Tuesday, March 11, 2014


BERLIN, Germany – Qatar Airways has announced the upgrade of Business Class seats and entertainment systems on select Airbus A330-200 and A320 aircraft, in order to offer an even more luxurious and consistent experience to customers.
The upgrade – which is part of an on-going customer enhancement project – will usher in new levels of comfort for Business Class passengers, who will now enjoy seats that recline into a true 180-degree lie-flat position. Modifications to seven A330-200 and nine A320 aircraft have already commenced, and are expected to be completed by the third quarter of 2014.
“Qatar Airways is known for two key features – dynamic growth and a constant focus on top-quality service, where the customer is at the heart of everything we do,” said His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer.
“I firmly believe in providing our passengers with the best levels of service and the best available in-flight product,” said Mr. Al Baker. “And to deliver our five-star service in a consistent way is probably our greatest achievement and has been the foundation of our success to date.”
Business Class seating on both the upgraded A320 and A330 recline into a 180-degree true lie-flat bed, providing superior sleep comfort and greater consistency with the Qatar Airways long-haul wide-body fleet.
The seats also feature six-way adjustable headrests, four-way adjustable lumbar support, a variety of personal stowage compartments, privacy dividers and fresh contemporary styling.
Business Class on both aircraft will feature new 15.4” smart monitors and touch screen remote controller handsets, which also allow dual screen mode. The seats also offer PC Power, USB ports and connectivity for smart devices. On A330 aircraft, the inflight entertainment system will be upgraded to the Panasonic eX2 platform, providing a richer entertainment experience with a greater amount of programming.

The A330 aircraft will also be fitted with onboard connectivity, with the installation of the Panasonic Global Communications Suite. Both the A330 and A320 will also have the capability of sending and receiving SMS and MMS messages.
On the A330 aircraft, Economy Class seating will also be upgraded to provide greater comfort and more personal space. The new seats will be fitted with new 10.6” monitors and handsets, upgrading the customer experience to Boeing 777 standards.
The enhanced A320 aircraft will operate on the Vienna, Tunis, Milan, Rome, Geneva and Maldives routes while the upgraded A330s will operate on the Barcelona, Osaka, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur and Phuket routes.
Qatar Airways currently flies a fleet of 32 A320s, 16 A330-200s, 13 A330-300s and four A340-600s that are deployed on a variety of routes across the network.

British Airways’Leaders of Tomorrow Initiative to train six Aviation College Students

Manager, Trade Sales, British Airways, Mr. Ademola Sanya; General Manager, West Africa, British Airways, Mr. Kola Olayinka and Legal Adviser, Nigeria College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Zaria, Afolake St. Matthew Daniel, at the press conference to announce the launch of the British Airways Leaders of Tomorrow, held at Ikoyi

Lagos, Nigeria; March 12, 2014: In a move aimed at further deepening its contribution to the development of the Nigerian aviation industry, British Airways has announced the launch of a capacity building initiative tagged Leaders of Tomorrow.
The programme will see the leading international airline fund the training of six students to be drawn from the two aviation colleges. The lucky students will emerge through a competition.
To qualify for this proramme, candidates are to send a 500 words submission on the topic; Building a more Robust Aviation Industry and Travel Luxury; Benefits of International Airlines to www.baleadersoftomorrow.com
Speaking at a press conference which held in Lagos, to formally launch the initiative, Country Commercial Manager (West Africa), British Airways and Iberia, Mr. Kola Olayinka disclosed that the idea was part of a larger plan that the company is deploying to contribute to the development of the country’s aviation sector.
 “This initiative is designed to bridge the gap between the classroom and the actual work environment. We believe in supporting talents by providing them a veritable platform where they can learn and gain experience in their chosen fields. We are not only concerned with the business of providing excellent service delivery; we are also passionate about investing in the lives of our people. We hope to achieve that with this project.” He stated.
The competition is currently open to students of two major aviation colleges: Aviation Technology College (NCAT), Zaria, Kaduna and International Aviation College (IAC), Ilorin, Kwara State.
Speaking further, he added that “The eventual six students will undergo two weeks internship at British Airways head office in Nigeria and one week visit to the company’s global office at London Heathrow.

The internship module include understudying Keith Williams, Chief Executive Office of British Airways in London as well as visiting other strategic places to get firsthand experience of the workings of a global airline.
All of the interns will receive a British Airways accredited certification from the CEO to mark their graduation from the Leaders for Tomorrow Academy.  
Entries for the programme open on Wednesday, 13th March, 2014 and closes on the 10th of April, 2014. All entries will be vetted and scrutinized by a panel of three preselected judges. These judges will work together to select the top six students who will participate in the programme.

Etihad Airways signs up Patrick Vieira

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, has welcomed international football star Patrick Vieira as the latest high-profile addition to its Guest Ambassador program.
One of the most accomplished sportsmen of his generation, Vieira has won nine league titles and five national cups during his 17-year career as midfielder with some of the world’s leading football teams, including Manchester City, Arsenal, Inter Milan and Juventus.
He was also part of France’s national football team during its 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000 victories, and currently serves as Head of the Elite Development Squad at Manchester City Football Club, which is also sponsored by Etihad Airways.
In his new role as Etihad Guest Ambassador, Vieira will work on a number of initiatives to promote Etihad Airways in the UK and other key markets around the world.
The agreement builds upon the success of several grass roots sporting initiatives run by Etihad Airways and Patrick Vieira in the past two years, focused on the athletic development of youngsters in key markets around the world.
Peter Baumgartner, chief commercial officer, Etihad Airways, said: “When we look for Etihad Guest Ambassadors, we look for remarkable men and women who follow their aspirations, excel in their chosen fields, and also reflect the brand values of Etihad Airways.
“Patrick Vieira, who is one of the football world’s biggest success stories, fits the description perfectly.
“Etihad Airways already has a long-standing relationship with Patrick, as he’s a regular guest on our flights across the globe, and we have also run a series of collaborative projects that aim to develop the skills of aspiring footballers worldwide.
“We are delighted to extend this relationship even further by welcoming Patrick as our latest Etihad Guest Ambassador.”
The Etihad Guest Ambassador program was launched in October 2013 and features some of the biggest names from the global entertainment, art and sporting industries.
Current ambassadors include Australian celebrity Dannii Minogue, Indian actress Katrina Kaif, German golfer Martin Kaymer, Vietnamese Australian chef Luke Nguyen, and Australian cricketer Shane Warne.
Commenting on his appointment as Etihad Guest Ambassador, Patrick Vieira said: “I have been a regular traveller on Etihad Airways flights since the airline was first established a decade ago and really admire the superior service that is consistently delivered to guests.
“Aside from this, I’ve also had the pleasure of working with Etihad Airways on a number of projects, such as hosting community sporting events for youngsters in the UAE, Seychelles and China.
“In my official capacity as Etihad Guest Ambassador, I look forward to even more collaboration, with a number of exciting promotional initiatives planned for the future.”

Tourism industry welcomes Dubai visa decision

Tourism industry insiders have welcomed the United Arab Emirates’ recent announcement granting visas on arrival for an additional 13 EU nationalities.
The Dubai Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing’s (DTCM) revealed news of the UAE’s new visa exemptions at ITB Berlin with the decision hoped to further strengthen Dubai’s competitive advantage in the field internationally, allowing incentives and event organisers to offer packages to a wider range of nationalities with greater ease.
As a result of the decision, citizens of all 28 EU member states can now enter Dubai and the UAE without having previously applied for a visa.
According to the UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the new exemptions apply to citizens of Poland, Slovenia, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Hungary, Latvia, Estonia, Malta, Cyprus, Croatia, Romania and Bulgaria from March 22nd, 2014 onward.
With 50 per cent market share of the business events sector within the Middle East and North Africa region, Dubai Convention and Events Bureau, a division of DTCM, believe incentive travel will play a key role in further growing international market share of business tourism.
Speaking ahead of ITB, Hamad Mohammed Bin Mejren, executive director business tourism at the Dubai Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing, said: “Dubai’s profile as a business events destination and compelling leisure destination is well known. 
“DCEB’s presence at ITB Berlin focuses on a segment that utilizes and showcases both our business and leisure credentials.
“With plenty to do, excellent meetings infrastructure and world-class leisure facilities and events, we have an excellent incentive travel offer and are expecting this to be a segment with continued and sustained growth.”

Monday, March 3, 2014

Technology gives us edge over other hotels —Coeln

Didier Coeln, General Manager of the 5 star Intercontinental Hotel, Lagos has been in the hospitality industry for the past 25 years. In this chat with JIMOH BABATUNDE, Coeln  revealed how he came into the industry and how he got to where he is  today.
He said having travelled in many countries within Africa and Middle East that he has gained a large experience in leadership with multi cultural environment. “Being successful is achieving results while focusing on service delivery and standards improvements.”
Here is an excerpt.
On how he came into the industry
I have always loved the hospitality industry and so went to catering school for four  years in Ecole Hôtelière  Namur, Belgium , where I learnt how to cook, serve and learnt all the basic of the hotel industry.

It was four years program  which gave me opportunity of concentrating on all aspects of catering Then  went to International Hotel School of Glion, Switzerland,  for two and a half years preparing for  management positions within the Hotel industry.
So, basically , I have A level technical with my catering school in Belgium. After my education , I entered the hotel industry with the Hilton group as a low ranking staff and moved up the ladder before moving over to Intercontinental and have remained here since
On challenges  moving up the ladder
Well, yes , you face some challenges due to various hotels, environment, locations and of course, the most important is the hard work that you have to put in and then you get support by Intercontinental in your career development.
On his experience managing hotel in Nigeria
The good thing is that from my career, first of all, Nigeria  is not the first place  that I will be working abroad , I have spent most of my careers  working abroad in what is known now as DRC and I have worked in Congo, in  Kenya, Egypt , Saudi Arabia  and Oman and now Nigeria.
don’t think that there are bigger challenge than anywhere else. It is same if you work in Saudi Arabia or in Egypt  not everything is readily available. So sometimes, you might have the issue of finding  the right equipment or the right type of goods that you need, but there is always a solution.
There is nothing that makes Nigeria more complicated, on the contrary, our Nigerian colleagues go out of their ways to make guests happy unlike in Europe , five O clock is five O clock.
On the the edge of the hotel in terms of competition
Well, our edge is obviously when  you are the newest, you are more up to date on matter of technology.  Then also our rooms are quiet large, we offer  our clients large varieties of dinning experience . Some hotels have one restaurant, one bar, but here we have four different restaurants, three different bars and definitely, you have wide range of possibilities for guests that want to enjoy themselves while in Lagos. We have  the latest technology in the hotel, we have IP solutions as regards to telephone, TV, internet and these are what guests are looking for, especially business travellers .
On the hotel’s unique selling point
I think today, we have two unique selling points. One is our rooms and the technology that goes with them, including the bathrooms. I mean we have modern equipments and not all hotels have what we have.
Our second selling point is our Nigerian colleagues, right from the day we opened  they have embraced the philosophy of intercontinental and they are truly dedicated  and they are truly making all the efforts to make sure our guests are happy inspite of some hitches.
They have done good jobs in making  the guests feel at home and for them to get the services they expect to get from intercontinental  property.
On connecting  with the hotel guests
Obviously, that is the most important part of the day, even though sometimes, it can be a little bit shorter due to desk work. Obviously the name of the game is to meet the guests, to have contacts with them , to know what they will like us to improve , what they will want to see, what they will like to get and making sure they are happy and return back to us on their next trip to Lagos.
On the opportunities in the hospitality industry in Nigeria
I think the opportunities here are great and I think for what I know since  Intercontinental hotel has opened, a number of other international chains are trying to open an hotel in Nigeria which shows definitely there are keen interests in Nigeria as a very good market.
In any case, Nigeria is one of the leading countries sub sahara Africa with large population, good GDP so there is definitely good potential for the hotel industry here .
For the people, obviously that will give opportunities for our Nigerian colleagues to grow, because if there are new hotels coming up in the next two, four, five years, I am  pretty sure that our colleagues would have trainings  that will make them grow in the industry. That is the name of the game.
When I started my career, I started as a receptionist, checking every day tomatoes, it took me several years to become General Manager.
On the cost of accommodation in Nigeria
I will not say it is expensive, it is a fact that we try to balance between the investment to cost of running the properties and then to make a profit.
Everybody knows that in a hotel that you don’t  get your investment back in a short time as it is a long time investment, but at the end of the day, everybody in business aim is to make profit. So, I don’t think the price of hotel in Nigeria is particularly high.
If you go to cities like London, Tokyo or Paris, you will find hotels that are much more expensive than all the hotels in Lagos.
On his vision for the hotel
My vision is to try to make intercontinental Lagos the number one in Lagos and Nigeria, making sure people recognised the quality of service being  provided, the quality of the equipment  used against  good quality price ratio
Intercontinental  hotel  is a five star hotel and we are not new. We are different brands under the IHG that gives customers  opportunities to travel and remain in intercontinental brand. The strength of the intercontinental is that it has the largest members in loyalty program with over 72million members.

- See more at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2014/01/technology-gives-us-edge-hotels-coeln/#sthash.U3AR4hAn.dpuf

Didier Coeln, General Manager of the 5 star Intercontinental Hotel, Lagos has been in the hospitality industry for the past 25 years. In this chat with JIMOH BABATUNDE, Coeln  revealed how he came into the industry and how he got to where he is  today.
He said having travelled in many countries within Africa and Middle East that he has gained a large experience in leadership with multi cultural environment. “Being successful is achieving results while focusing on service delivery and standards improvements.”
Here is an excerpt.
- See more at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2014/01/technology-gives-us-edge-hotels-coeln/#sthash.U3AR4hAn.dpuf

Qatar Airways adds 787 Dreamliner on Johannesburg route

Qatar Airways' Boeing 787 Dreamliner Qatar Airways is significantly enhancing its operations to South Africa by increasing weekly frequencies to Johannesburg and by deploying new Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft from May 1.

Three flights per week will be added to the current daily schedule to Johannesburg, bringing the total frequency on the route to 10 services each week. The new services will significantly improve connections to destinations across Qatar Airways’ global network, and will particularly offer business and leisure passengers excellent daily connections to popular routes in the Far East such as Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore, Tokyo and Manila.
To coincide with the start of the additional services, Qatar Airways will also be introducing the state-of-the art Boeing 787 Dreamliner on all services to South Africa. This aircraft will offer passengers an enhanced travel experience with unparalleled levels of service and comfort, and will be enjoyed by all passengers flying with Qatar Airways from Cape Town and Johannesburg as well as from Mozambique’s capital city, Maputo.
Commenting on the new services, Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker said: “In line with our commitment to offer our passengers more choice and the most exceptional travel experience, we are delighted to increase frequencies to South Africa and also to introduce Qatar Airways’ 787 Dreamliner on our routes to Johannesburg, Cape Town and Maputo.”
“Our 787 Dreamliners give passengers a superb onboard experience with specially designed interiors, spacious cabins and custom-made seats in both Business and Economy Class. This, along with an advanced entertainment system featuring the world’s first ‘dual-screen’ interface, and communication systems including onboard wifi for all passengers, enables us to offer an exciting and unique product for passengers travelling from Southern Africa”,  Al Baker added.

Cape Town

Qatar Airways has 254 seats across its 787 Business and Economy Class: Business Class is configured in a 1–2–1 layout with 22 seats, while Economy has a 232 seating capacity in a 3–3–3 layout. All seats in Business Class recline in to 180 degree flat beds.
The airline’s 787s are the world’s first fully connected Dreamliners with wireless facilities enabling all passengers to remain in touch with friends and colleagues on the ground through the internet or SMS mobile texting. The 787 Dreamliners complement the ultra-luxurious customer service and experience Qatar Airways promises to its passengers.
Qatar Airways, the national airline of the State of Qatar has taken delivery of nine of its 60 Dreamliners and has been flying the aircraft from Doha to Dubai, London, Munich, Stockholm, Riyadh, Jeddah, Zurich, Frankfurt, Copenhagen, Oslo, Delhi, Bangalore and Brussels.
Qatar Airways has seen rapid growth in just 17 years of operations, currently flying a modern fleet of 129 aircraft to 134 key business and leisure destinations across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific and the Americas.
On October 30, 2013, Qatar Airways joined the oneworld Alliance, becoming the first Gulf carrier to join a global airline alliance, enabling its customers to benefit from almost a thousand airports in more than 150 countries, with 14,000 daily departures.


Qatar Airways is set to participate in ITB Berlin 2014, the world’s leading travel trade show for the sixth year in a row this  week: the five-star airline is welcoming attendees of ITB Berlin to visit its newly redesigned booth from March 5-9, at Messe Berlin.
Situated in Hall 22B, the Qatar Airways’ booth covers a total area of more than 250 square metres set across two levels, where guests can sample the five-star on-board cuisine served on Qatar Airways Business Class flights, and try out the interactive features of the airline’s latest products. Visitors will also be treated to entertainment highlighting upcoming destinations for 2014 including Edinburgh, Miami, Dallas and Larnaca. 
Airlines typically use ITB as an opportunity to showcase new products and services in front of a large, international audience. During this year’s ITB, Qatar Airways will focus on new destinations, the addition of the A380 and A350 to its fleet, as well as the opening of the much anticipated Hamad International Airport.
Eight new destinations for 2014 have already been announced with flights commencing this last weekend to Sharjah, UAE (March 1) and Dubai World Central, UAE (March 1) followed by; Philadelphia, USA (April 2); Larnaca, Cyprus (April 29); Istanbul-Sabiha Gökçen, Turkey (May 22); Edinburgh, Scotland (May 28); Miami, USA (June 10) and Dallas / Fort Worth, USA (July 1).
"The opening of the new airport will represent the culmination of our expansion strategy for 2014. It is the first airport in the world that offers full flight operation of all commercial aircraft, including the Airbus A380, the largest passenger aircraft in the world. With it, we will continue to strengthen Doha’s position as an important global hub. I look forward to a successful trade fair in Berlin," said His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, Chief Executive Officer of Qatar Airways.
Berlin is one of three Qatar Airways destinations in Germany, and is one of the airline’s most important markets. Qatar Airways increased capacity on its Doha-Berlin route starting December 1 2013, with the introduction of the A330, due to strong passenger demand.