Hilton Powers GCC Hotel Expansion
By Dipo Olowookere
Chief Executive Officer of Hilton, Mr Chris Nassetta, will be heading to the Arabian Hotel International Conference in Dubai this year, underlining the importance of the region to his company’s ambitious expansion plans.
Following another year of landmark growth under the leadership of Carlos Khneisser, Hilton has over 21,000 rooms in its pipeline across the Gulf more than 16,000 of which are already under construction and scheduled to open before 2020.
The six markets of the GCC contribute more than a third of Hilton’s pipeline rooms across the Europe Middle East Africa – where the company is active in over 60 countries.
Carlos Khneisser, vice president, development, Middle East, North Africa & Turkey, Hilton said: “Our active pipeline of 16,000 rooms under construction in the GCC is more than double the number of our nearest competitor.
“The deals we are signing are not just there on paper, they are quickly progressing through design and construction.
“The value we drive for our owners facilitates the speed of this growth as owners want to come back for more.
“Sixty percent of the hotels in our pipeline are being developed together with existing Hilton owners and our team look forward to progressing further projects next week during AHIC.”
Hilton has the largest active pipeline in the GCC both in terms of the number of rooms and properties in construction.
Saudi Arabia is the market undergoing most extensive growth with the 7,900 rooms Hilton is developing there set to near triple the company’s presence in the market.
Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait and Oman all count Hilton as the hotel company with largest number of rooms under construction.
Emirates Acquires Three DA42-VI Aircraft for Flight Training Academy
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Emirates has made an order for three twin-engine DA42-VI aircraft and its corresponding flight simulator from Austria-based Diamond Aircraft Industries for the Emirates Flight Training Academy (EFTA).
This is in fulfilment of its promise of offering cutting-edge tech and state-of-the-art aircraft to train pilots of the future and help close the industry’s skills gap.
Since 2020, more than 100 cadets have successfully graduated from EFTA, creating a strong pilot recruitment pipeline for Emirates and the industry.
The AUSTRO jet-fuel-powered DA42-VI aircraft is slated to be the flagship that ushers in multi-engine piston (MEP) training at EFTA.
The delivery of the aircraft is expected to commence soon, with all three slated to be received by EFTA in the first half of 2023.
“Our new fleet from Diamond Aircraft is part of our larger strategic intent for our cadet programme. It helps us design a bridging MEP programme for cadets to gain more flying experience while progressing from a single-engine to a light jet aircraft. It strengthens our offering and makes it more unique, rounded and robust.
“Our cadets will benefit hugely as they gain experience on three different types of aircraft, even before they’re licensed. The new fleet also helps us go above and beyond in complying with the new GCAA guidelines.
“The DA42-VI is reliable, eco-friendly and a practical platform for MEP training. We’re confident we’ve made the right choice,” the Vice President of EFTA, Capt Abdulla Al Hammadi, said.
“We are thrilled that our DA42-VI is the choice for Emirates’ flight training. This, once again, solidifies the aircraft’s position as the industry-leading multi-engine piston trainer,” said Liqun (Frank) Zhang, CEO of Diamond Aircraft Austria. “With Emirates, we are adding another premier flight academy to our long list of renowned training operators and are looking forward to supporting them with the most advanced and eco-friendly aircraft available on the market today.”
The 4-seat DA42-VI is the newest version of Diamond’s technology leading light piston twin-engine aircraft. It’s the first certified general aviation piston aircraft to combine modern technology airframe, avionics, and power plants.
With its unique combination of performance and utility, the jet fuel-powered DA42-VI is designed to make transitioning from single to twin-engine much easier. The aircraft generates fuel savings of up to 50% compared to conventional AVGAS-powered twins, and its panoramic canopy provides excellent visibility during all flight manoeuvres.
Since its introduction, well over 1,100 DA42 aircraft have been delivered, outselling all other certified piston twins combined. The all-composite DA42-VI is equipped with efficient, silent, clean and reliable 168hp jet fuel AUSTRO engines AE300, Garmin G1000 NXi with 3-axis Automatic Flight Control System and optional electrically driven air conditioning.
Emirates Forward Bookings Remain Robust on Strong Customer Demand
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The Chief Commercial Officer of Emirates, Mr Adnan Kazim, has said the airline’s forward bookings have remained robust amid a strong customer demand, spurring the company to ramp up its operations across continents.
According to him, in the past months, the airline has planned and executed the rapid growth of its network operations, reintroducing services to five cities, launching flights to one new destination (Tel Aviv), and adding 251 weekly flights onto existing routes and continuing the roll-out of service enhancements in the air and on the ground.
It was disclosed that Emirates has continued to scale up its A380 operations with the reintroduction of the iconic double-decker across its network: Glasgow (from 26 March), Casablanca from (15 April), Beijing (from 01 May), Shanghai (from 04 June), Nice (from 1 June), Birmingham (from 1 July), Kuala Lumpur (from 01 August), and Taipei (from 01 August).
“Emirates is working hard on several fronts – to bring back operating capacity as quickly as the ecosystem can manage while also upgrading our fleet and product to ensure our customers always enjoy the best possible Emirates experience.
“So far, four of our A380 aircraft have been completely refurbished with our new cabin interiors and Premium Economy seats, and more will enter service as our $2 billion cabin and service enhancement program picks up pace,” Mr Kazim added.
He noted that in the coming months, established routes to Europe, Australia and Africa would be served with more Emirates flights, while in East Asia, more cities are seeing route restarts.
Emirates had upcoming route enhancements by regions, including in Europe, Australia and New Zealand, East Asia, as well as in Africa which covers Cairo: from 25 to 28 weekly flights by 29 October; Dar es Salaam: from 5 flights a week to daily flights starting 01 May and Entebbe: from 6 flights a week to daily flights starting 01 July.
Mozambique Okays Visa Exemption for 28 Countries, Snubs Nigeria
By Kestér Kenn Klomegâh
A number of African countries are focusing on promoting extensively inbound tourism. They are luring potential external investors to the tourism industry.
The latest in the southern African region is Mozambique, which has approved a visa exemption for 28 countries for tourism and business.
As the Council of Ministers approved the decree in mid-March, the exemption applies to visitors holding ordinary passports and allows for a 30-day stay, renewable to an additional 60 days.
The model adopted by the Mozambican government is similar to the United States visa waiver program in the sense that it requires travellers to register on a platform for pre-screening at least 48 hours before travelling and to pay a processing fee of MZN-650 (equivalent £8.50).
In the list released, Nigeria, which prides itself as the giant of Africa and the largest economy on the continent, was missing.
The approved countries for this programme are Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Ivory Coast, Japan, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States.
The visa exemption is a follow-up to the launch of a platform last December that allowed prospective visitors to apply for an electronic pre-authorization to travel into the country. The introduction of e-visas has seen an increase of over 30 per cent in the number of travellers entering the country compared to the same period in the previous year.
The e-visa platform commits the country to respond to applications within five days, but general feedback places an average response at 24 hours, and the few issues reported are usually created by users not uploading the required documentation.
President Filipe Jacinto Nyusi, since August 2022, has taken steps containing 20 reform measures aimed at delivering to visitors and potential investors a path for a more competitive and more accessible country. Mozambique, with an approximate population of 30 million, is one of the 16-member Southern African Development Community.
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