PHOTOS: British Airways takes delivery of its first Airbus A380

A milestone for the British aviation industry, as the country's national carrier took deliver of its first Airbus A380, becoming the tenth operator in the world to receive the superjumbo.

First look inside Singapore Airlines' brand new premium cabins

View these amazing photos and video showcasing the airline's next generation of business and first class cabin products, set to be the new industry benchmark for premium air travel.

PHOTO: First Airbus A350 XWB’s engines powered up

Rolls-Royce's Trent XWB engines have run for the first time on the A350 XWB, moving the aircraft closer to its maiden flight.

Pilot becomes online sensation with stunning cockpit photos

Air Arabia pilot Karim Nafatni's amazing photos have not only attracted a massive online following, but the global media have also jumped on the appreciation bandwagon.

PHOTOS: Thomson becomes first UK airline to receive Boeing 787

Thousands gathered to watch Thomson's first 787 Dreamliner (from an order of eight) arrive at Manchester Airport, completing its delivery flight from Paine Field in Everett.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Etihad expands social media presence with new Google+ page

A screenshot of Etihad's new Google+ page
+Etihad Airways has become the latest airline to launch its own Google+ page, supporting the UAE national carrier’s existing presence on social media channels Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

According to a press release issued today to announce the new launch, Etihad Airways has been successful in listening and engaging with its guests directly through social media.

“Valuable feedback is obtained so the airline can provide high quality experiences and services to guests,” added the press release. “In return, guests receive exclusive access to deals and competitions.”

In fact, each of the airline’s social media channels has seen considerable growth in the number of followers over the past year; Facebook ‘likes’ have increased from 56,600 to 316,500, followers on Twitter from 6,900 to 29,300, and views on YouTube from 373,600 to over six million.

What’s more, Etihad Airways recently launched its Arabic Facebook page, one of only a few in the world created by an airline.

According to Peter Baumgartner, Etihad Airways’ Chief Commercial Officer, the airline’s social media channels play an important part in its communications strategies to engage customers actively with the brand.

“Social media is helping us to listen and provide assistance to our guests. We look forward to receiving valuable guest feedback on Google+,” he commented.
The full press release for this story is available here.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Volunteers test Dubai Airport’s new A380 concourse, and voice their opinions (good and bad) on Twitter!

Dubai International Airport has completed the latest trials for its much-awaited Concourse A, after thousands of volunteers from across the UAE participated in various tests.

Volunteers line up! (Image: @fahadspeaks)
Marketed as the world’s first purpose-built facility for the Airbus A380 aircraft, Concourse A has been earmarked for a grand opening at the beginning of next year, although an exact date is still awaited.

Local volunteers - including adults, children and those with special needs - were invited to test out a selection of duty free shopping outlets, food and beverage facilities, information centres and the airport train (which offers a direct connection to Dubai Airport Terminal 3).

A campaign to recruit the volunteers was a massive success, it seems, and the trials were fully subscribed. Perhaps this could be attributed to the special benefits offered to volunteers – such as goodie bags (click here for a photo) and free lunches at one of the food court outlets – or maybe the public were keen to visit the world-class facility before its actual launch.

Dubai Airport Concourse A (Image: @fahadspeaks)
Results from the trials will be collected to highlight any potential issues with the processes, systems and facilities, allowing them to be ironed out, according to Paul Griffiths, CEO of +Dubai Airports.

"Prior to opening it is imperative that we are diligent in testing every aspect of the passenger experience across the new facility," he commented in a press release. "The trial has yielded some very valuable insight which we will be analysing and acting on in the days and weeks ahead. I would like to thank all the volunteers who took time out on their weekend and brought their families along to lend support to the trial. They have become part of Dubai's aviation history."
So what did the volunteers think about the trials? After a quick scan on Twitter, most were raving about the experience, although some were a little more critical about the waiting times. Here are some of the highlights:
“It was a great experience being in the world’s only A380 terminal. The volunteer programme is something unique and a great success. The terminal is awesome.” @Arun1999

“I say thumbs up for me! The advance trial was fully-packed. Thank you Dubai Airports for the experience.” @clen-david

“I think it was pretty good. Something different, getting the public to come in and be volunteers. The coolest part is that there’s a monorail to get from one part of the airport to the other. The goodie bag was great too.” @Nabila_Sharani

“Excellent arrangements for the second trial of Dubai Airport’s Concourse A for the Airbus A380. Thank you for making us part of the operational trials.” @jkhamisani.

“The trial was pretty good. Dubai raises the bar higher with every new thing they do. I’ve been to both trials, the second one was a bit messier.” @FaresAsadi

One user, however, seemed less impressed with the management of the trials, posting the following message to Dubai Airports:
"Complete chaos with your airport trials! Sitting here clueless on what to do. My pass is with your staff. And massive confusion. Is this how you treat volunteers who took out time to give u feedback? Expected better management.” @fahadspeaks
Were you a volunteer? How did you find the experience? Feel free to post your comments on this page.

RELATED: Top 10 Passenger Habits That Annoy Cabin Crew

Monday, December 17, 2012

Top 10 Passenger Habits That Annoy Cabin Crew

If you’re the type of person that snaps their fingers to catch someone’s attention, it’s time to break out of the habit! Whether you’re signalling for assistance at a department store, cafe or hotel, it’s unsurprising that the gesture is universally frowned upon. And the situation is no different on a flight either, it seems.

Skyscanner, the global travel comparison website, has published the findings from its recent survey, with more than 700 cabin crew from around the world interviewed about which habits are considered the most annoying when it comes to airline passengers. And guess what topped the list? Finger clicking! In fact, it was selected as the biggest gripe by more than a quarter of respondents, receiving double the number of votes in comparison to its closest rival.

So what other gestures are likely to upset the cabin crew on your next flight? Some of the answers are predictable –such as leaving your seat at the end of a flight before the light goes off, or chatting through the safety demo – while others might surprise even the most seasoned of travellers, me included! Something to remember while asking for an extra pillow or blanket, apparently.

“This is the first time that we’ve surveyed international cabin crew and the findings give us a real insight into what they really think of passengers,” commented Skyscanner’s Sam Poullain. What are your views on the top 10, listed below?

The most annoying habits of air passengers
  1. Clicking fingers to get your attention (26%) 
  2. Leaving seat at the end before the light goes off (13%) 
  3. Stuffing too many bags into overhead locker (11%) 
  4. Complaining there’s no space for their bag in the locker (10%) 
  5. Talking through the safety demo (9%) 
  6. Asking for more blankets/pillows (8%) 
  7. Stuffing rubbish in the seat pocket (7%) 
  8. Asking for a different meal (6%) 
  9. Ringing the attendant bell to complain about temperature (6%)         
  10. Asking for a specific brand of drink (4%) 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Etihad Airways named World’s Leading Airline for 4th Consecutive Year!

Peter Baumgartner, Etihad Chief Commercial Officer, collects trophy

Etihad Airways has been named ‘World’s Leading Airline’ for the fourth consecutive year at the World Travel Awards. The national carrier of the United Arab Emirates received the accolade at a black-tie gala event in the Indian capital of New Delhi on a date that many would consider auspicious – 12/12/12.

Etihad also picked up a trophy for its Diamond First Class product, after being named the World’s Leading First Class.

Etihad President and CEO James Hogan described the award as “a fantastic way to round out what has been an exceptional year” for the airline.

“We have received this award for four consecutive years and every year we have sought to raise our standards even higher,” he added. “To receive the top industry award of World’s Leading Airline four years running indicates that we are consistently delivering to higher standards. We will continue to do so.”

The World Travel Awards, which have been called the “Oscars of the Travel Industry” by the Wall Street Journal, attracted a massive 650,000 votes this year, cast by travel professionals from 191 different countries around the world.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Top 10 Leading International Freight Markets Of The Future!

With the International Air Transport Association (IATA) predicting that international freight volumes will increase by three percent each year between 2012 and 2016, it seems the cargo market is one to watch!

The worldwide figure was revealed in a press release to coincide with the launch of IATA’s Airline Industry Forecast 2012-2016 earlier this week. According to the global association, a total of 34.5 million tonnes will be carried in 2016, which is 4.8 million tonnes more than 2011 volumes.

The press release also included a more specific breakdown, looking at which countries will have the largest share of the international market in 2016. Of course, most of the rankings are somewhat predictable, although a couple have the potential to surprise.

By 2016, the largest international freight markets will be:
  1. United States (7.7 million tonnes)
  2. Germany (4.2 million tonnes)
  3. China (3.5 million tonnes)
  4. Hong Kong (3.2 million tonnes)
  5. Japan (2.9 million tonnes)
  6. United Arab Emirates (2.5 million tonnes)
  7. Republic of Korea (1.9 million tonnes)
  8. United Kingdom (1.8 million tonnes)
  9. India (1.6 million tonnes)
  10. Netherlands (1.6 million tonnes)
As expected, the United Arab Emirates is leading the Middle East market and has been positioned at number 6 on a global scale – impressive stuff!

It might be joined by neighbouring countries in the more distant future, as five of the 10 fastest growing international freight markets over the 2011-2016 period are in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), which IATA states is reflective of the region’s “growing importance in international air freight”. The best performer from the MENA region in the coming years, it seems, will be Egypt.

IATA's press release can be found here.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Fancy a chance to visit Dubai Airport’s new A380 concourse before others?

Thousands of UAE residents are being recruited to test out the forthcoming Dubai International Airport Concourse A before its official opening early next year.

Marketed as the world’s first purpose-built Airbus A380 facility, a number of trials have already taken place in recent months by the Dubai Airports team and other stakeholders to test out the facility’s different systems and processes. Now it’s time for the public to help out!

Two advanced trials have been scheduled for this month, each lasting 4-5 hours, where volunteers will carry out various scripted scenarios, from checking in for a flight and using the food and beverage facilities, to connecting onto other simulated flights. Each volunteer is requested to bring along one carry-on bag to ensure an accurate simulation.

The trials could even be a family day out, if you like – children are permitted and both trials are taking place on a Saturday. Free refreshments, airport parking, duty free shopping discounts and other benefits are also being offered. But hurry, the application deadline is 9th December.

"The advanced passenger trials give us an opportunity to identify areas where we can improve before we open for business," Chris Garton, SVP Operations at Dubai Airports, commented to Airport World. "To achieve this we need our loyal customers to assist us by offering their time as volunteer passengers."

For more information, visit