indonesian plane carrying 188 passengers crashes into sea: officials

Monitoring Desk

JAKARTA: Indonesian rescue official confirmed that an Indonesian Lion Air passenger plane on Monday crashed into a sea few minutes after taking off from the capital Jakartan.

According to Indonesia’s transport ministry, there were around 188 people on board, including crew. There is no official comment about the casualties so far.

Official added that the Flight JT-610 was on a scheduled flight from the capital to Pangkal Pinang, the main city in the Bangka Belitung Islands. The Boeing737 lost contact to the control tower at 6:30 around 13 minutes after it took off.

This is the first crash of the Boeing 737 MAX model, which are more fuel-efficient versions of the manufacturer’s single-aisle passenger jet. Lion Air subsidiary Malindo Air received the first delivery of this aircraft in 2017.

In August 2015, 54 people were killed after a commercial passenger plane operated by Indonesian carrier Trigana crashed in Papua due to bad weather.

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Another 185,000 passenger’s details of British Airways affected by cyber attack

LONDON: British Airways passengers hit by the hack earlier this year were forced to cancel their credit cards after their information was compromised.

In September, 380,000 payments were targetted, with thousands of customers urged to contact their banks. This has since been changed with just 64 per cent (244,000) of those payments affected.

BA owner IAG announced today in a statement: “While British Airways does not have conclusive evidence that the data was removed from its systems, it is taking a prudent approach in notifying potentially affected customers, advising them to contact their bank or card provider as a precaution.

“Since the announcement on September 6, 2018, British Airways can confirm that it has had no verified cases of fraud.”

British Airways HACKED as 380,000 customers’ details are stolen

The incident was investigated by the National Crime Agency (NCA).

It found that personal data of 77,000 payment cards which had not previously been notified have also been affected, which included their card details and CVV.

Another 108,000 British Airways passengers were affected without their CVV being hacked.

Those affected have been contacted by the airline, with customers who made reward bookings between 21 April and 28 July affected.

Thankfully, of the 380,000 card details hacked earlier this year, only 244,000 have been affected, according to the statement.

British Airways could be fined millions of pounds due to the data breach which affects passengers, up to £500,000 according to the Independent.

What should you do if you have been affected?

The airline said any passengers affected should contact their bank provider.

Passwords should also be changed and accounts should be checked for any suspicious activity.

Any emails asking to help with the breach could also be fraudulent so avoid clicking on any of the links.

British Airways is to reimburse anyone affected with all bookings still to be valid.

Another airline recently experienced by a cyber attack which left passengers passport details compromised.

Hong Kong airline Cathay Pacific was hit by a data breach that affected 9.4 million passengers.

The airline previously said: “Upon discovery, we took immediate action to contain the event, to commence a thorough investigation with the assistance of a leading cybersecurity firm, and to further strengthen our IT security measures.

“Unauthorised access to certain personal data was confirmed in early May.

“Since that time, analysis of the data has continued in order to identify affected individuals and to determine whether the data at issue could be reconstructed.” (




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Emirates Airline to launch new global ad campaign

Monitoring Desk

DUBAI: The new campaign launches on November 1 with an film that showcases the airline’s award-winning inflight entertainment system ice.

Directed by Michael Gracey whose previous work includes the hit musical The Greatest Showman, the advert takes viewers on a fantastical journey as a cabin crew member morphs into a dancer – transitioning between different dance styles from Bollywood to Hip Hop, representing the superior and diverse range of content on ice.

A second advert that promotes Emirates’ extensive network of global destinations will run concurrently takes viewers from the plains of Kenya to the Eiffel Tower and finally the iconic Burj Khalifa in Dubai.

The campaign, which was created in-house by Emirates’ head of brand, Richard Billington, will debut on the popular entertainment show The X Factor UK, and both ads will subsequently air across key markets across the GCC, in the UK, France, Germany, and the US.

“On this day in 1985, Emirates flew its first customers from Dubai to Karachi. While the airline has grown exponentially since, our promise to customers remains unchanged – flying Emirates means enjoying a better flying experience,” said Sir Tim Clark, president Emirates Airline.

“The drive to innovate and ‘be better’ is hardwired into Emirates’ DNA, and this enables us to deliver air travel experiences that are comfortable and enjoyable in every cabin class, time and again.”

In addition to traditional advertising and digital platforms, the new “Fly Better” brand promise will also be rolled out across Emirates’ sponsorships and events portfolio.

The first “Emirates Fly Better” in-stadium branding will be unveiled at the Meydan racecourse in Dubai in time for the start of the racing season. This will be followed by global exposure via the on-field perimeter billboards at the Arsenal v Liverpool football match on November 3.

On November 11, Emirates-sponsored team AC Milan will also debut Fly Better for the first time on their team jerseys, in their Serie A match against rivals Juventus.



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Icelandair plane makes emergency landing after window shatters

CANADA: A plane was forced to make a dramatic descent and emergency landing when a cockpit window “shattered” mid-flight.

Icelandair has called the damage a “crack” but shocking photos show the extent of the smashed window that appeared.

The incident occurred as the Boeing 757 aircraft was flying from Orlando, Florida, to Keflavik, Iceland. The plane then diverted over Canada and landed in Quebec.

One passenger narrated the shocking incident on Twitter and explained the plane had to make a “rapid” landing.

“Captain says his left window shattered and had to bring us down rapidly. We had to go down immediately,” passenger Harrison Hove tweeted.

“‘This plane is not going anywhere.” Airport police told us we cannot deplane because there is no passport control at this airport (sic).”

The flight diverted to Bagotville, Quebec, with the airline initially saying it was due to a “technical issue.”

Hove said the incident was “traumatic” and left people “upset.” He also claimed passengers weren’t told what was happing until after the aircraft landed.

He added an airline employee had allegedly estimated the crack to be about 20 centimetres.

An Icelandair spokesman told “Flight FI688 from Orlando to Iceland was on route over Canada on Friday night, 19 October, when pilots noticed a crack in one of the cockpit windows.

“Following standard procedures they diverted to a nearby airport in Bagotville.

“The passengers were taken to a hotel overnight and another aircraft picked them up on Saturday 20 October to continue their journey.”

Another emergency landing also took place on Friday in California when a young pilot perfectly landed his light aircraft on a busy motorway after its engine failed.

He carried out the emergency landing on the westbound lanes of Interstate 8 in El Cajon on Friday morning.

The single-engine Piper was piloted by a 25-year-old and carried a 36-year-old student on board, according to ABC News. It was en route to the nearby Gillespie Field airfield.

The incredible clip was filmed from a car driving along the Californian freeway behind the plane by amazed motorists.

“It just landed on the freeway and he’s got it under control,” said the man driving in the video, “You don’t see this every day.” The female passenger exclaims, “That is the craziest f*****g thing I’ve ever seen.”

The small white plane can be seen taxiing along the road, its wings spanning two lanes, while cars drive around it.

“He pulled it off perfect (sic),” says the driver, while a small boy pipes up: “Watch out for the aeroplane,” as the car prepares to overtake the aircraft.

The pilot eventually moved the plane onto the freeway shoulder to avoid blocking traffic.

No one was hurt in the incident although the incident resulted in severe traffic jams.

A local news reporter tweeted a photo of the pilot after the plane landed, praising him for his actions.

She posted: “The guy in black is the #herooftheday. He’s the #instructor who landed the plane. Again, not a scratch on the plane and no one was hurt! Just a bit of traffic on the 8 and Mollison exit is shut down where plane came to stop (sic).” (



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Ritz-Carlton launches first luxury cruise ship

Monitoring Desk

BARCELONA: A piece of maritime history was made last week when more than 26,000 tons of steel slid down the slipway of a Spanish shipyard – marking hotel giant Ritz-Carlton’s entry into the world of cruising. The launch marked the first of up to eight luxury “mega-yachts” for The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection.

With yachts number two and three planned for 2021, and more in the pipeline, Ritz-Carlton is clearly committed to this venture.

Work on the luxe interiors for the 149-suite ship, due for launch in February 2020, will now begin. Interiors, overseen by Swedish firm Tillberg Design, will incorporate the hallmark bespoke furnishings associated with Ritz-Carlton’s hotel properties – but with a maritime twist reminiscent of a private club.

“We wanted to build a game-changing design that was true to the Ritz-Carlton brand,” said chief executive Doug Prothero, speaking at last week’s launch ceremony.

“The quality of what we have put in the water today is as good as you can get anywhere.”

Prothero said that since the first sailings went on sale in May demand has been 300 per cent higher than expected, with cruise newcomers accounting for at least half of the bookings. More than a third have come from existing Ritz-Carlton customers, with the majority of these falling into the early-50s age bracket.

“We know that there are more than 400,000 cruisers on the Ritz-Carlton database,” Prothero explained. “However, the response from new cruisers is bigger than we thought. Between the brand and the design, it is bringing people into cruise, which is great for the business, great for the industry and great for us.”

Carrying 298 passengers in 149 suites, Ritz-Carlton’s ship will offer more space per passenger than anything else afloat. All the suites have a private balcony and come with a “personal assistant.”

There will be five dining venues, a spa and fitness centre and a water-sports marina with the requisite water toys. There is also plenty of deck space for lounging, and an infinity pool, aft.

The shore excursions offered during voyages will tap into the expertise of concierge teams at Marriott hotels in port, in order to provide more personalised options for cruise guests.

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Ryanair flayed over ‘racist outburst’

LONDON (BBC): Ryanair has been criticised for apparently failing to remove a passenger from a flight after racial abuse of a woman in her 70s. The incident, on a flight from Barcelona to Stansted on Friday, was recorded by a fellow passenger and shared on social media.

Many people said Ryanair should have removed the man from the flight and threatened to boycott the airline. Ryanair said it “will not tolerate unruly behaviour like this”. It has referred the matter to Essex Police. In the film – viewed on Facebook more than 1.8 million times – the man can be heard being racially abusive to the woman and threatening to “push” her to another seat.