Al-Ahram Weekly Online   24 - 30 December 2009
Issue No. 978
Sky High
 
Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875

Transit lounge


Simplifying business

THE AVIATION Authority has finally come to an agreement with Finance Ministry to allow all airlines operating to Egyptian airports to handle a home delivery of reported lost baggage to the passengers.

"We are working to develop recommendations to continuously improve and simplify baggage handling procedures and regulations through Egyptian airports," commented Aviation Minister Ahmad Shafiq.

"With the cooperation of experts from airlines, airports, and custom department, we aim to significantly improve customer service by reducing lost baggage while responding to new security requirements," Shafiq added.

On Sunday, Shafiq held an expanded meeting with Chairman of EgyptAir Alaa Ashour, EgyptAir Commercial Sector Manager Sherif Al-Maghloub, Cairo International Company CAC Chairman Hasan Rashed, CAC Vice President Mohamad El-Shishai and custom officials on ratifying new regulations to put the agreement into effective.

"The agreement aims to simplify procedures adopted in case of reporting a lost bag by any passenger, Egyptian or foreigner," explained the aviation minister. "In case of reporting lost baggage, passengers are asked to sign document that permits Egyptian custom officers to check the baggage if they suspected it to see whether the passenger should pay custom fees in case it includes certain items. If not, the baggage will be sent to passengers at their homes at the expense of the airlines," Shafiq explained.

Only if the passenger is due to pay custom fees, will he be asked to pick his luggage up himself after paying the fees.

Although airlines say that they recover nearly all the bags that owners report missing, because they were misplaced, misrouted, stolen, abandoned or whatever, that's small comfort to victims.

Seniors honoured

MORE than 350 engineers gathered on Tuesday to attend the annual meeting organised by the Egyptian Association for Aviation Engineers. Established in 1962, the association mainly works to develop and improve better programmes of social care for its members," stated As'ad Zaghloul, the Chairman.

"Our job is to gurantee a safe flight through providing the bestr standard of technical services to the Egyptian fleet, no matter which airline operates it," Zaghloul added,

in the meeting, 17 senior engineers received hounoring where as families of other four young engineers who pased away were invited to receive honour of their beloved ones.

EgyptAir Holding Company chairman, Hussein Massoud along with EgyptAir Mainenance and Engineering chairman Abdel-Aziz Fadel attended the event.

Qatar's triple addition

QATAR AIRWAYS announced plans to further expand international operations next year with the launch of flights from its Doha hub to three cities _ Tokyo, Bengaluru and Ankara. They will join Qatar Airways' growing international network over an eight-week period beginning in February 2010.

India's Bengaluru will be the first of the three launches, with daily flights beginning February. During April, the Turkish capital Ankara will be added with four flights weekly. At the end of April, Tokyo will be served daily via Osaka. Seoul, which is currently served via Osaka will become a non-stop direct service from the end of March.

A strategic Service

A NEW service to connect Egypt's Nile valley to Sinai's Taba has started this week. On Sunday the first flight took off from Cairo International to Taba airport, marking the beginning of the new service. Last week, the national carrier's regional airline, EgyptAir Express, came to sign an agreement with the Egyptian Tourism Authority, South Sinai governorate and Taba Investors Association, under which the airline would operate a scheduled regular service to Taba twice a week on Sundays and Tuesdays.

This new service is not just an expansion to tour networks. It reflects the importance of that dear area of Sinai to our hearts, being the last spot Egypt liberated after the 1973 October War," commented Hussein Massoud, CEO and chairman of EgyptAir Holding Company. "It certainly serves the national interests of the country, helping the implement of the national developing project of Sinai," he added.

According to Safie Eddein Badawai, EgyptAir Express chairman, the airline has expanded its fleet to 12 Embraer 170 to cover the demands of its local and foreign customers. "We work to extend our share of the domestic flight market to 50 per cent," commented Badawi. "Expanding the fleet resulted in a 34 per cent increase of seats, at the same time as scheduled flying hours increased by 30 per cent," he added.

Step-changes

ETIHAD AIRWAYS has joined the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group, an airline-led industry working group established in 2008 to accelerate the commercialisation and availability of sustainable biofuels.

James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ chief executive, said: "Etihad recognises the need for step-changes in aviation to reduce our reliance

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