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Turkish Airlines offers new services in business class

Monitoring Desk

ANKARA: Turkish Airlines implemented two new projects to provide better service for intercontinental business class passengers, the national flag carrier announced Thursday.

“Awarded many times for its in-flight catering services, Turkish Airlines has carried its service a step further and implemented a new project enabling business class passengers to choose their meals before the flight,” the airline said in a written statement.

“Meal selection before flight” service will be available in several intercontinental flights departing from Istanbul to global destinations — including Atlanta, Boston, Cape Town, Hong Kong, Johannesburg, Buenos Aires, Tokyo, New York etc., the country’s national flag carrier said.

“Business class passengers can view the meal details and visuals of the main dishes and make their choices on the webpage and/or mobile application,” it stated.

The service enables the passengers to choose the meal within the period starting from one week before flight date until the last 48 hours, the statement added.

The airline named the other project as “dine on demand service”, allowing its business class passengers in intercontinental flights to dine at any time they wish during the flight.

“Turkish Airlines passengers will have the opportunity to experience a more flexible flight by determining the time they want to rest and dine,” the airline said.

Dine on demand service will be available in all intercontinental night flights departing from and landing on Istanbul, it added.

“This privileged service concept applied by very few airline companies in the world allows passengers to get a more customized service,” it stated.

Turkish Airlines, founded in 1933, flies to more than 300 destinations in over 120 countries. By the end of Aug. 2018, the airline had 326 aircraft — 92 of them wide-body along with 216 narrow-body aircraft and 18 cargo planes.

Last year, the airline carried 68.6 million passengers with a 79.1 percent seat occupancy rate.

According to the airline’s year-end targets, the company expects to carry 75 million passengers — including 33 million on domestic routes, 42 million on international routes — with around an 81-percent passenger load factor.

The airline — staffed with 25,000 people, including more than 4,500 pilots, — earned some 24.4 billion Turkish liras ($5.9 billion) of total revenue in the first half of this year. (AA)

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‘Idiotic mistake’ caused bomb scare, delays 300 flights

Monitoring Desk

ARIZONA: One person’s “idiotic mistake” ended up canceling hundreds of flights and inconveniencing thousands of passengers at Phoenix’s Sky Harbor International Airport on Sunday.

According to the Arizona Republic, a man left a four-door silver Nissan unattended and idling curbside near Terminal 4, prompting police to investigate the vehicle. Authorities called a tow truck after about 25 minutes.

When the tow truck arrived at the scene, its driver was told to wait as the bomb squad used a bomb-defusing robot to determine whether the car was simply left behind by some hurried or absent-minded passenger. The car was investigated for four hours before policed determined there was no threat.

There are all sorts of things you probably should pack in your carry-on, but there’s one thing you’ll never want to forget: a tennis ball.

Other travelers in the terminals, including those waiting for the airport’s SkyTrain shuttle service, were left waiting as the airport came to a complete standstill. Even passengers traveling to Phoenix from other locations were held at their departing airports, stated the Arizona Republic.

Around 10 a.m. an airport employee made announcements to passengers that all flights had stopped momentarily, said one traveler, Janet Cappo. Shuttle trains began to resume just over an hour later.

It’s unclear when the driver of the Nissan finally came out of the terminal to reclaim his vehicle, but Richard Polanco Jr., the tow truck driver, noted to the Arizona Republic that the man was still talking to police as he was hooking the car up to his truck over five hours later. The front hood and trunk were ripped open and windows were left shattered.

According to Polanco’s conversation with the man, he thought he had only been away for a few minutes to help his girlfriend check into her flight. By the time he came back out, the bomb squad had already torn into the car.

“He was just bummed out that for something so small — an idiotic mistake he made — turned into such a big deal,” said Polanco.

Despite the man’s “mistake” causing many people to miss their flights and over 300 delays, police have only issued a traffic citation that comes with a fee of $56. It’s undetermined whether the driver will also have to pay for damages to his car and for the towing fee.


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China complains to Sweden over tourists’ treatment

BEIJING (AP): China on Monday urged Sweden to respond to its complaints about the alleged mistreatment of a Chinese family removed by police from a hotel in Stockholm. The foreign ministry and China’s embassy in Stockholm have asked Sweden to investigate the case but have yet to hear back, ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters.

“We once again urge Sweden to take seriously our concerns and take concrete measures to ensure the safety and legal rights and interests of Chinese tourists,” Geng said, adding that the family had been “brutally abused by Swedish police.” Reports said an elderly couple and their son were removed from the hotel on Sept. 2 after they arrived a day before their booking and refused the staff’s requests to leave. Police were called and removed the group, at one point carrying the father out of the door by his arms and legs.

A statement on the Chinese Embassy’s website posted Saturday said its citizens were asking for “punishment, apology and compensation in time.” “The Chinese Embassy in Sweden is deeply appalled and angered by what happened and strongly condemns the behavior of the Swedish police,” the statement said. The Swedish Embassy in Beijing posted on its microblog Sunday that it had been made aware of the accusations against the police and an independent investigation into the incident would be conducted to determine whether there had been “negligence or illegal behavior.”

In Stockholm, however, Chief Prosecutor Mats Ericsson said an investigation was closed on Sept. 7 after concluding that police had done nothing wrong. “This is very normal (when you have) disorderly behavior,” he was quoted as saying by the Aftonbladet newspaper, one of Sweden’s largest. “Police have the right to remove a person from one place to another,” he said. Citing a police report, the tabloid said two people were lying on a sofa in the hotel lobby and refused to leave the premises at about 1:45 a.m. About 25 minutes later, a police patrol decided to remove them and the two people started screaming, reportedly about “human rights.”

The incident comes amid low-level tensions between Stockholm and Beijing over China’s detention of a Chinese-born Swedish national on suspicion of leaking state secrets. China has rebuked Sweden for demanding the release of Hong Kong-based bookseller Gui Minhai, 53, who was taken off a train by police in eastern China on Jan. 20 while in the company of two Swedish diplomats with whom he was traveling to Beijing.




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Qatar Airways inspires travellers to ignite their sense of adventure

F.P. Report

KARACHI: Qatar Airways is inspiring passengers to ignite their sense of adventure, or take time out to reconnect with family and friends by planning their next escape to one of the many beautiful, unique destinations the airline now has to offer. Whether you are already planning to take a trip, or are still trying to adjust to reality after returning from some time away, Qatar Airways want to take you on your latest adventure to one of its incredible gateways to the big, wide world.

Passengers are invited to plan their next trip with Qatar Airways and take advantage of fantastic fares to Atlanta starting from PKR 124,250, Frankfurt starting from PKR 75,930 and Istanbul starting from PKR 59,770. Additional offers including special rates on hotels, car rentals and Al Maha meet and greet services are available for bookings made on Privilege Club members will earn up to triple Qmiles when they book online at and register for the offer at For more information on the offers, visit

Qatar Airways Chief Commercial Officer, Mr. Ehab Amin, said: “Travel is one of the greatest experiences we can reward ourselves and our loved ones with. It enriches our lives, fulfills our ambitions, and gives us the courage to embrace our journey of self-discovery.

There are so many remarkable places around the world just waiting to be discovered – from natural wonders and diverse landscapes, to thriving cosmopolitan cities, and Qatar Airways now fly more people, on more aircraft, to more destinations than ever before.

We are truly living the essence of our brand – ‘Going Places Together’ – and we invite customers, existing and new, to be inspired to share in this ethos and plan their latest adventure with Qatar Airways today.”

As one of the world’s fastest-growing airlines, Qatar Airways has a modern fleet of more than 200 aircraft flying to business and leisure destinations across six continents. Now in its 20th year, the multi-award-winning airline recently announced it was to launch a host of 16 exciting new destinations as part of its global route network in 2018-2019, including Gothenburg, Sweden; Tallinn, Estonia; Valletta, Malta; Langkawi, Malaysia; Da Nang, Vietnam, and the Gulf region’s first direct service to Luxembourg.

The national carrier of the State of Qatar recently received four prestigious awards at this year’s 2018 World Airline Awards, managed by international air transport rating organisation, Skytrax, after being awarded titles for ‘World’s Best Business Class’, ‘Best Business Class Seat,’ ‘Best Airline in the Middle East,’ and ‘World’s Best First Class Airline Lounge.’

To book your next getaway with Qatar Airways, please visit any Qatar Airways sales office, your preferred travel agency or to learn more about current destinations and promotions.

Qatar Airways, the national carrier of the State of Qatar, is celebrating more than 20 years of Going Places Together with travellers across its more than 150 business and leisure destinations. The world’s fastest-growing airline will add a number of exciting new destinations to its growing network in 2018, including Tallinn, Estonia; Valletta, Malta and many more, flying passengers on board its modern fleet of more than 200 aircraft.

A multiple award-winning airline, Qatar Airways was named ‘World’s Best Business Class’ by the 2018 World Airline Awards, managed by international air transport rating organisation Skytrax. It was also named ‘Best Business Class Seat,’ ‘Best Airline in the Middle East,’ and ‘World’s Best First Class Airline Lounge.’

Qatar Airways is a member of the oneworld global alliance. The award-winning alliance was named the World’s Best Airline Alliance 2015 by Skytrax for the third year running. Qatar Airways was the first Gulf carrier to join global airline alliance, oneworld, enabling its passengers to benefit from more than 1,000 airports in more than 150 countries, with 14,250 daily departures.

Oryx One, Qatar Airways’ in-flight entertainment system offers passengers up to 4,000 entertainment options from the latest blockbuster movies, TV box sets, music, games and much more. Passengers flying on Qatar Airways flights served by its B787, A350, A380, A319 and select A320 and A330 aircraft can also stay in touch with their friends and family around the world by using the award-winning airline’s on-board Wi-Fi and GSM service.

Qatar Airways proudly supports a range of exciting international and local initiatives dedicated to enriching the global community that it serves. Qatar Airways, the official FIFA partner, is the official sponsor of many top-level sporting events, including the FIFA 2018 and 2022 World Cups, reflecting the values of sports as a means of bringing people together, something at the core of the airline’s own brand message – Going Places Together.

Qatar Airways Cargo, the world’s third largest international cargo carrier, serves more than 60 exclusive freighter destinations worldwide via its world-class Doha hub and also delivers freight to more than 150 key business and leisure destinations globally with more than 200 aircraft. The Qatar Airways Cargo fleet includes eight Airbus A330 freighters, 13 Boeing 777 freighters and two Boeing 747-8 freighters.

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British Airways hacked with details of 380,000 bank cards stolen

Monitoring Desk

LONDON: “We are investigating, as a matter of urgency, the theft of customer data from our website and our mobile app. The stolen data did not include travel or passport details,” the airline said in a statement.

British Airways Hacked, 380,000 Bank Cards ‘Compromised’ in Data Breach Photo for representative purpose only. (Photo: Reuters)

British Airways said Thursday that the personal and financial details of customers making bookings between August 21 and September 5 were stolen in a data breach involving 380,000 bank cards.

“We are investigating, as a matter of urgency, the theft of customer data from our website and our mobile app. The stolen data did not include travel or passport details,” the airline said in a statement.

“The personal and financial details of customers making bookings on our website and app were compromised,” it said.

“The breach has been resolved and our website is working normally. We have notified the police and relevant authorities.

“We are deeply sorry for the disruption that this criminal activity has caused.”

BA said the breach took place between 2158 GMT on August 21 and 2045 GMT on September 5.

Around 380,000 payment cards were compromised.

BA advised anyone who believed they may have been affected to contact their bank or credit card provider and follow their recommendations.

As for compensation, BA said: “We will be contacting customers and will manage any claims on an individual basis.”

It said customers due to travel could check in online as normal as the incident had been resolved.

The National Crime Agency said: “We are aware of reports of a data breach affecting British Airways and are working with partners to assess the best course of action.”

The NCA is set up to tackle the most serious and organised crime posing the highest risk to public security in Britain.

Past IT issues

BA apologised in July after technology issues caused dozens of its flights to and from London Heathrow Airport to be cancelled.

The airline said the problem was down to an incident with an IT system.

And in May 2017, British Airways suffered a major computer system failure triggered by a power supply issue near Heathrow which left 75,000 customers stranded.

IAG, which owns British Airways and Spanish carrier Iberia, said last month that first-half profits more than doubled.

Earnings after taxation flew to 1.4 billion euros ($1.6 billion) in the first six months of 2018 compared with 607 million euros a year earlier, IAG said in a results statement.

The London-listed group, which is also the owner of Irish airline Aer Lingus and Spanish carrier Vueling, added that total revenues swelled three percent to 11.2 billion euros.

BA announced last month that it will halt flights to Tehran in September, citing low profitability as the US reimposes sanctions on Iran.​



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Etihad Airways launches hand baggage-only fares

DUBAI (Gulf News): Etihad Airways is bringing in more changes to its pricing structure. The Abu Dhabi-based carrier said on Sunday it has launched a new hand-baggage-only fare, which allows Economy Class passengers to buy lower fares if they have no checked baggage.

The fare includes a complimentary carry-on baggage allowance of seven kilograms, and is available on routes to and from Bahrain, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, and Azerbaijan.

The new fare structure is similar to that offered by low-cost carriers where passengers get a complimentary carry-on luggage allowance of 7-10 kilograms and pay for any additional luggage.

The structure also comes as Etihad attempts to turn around its performance after it recorded its second consecutive year of losses in 2017, with $1.52 billion in losses for the year.

The carrier has already introduced other changes including additional food and beverage items that Economy passengers can purchase on-board, and a live auction system to bid for premium seats.

Despite the changes, Etihad says there are no plans to turn the carrier into a low-cost, long-haul business.

In an interview with Bloomberg in early July, Tony Douglas, Etihad Airways’ chief executive officer, said the aim is to make the airline “a reinvigorated innovator brand, with an optimised and profitable network.”

And Etihad isn’t the only airline to offer reduced fare options for passengers with no check-in luggage. In 2015, Indian carrier SpiceJet announced discounted fares for passengers with only hand luggage.

In its statement on Sunday, Etihad said that it conducted a trial of its latest fare, the ‘Deal Fare,’ late last year, and that purchasing behaviour showed guests appreciate more choice.

“We are enhancing our product offering to align with customer feedback. Guests travelling for business, weekend getaways, or day trips who like to travel light can now avail cheaper fares,” said Robin Kamark, Etihad Airways’ chief commercial officer.

Guests buying the Deal Fare can buy extra allowance for check-in baggage either online or at check-in desks.


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Hotel occupancy rate in Turkey reaches nearly 75 per cent

Monitoring Desk

ANKARA: Hotel occupancy rate across Turkey reached 74.9 percent last month, the Turkish Hotel Association (TUROB) reported on Wednesday.

According to TUROB’s report based on a survey conducted by data and analysis company STR Global, the figure rose 7.1 percent in July, compared to the same month last year.

Average daily rate for rooms also rose 11.9 percent and reached €87.9 ($103) during the same period.

In the first seven months of the year, the hotel occupancy rate and revenue per available room across Turkey surged 15.7 percent and 25.2 percent, respectively. Thus Turkey posted the highest increase among all European destinations.

Hotel occupancy rate in Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city by population saw a rise of 8.7 percent to reach nearly 80 percent, thanks to tourists from Middle Eastern countries, the statement read.

The rate in the Mediterranean resort city of Antalya also went up to 76.9 percent last month, compared to 73.3 percent in July 2017. (AA)


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Italian pilot union approves historic agreement with Ryanair

ROME (AFP): Italian pilots have approved an agreement over working conditions with Ryanair in the first such deal the strike-hit low-cost aviation giant has fully concluded.

The agreement, reached earlier this month following eight months of talks, gives Italy-based pilots working for Ryanair “protection and guarantees”, according to the ANPAC union which negotiated the collective work contract.

“The contract was submitted for approval by the more than 300 pilot members and after a tallying of the results (Monday night) the contract received a very large majority” of votes, said the union.

The agreement is the first that Ryanair has signed and which has been been approved by union members since the Irish airline caved in last year and said it would recognize trade unions.

“Today’s vote in Italy comes shortly after Irish union FORSA has signed, and recommended, a mediation agreement to Ryanair’s Irish pilots, who are currently voting to approve this agreement,” reads a statement by Ryanair.

The reversal came amid rising discontent among the airline’s staff, which have continued to strike as negotiations dragged on.

Earlier this month, Ryanair pilots across Europe staged a coordinated 24-hour strike to push their demands for better pay and conditions, plunging tens of thousands of passengers into transport chaos at the peak of the busy summer season.

In July, strikes by cockpit and cabin crew disrupted 600 flights in Belgium, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain, affecting 100,000 travellers.

Ryanair welcomed the first approval of a collective work agreement among its pilots, and said it hoped Irish pilots would also soon approve their agreement, which was concluded last week.

“We have invited our UK, German and Spanish unions to meet with us in the coming days so that we can negotiate and hopefully agree similar pilot collective labour agreements in these other larger markets,” said Ryanair’s Chief People Officer Eddie Wilson.

“These agreements demonstrate the real progress being made by Ryanair in its negotiations with its pilots and their unions across different EU markets,” he said in a statement.

Ryanair staff have been seeking higher wages and an end to the practice whereby many have been working as independent contractors without the benefits of staff employees,

Another key complaint of workers based in countries other than Ireland is the fact that Ryanair employs them under Irish legislation.

Staff claim this creates huge insecurity for them, blocking their access to state benefits in their country.

Ryanair has meanwhile said previously that it has offered its pilots a 20-percent pay increase this year, adding that the carrier is committed to giving all its pilots in Germany permanent contracts by the end of the year.


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Tunisair wants govt backing to lay off 1,200 workers

TUNIS (Reuters): Tunisia’s state airline wants to lay off 1,200 workers to ease financial difficulties which have led to flight delays and the grounding of aircraft due to lack of spare parts, its chief executive told Reuters.

Tunisair, which has a fleet of 30 aircraft, employs 8,000 staff, part of a bloated public service which the government has failed to trim due to resistance from labor unions.

By comparison Morocco’s state-owned Royal Air Maroc, which has more than 50 aircraft, has some 3,300 workers, according to its website. “The company is suffering from major financial difficulties because of the high number of workers and the wage bill of the company,” Elyess Mankabi, the company’s chief executive, said in an interview.

“We’ve proposed to lay off 1,200 workers and we await the government’s approval for this program, which will help the company ease its financial burden and get out of its crisis,” he said.

“In all parts of the world, each plane is supposed to have about 80 employee but at Tunisair, each plane has 165 workers, which is hitting the company’s balance sheets,” Mankabi said.

The company has been suffering losses since the ousting of autocrat Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali in 2011 sent Tunisia into turmoil, deterring tourists and investors. It faces increased competition as Tunisia has been negotiating an Open Skies agreement with the European Union. Tunisair has been expanding to Africa to tap new markets in anticipation of growing competition at home.

Angry passengers have recently vented frustration on social media about delays, which Mankabi blamed on a shortage of aircraft — the fleet of serviceable planes has shrunk to 24 from 30 as Tunisair lacks funds to carry out maintenance, Mankabi said. There was no immediate reaction from the government and labor unions which have failed to agree on restructuring of Tunisair or other public sectors which have high numbers of staff. Some Tunisian lawmakers have demanded a sale of the firm instead.

The Afek Tounes party, which is not part of the ruling coalition, said in a statement the government needed to intervene urgently to rescue Tunisair.

The Open Skies agreement with the European Union will open all airports except Tunisair’s main base in the capital to foreign carriers, but after four years Tunis airport will also be included.

“It will not be easy for the company after Open Skies, (which could come into force this year), But we have a reform program for the company. If implemented, we will be in the right direction,” Mankabi said. He said the restructuring plan would cost about one billion Tunisian dinars ($363 million).

Mankabi expects the company to lease six aircraft to boost its fleet in 2019 as the airline launches two new routes in Africa by the end of this year, to Sudan and Cameroon, bringing the number of African routes to 10.


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Hawaiian airline to suspend its Beijing flight from October

Monitoring Desk

HAWAII: Hawaiian Airlines said on Tuesday that it has decided to suspend its thrice-weekly non-stop flight between Honolulu and Beijing after the National Day Golden Week holiday in October.

Passengers with tickets for after the end of regular scheduled service will be offered a full refund, or the option of traveling on earlier dates on available flights, the airline, a unit of Hawaiian Holdings Inc, said in a statement.

Hawaiian, which gave no reason for the suspension, said it intends to return to China and would maintain its sales partnership, sales agent, and its representative office in the country.