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Mihin to launch domestic flights

Mihin Lanka recommenced operations from January 2009 with daily flights to Dubai from Colombo and is also planning to start domestic operations targeting foreign and local tourists, its Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Kapila Chandrasena said.

Mihin Lanka at the Colombo international airport. Picture by Sumanachandra Ariyawansa

The new Boeing 787 aircraft with the capacity of 187 passengers arrived in Colombo on Saturday (27th) night from France. The Mihin logo and the branding were also done in France.

The airline is expecting to lease another aircraft shortly hoping to commence domestic operations by looking at the availability of aircraft for that purpose, he said.

The airline would also operate flights to Trichi and Trivandrum from the second week of January. The daily frequency would operate during day time. Mihin would also play the role of a feeder airline to Sri Lankan as it would carry many passengers from Trichi and Trivandrum flying to other international destinations using Colombo as a hub, Chandrasena said.

The CEO said with Bodhgaya season commencing the airline will operate daily flights from February 15. They will be also looking at new Indian destinations after March when the Bodhgaya season ends.

The airline also launched the own all centre. The new aircraft was leased from France for less than six months. The agreement is to fly 350 hours a week and there would be a mixed crew on board.

The roll out plan for the relaunch include six weekly frequencies except on Saturdays to Dubai leaving Colombo at 9.15 p.m. and reaching Colombo at 4.30 a.m. the following day.

The Mihin tickets office has already sold 35 per cent of the ticket for the first flight. The airline would be selling a ticket for less than US$ 4,100.


Emirates flies daily to Cote D’Ivoire

Sweet taste of Emirates

The sweet taste of Emirates’ success has taken on a new meaning after the airline introduced daily flights to Cote D’Ivoire, a leading producer of cocoa and a key ingredient behind one of the world’s favourite treats, chocolate.

Just two years after Emirates whetted the appetite of travellers to Abidjan with a five times a week service, demand has called for operations to go daily, and now they have.

As before, flights to and from Abidjan, served by a 3-class Airbus A340-300, are making a quick stop in Accra, Ghana.

Abidjan is one of the 15 destinations to which Emirates flies in Africa with most passengers flying in from Paris, Beirut, Accra, New York and Dubai.

The extra flights will be of particular benefit to passengers with connections to GCC countries, the wider Middle East and the Far East.

Salem Obaidalla, Emirates’ Senior Vice President, Africa, West Asia and Indian Ocean, said: “This represents a further push by Emirates into West Africa and brings new support to business, international trade and passenger travel, while strengthening the country’s overall transport infrastructure.

And to think chocolate is part of the equation will only serve to give us an even greater taste for Africa.”

Obaidalla added: “The introduction of this daily service comes just weeks after we announced a double daily flight to Lagos from February 1st next year.

This is such an exciting continent for us and are delighted to be playing a part in its prolific growth.”

The West African nation, which has Guinea, Mali and Ghana amongst its neighbours, is one of the world’s major producers and exporters of cocoa beans, coffee and palm oil.

Abidjan is also a large commercial seaport, forming a gateway for the industrial world to and from Western Africa.

Emirates, supported by Emirates SkyCargo, have been flying to the African continent since 1986, the year after the airline was established.

In just 23 years, the Dubai-based carrier has quickly grown into a major player on the aviation stage, boasting a 123-strong modern fleet, the world’s largest A380 order book and a six continent route network.

Australian, Japanese cities to be first for new A330 operations

Singapore Airlines will introduce its new Airbus A330-300 regional aircraft on routes to Australian and Japanese cities, progressively from end March 2009.

A330-300 in Singapore

The first of 19 new A330-300s will be delivered to Singapore Airlines by Airbus in mid-January. Initially, the aircraft will be used to complete pilot conversion, and thereafter, operate some short sectors between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, and Singapore and Jakarta, during late February and March.

Its full entry into commercial service will occur on 30 March 2009, and to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the commencement of Singapore Airlines flights between the two cities, the first route will be between Singapore and Brisbane.

From April, services between Singapore and Perth will be progressively converted from the existing B777 operations to A330; conversion will be completed in May. The daily flight between Adelaide and Singapore will be converted by June.

Also in June, following delivery of the eighth aircraft, the A330 will debut on Japan routes, with the daily service to Nagoya to be converted from B777 operations. By March 2010, the daily B777 service to Osaka will be replaced with the A330.

The A330-300 twin-engine wide-body aircraft will be configured with 285 seats in two classes - Business and Economy.

A new Business Class seat, especially designed for regional and medium-haul flights, as well as other cabin product features, will be unveiled when the aircraft is delivered this month.

A380s delivered to carriers

Airbus reached its target of delivering 12 A380 aircraft in 2008, bringing the total number of A380s delivered to date to 13.

The first A380 was delivered to Singapore Airlines on October 15, 2007, with five more delivered to the airline in 2008.

Qantas received three A380s in 2008, and Emirates four - the most recent of which was delivered on December 30 from the Airbus delivery centre in Hamburg, Germany. “We have met our 2008 delivery schedule”, said Tom Enders, Airbus president and CEO.

“That was only possible thanks to a tremendous team effort. “With the in-service fleet steadily growing, our airline customers are benefiting from lower operating costs while their passengers are benefiting from unequalled cabin comfort and quietness. The environment is benefiting too.

With lower emissions and noise, the A380 is the most eco-efficient aircraft in service today.”


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