A380 for Riyadh; flydubai, Air Arabia soar

Emirates to honour kingdom's 81st National Day

Emirates will operate the first ever A380 service into Riyadh this month, in honour of Saudi Arabia’s 81st National Day.

Operating into King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, on September 23, the one-off Emirates A380 service will operate as a commercial flight, giving customers the opportunity to be on the inaugural A380 service to the city.

“As the capital city of Saudi Arabia, Riyadh is an integral part of Emirates’ operations to the Kingdom. The A380 is our flagship aircraft and it is fitting that we mark the occasion of the country’s National Day by operating this one-of-a-kind aircraft into Riyadh,” said Ahmed Khoory, Emirates’ Senior Vice President, Gulf, Middle East and Iran.

The A380 has been operational between Jeddah and Dubai since February 2010, with strong demand from business and leisure travellers in both directions. The popular aircraft boasts 14 private First Class Suites, 76 lie-flat beds in Business Class and 399 seats with ice Digital Widescreen in Economy Class.

“The superior A380 product is an excellent fit for discerning Saudi travellers and our customers in Riyadh are eager to try the award-winning service for themselves. King Khalid International Airport is well equipped to handle the A380 and we are working closely with the relevant authorities to ensure next week’s one-off operation is successful,” said Khoory.

Emirates flight EK817 will depart Dubai at 16:55 on 23rd September and will arrive in Riyadh at 17:45 the same day. The return flight, EK818, will depart Riyadh on 23rd September at 20:45 arriving in Dubai at 23:25 the same day.

Emirates’ A380 will be the first ever superjumbo to touch down at King Khalid International Airport.

With 15 A380s currently in its fleet, Emirates is the largest operator of the environmentally friendly double-decker aircraft, operating services from Dubai to London Heathrow (double-daily), Manchester, Paris Charles de Gaulle, Toronto, Seoul, Bangkok, Beijing, Shanghai, Jeddah, New York, Hong Kong, Sydney and Auckland. Additional A380 destinations that have been announced include; Rome, Kuala Lumpur, Johannesburg and Munich.

The flight will operate as a regular commercial flight and tickets to travel on the flight can be booked through www.emirates.com<http://www.emirates.com/.

Emirates currently operates to four cities within Saudi Arabia including; Jeddah, Riyadh, Dammam and Al Medinah al Munawarah.

Flydubai launches Tbilisi route

Flydubai will launch two direct flights a week to Tbilisi in Georgia from Nov. 4. Tbilisi will be flydubai's 45th destination.

Flydubai received an official seal of approval from the Deputy Minister of Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia, George Karbelashvili, who hailed the entry of flydubai into Georgia as an important milestone in the development of relations between the two nations.

On his official visit to the UAE and accompanied by Georgian state television, Deputy Minister of Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia, George Karbelashvili, commented: "Flydubai's entry into Georgia is a momentous step in UAE-Georgia relations and I am sure flydubai's connection between Tbilisi and Dubai will help to establish and strengthen ties between the countries. We have a number of common areas of interest such as banking, real estate, oil and gas and tourism; and this is the opportunity to step-up collaboration in these sectors while exploring new relationship avenues."

Ghaith Al Ghaith, CEO, flydubai said: "We are grateful to the Georgian authorities for welcoming flydubai into Tbilisi. As Georgia's largest city as well as its industrial, social, and cultural centre, Tbilisi is gaining prominence in the Middle East both as a business and leisure destination. Also, improving air links between Dubai to Central and Eastern Europe is of great strategic importance to us. There are more than 55,000 expatriates from this region residing in the UAE and more than a million tourists visiting the emirates every year. We hope our network of direct flights will play a part in making travel between the UAE and Central and Eastern Europe easier and more affordable."

Tbilisi is flydubai's 45th destination, with the UAE low-cost airline currently operating five routes to former Soviet states: Yerevan (Armenia) Baku (Azerbaijan), Yekaterinburg and Samara (Russia) and Ashgabat (Turkmenistan). In addition, flydubai will be launching two additional routes to Russia with flights to Kazan beginning 14 September 2011, and flights to Ufa beginning 17 September 2011. The airline's flights to Ukraine will take off to Kiev and Kharkiv from 16 September 2011 and to Donetsk from 17 September 2011.

Air Arabia expands

Air Arabia announced on Monday that it will shortly introduce direct service to two new destinations in Ukraine, expanding its presence to three major cities in that country, including Kiev, Kharkiv and Donestsk; reaching 67 across its global network.

Beginning October 7th and 12th, Air Arabia will offer regular service to Kharkiv, the country’s second-largest city, and Donestsk, a major urban centre in eastern Ukraine with a population of 1.5 million. The launch of service to these two Ukranian cities will complement Air Arabia’s existing flights to Kiev, which the carrier serves five times a week.

Service to Donestsk will be twice weekly, including flights on Tuesdays and Fridays. Air Arabia flights will depart from Sharjah International Airport at 12:20PM and arrive at Donestsk International Airport at 15:40PM. Return flights will depart from Donestsk on the same days at 16:40PM and arrive in Sharjah at 21:50PM.

Air Arabia will offer service to Kharkiv every Wednesday, departing from Sharjah International Airport at 10:00AM and arriving at Kharkiv International Airport at 14:10PM. Return flights will depart from Kharkiv on the same day at 15:10PM and arrive in Sharjah at 21:00PM.

“We are especially pleased to introduce two new destinations in Ukraine, a nation with strong economic and cultural ties with the UAE and wider Gulf region,” said Adel Ali, Group Chief Executive Officer, Air Arabia. “All of us at Air Arabia look forward eagerly to the imminent launch of service to both Donestsk and Kharkiv”

“Eight years and over 20 million passengers since Air Arabia pioneered the low-cost airline model in the Middle East and North Africa, we continue to set our sights on entering new markets and further expanding the reach of our award-winning service,” Ali added. “Today’s announcement underscores our commitment and ability to offer even more destinations, at the most competitive fares, and meet the evolving needs of our passengers.”

By offering 8 flights per week between Air Arabia’s primary hub in Sharjah, UAE, and three destinations Ukraine, Air Arabia has underlined its commitment to offering unmatched service to this nation of more than 46 million people.

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