Ethiopian Airlines Bridges Africa and Europe with New Warsaw Service

Ethiopian Airlines, Africa’s largest network carrier, expands its European reach with the launch of a new route to Warsaw, Poland. This exciting development, announced in April 2024, will connect Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital, to Warsaw with a convenient stopover in Athens, Greece. The inaugural flight is scheduled for June 16, 2024, offering passengers a four-times-weekly service. This new route strengthens Ethiopian Airlines’ presence in Europe, bringing its total European destinations to 24. Passengers flying from Warsaw can now enjoy seamless connections to over 60 destinations across Africa, furthering the airline’s mission to bridge the continent with the globe.

The service will operate with a Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft, featuring a comfortable two-cabin configuration with 16 seats in business class and 144 seats in economy class. This modern and fuel-efficient aircraft ensures a pleasant travel experience for passengers on both legs of the journey. This expansion aligns with Ethiopian Airlines’ strategic plan to boost commerce and tourism not only within Africa but also between the continent and Europe. The new Warsaw route provides travelers with a convenient and reliable option for business trips, family visits, or exploring the vibrant cultures of Ethiopia and Poland.

Mesfin Tasew, Group CEO of Ethiopian Airlines, expressed his enthusiasm about the new route: “We are truly excited to further grow our presence in the European market with yet another new destination. This development is in harmony with our strategic intent to bridge Africa with the globe while fostering commerce and tourism within the continent.”

The addition of Warsaw to Ethiopian Airlines’ network strengthens the airline’s position as a key player in global aviation. Passengers can now book their flights to Warsaw via Athens on Ethiopian Airlines’ website or through their preferred travel agent. With its commitment to providing a gratifying journey experience, Ethiopian Airlines is poised to welcome travelers onboard and connect them to exciting new destinations.

Source: Aero News Journal

Renegade Air Supports KATA Kisumu Travel Agents Forum.

Travel Agents in Kisumu on Tuesday gathered at the Acacia Premier Hotel for this year’s Kisumu Travel Agents Forum hosted by KATA and supported by Renegade Air. The forum brought together agents and operators from the larger Western region tourism circuit and explored the topic “Unlocking Opportunities: Empowering Travel and Tourism in the Lake Region.”

At the forum, participants discussed the potential growth of the travel business in the western Kenya region and the role domestic carriers such as Renegade Air play in supporting local economies. The Chairperson of KATA Allied members and KATA Board member Grace Ndung’u spoke about the role KATA plays in supporting travel agencies in the country and called upon agents who were not members to consider joining the membership. Patrick Oketch, the Marketing and Sales Officer at Renegade Air, lauded the support travel agents were giving the airline, noting that over 60% of the airline’s sales were generated by Travel Agents. He reiterated the airline’s commitment to continue working with agents and offering them support whenever they required. Charles of Sandah Travel and Tours shared with participants how KATA had helped him build his business grow since joining in 2023. “Through KATA, I have been able to participate in international travel shows in South Africa twice, and now I am headed to Dubai for the Arabian Travel Market (ATM). These international shows are helping me build my international profile and networks.

Uganda ready to sign Africa open skies plan.

Uganda is keen to sign the Single Africa Air Transport Market protocol, ending years of fence-sitting.

Authorities in Kampala indicated this week that the Uganda will join the open skies regime in the next financial year. “We are left with approval by Cabinet. Once that is done, we will be good to go,” said Fred Bamwesigye, director-general of Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCCA) at a meeting in Kampala.

Mr Bamwesigye, who represented Works and Transport Minister Gen Edward Katumba Wamala, said Uganda’s reluctance to join the Single Africa Air Transport Market (SAATM) since its launch in 2018 was due to a need to shield its national carrier from competition.

Other considerations were invested in and build new infrastructure such as the Kabalega International Airport, to support traffic numbers resulting from liberalization; improve Entebbe International Airport to requisite standards as well as reorient the regulatory regime, which was inward-looking. “The idea to join has always been positive, but we had to first streamline our internal processes so that we go there when we are ready,” he said.” Now, we have an airline, and we must enable it to get more frequencies through SAATM. Uganda Airlines is flying to Nigeria, Mumbai, South Africa, the UAE… So, why not?” Danny Barongo, director for safety, security, and economic regulation at UCCA, said internal processes included three consultative meetings with stakeholders and with continental industry regulator to draft an agreement.

Accession to the “solemn commitment” would see Uganda ease past Tanzania, whose government has indicated that it will not join the liberalized air space plan for another five years, but it will still lag behind Kenya, Rwanda and 13 other African countries which, last year, agreed to launch and pilot SAATM flights.

Aviation expert Adikiny Olwenge, who is also the team leader for air transport at the Comesa, says there are benefits for airline operators as it opens up routes through 5th Freedom, which increases air transport connectivity.

Due to the limited number of operators, this benefit is not trickling down to the passengers because of the dominant nature of such airlines, but only liberalisation that can assure new entrants that they will realise healthy competition since SAATM has the necessary instruments to control competition.

even among the 37 countries that have signed up to the single air space regime, the same deep-seated fears and protectionism abound. “Most of the countries that have acceded to SAATM have the notion that it SAATM will kill their national airlines. That’s why we are having the awareness program for countries in Eastern Africa, Southern Africa, and Indian Ocean regions,” Mr Olwenge said.

Source: MSN.

Arabian Travel Market to kick off on May 6 in Dubai

According to data from Deloitte, Dubai is leading the regional hospitality markets with a strong outlook for 2024.

The upcoming edition of Arabian Travel Market (ATM), a premier global event in travel and tourism, will serve as a pivotal gathering for hospitality stakeholders from 6th to 9th May at the Dubai World Trade Centre.

According to data from Deloitte, Dubai is leading the regional hospitality markets with a strong outlook for 2024. The city now offers more hotel rooms than major capitals such as London, New York City and Bangkok, and as of this month, Dubai has a hotel room capacity of over 150,000.

Data from the Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism (DET) showed that the city welcomed 17.15 million overnight visitors during 2023, with the average length of stay also increasing. According to Deloitte, occupancy peaked at 88% in February.

“As the hospitality landscape in the GCC region continues to evolve, the data paints a compelling picture of growth and opportunity. ATM 2024 will feature a wide range of hospitality brands from around the world, and we are pleased to report that there has been a 21% increase in exhibition space dedicated to hotel brands this year, demonstrating strong interest and demand,” said Danielle Curtis, Exhibition Director ME, Arabian Travel Market.

Source: Zawya

Hyper-personalization: Will it contribute to sales and the travel industry in 2024?

As hyper-personalization goes beyond the usual strategies that have been used so far to benefit travel needs, there are advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning that may be able to provide the necessary services that travelers need.

Martin Eade from travel search and booking technology provider Vibe believes there’s a lot riding on this. “This is the holy grail of personalization and the first company to get this right will have a real first mover advantage. After all, why would customers switch from a hotel or airline that can anticipate their needs before they even know them themselves?”.

“The aim is to create strategies that make each guest feel special and unique, instead of feeling like a faceless member of a generic market segment. But before companies can achieve hyper-personalization, they need to shift their focus from the product to the client, developing a customer-centric strategy. Harnessing data will help them to understand exactly who their clients are, how they behave, and what they expect when they come to stay at a hotel, or travel on a specific airline.” commented Rubén Sánchez, CEO of the leading hotel revenue management platform BEONx.

Another way artificial intelligence can enable hyper-personalization is via automation. “Valuable, quick ‘recipes’ for automation will allow hoteliers to create predictable, reliable processes so they take their hands off keyboards and create more unique human-to-human interactions. At Cloudbeds, we’re building toward a world where AI-powered automations check out guests, trigger emails for last-minute reservations, add notes for housekeeping when a VIP guest arrives, and create in-depth reports with insights that drive better decisions. When a hotelier’s days become less manual, their guests’ personalized experience will soar.” said Adam Harris, Co-Founder and CEO of Cloudbeds. At the same time, Mr. Harris believes that hospitality technology platform powers more bookings and happier guests for independent accommodation operators around the world.

Gareth Matthews, Chief Marketing Officer at global travel distribution provider Didatravel thinks the industry might finally be in a position to offer elements of this to travelers in 2024.  As a final thought Craig Everett, Founder and CEO from Holibob, the experiences tech provider to tourism boards and online travel sellers, comments that hyper-personalization might lead to a related new trend: hyper-localisation. “Not only do these new technologies empower travel companies to develop a more intricate knowledge of their traveller, but they also fast-track deeper contextual understanding of their interests in relation to their destination. This has the opportunity to unlock a level of hyper-local, hyper-relevant online recommendations that could finally push the experiences sector into the online realm.


British Airways Partners with Amadeus for Aviation Retailing Transformation.

Amadeus’ next-generation technology will deliver simplicity, agility and an improved customer experience.

The agreement is a milestone for the aviation industry on its path to modern retailing and the use of dynamic Offers and Orders

The agreement enables British Airways to deliver on its ambition to be at the forefront of retailing transformation.

British Airways has selected Amadeus as its technology partner and Amadeus Nevio, a new portfolio of modular solutions built on open and AI technology, to deliver the airline’s Offer and Order strategic goals.

The partnership will see British Airways and Amadeus collaborate on the design of Nevio’s Offer and Order capabilities, designed to meet the needs of modern airline retailers. Nevio’s Offer suite will facilitate more dynamic products and bundles, whilst Dynamic Offer Pricing is being rolled out to enable real-time contextual pricing options based on marketplace dynamics. A suite of Digital Experience tools will underpin a user-friendly booking experience and streamline servicing, including disruption, on any device or channel.

Working together these will produce highly relevant, personalized customer offers, and deliver a best-in-class retailing and servicing experience for customers.

Built around IATA Offer and Order principles, this totally new, open, modular platform benefits from the latest advances in AI and will help the carrier build demand, differentiate itself in the market and drive value across its entire business at speed.

Maher Koubaa, Executive Vice President Travel Unit and Managing Director EMEA, Amadeus, said: “We see Amadeus’ partnership with British Airways as truly transformative. We’ve been working closely with British Airways for more than 20 years and we’re delighted that the airline has once again agreed to be a driver customer to shape the future of the aviation industry. The milestone partnership unveiled today is a significant step in our journey to making modern retailing a reality, with the deployment of rich, dynamic, personalized offers and next-generation order management.”

Colm Lacy, British Airways’ Chief Commercial Officer, said: “At British Airways we are on a journey to become a world leader in airline retailing and transform our digital customer experience, all underpinned by our £7bn investment to transform our airline. Alongside our partners at Amadeus, British Airways will be able to collaborate on the design of the latest technology to enhance our business processes with greater agility, and help us anticipate the needs of modern, digital travelers, providing them with exceptional experiences across their journey.”

Amadeus’ partnership with British Airways showcases a commitment to support an ambition on the part of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to create a wholly Offer and Order based retailing environment by 2030. The open platform technology being developed by Amadeus enables the airline to be innovative in its approach to retailing and revenue opportunities and is designed to grow with the airline’s business ambitions.

Source Breaking Travel News

Dubai airport: Full schedule resumes after flooding chaos

Dubai’s major airlines say they have resumed a full flight schedule after torrential rain hit the United Arab Emirates and neighbouring countries causing chaos at Dubai airport.

Emirates and flydubai said operations were back to normal on Saturday but a passenger backlog remained.

The boss of Emirates said the airline’s response was not perfect.

The storm battered the UAE on Tuesday, causing flash floods and bringing travel through the airport to a halt.

Priority will be given to passengers whose travel plans had been disrupted.

A flooded taxiway meant planes were unable to reach the runway to take off and passengers were left stranded in the terminal building,at Dubai International Airport.

The president of Emirates, Sir Tim Clark said: “Passengers previously stranded in the airport transit area have been rebooked and are en route to their destinations.”

The open letter posted on the airlines’ website on Saturday, announced that regular flight schedules had been restored, but it would take them “some days” to clear the backlog of rebooked passengers. A taskforce has also been established to sort and deliver the around 30,000 pieces of luggage left behind.

“We ask for our customers’ patience and understanding,” Sir Tim said. Apologising to their customers, he acknowledged that their response was not “perfect”, citing a lack of information and confusion in the terminals.

Earlier this week, air passengers stuck at the airport told the BBC of the “pure chaos” they saw.

Sarah Jane Cahill from Dublin, had planned to board her connecting flight from Sydney to Dublin on Thursday afternoon, but was still at the airport on Friday night.

She said that “thousands are stranded” and that the airport was “a sea of bodies on every surface”.

“There were people in chairs, couches, on the floor outside bathrooms, sleeping on cardboard,” she told the Press Association.

Over the past three days, the airline has cancelled nearly 400 flights and delayed many more.

Some inbound flights resumed on Thursday, while outbound flights continued to be delayed. They later announced that check-in was open at Terminal 3 for Emirates and flydubai flights.

Flydubai’s travel update on Saturday said they had returned to operating its full flight schedule from Terminal 2 and 3, with priority over the next few days to be given to their “passengers whose travel plans have been impacted.”

Similarly, Emirates said their focus was on those who have faced travel disruptions.

Sir Tim added they had suspended check-in for departing passengers, embargoed ticket sales and stopped connecting passengers from arriving to make sure the focus was on affected customers.

With flights running on their regular schedules, Paul Griffiths, the head of Dubai airports, said departure flow is “improving”.

Dubai International Airport is the world’s second busiest airport, serving more than 80 million passengers in 2023. This year, nearly 90 million are expected to pass through the hub, which is a major connecting point between Europe and Asia.

Source: BBC

Navigating Payment Turbulence — Unraveling Payment Processing Challenges in the Travel Industry!

In an era where technology has seamlessly woven itself into the fabric of our daily lives, the travel industry stands at the intersection of innovation and complexity. Amidst the excitement of planning vacations and exploring new destinations, the intricate web of payment processing challenges often go unnoticed. In this comprehensive blog, we will delve into the nuances of payment processing in the travel industry, unraveling the complexities that both businesses and consumers encounter.

  1. Cross-Border Payment Friction —

One of the foremost challenges faced by the travel industry in payment processing is the complexity of cross-border transactions. As travelers jet off to explore new horizons, payments traverse international borders, encountering diverse currencies, regulations, and financial systems. This intricacy often leads to currency conversion issues, delayed transactions, and additional fees, leaving both consumers and businesses grappling with a less-than-optimal payment experience.


Multi-Currency Support: Implementing payment systems that seamlessly support multiple currencies can mitigate the impact of currency conversion issues, providing users with a transparent and hassle-free payment experience.

Regulatory Compliance: Staying abreast of and adhering to international financial regulations is crucial. Collaborating with payment processors well-versed in cross-border compliance can help navigate the complex regulatory landscape.

  • Fraud Risks and Security Concerns —

As online transactions surge, so do the risks associated with fraud and security breaches. The travel industry, with its high-value transactions and vast array of customer data, becomes a lucrative target for cybercriminals. From stolen credit card information to identity theft, the potential consequences of inadequate payment security measures are significant.


Tokenization: Employing tokenization technology can enhance security by replacing sensitive payment information with unique tokens. This minimizes the risk of data breaches and ensures that customer data remains protected.

Two-Factor Authentication (2FA): Implementing robust authentication processes, such as 2FA, adds an extra layer of security, making it more challenging for unauthorized individuals to gain access to sensitive information.

  • Dynamic Pricing and Transparent Payments —

The dynamic nature of pricing in the travel industry, with fluctuating fares and real-time availability, poses a unique set of challenges in payment processing. Consumers expect transparency in pricing, and any discrepancies or hidden fees can lead to dissatisfaction. Ensuring a seamless payment experience amidst the constantly evolving pricing landscape requires innovative solutions.


Real-Time Price Adjustments: Implement systems that dynamically adjust prices in real-time, ensuring that customers are charged accurately based on the latest information, and transparency is maintained throughout the booking process.

Clear Communication: Providing clear communication on pricing details, including taxes and fees, helps build trust with customers. Transparent payment processes contribute to a positive user experience and can lead to increased customer loyalty.

  • Mobile Payments and User Experience —

The ubiquity of smartphones has transformed the way people interact with businesses, including travel services. Mobile payments have become a cornerstone of the industry, but optimizing the user experience on mobile platforms presents its own set of challenges. From responsive design to intuitive interfaces, ensuring a seamless mobile payment experience is imperative for customer satisfaction.


Mobile-Optimized Interfaces: Designing user interfaces specifically tailored for mobile devices enhances the overall payment experience. Intuitive navigation and responsive design contribute to smoother transactions on smartphones and tablets.

Mobile Wallet Integration: Embracing popular mobile wallets and payment apps streamlines the payment process. Integrating options like Apple Pay, Google Pay, and others caters to the preferences of mobile-savvy travelers.

  • Integration with Emerging Technologies —

The rapid evolution of technology introduces both opportunities and challenges for the travel industry. Integrating with emerging technologies such as blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning (ML) can revolutionize payment processing but requires careful consideration and strategic planning.


Blockchain for Security: Leveraging blockchain technology can enhance security and transparency in payment transactions. Blockchain’s decentralized nature reduces the risk of fraud and ensures the integrity of financial transactions.

AI and ML for Fraud Detection: Implementing AI and ML algorithms can strengthen fraud detection mechanisms. These technologies can analyze patterns, detect anomalies, and adapt to evolving threats, providing a proactive approach to security.

  • Regulatory Compliance and Legal Complexities —

The travel industry operates on a global scale, subject to a myriad of regulations and legal frameworks. Ensuring compliance with diverse international and local laws poses a significant challenge for payment processors and businesses alike. Failure to navigate these regulatory waters diligently can result in legal consequences, fines, and reputational damage.


Legal Consultation: Collaborating with legal experts specializing in international payment regulations can provide invaluable insights. Establishing a robust legal framework ensures that payment processes align with the various compliance requirements across regions.

Regular Compliance Audits: Conducting regular compliance audits helps identify any gaps or changes in regulations. Staying proactive in adapting to evolving compliance standards minimizes the risk of legal complications.

  • Chargebacks and Dispute Resolution —

Chargebacks, often stemming from customer dissatisfaction, unauthorized transactions, or fraud, are a common concern for the travel industry. Disputes can lead to financial losses, strained customer relationships, and added administrative burdens. Resolving chargebacks efficiently is crucial to maintaining a positive payment ecosystem.


Effective Communication: Establishing clear communication channels with customers can prevent misunderstandings that may lead to chargebacks. Timely and transparent communication regarding policies, refunds, and dispute resolution can foster trust.

Robust Documentation: Maintaining thorough documentation of transactions, including booking confirmations, terms of service, and customer communications, strengthens the merchant’s position in case of disputes.

  • Infrastructure Scalability and Reliability —

The travel industry experiences fluctuations in demand, especially during peak seasons and special events. Payment processing systems must be scalable to handle sudden spikes in transactions without compromising speed and reliability. Downtime or processing delays can have severe consequences, affecting customer satisfaction and revenue.


Cloud-Based Solutions: Utilizing cloud-based payment processing systems allows for scalability and flexibility. Cloud infrastructure can handle increased transaction volumes during peak periods, ensuring a seamless payment experience for customers.

Redundancy and Failover Mechanisms: Implementing redundancy and failover mechanisms in payment systems ensures uninterrupted service. Redundant servers and backup systems can mitigate the impact of hardware failures or other technical issues.

  • Collaboration and Interoperability —

The travel industry consists of a complex ecosystem of service providers, including airlines, hotels, travel agencies, and payment processors. Ensuring seamless collaboration and interoperability between these entities is essential for a cohesive payment experience. Incompatibility or communication breakdowns can lead to inefficiencies and errors in transaction processing.


Standardized Protocols: Adhering to industry-standard protocols for data exchange facilitates interoperability between different components of the travel ecosystem. This ensures that information flows seamlessly across various platforms.

Collaborative Partnerships: Establishing strong partnerships and collaborations between travel service providers and payment processors enhances communication and interoperability. Shared platforms and integrated systems can streamline payment processes.

Conclusion —

In conclusion, the payment processing challenges faced by the travel industry are multifaceted, requiring a holistic and strategic approach. From cross-border complexities to security concerns and regulatory hurdles, addressing these challenges demands a combination of technology adoption, regulatory compliance, and a commitment to customer satisfaction.

The industry’s future success hinges on its ability to adapt to emerging technologies, foster collaboration, and prioritize the security and transparency of payment processes. As we navigate the ever-evolving landscape of global travel, overcoming these challenges will not only enhance the efficiency of payment processing but also contribute to a positive and memorable experience for travelers worldwide. The journey toward a seamless payment horizon in the travel industry is ongoing, marked by innovation, resilience, and a dedication to elevating the overall travel experience.

Source: Pulse

UN Tourism ranks East Africa among most open regions for travelers.

East Africa has been ranked among the most open sub-regions in the world in terms visa openness as global travel recovers to pre-pandemic levels, a new report by UN Tourism shows.

The United Nation’s tourism agency in its Visa Openness Report 2023 said East Africa stands out as the most welcoming subregion globally particularly due to its visa-on-arrival policy, which allows 46 per cent of the travellers of the world to obtain a visa upon entry, and its eVisa system, which is available to 36 per cent of international tourists.

“Visa-on-arrival policies are comparatively common in East Africa (46 per cent), South Asia (38 per cent), South-East Asia (36 per cent) and West Africa (32 per cent). eVisa programmes are prevalent in West and East Africa (36 per cent) and South Asia (31 per cent), while North Africa, Central America, Northern and Western Europe do not offer eVisas,” UN Tourism said in the report.

Kenya and Rwanda last year removed Visa requirements for all African travels, decisions that were lauded as a step towards opening African borders. Kenya has also launched a new eVisa platform for travellers from elsewhere.

As part of a new visa regime, travellers from countries that require the document to enter Kenya are now required to have an electronic visa (e-visa) before boarding a plane.

Overall, the lifting of Covid-19 travel restrictions have seen improvement in destinations’ openness.

“Destinations’ openness to international travel has rebounded to pre-pandemic levels following the lifting of COVID-19 related travel restrictions. As a consequence of the pandemic, new forms of travel facilitation, such as “nomadic visas”, also appeared,” the report said.

Ease of accessing visa is important to promoting tourism growth. According to the report, fewer people worldwide now require a traditional visa to travel, falling from 77 per cent in 2008 to 59 per cent in 2018, and then to 47 per cent in 2023.

At the same time, 21 per cent of the world population do not need any form of visa, an increase from 17 per cent in 2008 and 20 per cent in 2018 while 14 per cent of the world population can apply for visa on arrival, an increase from 6 per cent in 2008 and 15 per cent in 2018.

About 18 per cent of the world population can apply for eVisas, an increase from 3 per cent in 2013 and 7 per cent in 2018.

Source: Standard Media