Emirates wins two top spots at International Ideas Competition

 Emirates Group employees beat entries from several international companies to take first place in two categories at the UK’s prestigious Idea of the Year Competition 2008.

A Dnata team won the Environmental Trophy for devising and implementing a new way to segregate and recycle newspaper waste from its aircraft, that will result in over 2,000 tonnes of paper recycling in its first year and therefore save 39,000 trees and 16 million gallons of water.

Another team, from Emirates’ Flight Operations, won the 2008 Health and Safety trophy for their idea to re-design and build a training smoke hood, used in Safety and Emergency Procedures (SEP) training, that provides a safer, cheaper and more realistic piece of training equipment that can be re-used. Previously, time-expired real aircraft smoke hoods were used, which were dangerous to transport and store and has now been discontinued. The new solution contributes to the health and safety of employees.

The Idea of the Year competition featured ten category trophies and also presented ‘Highly commended’ and ‘Commended’ certificates to recognise excellent entries in the competition, of which teams from the Emirates group received three.
• A Dnata Technical Services employee was highly commended for his idea to modify an engine cut off system, which enabled an easy retrieval of the defective charge alternator from the aircraft, without the aircraft having to be towed away. This has saved many man-hours and delays, and therefore saved money.

• A team from Emirates Engineering were commended for their idea to create a smooth access point between the piston and guide bushing for all tripod jacks. This modification has had considerable impact on serviceability of equipment by preventing damage to critical areas during operation, subsequently reducing consumption of spare parts and maintenance costs. Additionally, the need to overhaul or replace major components is minimised.

• A team from Dnata Cargo were commended for their idea to review and redesign the process of Cargo Transfer Manifest preparation, creating a more automatic and computer-based system. This eliminates delays and time spent manually preparing manifests ensuring timely service to the airline, accurate reporting and a reduction in paper filing needs.

Martin Tomlinson, Emirates’ Senior Vice President, Performance Development said: “Innovation is one of the pillars of Emirates’ success. We have a number of internal programmes that encourage staff to innovate and contribute ideas to improve the way we do things - whether from an operational and environmental efficiency standpoint, or the health and safety of our products and services or the workplace. These programmes have benefited the company in terms of better efficiency and productivity; they contribute to the bottom line, and also empower and motivate staff.

“We are delighted that the best ideas from our staff are now being recognised internationally at the Idea of the Year competition.”
The Idea of the Year Competition 2008, held by Ideas UK, drew submissions from companies such as Boots Manufacturing, BAE Systems, British Telecom, CYTA Tele-Communications (Cyprus), BUPA, Richo UK Products Ltd, Ministry of Defense (UK), Diageo, Lloyds TSB and other top Dubai companies such as Dubai Aluminum (DUBAL) and Dubai World.

IdeasUK is a non-commercial association dedicated to employee suggestion programmes. IdeasUK was founded in 1987 and receives no funding from government or from private enterprise.


Egypt’s Red Sea Resort becomes a Tourism EarthLung

Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt’s Red Sea Resort last week became the second EarthLung destination of the world. Egypt’s Minister of Tourism, Zoheir Garranah, declared the commitment of Egyptian Tourism and said, “Following the initiative of Sri Lanka, we are happy to join the Tourism EarthLung Community with our resort destination, Sharm el Sheikh, committing to work towards becoming a carbon neutral destination in the future.”

This declaration was made at the opening of the UN World Tourism Organisation supported Conference for the Middle East and Mediterranean Region on the theme ‘Tourism: Responding to a Turbulent Economy and Changing Climate’ held this week at Sharm El Sheikh’s Jolie Ville Convention Centre.

Moderated by Prof. Geoffrey Lipman, Assistant Secretary General of UNWTO, the Conference’s curtain raiser was Gold Award winning singer and Sri Lanka’s Tourism Ambassador, Alston Koch, flown in especially by the UNWTO. With the song A Land Like No Other; A Tourism EarthLung, Alston captivated the audience where the rendering was supported with backdrop visuals of catastrophe of the effects of climate change, mixed with nature’s wonders in Sri Lanka, aimed at inspiring citizens of world to work together to minimise the causes for global warming.

The conference organised by the Egyptian Tourism Ministry and industry associations, had Francesco Frangialli, the outgoing Secretary General of the UNWTO, Dr. Peter Keller, former Chair of the OECD Tourism Committee, Dr. Ghassan Aidi, President of the International Hotel and Restaurant Association, Martin Brackenbury, President of the International Federation of Tour Operators, Dr. Bandar Alfhaid, Head of the Arab Tourism Organisation, Prof. Terry de Lacy of the Victoria University and many other key tourism figures from the region among its presenters.

At the session on Climate Solutions, Renton de Alwis of Sri Lanka Tourism related the story of Sri Lanka’s efforts at mitigating climate change with the launch of the Earth Lung Initiative at the UNWTO conference on ‘Tourism and Climate Change’ in October last year in Davos, Switzerland. Sri Lanka Tourism has since taken on a pioneering catalytic effort on a ten year agenda to work towards being a carbon neutral tourism destination. Sri Lanka, a country with a near 50% green cover of its total land area and a 29% forest cover, proposes to involve all stakeholders in a thrust to work in stopping deforestation, effecting reforestation, increased use of renewable energy and efforts at minimising pollution.

De Alwis described how Sri Lanka’s Environment and Natural Resources Ministry, the scientific, business, tourism and other stakeholders are working together to create awareness and take on effective programmes to move towards creating a sustainable living environment in Sri Lanka and be an example to the world at large. For more information visit the website www.earthlung.travel


Royal welcome for ‘Queen of the seas’ from ‘Queen of the skies’

During the welcome to the iconic QE2 as she arrived in Dubai, an Emirates Airline A380 aircraft joined the welcome party as the liner sailed past The World islands.

The grand flypast was carried out by Emirates’ third impressive double-decker A380 aircraft, piloted by Captain Abbas Shaban. As well as the Emirates A380, QE2 was greeted by a flotilla of local yachts, boats and leisure-craft led by a Royal Navy Frigate. Once refurbished, QE2 will be used as a floating hotel, located on the eastern side of the trunk of Palm Jumeirah at the end of a specially designed, prestigious land-bridge precinct.


Qatar Airways eyes further growth in China

Airline participates at China International Travel Mart for 2nd year running

Qatar Airways second appearance at the China International Travel Mart (CITM) signals further commitment to the airline’s expansion plans in China that will benefit the travelling public.

The four-day fair, jointly organised by the China National Tourism Administration, Shanghai Municipal People’s Government and General Administration of Civil Aviation of China is recognised as one of the largest and most influential international tourism fairs in Asia. This year it drew the attention of tourism organisations and personnel from around the world.

Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker has already anticipated next year’s event following the airline’s successful showing at Shanghai’s premier trade and consumer travel exhibition.

“The China International Travel Mart has become one of the most prestigious and well-organised travel fairs in the world. It is a top occasion for the Asian tourism industry and Qatar Airways is delighted to be a part of this exciting event,” said Al Baker.
“We certainly look forward to increasing our presence at CITM and inviting more passengers from the region to travel with Qatar Airways.”

Qatar Airways Senior Vice President Commercial for the region, Marwan Koleilat, applauded the CITM organisers for developing a communication platform for the Chinese tourism industry. Koleilat led an airline delegation at the travel fair, held at the Shanghai New International Expo Centre.

“In the past decade, China’s exceptional economic growth has boosted the development of the tourism industry here, and brought excellent opportunities to global airlines. We are delighted to be part of this process and we’ve positioned China as one of our key markets in Asia.”

Qatar Airways’ stand at the show featured the airline’s new corporate look, rolled out earlier this year. Its sleek, clean lines and bold logo presented a freshness and sophistication that exude confidence and success in line with the airline’s ambitions, according to Koleilat.


The exhibition stand also featured two working Business Class seats for visitors to sample the Qatar Airways’ in-flight experience, as well as a demonstration model of Qatar Airways’ latest state-of-the-art in-flight entertainment system, now onboard the airline’s Boeing 777 aircraft.

The airline has achieved rapid growth in China so far in 2008, opening new offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu, and also launching direct flights from Guangzhou to the airline’s operational hub in Doha, State of Qatar.

Qatar Airways currently operates 21 scheduled flights a week to China from its hub in Doha, capital of the State of Qatar. The capital, Beijing, is served four times a week; Shanghai five times weekly; Hong Kong once daily; and Guangzhou receives five flights a week.

Marwan Koleilat added: “Qatar and China are celebrating 20 years of bilateral relations this year and the relationship between both countries has grown from strength to strength. I hope that more and more Chinese travellers will be able to experience our world-renowned five-star service in the near future.”

Qatar Airways operates a young and modern fleet of 64 Boeing and Airbus aircraft, serving 83 cities across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, South Asia, the Far East and North America. It currently has outstanding orders for a further 200 aircraft, worth around US$40 billion.


Cathay Pacific bundles 3 fares

Together for the season

Dreaming of de-stressing in Singapore or in Bangkok with the gang during the Christmas vacation? Decide now because Cathay Pacific is ready and has just announced their ‘deal of the year.’ The airline offers 3 fares bundled together making them remarkably low and inviting – ideal for friends and family to get away from it all.

All you have to do is buy 3 or more tickets at the same time before the 10th of December. However you have time up to New Year’s Eve – 31st of December – to travel. What’s even more exciting is that travellers who shop till they drop, can come home with not only their usual baggage quota but up to 10kg of additional baggage as well!

The options are three tickets to Bangkok or Singapore or 2 tickets to Bangkok and 1 ticket to Singapore or 2 tickets to Singapore and 1 ticket to Bangkok.

Talking about the bundle fares designed for friends and family who wish to join together to enjoy a relaxing holiday, Sales & Marketing Manager for Cathay Pacific, Ms Ruhan Abbas Airways Colombo said: “I’m sure this will prove irresistible for people who would love to get away in a team. The more the merrier, in other words. The option of one person being able to choose a different destination adds to the excitement of the offer.”

For more information about this irresistible Bundle fares, contact Cathay Pacific Airways on 2303514/5 or your travel agent. Finlays Colombo PLC is the General Sales Agent for Cathay Pacific Airways, Sri Lanka.


Emirates Airline Foundation inaugurates floating hospital in Dhaka

The Emirates Friendship Hospital Ship, a charity venture run by registered NGO, Friendship, and funded by the Emirates Airline Foundation has been officially inaugurated in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Emirates’ management and officials from the Bangladesh government attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
The Emirates Airline Foundation, the airline’s onboard charity initiative that funds projects around the world in aid of underprivileged children, financed the twin-hulled vessel, granting in excess of US$750,000 to Friendship. In addition, the Foundation will fund the annual operating expenses of the vessel, estimated to be US$150,000.

Emirates has also signed a management contract for the ship with Friendship. The ship will ply approximately 250 kilometres along the River Bhramaputra north of the country and serve over three million people living on more than 400 small islands and on the river banks.

The well-appointed mobile hospital ship is equipped with chambers for doctors, primary health care facilities, two operating theatres, two eight-bed wards, paediatric and gyaencology units, a dental room, a pathological laboratory, an X-ray room and an ophthalmic room. A dispensary, onboard, will distribute free medicine and the registration room can accommodate up to 24 staff and eight visiting doctors. The deck of the ship can house 30 to 40 patients in an emergency.

Tim Clark, President Emirates Airline, said: “Emirates is pleased to be able to reach out to the people of Bangladesh with this project. This is the Emirates Airline Foundation’s flagship project in Bangladesh and we hope to be able to do a lot more in the years to come with the kind support of our customers who donate generously onboard. We also have a bank of donated Skywards Miles which we use to sponsor tickets for doctors who visit this project and other humanitarian causes around the world.” He added: “We take our corporate social responsibility very seriously, and we find reaching out through the Foundation is a very rewarding way of showing we care. The Foundation sponsors charities in a number of other destinations including India, Africa, Sri Lanka and Jordan.”

This is the second such ship that is coming into operation in the northern chars of Bangladesh. The other existing project, the Lifebuoy Friendship Hospital Ship, also, receives volunteer doctors from all over the world sponsored by the Emirates Airline Foundation. These doctors donate their free time and holidays to work on the ship in addition to providing health education to the masses. It has been a very successful operation with thousands of rural poor benefiting from the service. The Emirates Airline Foundation will continue to sponsor doctors for the new ship as well.

Runa Khan, Executive Director, Friendship, said: “This new ship will help us in our task of reaching out to the poorest of the poor in this region with the best of health facilities. Friendship is thankful to Emirates for taking this project under its wing. We cannot do enough for these people who are struggling to stay alive in the worst conditions possible and need all the help we can get. We expect to treat up to 60,000 patients a year on the Emirates Friendship Hospital Ship – 85 per cent of the beneficiaries are women and children.”


Airlines cancel flights after Mumbai attacks

(AFP) - Airlines cancelled flights to and from Mumbai Thursday after attacks across the city left more than 100 people killed and hundreds more injured, operators said.

Some airlines were unable to fly planes out of the city because the crews were trapped in hotels partially occupied by gunmen, although none were reported to have been taken hostage.

Air France cancelled a flight from Mumbai to Paris, scheduled to leave at 2:15 am local time (2045 GMT Wednesday), and one from the French capital to the Indian city timed for 10:30 am (0930 GMT), the company said.

Sources said 15 members of an Air France flight crew were trapped in their rooms in one of the hotels invaded by gunmen, the Oberoi/Trident, though they were not being held hostage. An Air France statement merely said they were in an unidentified hotel and were awaiting repatriation.

Friday’s schedule would be maintained as usual, an official added. US Delta airlines also cancelled one flight from Mumbai to Seattle via Amsterdam, which was to have taken off at 1:50 pm (0820 GMT).

Delta also said flight crews overnighting in Mumbai were not hurt in the attacks but could not leave their hotels.
The South African foreign ministry also said seven South African Airways (SAA) crew were trapped in the Oberoi/Trident hotel.

“Seven SAA crew members are trapped in the hotel. Seven other crew members, including three pilots, are safe,” spokesman Ronnie Mamoepa told AFP, without giving further details. German airline Lufthansa said it had scrapped two flights to Mumbai due to leave Frankfurt and Munich on Thursday.

Lufthansa said that it was resuming flights to Mumbai on Friday but that passengers not wishing to go there could change or cancel their bookings free of charge.

An aircraft diverted from New Delhi would land in India’s financial hub overnight on Thursday to pick up cabin crew and passengers stuck there because of Lufthansa’s earlier cancellations, a company spokesman said.

Most of the 600 passengers in Mumbai affected by the cancellations however have been able to leave India via other airports, he added.