Airlines to train more Pakistani aircraft engineers
SriLankan Airlines’ reputation as a leading
aviation training centre in South Asia continues to grow, with
more aircraft engineers from Pakistan undergoing training at
Six more aircraft engineers from Airblue, Pakistan’s
fast-growing private airline, are undergoing training in
maintenance of Airbus A319, A320, and A321 aircraft, at
SriLankan’s Technical Training School.
Harsha Priyadarshan, Technical Training Manager at SriLankan,
said: “I’m pleased to say that this is the second group from
Airblue whom we are training this year. We trained three other
groups from the same airline over the last two years as well.”
SriLankan Technical Training is one of the few companies in Asia
to hold the globally recognised EASA 147 certification from the
European Aviation Safety Agency for training in Aircraft
Maintenance. It continuously runs a two-year programme in
aircraft engineering for Sri Lankans, and has been training an
increasing number of foreign personnel, notably from Pakistan,
the Maldives, Oman and India.
SriLankan has an all-Airbus fleet, which is an advantage to
those who need to be trained in the many aspects of maintenance
of Airbus aircraft, including Airframe and Power Plant,
Avionics, and Radio Engineering.
The course for Airblue runs over two months from March to May
and covers engineering and maintenance aspects of the A320
family aircraft. It includes field visits to both Base and Line
Airblue now operates to nine destinations – Manchester, Dubai,
and seven cities throughout Pakistan – with a fleet of six
Airbus A320 and A321 aircraft. It recently placed an order for
eight more A320s.
Kozhikode prepares for Emirates
trade ties between Dubai and Kozhikode – a port city in the
Southern Indian state of Kerala that welcomed its first Middle
Eastern traders as early as the seventh century – are set to
accelerate with the launch of Emirates Airline’s
six-flights-a-week service, effective July 1st.
Kozhikode, Emirates’ third gateway in Kerala after Kochi and
Thiruvananthapuram and its 10th in India, bears testimony of the
airline’s long-standing commitment to this market and its robust
To promote its award-winning product and to brief the travel
trade on the wide range of services offered, Emirates hosted a
massive road show in Kozhikode recently. A high-level Emirates
delegation led by Salem Obaidalla, Senior Vice President
Commercial Operations, West Asia and Indian Ocean and comprising
Orhan Abbas, Vice President India and Nepal, senior executives
from the airline’s home base in Dubai and its Indian
Headquarters in Mumbai will address a gathering of over 600
agents from Kozhikode and its surrounding districts including
Cannanore, Pallakkad, Mallapuram, Tellicherry and Trichur.
Salem noted: “We are gearing up for the launch of our services
to Kozhikode in the summer of this year. In the past few months
we have stepped up our recruitment efforts, and will soon start
training our newly-appointed staff to serve the city’s
travellers. In Kozhikode we will establish a town office, an
airport office as well as a separate cargo office to manage the
city’s passenger and cargo requirements.”
He added: “An estimated two million Keralites work and live in
the Gulf region. Emirates has a robust presence in the Middle
East, serving the region with 163 weekly flights to 12 gateways
via its Dubai hub. The start of services to Kozhikode will
enable Emirates to serve Kerala with an additional gateway and
at the same time enhance connectivity between the state and the
On the route, Emirates will operate the technologically-advanced
Boeing 777-200 and Airbus A330-200 aircraft in two-class
configurations offering over 2000 seats and almost 100 tonnes of
cargo capacity per week per direction.
Onboard, passengers will enjoy multi-course meals with ethnic
dishes prepared by master chefs and accompanied by an extensive
range of beverages; attentive service from the airline’s
multi-lingual crew; personal entertainment systems; and quieter
and more restful cabins equipped with wider seats.
Earlier this year, Emirates launched daily services to Cape Town
on 30th March. Guangzhou will be added to the airline’s
rapidly-expanding network on July 1st, the same day that
Emirates commences flights to Kozhikode. The airline will also
advance its footprint in North America with the launch of
services to Los Angeles and San Francisco on September 1st and
October 26th, respectively.
Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays
EK562 departs Dubai at 14:15 hours and arrives in Kozhikode at
EK563 departs Kozhikode at 21:20 hours and arrives in Dubai at
Thursdays and Saturdays
EK560 departs Dubai at 03:30 hours and arrives in Kozhikode
at 09:05 hours
EK561 departs Kozhikode at 10:35 hours and arrives in Dubai at
South Asia tourism leaders discuss the way ahead
South Asia’s largest travel and tourism exhibition, SATTE 2008,
was held April 18-20, in New Delhi India. This 15th annual
exhibition drew over 225 tour operators from 35 countries with
13 countries exhibiting their products. The highlight of the
event was the Som Nath Chib Memorial Lecture and interactive
session titled “South Asian Tourism - An Opportunity Lost.”
The 23rd Som Nath Chib Memorial Lecture, organised by the Inder
Sharma Foundation, was chaired by Shilabhadra Banerjee,
Secretary Tourism Government of India. Sri Lanka Tourism
Chairman, Renton de Alwis delivered this year’s Som Nath Chib
Memorial Lecture on ‘South Asian Tourism; the Way Ahead.’ The
response was delivered by Dr. Shahzad Qaiser, Secretary Ministry
of Tourism of Pakistan. The lecture was followed by a session on
‘Indian Aviation 2008: at Cross Roads,’ anchored by Kapil Kaul
of CAPA India.
Late Som Nath Chib, a most distinguished civil servant, was the
first Director General of Tourism of India. Chib, a former
deputy director general of All India Radio was a pioneer in
promoting tourism in South Asia. Not confining himself to his
motherland, he gave of his expertise and experience to the then
Government of Ceylon in the early sixties and later to the
Bahamas. Chib also advised the governments of Nepal, Malaysia,
Iran and Afghanistan and had the distinction of being in the
pioneering team that formed the World Tourism Organisation.
Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner to India Romesh Jayasinghe,
leaders of the tourism industry of India and senior Chib family
members were among the distinguished invitees at the lecture.
The Sri Lanka Tourism stall at the exhibition focused on the
‘Ramayana Trail,’ a new and off the beaten track product, which
attracted many inquiries and is expected to draw visitors in
numbers, to explore the hitherto unexplored sites believed to be
connected to Valmiki’s epic poetic work; ‘The Ramayanaya.’
Nepal slashes cost of
(AFP) - Nepal
has drastically cut the cost of climbing Mount Everest and other
Himalayan peaks to try and attract more mountaineers to the
country, an official said Thursday.
“The government has approved the decision to cut the royalty fee
for climbing Everest by 75 per cent during winter and summer
seasons and 50 per cent during the autumn season,” tourism
official Krishna Prasad Gyawali told AFP.
Prices for the spring season, by far Everest’s busiest due to a
brief summiting window before monsoon rains, will remain the
But the number of people allowed on a 70,000-dollar-permit will
be raised to 15 from 12, the official said.
“Prices for permits on the other 326 peaks over 5,500 metres
(18,250 feet) that are open for climbing have been slashed on a
similar basis,” said Gyawali.
As well as the 8,848-metre (29,198-foot) Everest, Nepal has
another seven of the world’s 14 highest peaks. Mountaineering
brings much needed hard currency into the impoverished nation
sandwiched between India and China.
“To encourage mountaineering in unexplored and backward areas,
the government also decided to allow mountaineering free of
charge in the mid-west and far-west regions for the next five
years,” said Gyawali.
“Most of the time, people only climb the famous peaks --
Everest, Langtang and the Annapurnas -- while many other
mountains with great potential are ignored. We want to end this
trend,” the official said.
This year’s Everest spring season has seen the northern approach
to the mountain through Chinese-controlled Tibet closed by
Chinese authorities -- fearful of protests by pro-Tibet groups
-- want to keep the mountain clear in early May while they try
to get an Olympic torch to the world’s highest point.
At China’s bidding, Nepal has imposed strict new regulations on
the southern approach to the mountain.
Last week, Nepal deported an American mountaineer who was found
to be carrying a pro-Tibet banner at Everest base camp.
Nepal has enforced a media blackout on Everest coverage at base
It has also deployed police and army personnel on the mountain
to ensure that climbers are not above 6,500 metres (21,450 feet)
while the Chinese make their summit bid between May 1 and 10.
The mountain has been summitted more than 3,000 times since it
was first scaled in 1953 by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay.
Emirates Shipping Line
nominated for Seatrade Asia Award
Emirates Shipping Line has been nominated for the ‘Best Ship
Liner Operator of 2008‘ award in the prestigious Seatrade Asia
Awards 2008 to be held in Singapore. The award recognises the
contributions and commitment of maritime operators in achieving
service excellence across the region, and Emirates is one out of
the three top contenders for the award short listed by the
eminent panel of judges.
The nomination represented Emirates’ dedication in ensuring
superior service quality and will continue to pursue for the
best value for customers.
Emirates Shipping Line FZE, is registered in Dubai Maritime City
of UAE and commercially headquartered in Dubai and Hong Kong,
two of the busiest commercial hubs in the world. Operated by a
team rich in experience of managing maritime trade, the company
has a focused goal of attaining superior service quality and
Air travel discounts for public sector
In a bid to facilitate and encourage overseas leisure travel
among Sri Lankan nationals working for the Government of Sri
Lanka and to expand our market base, SriLankan Airlines is
offering concessional air travel facilities to the public sector
based in Sri Lanka.
All government employees who would like to take a personal trip
overseas are eligible to get a 25 % discount on economy class
return market fares on SriLankan Airlines’ flights to any
destination in its route network. This offer is valid year round
for government servants, their spouses and dependent children
under 21 years of age.
SriLankan Holidays, which is the leisure arm of the national
carrier is also offering a 25% discount to the public sector
employees and their immediate families, on the Mega 999 packages
(2nights/3 days) to Delhi, Bombay, Goa, Hyderabad and Chennai,
giving an opportunity to visit exotic locations in India.
“This is a unique offer from the national carrier, to support
the public sector and to encourage the employees and their
families to travel overseas” said Fayaz Thaha, Country Manager
SriLankan Airlines flies to 41 destinations in 22 countries in
Europe, the Middle East and Asia which includes some of the best
and most popular holiday destinations in the world.
Changing preferences for
More inquiries were
received by the Sri Lankan delegation attending at this year’s
IMEX in Frankfurt for programmes designed to gain tranquility
and relaxation, says Sri Lanka Convention Bureau which led the
Sri Lanka delegation to IMEX with its partner SriLankan
IMEX held in Frankfurt recently is the biggest annual MICE fair
in the world for Meetings, Incentives and Conferences. This
year’s event was attended by 8,500 buyers of which more than
3,600 were hosted buyers - a far larger proportion of these
being from long-haul markets than ever before. The buyers
achieved over 40,000 pre-organised appointments and 30,000 of
these appointments were made through the individual online
appointment system. The event consisted of several networking
opportunities where the Sri Lankan team was able to secure many
business contacts and also through the Bureau’s participation
with activities of ICCA (Internation Congress and Convention
Association) during the IMEX.
The Bureau said that Sri Lanka’s presence at IMEX was
needed because of its importance to our industry that deals with
incentive tours from Europe. We made the maximum gain with
minimum cost by effectively projecting Sri Lanka as a value
destination for incentives. ‘In fact more inquiries were
received for programmes such as meditation and we were fully
geared to provide the buyers with such information and how they
will benefit from these programmes. This trend will benefit the
industry in the long run the Bureau continued. The incentive
travel business that the Bureau is promoting with SriLankan
Airlines and Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau; is expected to
give leverage to the present gradual recovery from the markets
in Western Europe.
International air traffic continues to slow in March: IATA
(AFP) - International air traffic growth continued to
slow in March as the industry was hit by soaring fuel costs and
the global credit crunch, the International Air Transport
Association said on Friday.
As a result, IATA’s chief urged airlines to move towards
consolidation, saying the industry’s fortunes “have taken a
major turn for the worse.”
Compared to a year ago, international traffic grew only 4.0
percent in March.
IATA noted that the slowdown, particularly in Asia-Pacific
traffic growth to just 4.3 percent, was significant as the
region’s booming economies had been expected to “immunise them
(against) the US slowdown.”
Middle East carriers continued to post double-digit growth of
15.4 percent but this was still sharply lower than the 20.4
percent posted a year earlier.
In North America, international traffic increased 6.3 percent
while Europe rose 3.7 percent.
Only Latin American traffic posted higher-than-expected growth
of 19.7 percent, boosted by strong demand.
“Traffic only tells a part of the story. Astronomical oil prices
are hitting hard and the buffer of an expanding economy has
disappeared. The fortunes of the industry have taken a major
turn for the worse,” IATA director general and chief executive
Giovanni Bisignani said.
He noted that with such “such dramatic shifts in the global
economy, consolidation is critical.”
Consolidation in the United States, where Delta Air Lines and
Northwest Airlines unveiled a 17.7-billion-dollar merger plan,
is welcomed, he said.
“But it makes no sense that consolidation is limited to domestic
partners. This is a global industry that needs to be run like a
global business. The US-EU Open Sky Agreement second stage talks
that open in May must deliver a modern approach to ownership
rules,” he said.
The “Open Skies” accord allows airlines greater freedom to fly
between Europe and the United States, replacing restrictive
arrangements agreed many years ago.
British Airways said Wednesday it was examining closer
cooperation with US carriers American Airlines and Continental
Airlines but gave no additional information.