Kenya Airways receives certification for its pharmaceutical facility

Kenya Airways Cargo, a division of national flag carrier Kenya Airways (KQ), on Thursday received International Air Transport Association (IATA) Centre of Excellence for Independent Validators (CEIV) Pharma certification. This certification of the KQ Pharma Facility confirms the ability of the airline to safely, rapidly and consistently handle time-sensitive, high-value pharmaceuticals that require constant temperature control.

Kenya Airways Cargo, a division of national flag carrier Kenya Airways (KQ), on Thursday received International Air Transport Association (IATA) Centre of Excellence for Independent Validators (CEIV) Pharma certification. This certification of the KQ Pharma Facility confirms the ability of the airline to safely, rapidly and consistently handle time-sensitive, high-value pharmaceuticals that require constant temperature control.

The KQ Pharma Facility is dedicated to the safe handling of pharmaceuticals that require temperature control and it was set up in compliance with the guidelines issued by IATA CEIV and the World Health Organization. It covers an area of about 600 m2, and is fitted with a real-time temperature and humidity monitoring system, which can be accessed on mobile devices. The facility is subdivided into three sections, which are kept at different temperatures. One section, with a capacity of 40 euro-pallets, is kept in a temperature range of +15 °C to +25 °C. The second section is a cold room, kept in the temperature range of +2 °C to + 8 °C; this has a capacity for 22 euro-pallets on the ground, but extra racking can also be provided. The third section is the freezing room, kept at –20 °C, which can accommodate nine euro-pallets but also has additional racking, for loose cargo.

“Pharmaceutical shipments are extremely challenging and necessitate maximum dependability from airlines,” pointed out KQ director of cargo Dick Murianki. “It is critical to maintain the required temperature so that medication can be used as planned after shipping. Being one of the first African airlines to receive IATA’s international certificate is the result of the work we’ve done over the last few years to strengthen our product.”

KQ currently flies to 42 international destinations, of which 35 are in Africa. It is a member of the Sky Team Alliance. The carrier operates a fleet of Boeing 787-8 widebody, and Boeing 737-800 and Embraer E190 narrowbody, airliners, as well as 737-300F dedicated freighter aircraft.

SOURCE: Engineering News

East African States Set for Joint Tourism Promotion

The Pearl of Africa Tourism Expo had brought together EAC Secretariat, partner states tourism boards and the African Tourism Board (ATB)

Member states of the East African Community are setting for joint and regional tourism promotion and development, aiming to raise the number of visitors and economic development of the region.

The East African Community (EAC) Secretariat had noted that tourism contributes about 10 percent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the region of which 17 percent are foreign exchange earnings and about seven percent is the counted-on employment in various tourist services.

Director of Productive Sectors at the EAC, Mr. Jean Baptiste Havugimana confirmed that during the just-ended seventh edition of Pearl of Africa Tourism Expo held at Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort in Uganda.

The Pearl of Africa Tourism Expo that was staged in late April this year, had brought together the EAC Secretariat, all partner states regional tourism boards and the African Tourism Board (ATB).

The four-day event was officially opened by the Ugandan Minister for Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities, Colonel Tom Butime.

The Pearl of Africa Tourism Expo is a tourism event organized by the Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) every year.

The expo had brought together tourism stakeholders and other service providers in tourism, targeting to meet new clients, network and discuss business deals with potential regional and international buyers.

The seventh edition of the Pearl of Expo had attracted over 150 exhibitors and more than 100 hosted buyers and media from different tourist source markets, including the US, UK, Canada, Switzerland, Australia, Poland, South Africa, Egypt and Nigeria among others.

The African Tourism Board was represented by its Executive Chairman Mr. Cuthbert Ncube who as well, participated at various events and activities during the Expo.

Together with ATB ambassadors, Mr. Ncube visited various tourist attractive sites in Uganda including the Chimpanzee Island on Lake Victoria.

ATB has been co-operating with the East African regional states in tourism development and promotion through participation to key events in East Africa and which is now an upcoming region for intra-Africa tourist destination.

The EAC Secretariat had encouraged partner states to participate in tourism promotional events organized by each and every partner state.

ATB has been the key participant to each national and regional tourism Expo through its Chairman, Mr. Ncube among its other brand ambassadors.

In his opening remarks to the Pearl of Africa Expo, the Ugandan Minister for Tourism Colonel Butime (Retired) had expressed his appreciation on behalf the government and people of Uganda to all the exhibitors as well as hosted buyers and media for attending the event.

He said that Uganda was endowed with unique and diverse attractions that appeal to the international, regional and domestic travelers.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Uganda Tourism Board, Dr. Lily Ajarova, said that Uganda and other EAC partner states are keen on promotion of sustainable and responsible tourism.

Director of Productive Sectors at the EAC, Mr Jean Baptiste Havugimana thanked the government of Uganda for inviting the EAC Secretariat and all the partner states to participate at the Expo in the spirit of the EAC integration.

Mr. Havugimana disclosed that the EAC Secretariat and the National Tourism Boards have been supported to participate at the Expo through facilitation of partner states’ delegates and procurement of exhibition booths.

The German International Cooperation Agency, GIZ, also supported the Expo through a Gold Sponsorship package.

He said that the EAC Treaty attaches a lot of importance to the tourism sector owing to the role it plays in the socio-economic development of the region.

Mr. Havugimana informed the participants that the EAC was currently implementing the EAC Tourism Marketing Strategy 2021 to 2025 with the support of GIZ through various interventions including joint tourism promotions.

The EAC regional tourism campaign branded “Tembea Nyumbani” or “Visit your Home” targets development of intra-regional tourism drive that would attract the East Africa citizens to visit each country within the region.

EAC Secretariat is as well, undertaking development of minimum standards for tourism service providers mostly tour operators, travel agents and tour guides together with classification criteria for regional tourist hotels.

“Currently, the process of developing a Regional Tourism Destination Brand for EAC as a single tourism destination has commenced and is expected to be concluded by the end of this year”, Mr. Mr. Havugimana said.

Implementation of all those interventions will see the region surpass the 7.2 million international tourist arrivals recorded in 2019 before COVID-19 pandemic, he said.

Source: E-Turbo News

Uganda to Open New Airfields Near National Parks

A major expansion to Uganda’s tourism was announced at the country’s Peal of Africa Tourism Expo when the government told delegates four airfields in some of its most iconic National Parks will shortly be able to handle international visitors.

The announcement by the country’s Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities Tom Butiime means that, rather than having to go through immigration and customs in Entebbe airport, visitors will be able to go land surrounded by a landscape rich in elephants, antelope and other wildlife.

The minister told attendees at the tourism expo staged in the country’s Kampala that four airstrips will be tarmacked and coded and immigration posts established in Kasese, Kidepo, Pakuba and Kisoro National Parks.

Hailing the news as a “game changer”, Mr Butiime said the improvement had been ordered by the country’s President, Yoweri Museveni, and the directive given to the country’s cabinet. He said this would enable tourists from Dubai or Frankfurt to fly directly to these destinations on their private jets.

Previously the only airstrips at the locations were ‘bush’ airstrips, thereby requiring visitors to enter Uganda via Entebbe near the country’s capital Kampala and then find alternative transportation such as a caravan aircraft or to travel by road to visit the locations.

The announcement was made during Uganda’s four-day Pearl of Africa Tourism Expo staged by the Uganda Tourism Board, which started Tuesday and ended Friday at the capital’s Commonwealth Resort Hotel. Around 150 exhibitors and 5000 trade buyers were present at the event, which is now in its seventh year and includes tour operators, travel agents, hoteliers and other tourism experts.

Visitor numbers to Uganda have bounced back strongly in 2023 after the Covid pandemic with numbers expected to be back at pre-pandemic numbers next year. There are presently around 1.5 million visitors a year, contributing 7.7 per cent to the country’s GDP.

Lilly Ajarova, the CEO of the Uganda Tourism Board, said: “This year’s expo not only points to our recovery but also highlights to our readiness to host the tourism community once again.

“The expo has grown to become a signature event for Uganda’s tourism. That way, Uganda will receive more travelers and its associated benefits included increased tourism revenue and employment.”

She said Uganda was targeting responsible and sustainable tourism as a new trend. Sustainable tourism has been defined by the World Tourism Organisation as tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities, Ms Ajarova said.

“We will promote the use of recyclable materials, reduction of waste but also promote the conservation of the environment while respecting the host communities.”

Uganda is home to 10 national parks, including the famous Bwindi Impenetrable National Park which is home to the endangered mountain gorillas. Uganda is also home to the source of the Nile, the world’s longest river, and has a rich cultural heritage that is characterized by diverse ethnic groups, languages, and traditions.

Source: E-Turbo News

The Lufthansa Group Looks To Boost East Africa Operations

Lufthansa, Eurowings Discover, and Brussels Airlines will increase their services to East Africa.

Air travel demand in Africa continues to increase, with passenger numbers edging closer to 2019 levels. The Lufthansa Group is responding to the demand by adding further capacity in East Africa.

For the first time in its history, Lufthansa will fly to Nairobi daily throughout the year. The group’s leisure airline, Eurowings Discover, will also increase its service to Kenya, while Belgium’s flag carrier will add more flights to its East Africa destinations.

Lufthansa’s schedule to Nairobi

Since the introduction of its operations in Kenya, the airline had not previously operated daily flights to the capital. Currently, Lufthansa operates flights between Frankfurt Airport (FRA) and Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta Airport (NBO) five times a week on Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays.

Starting June 3, the carrier will operate daily flights between the two cities. The Airbus A330 flight will depart Frankfurt at 11:25 and arrive in Nairobi at 20:30, while the returning flight departs Nairobi each evening at 22:25, arriving in Frankfurt at 05:40 the next morning. There will be numerous options for onward connections during the day.

Initially, the airline planned to enhance its Nairobi service for the summer flight schedule. However, the carrier will operate daily flights all year round due to positive booking trends. Lufthansa Group General Manager East Africa, Kevin Markette, said;

“Kenya remains a focus market for Lufthansa in East Africa, and the decision to maximize our offering into the country is largely driven by the significant increase in demand and resurgence in travel, coupled with the immense support of the local community within the region.”

After the pandemic, Lufthansa was one of the first international airlines to resume regular commercial flights to Kenya. This signifies the important commercial and economic ties between Germany and Kenya and the carrier’s commitment to maintaining a direct connection for its customers in the regions.

Eurowings Discover’s increased schedule to Kenya

East Africa is a popular destination for business travelers and one of Africa’s main gateways for internationals flying through the rest of the continent. Furthermore, it is a popular destination for travelers seeking an idyllic holiday experience, with its diverse wildlife, nature reserves, and exquisite beaches.

Lufthansa has taken a step to enhance the Eurowings Discover flight schedule to Kenya for passengers seeking to explore East Africa. The leisure airline currently offers four weekly A330 flights to Mombasa (MBA) and two weekly connections to Kilimanjaro (KJO) and Zanzibar (ZNZ).

Eurowings will increase its Frankfurt-Mombasa schedule to five weekly A330 flights from June 20 until September 12. The additional capacity comes in time for the peak travel season and will allow the carrier to offer tourists much-needed flexibility when booking flights.

Brussels Airlines flights to Rwanda

It is important to highlight another European carrier’s operations in East Africa. Brussels Airlines will increase its flight schedule between Brussels and Kigali from four to five weekly. The increased capacity was intended to be a seasonal change but will continue throughout winter 2023.

The adjustment supports the airline’s daily flights between Brussels Airport (BRU) and Entebbe International Airport (EBB) and complements the existing twice-weekly flights from Belgium to Bujumbura. It is the only airline directly flying between Europe and the Burundian city.

Sustainability and high-quality travel offer

The Lufthansa Group remains committed to sustainability and its climate protection goals. The company aims to halve its Carbon Dioxide emissions by 2030 compared to 2019 and become carbon neutral by 2050.

In the next seven years, the group’s airlines will have at least 190 newly delivered and fuel-saving aircraft in service. The significant investment will reduce kerosene consumption and CO2 emissions by up to 30% on each flight. Kevin Markette concluded by saying;

“We believe that sustainable aviation will continue to enable us to benefit from a connected world, and by expanding the various airline schedules of the Lufthansa Group, we are maintaining a solid foundation and presence within East Africa. Our passion for connecting people, cultures, and economies, thus bringing the world within reach, together with providing our customers a consistent, high-quality travel offer across an extensive route network, remains a top priority for the Lufthansa Group.”

Source: Simple Flying

Russia and Tanzania to establish direct flights

In our latest travel series, we look at how Russia plans to further its visits to Tanzania, which include direct flights from Moscow to Dar es Salaam, introducing Tanzanian music to Russians, and more. Our travel correspondent, Anganile Mwakyanjala, sat down with Russia’s Ambassador to Tanzania, Andrey Avetisyan, who shared more details.

Most Tanzanians know Russia as an academic destination, where some of our countrymen have studied; is there a more historic connection between our two countries other than that?

Russia’s gracious relations with Tanzania have a very long history, dating back to maybe the 18th–17th centuries, when the first Russian traveler and explorer, Russian businessman Vasiliy Junker, in 1880 found himself in East Africa, but that was mostly North Africa, through which all people traveled to India. If you speak about central East Africa, where Tanzania is situated, we can register some Russian travelers being here in the second half of the 19th century; some of them were traveling here together with famous explorers and travelers like Stanley Livingstone. This part of Africa was by then noted as terra incognita. Russia, of course, supported the liberation movement in Africa, including then-Tanganyika. Mwalimu Julius Nyerere was a good friend of my country, and we have fond memories of Mr. Nyerere. Since then, we’ve enjoyed very close and friendly relations with Tanzania. I am very happy to be here.

Russia is famous for its culture, heritage, and history. Since you’ve been here, what have you learned about Tanzania in these areas?

One of my priorities here as a Russian ambassador is to promote people-to-people relations between Russians and Tanzanians, including cultural exchange. We would like to bring more Tanzanian artists, musicians, and dancers to Russia to familiarize ourselves with Tanzanian culture. At the same time, we regularly bring Russian culture and music festivals to Tanzania. These two cultures, although so different, have many similar features.

For the first time in Tanzania, the head of state, Mama Samia, became the face of tourism promotion through the Royal Tour documentary. Did that persuade you to visit some of our tourist attractions, and how has your experience been?

We very much appreciate the economic policy of President Samia Suluhu Hassan and her efforts to provide opportunities for foreign investments, which include trade with Russia. We encourage Russian businesses to come here to take advantage of this opportunity. One of the most promising areas of this cooperation is tourism. Tanzania has been the most popular tourist destination for Russian tourists for years, especially in Zanzibar. Unfortunately, during the pandemic, the number fell sharply, and now we are trying to increase it again. But to increase the number of tourists, we need several factors to be in place. The most important thing to do to bring back the number of tourists to a high level is to establish direct flights from Russia to Tanzania.

At the moment, Russian tourists who want to come here have to pass through Ethiopia, the UAE, Turkey, and Oman, but we are now discussing with the Tanzanian Government and Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority the possibility of reestablishing direct flights. I think we will start with a charter flight before establishing regular commercial flights. We are now negotiating a new bilateral agreement with the Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority; it is almost finished, and I hope it will be signed soon. I hope it will not only provide the opportunity to establish direct flights for Russians to come to Tanzania but also for Tanzanians to go to Russia.

What parts of Tanzania that you visited impressed you the most?

When I go to different parts of Tanzania on business trips, I find time to see places of interest too. I have visited Zanzibar several times, which is a destination one can only dream about when speaking about beaches, relaxing, and also seeing interesting places like Stone Town, which is a gem of Africa. I visited Ngorongoro, a unique place. I have visited Arusha National Park and Lake Manyara in the north. I have not yet been anywhere to the south of Dar es Salaam, but I am planning to go, and I hope my time here in Dar es Salaam will be enough to see many places that are worth visiting in Tanzania.

Tell us more about Russia’s cultural exchange programs.

We have an active Russian Cultural Center in Dar es Salaam. It promotes Russian culture, attracts Tanzanian artists to do exhibitions, and also offers cultural exchange. They have regular events like screening Russian films and organizing photo exhibitions about different parts of Russia.

Let’s talk about the upcoming Russia-Africa Summit. What are the expectations?

The upcoming second Russia-Africa Summit will take place in Saint Petersburg at the end of July, and we hope to see a large Tanzanian delegation. The summit will be accompanied by different events, like economic and cultural forums and youth conferences. This multifaceted event will provide a lot of opportunities for Russians and Tanzanians, among other Africans, to get to know each other and establish contacts.

First of all, it is important to establish business links in both countries. So far, Russia-Tanzania trade and economic relations are not very good, and we want to promote them. But I hear from both Tanzanian and Russian businessmen that the problem for them is establishing contacts with each other, and this summit in Saint Petersburg will be a good opportunity to find driving forces for their businesses.

What are the popular university studies Tanzanians take in Russia?

The most popular direction is medicine. The demand for doctors is growing. Although we have a lot of Tanzanian graduates every year from Russian medical universities, I hear from Tanzanian counterparties that they would like to send more people to study to become doctors. We can increase the number of doctors that graduate from Russian universities, and the number of Russian government scholarships for Tanzanians is growing every year. For example, for this school year, the number is 90, but we hope that for the next school year it will be a minimum of 120, and we hope for almost two hundred.

What can you say about the famous Patrice Lumumba University?

Yes, the Patrice Lumumba Peoples’ Friendship University is one of the most famous and popular. Just two days ago, we had a delegation from Patrice Lumumba University participate in a Russian educational fair in Tanzania. Twice a year, several universities from all over Russia come to Dar es Salaam to present themselves to potential students.

How do you find Swahili cuisine?

Swahili cuisine is something I really like because it is very simple and natural, and that is actually what I love. Street food is tasty in Tanzania, and I highly recommend it to people who visit the country. I like Swahili food because they use a lot of vegetables and fruits of different kinds. Food from Zanzibar is different from that on the mainland. There are dozens of different types of bananas in Zanzibar; if you want to try them all, you need time. The fish and seafood in Tanzania are absolutely incredible, always fresh, and so nice.

Any final words?

I would like to invite all the leaders and citizens of Tanzania to visit Russia. To Russians who visit Tanzania and go back home, tell your friends and family about the experiences you had in Tanzania. Not only tell them, but show them the pictures you took in national parks and show them pictures of this beautiful country.

Source: The Citizen

Dubai welcomes 4.67 million tourists in Q1 2023

The visitors in Q1 2023 were just two percentage points short of the pre-pandemic volume of 4.75 million tourists that arrived in Dubai in the first three months of 2019

Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism (DET) said the city received 4.67 million international overnight visitors in the first quarter of 2023, up 17 per cent year-on-year (YoY) from 3.97 million the same period a year earlier.

The visitors in Q1 2023 were just two percentage points short of the pre-pandemic volume of 4.75 million tourists that arrived in Dubai in the first three months of 2019.

“The tourism sector is not only the strongest pillar of our economy but also a key enabler of Dubai’s distinctive role in the world as a bridge between markets, cultures and regions,” Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai said in a tweet.

The latest data from DET, which was announced at the Arabian Travel Market, positions Dubai as the fastest-recovering destination globally, achieving 98 per cent of pre-pandemic levels in Q1 2023.

The latest figures also exceed the projection made by the United Nations World Trade Organisation (UNWTO) that international tourist arrivals could reach between 80 to 95 per cent of pre-pandemic levels in 2023 – especially in Europe and the Middle East.

The growth, which sets the city on course to full tourism recovery, contributes to the goal of the Dubai Economic Agenda D33.

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed said the Middle East tourism and business hub will continue to introduce new initiatives to offer a distinctive proposition for travellers to achieve its goal of becoming the world’s best place to live, visit, work and invest in.

Dubai’s strong rebound

Dubai’s traditional source markets delivered solid tourism volumes in Q1 2023 with key regions continuing to make an impact on international visitation.

GCC and the MENA region combined was the top region, collectively contributing to 29 per cent of total volumes, Western Europe accounted for 22 per cent of tourism arrivals and South Asia 16 per cent.

Similarly, the Commonwealth of Independent States and Eastern Europe together contributed 15 per cent, the Americas accounted for 7 per cent, North Asia and South East Asia 6 per cent, Africa 4 per cent and lastly Australasia contributed 1 per cent.

Dubai tourism

The hotel sector saw a surge in performance in Q1 2023 with an average occupancy for the sector during the January-March period at an impressive 83 per cent, making it one of the highest in the world, almost on par with the 84 per cent occupancy recorded in Q1 2019.

Dubai hotels collectively provided 10.98 million Occupied Room Nights in the first three months of the year, 7 per cent YoY growth and a 27 per cent increase compared to the pre-pandemic period of Q1 2019.

The ADR of Dhs607 during the first three months of the year surpassed the ADR of 2019 (AED498), a 22 per cent YoY growth while RevPAR of DhsD504 in Q1 2023, surged by 21 per cent compared to the first three months of the pre-pandemic period of 2019 at Dhs417.

DET said it is ramping up its pursuit of non-traditional tourism avenues to attract more visitors and this approach will largely hinge on the pillars of sustainability, gastronomy, trade and technology.

Dubai plans to continue providing alternative growth avenues, driven by reforms and regulatory enablers including visa initiatives such as the golden visa, five-year multi-entry visa, virtual working, and retirement in the Dubai programmes that have eased barriers to entry.

Source: Gulf Business

Emirates, Etihad announce partnership: How will this new deal ease travel to UAE?

Planning to visit the UAE soon? How about you land in Abu Dhabi, spend two weeks visiting everything all the seven emirates have to offer, and then fly out of Dubai, that too on the same ticket?

This has just been made possible after two of the country’s largest carriers – Abu Dhabi’s Etihad and Dubai’s Emirates – entered into an agreement that will further boost tourism in the country and at the same time enhance a tourist’s experience.

This interline agreement is the first of its kind between the two airlines, which are both on a rapid expansion spree to new destinations and have burgeoning order books ready to take on additional capacity.

“This summer, customers of each airline will be able to purchase a single ticket to fly into either Dubai or Abu Dhabi, with a seamless return via the other airport. The new agreement also provides travellers planning to explore the UAE with the flexibility of one-stop ticketing for their full journey and convenient baggage check-in,” the airlines said in a statement.

How will it work?

In the initial stages of the expanded interline, each carrier will focus on attracting visitors to the UAE by developing inbound interline traffic from select points in Europe and China. The arrangement will allow visitors to cover as much ground as possible when exploring Abu Dhabi, Dubai or any other emirate, saving time by removing the need to fly home via their arrival airport.

Customers travelling into the UAE also have the option of ‘multi-city flights’, with the choice to travel from one city on both carriers’ networks, and conveniently returning to another point served by either Emirates or Etihad.

The Memorandum of Understanding was signed at Arabian Travel Market by Adnan Kazim, Emirates’ Chief Commercial Officer, and Mohammad Al Bulooki, Chief Operating Officer, Etihad Airways, in the presence of Sir Tim Clark, President, Emirates Airline, and Antonoaldo Neves, Etihad CEO.

Tim Clark said: “We are pleased to be working again with Etihad Airways – this time to allow each carrier to offer a new range of seamless travel options in and out of the UAE. Emirates and Etihad are leveraging on our strengths to expand our respective customer offerings and boost UAE tourism. We believe this new agreement provides a strong foundation to develop further opportunities between both airlines and is an example of our commitment to the UAE’s vision for continued economic diversification.”

Antonoaldo Neves added: “We’re delighted to partner with Emirates in our shared mission to support inbound tourism to the UAE and facilitate travel to our vibrant cities. With two world-class airlines supporting UAE tourism, our interline agreement will make it more convenient for our guests to experience the best of Abu Dhabi and Dubai on one single ticket while promising to deliver an exceptional flying experience whether they fly with Etihad Airways or Emirates. It’s a win-win proposition for travellers to the UAE.”

Tourism push

The expanded interline partnership draws upon the commitment of both airlines to support the UAE government’s objective to promote tourism to the country and enhance its position as a preferred global destination. Tourism is one of the key pillars of the UAE economy and is expected to contribute 5.4 per cent of the nation’s total GDP, or Dh116.1 billion, supporting over one million jobs by 2027, according to figures from the Emirates Tourism Council.

Dubai welcomed 4.67 million international overnight visitors in the first quarter of 2023, compared to 3.97 million tourists during the same period in 2022, a 17 per cent year-on-year growth and the city’s best Q1 performance since the pandemic.

Abu Dhabi, meanwhile, has announced plans to attract more than 24 million visitors to the emirate by the end of 2023. The emirate received 18 million visitors in 2022, a 13 per cent increase over the previous year.

Expanding reach

Earlier this week, Emirates signed MoUs on the sidelines of Arabian Travel Market with Indonesia’s Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy, the Moroccan National Tourism Office and Tourism Authority of Zimbabwe to promote inbound travel and boost visitor numbers. It signed similar agreements with authorities in Seychelles, Mauritius and the Sri Lanka as well.

The airline recently also activated its codeshare with US-based United, allowing Emirates customers to enjoy easier access to an expanded choice of US destinations. Emirates customers can now fly to three of America’s biggest business hubs – Chicago, Houston or San Francisco – and connect easily to an expansive network of domestic US points on flights operated by United.

Emirates has boosted operations by 31 per cent (total ASKMs) since the start of its financial year and has further plans to ramp up seat capacity.

“Customer demand has been very strong, and our forward bookings are also robust. Emirates is working hard on several fronts – to bring back operating capacity as quickly as the ecosystem can manage, while also upgrading our fleet and product to ensure our customers always enjoy the best possible Emirates experience,” Adnan Kazim said in an earlier statement.

The airline also plans to scale up its A380 operations with the reintroduction of the double-decker across its network, including Glasgow, Casablanca, Beijing, Shanghai, Nice, Birmingham, Kuala Lumpur, and Taipei.

It is also expanding services to several destinations such as Amsterdam, Athens, Budapest, London, Venice, Cairo, Dar es Salaam, Brisbane, Christchurch, Melbourne, Sydney, Bangkok, Beijing, Hong Kong, among others. The airline is also starting services to Montreal, and expanding capacity to Toronto.

The carrier also has plans to place more aircraft orders to meet growing demand.

“We will probably order more in the next few months on top of what we already have,” Tim Clark said earlier this week, adding that Emirates is extending the life of its existing A380 super jumbo and 777 fleets due to long lead times for aircraft deliveries.

Etihad, too, entered into partnerships with as many as six airlines earlier this year. It launched reciprocal interline partnerships with three new airline partners – Philippine Airlines, Austrian Airlines and Airlink South Africa, while re-launching interline links with Biman Bangladesh and codeshares with Air Seychelles and ITA Airways.

The airline also announced a new direct service to Lisbon for the first time, and said it will return to Málaga on the Spanish Costa del Sol and the popular Greek island of Mykonos this summer.

The airline will be offering travellers nearly 160 weekly flights to 21 destinations in Europe this summer, with 20 per cent more seats available than in 2022. Earlier, it had also announced plans to resume its A380 services this summer after heavy demand, with four super-jumbos pressed into service on the London Heathrow route.

Etihad aims to triple the number of passengers it carriers to 30 million and nearly double its fleet to 150 planes by the end of the decade, the airline’s chief said in an interview last month.

Convenience is key

Earlier this week, Etihad signed an agreement with technology firm Astra Tech that allows customers to make flight bookings using artificial intelligence within chat app Botim.

Under the deal between Etihad and Astra Tech, the airline’s clients will be able to book flights just by typing in the basic details of the service they require, with the technology then completing the booking itself.

Old pals

This is the second time the airlines have announced a collaboration. In 2018, Emirates Group Security and Etihad Aviation Group signed an MoU to strengthen aviation security, including the sharing of information and intelligence in operational areas both within and outside the UAE.

Last year, Emirates signed an MoU with the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, to boost tourist numbers to the UAE capital from key source markets across the airline’s global network.

Source: Gulf News

Air Canada Resumes Boeing 787 Flights From Montreal To Cairo.

Air Canada has resumed Montreal to Cairo. The first summer-seasonal service of 2023 left Canada in early May, with the last from Egypt planned for October 27th.

Air Canada launched the route in 2021, 12 years after EgyptAir ended it. Revolving around the Egyptian diaspora in Montreal and connections over Montreal in particular, Air Canada and EgyptAir – both Star Alliance carriers – codeshare, including beyond each other’s hubs.

Air Canada is back in Cairo

On May 2nd, Air Canada relaunched the 5,436-mile (8,748 km) link from Montreal, its second-largest hub, to Egypt’s capital. It is Air Canada’s third African destination from Montreal, alongside Algiers and Casablanca, also focused on diaspora.

Operating thrice weekly, Cairo will see both the 255-seat Boeing 787-8 and – much more frequently, crucially through the peak summer – the 298-seat 787-9.

The 787-9 has 30 seats in Signature, 21 in premium economy, and 247 in regular economy. The -9 variant provides 10 more business seats (+50%) than the smaller -8 and 33 more in economy (+15%).

Now mainly by the 787-9

Since launching in June 2021, the route has almost always been operated by the smaller 787-8, but it will now primarily see the 787-9.

As Air Canada mainly had four weekly flights last summer, against three now, capacity has been reduced by 126 weekly seats (double for both ways).

One fewer roundtrip will, of course, nicely reduce the route’s operating expenses, while the bigger aircraft will reduce seat-mile costs. Hopefully, yields will improve somewhat from fewer seats for sale and more business. When combined with lower costs, performance will hopefully improve further.

What’s the schedule?

It is scheduled as follows, with all times local:

  • Cairo to Montreal: AC74, 17:30-10:55+1 (10h 25m block time)
  • Montreal to Cairo: AC75, 12:40-16:50 (11h 10m)

Where do passengers go?

According to Cirium data supplied by airlines, Air Canada had 49,568 roundtrip Montreal-Cairo seats last year. Relating that to booking data suggests it achieved a very strong seat load factor of 94%, helped, of course, by only being summer-seasonal.

Passengers in 2022 can be broken down as flying this:

  • To/from Cairo, transiting Montreal: ~56% of passengers
  • Point-to-point: (i.e., only between Montreal and Cairo): 35%
  • Transiting Montreal and Cairo (‘bridging’): ~5%
  • To/from Montreal, transiting Cairo: ~4%

Cairo over Montreal to Toronto was #1

Of the largest category (those transiting Montreal), booking data shows that flying to/from the US was the most popular market, then across wider Canada.

When broken down by airport, Cairo over Montreal to/from Toronto was the leading market, despite EgyptAir’s daily non-stop. It was presumably cheaper to connect in Montreal with Air Canada than to pay the premium for a non-stop. EgyptAir codeshares with Air Canada on Montreal-Toronto.

The next most popular airport-level origin and destination was Cairo-Los Angeles. Booking data suggests that Air Canada carried just under 3,000 roundtrip Los Angeles passengers over Montreal. When split over 190 flights (two ways) last summer, each flight had around 15 passengers traveling to/from California airport.

KATA Agents Explore Turkiye’s Cappadocia and Istanbul Regions During Turkish Airlines Fam Trip

By Agnes Mucuha

Turkish Airlines Kenya office led by its country manager Mr. Oguzcan, collaborated with the Kenya Association of Travel Agents (KATA) to host a familiarization trip to Turkey for travel agents last week beginning Monday April 24 to April 28, 2023. The trip exposed us to Turkish Airlines products and services, and it all began at the Turkish Visa Center located at the Two Rivers Mall, Southern Wing, Ground floor in Nairobi. The visa application process was seamless, and the documentation required was standard. Within ten days, our single tourist visas were issued, and we received an sms notification for visa collection.

Departure, NBO

Upon checking in, our group was hosted at the Turkish Airlines lounge located at the JKIA – Unit 1C. The lounge provided comfort and refreshments for us, and the highly reliable Wi-Fi connectivity combined with the warm hospitality from the concierge team made this a good experience.

Turkish Airlines operates either the Boeing 737 or the Airbus A330 on the Nairobi route. On this day, we boarded an A330, which is equipped with modern inflight entertainment with a large selection of movies and music. The legroom on the aircraft was very generous, and the reclining seats enabled us to take a restful nap while on the flight. The inflight meals were inspired by Turkish cuisine, rich in flavor and nutritionally balanced, with plenty of refreshments being served during the flight for hydration and wellness.

Arrival, IST

As we arrived at the world’s 7th busiest airport, the Istanbul International airport (IST), we were awed by its sheer size and modern facilities. Orderly ground handlers provided us with clear directions to the transit counters for our onward connecting flight. We learned that the airport has the capacity to handle over 200 million passengers annually with its state-of-the-art facilities, escalators to facilitate ease of movement between terminals, clear signage providing directions, and very friendly ground crew who were always at hand to assist with any requests. The washrooms at the airport facility were very clean and well-maintained by a permanently stationed steward who ensures the washrooms are hygienic and clean.

The airport immigration process was very seamless. Immigration officers scanned our passports and verified our visa documents. Following that, a photo was taken, and we were cleared to proceed into Turkiye seamlessly. The immigration officers were highly professional and attentive to travelers, and they served with a smile.


Our transit to Cappadocia went smoothly since we had checked our luggage through from Nairobi. While waiting for our connecting flight, we relaxed at the domestic departure lounge, enjoyed refreshments, and caught up on work using the high-speed Wi-Fi. Our departure to Cappadocia was on time, and we flew via an A320 aircraft optimized for Economy class seating capacity with three rows. Upon landing, we smoothly claimed our luggage and exited the neat and well-organized Cappadocia airport.

On Tuesday 25th April 2023 at 0400hrs, we departed for the hot air balloon trip and experienced the spectacular landscape and sunrise in Cappadocia. It was an unforgettable experience as large hot air balloons took to the sky, adding color and vibrancy to the surroundings. It was a major tourist attraction and even drew wedding groups who held their ceremonies inside the balloons. Watching the sun rise from the horizon into the city of Cappadocia was a heavenly experience, connecting us to Mother Nature. Cappadocia is a region rich in culture, heritage, and history with 365 ancient churches in Goreme. The geological valleys resembling objects or features are known as fairy chimneys.

Our visit to Cappadocia also included a tour of the Avanos town, famous for pottery making from the Hittite civilization. We had a great practical experience of pottery making and appreciated the patience and special skills required in crafting the pottery. Traditionally, the pottery was used as a measure of a groom’s skills before he could be given the hand in marriage of a bride.

Cappadocia is also famous for its precious stones, and we toured the gemstone factory to learn about the three popular stones: Onyx, Zultanite, and Turquoise. The stones are cleaned, cut, and polished into beautiful jewelry. The Zultanite stone was particularly breathtaking as it changes color by the light source between yellowish green, light gold, and purplish pink!

On Wednesday, we flew back to Istanbul city through the Nevsehir Kapadokya Airport on a TK A320 flight. The airport was busy with tourist groups visiting Cappadocia, making it a lively place. We arrived in Istanbul on time and transferred to our hotel effortlessly. During this season, there were heavy rains, and we took the opportunity to enjoy a leisurely afternoon experiencing the buzz of Istanbul city, its people, and culture.


On Thursday 27th April 2023, we visited the famous Bosphorus Bridge, which was built in 1973 to connect Turkey with Europe and Asia. It is the world’s fourth-longest suspension bridge that crosses the Bosphorous strait and is also known as the 15th July Martyrs Bridge, or the First Bridge. After that, we went to Istanbul’s spice bazaar, which is located within the New Mosque complex and offers a wide variety of spices, dried fruits, nuts, and jewelry.

TURSAB – The Association of Turkish Travel Agents

Friday was our last day of this eye-opening trip, which expanded our worldview and inspired a new perspective and energy to promote travel to Turkey and expose our fellow Kenyans to its rich culture, heritage, and business linkages. We were hosted by TURSAB, The Association of Turkish Travel Agents, for a courtesy visit led by KATA CEO to discuss potential areas of collaboration and partnership in promoting reciprocal travel between Kenya and Turkey. Ms Nergis Buyukkinaci, the Group Head of Corporate Communications, and Ms Aysila Sildir, the Corporate Communications Manager, hosted us at their TURSAB offices, and they shared their insightful vision for promoting travel to Turkey through KATA Travel Agents by offering training workshops to promote growth and educational trips to build confidence in promoting travel and MICE tourism to Turkey.

Turkish Airline Academy

Our final stop was at the Turkish Airlines Aviation Academy, where we were given a tour of the flight simulators, and we appreciated Turkish Airlines’ commitment to passenger safety. The crew is extensively trained on various emergency scenarios that could arise onboard a flight, giving them practical experience. Turkish Airlines has invested heavily in their flight training center, and we were awed by the professionalism and dedication of the crew to learn and follow through on instructions while upholding high-performance standards. Our highlight was the tour of the Turkish Airlines Museum, which showcased the journey of the airline since 1933, followed by an immersive experience of the Boeing 737 Aircraft Simulator. Turkish Airlines is a grounded carrier, upholding very high standards of safety and professionalism and deep values of honesty, respect, and teamwork.

We celebrate the Turkish Airlines leadership team based in Kenya, led by their Country Manager Mr. Oguzcan, our fam trip companion Mr. Bashir, who speaks Turkish fluently and made it easy for us to communicate with our hosts, and Ms. Priscilla, who coordinated the travel logistics and the entire TK team that made this trip a memorable experience for the agents. KATA works collaboratively with airlines to promote travel to key business and leisure destinations, and we celebrate this great partnership with Turkish Airlines. We look forward to growing together as one team and one spirit.