Al-Ahram Weekly Online   15 - 21 December 2011
Issue No. 1076
Sky High
Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875

Transit Lounge:

Buy Egyptian, fly EgyptAir

The national carrier EgyptAir released its plans to take part in a public campaign to help the Egyptian economy which has been suffering due to the turbulence and aftermath of the political crisis. A group of activists called for the Egyptian people to adopt a mass attitude on Friday which is to buy only Egyptian products on 16 December.

According to Hossam Kamal, chairman of EgyptAir holding company, to fly the national carrier is an attitude that should be adopted by all Egyptians. "We are willing to help the campaign success by motivating the travellers to purchase their flight tickets from their national carrier," explained Kamal.

The airline announced a discount of 20 per cent of purchased tickets within the three days of 16, 17, 18 December. The offer is applied on both domestic and international flights and can be used through the following months to the end of May.

Etihad takes Boeing's Dreamliners

Boeing and Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates announced early this week an order for 10 Boeing 787-Dreamliners and two Boeing 777 freighters.

Valued at a combined $2.8 billion at current list prices, this order will make Etihad the world's largest airline customer of the B787-9. Etihad has a total of 41 B787s on order.

The order also increases Etihad's current Boeing 777 backlog to 12 airplanes, which includes 10 previously ordered 777-300ERs (extended range). The Abu Dhabi-based airline's fleet currently includes eight Boeing 777-300ERs and one 777 Freighter.

"Both the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and the 777 Freighter offer highly attractive operating economies and will facilitate our global expansion plans by allowing us to transport passengers and cargo into new global markets from our hub in Abu Dhabi," Etihad Airways Chief Executive Officer James Hogan said.

Founded in 2003, Etihad Airways currently operates scheduled flights to 84 passenger and cargo destinations across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific and North America.

Far East expansion

Qatar Airways has rounded off its 2011 route expansion celebrating new flights to Chongqing and increased frequency of flights to both Beijing and Hong Kong.

The launch of thrice-weekly services to Chongqing -- the carrier's fifth Chinese gateway -- together with three new flights to Beijing and four extra flights to Hong Kong have significantly increased the Doha-based carrier's operations in China.

The new expansion is taking the airline's overall frequency across China up from 25 to 35 flights each week. Effective 2 December, the airline boosted its daily Hong Kong services to 11 flights each week.

"We have been closely looking at the opportunities that exist in this vast market to provide greater passenger choice and to give both business and leisure travellers more travel options to and from China, where many cities are largely underserved by international airlines," Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al-Baker said.

Qatar is home to more than 6,000 Chinese nationals, of which over five per cent work at Qatar Airways -- 330 employed at the head office in Doha and almost 80 in China. During 2011, Qatar Airways introduced 15 destinations into its network.

2012 will be as exciting as 2011 with nine new destinations set to join Qatar Airways' global network. Qatar Airways has orders worth over $50 billion for more than 250 aircraft, including B787s, B777s, Airbus A350s, A380s and A320 aircraft.

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