10 TOP WORLD AIRPORTS NAMED BY SKYTRAX, NOT ONE FROM AFRICA AMONGST THEM
Information became available overnight that Skytrax has announced the 10 top airports, based on their extensive and detailed surveys carried out amongst passengers, but as often is the case, not one airport in Africa was named amongst the winners.
Leading the pack was once again Seouls Incheon International Airport, followed by Singapores Changi International Airport and with Hong Kong International in third place. As a surprise to many came Amsterdams Schiphol fourth, not a view shared by many travelers from this part of the world who complain bitterly about extremely long taxiing and marathon walks if a connecting flight leaves from the other end of the terminals. A surprise fifth for many was Beijings Capital International Airport which has left positive impressions on the growing number of passengers flying in and out of Chinas capital city. Sixth and seventh were Munich and Zurich, following by a more likely candidate for a higher finishing, Kuala Lumpurs International Airport which had to settle for eight. Number nine in the 2012 honours list was Vancouvers International Airport with Japans Central International Airport taking the tenth and last slot.
African airports, including the award winning Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam which was named best airport in the Indian Ocean region, did not make it to the top level, leaving undoubtedly room for future improvements in services and performance. That said of course, some of the sparkling airports in the Middle East did also not make it into the top 10, something which is likely to change when the new Doha International Airport comes into operation next year or when Dubai World International eventually opens for passenger operations. Watch this space.
Archive for May 8th, 2012
10 TOP WORLD AIRPORTS NAMED BY SKYTRAX, NOT ONE FROM AFRICA AMONGST THEM
AIR SEYCHELLES / ETIHAD NOW ON 8 FREQUENCIES
The codeshared flights by Air Seychelles and partner airline Etihad, between Mahe and Abu Dhabi, have now gone to eight per week, operated four times by an Etihad A320 and four times by an Air Seychelles A330-200 aircraft, they leased from Etihad as their own B767-300s are returned to the lessor ILFC. This makes the partnership second on the Seychelles route only after Emirates, now operating 13 flights per week but ahead of Qatar Airways, which operates daily to the archipelago.
It was also confirmed overnight that the French civil aviation authorities have now granted approval for the codeshare between Air Seychelles and Etihad to display both airlines flight numbers on the services by Etihad between Abu Dhabi and Paris, which should go a long way to satisfy demands by the French travel trade for flights to the Seychelles on an Air Seychelles flight number, albeit no longer nonstop as was the case until January this year.
The Hon. Joel Morgan, Minister for Home Affairs and Transport and also Chairman of the Board of Air Seychelles, expressed his satisfaction and delight over the decision by the French authorities: This is something we have been pushing hard to achieve in order to maintain our connectivity with the very important French market. I am pleased that the French Civil Aviation Authorities have now granted us approval for this code share venture into Paris. It means that Air Seychelles can now avail of Etihad Airways connectivity into Paris to sell our tickets directly. This will no doubt generate more revenue for our national airline as it continues to recover its financial viability through its partnership with Etihad Airways.
Flying the Creole Spirit once again into the world, surely a source of pride for all Seychellois and in particular all the staff of Air Seychelles, who only months ago looked at a very uncertain future. Watch this space for regular and breaking news updates from the Indian Ocean islands aviation industry.
Flying within but also from Kenya will cost passengers twice as much from July onwards, as KAA once again contemptuously brushed aside objections from airlines to reconsider their proposals, which were yesterday approved by the countrys finance minister.
International flight charges will double from US Dollars 20 to US Dollars 40 while domestic departures will from July cost 500 Kenya Shillings instead of the current 300 Kenya Shillings per sector flown.
Tourism analysts were swift to point out that making holiday packages more expensive through unilateral and often seen as arbitrary charges come at the wrong time, as the country awaits the final announcement on an election date, which is bound to see an impact on tourism arrivals, considering the post election situation in early 2008.
Airlines flying in particular into Nairobis Jomo Kenyatta International Airport are constantly complaining about the congestion in the terminal, a constant source of discontent amongst passengers too, and the long delays in getting the airport modernization to a completion. KAA is entirely responsible for these delays and has not even started a serious process for the construction of a long overdue second runway. Last year we had repeated power outages, an explosion of a boiler in Nairobi and a fire in the lounge in Mombasa, passenger lounges are congested, gates are congested, parking for aircraft is congested. The cost increases are due to simply bad management by previous management and I leave it to you to speculate over the reasons for what they did. KAA does still not deliver a world class service but they treat airlines and passengers as a cash cow to milk forever. A few weeks ago they had a strike mostly over poor working conditions and lousy wages for their staff and now they see passengers as their salvation by doubling fees. Airlines are already struggling with high fuel cost and if we lose passengers over such fee increases they will be to blame blasted a regular aviation source from Nairobi overnight, leaving no doubt how angry the mood is against the KAA at present.
Another source added: You might remember that the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority last year also unilaterally increased a lot of fees, some of them by nearly 400 percent. That has raised the expenditure for Kenyan airlines and airlines flying to the country considerably. Our regulators and the airport authority risk to make aviation too expensive for many to afford the tickets then and the cost of aviation fuel and the competition within Kenya and on our international routes will make financial survival a big question. For sure our government does not listen and whatever they call consultations with stakeholders from the private sector is simply a window dress, they do not consult, the dictate their terms take it or leave it.
The Kenya Airports Authority could not be reached for comment but a source close to them indicated that raising fees and charges was the only way to finance and pay for the expansion of the airport. The cost of putting up more terminal buildings, expanding aprons and making a second runway happen are just too great. Those facilities are needed, Kenya Airways has made it very clear that their expansion is directly linked to KAAs ability to provide expanded infrastructure in good time, and international airlines want to come to Nairobi but are hesitant to commit because of the congestion. If tourism is to grow our airport needs to grow even faster. And to accomplish that KAA needs money. Maybe the timing is an issue but the principle stands, you want better facilities then be ready to pay for it. Right now, true enough, JKIA is not in good shape but everyone can now see that progress is made with the new buildings and all. And when it is all ready it will have been worth the cost of it. And by the way, Entebbe has been charging 40 US Dollars for many years and they have seen passenger growth. It is a matter of some small financial adjustments on tickets but the benefits of it will be big.
Understandably different views with only one major agreement, that the timing of the rise in fees will be most untimely indeed. Watch this space for regular and breaking news from East Africas aviation sector.
SEYCHELLES SET TO HOST ZIKANZIL MUSIC FESTIVAL IN MAY, LAUNCHES MIND, SPIRIT AND BODY FESTIVAL IN JUNE
The Seychelles will host their first ever international music festival Zikanzil next week. The festival will bring together regional artists from Seychelles and the Indian Oceans Vanilla Islands, as well as from the Lebanon.
The festival organizers are aiming to include the event as one of the main cultural festivals alongside the Carnival International de Victoria and the Festival Kreol in the annual calendar of happenings on the archipelago.
The program will launch on the May 15th with its first concert featuring three popular names from the Seychelles musical scene. Singer, song-writer David Andre will be performing alongside the talented artist Patrick Victor and folklore artist Joe Samy. On the 16th musician and poet from La Reunion, Emmanuelle Peters will be performing in duo with singer, songwriter and poet Rene Sida at theNational Theatre, Mont Fleuri. Composer, teacher and music therapist from Madagascar, Linda Volahasiniaina alias Vola and Michel Rafaralahy alias Mi’mozi, will perform together. Vola will relive the best of the Malagay music of Valiha, Kabaosa and Aponga. Joel Manglou, from La Reunion will make his first debut on the Seychelles scene on the 17th, with a fusion of musical vibes, along with Seychellois artist Jude Ally. Manglous style is described as being like the Piton de la Fournaise of his native island ”sometimes languorous, sometimes explosive.
The International Music Festival will end on the 19th, with Jany de Letourdie, Ralf and Abaji in concert, three different styles and three powerful artists, each one echoing their diversity. Although Jany and Ralf remain unbeatable as the two local stars of the Seychelles Islands, Abaji who has just released his fifth album and is the author of several TV and Cinema musical compositions, is hitherto unknown to the Seychellois public. Abaji was born in Lebanon from an Armenian-Greek father from Smyrna and an Armenian-Syrian mother born in Istanbul. The festival will be a great opening for him to reveal his talent.
The Zikanzil Festival is organized by the Alliance Française in partnership of the Seychelles Tourism Board, the National Arts Council, the Seychelles Broadcasting Corperation, Emirates, Airtel, Air Austral, the Mauritius Broadcasting Corporation, Classic Design and Le Triskell.
Meanwhile are final preparations in high gear as the Seychelles are also in the process to launch another new innovative event in June 2012 the Seychelles International Mind, Body and Spirit Festival. The festival is bound to offer participants a new perspective on the increasingly popular Mind Body and Spirit theme that continues to gain popularity around the world. The Seychelles festival will however add a new dimension over the original theme with the events and exhibitors not staying put at just one venue but going out to a number of different islands. This will take place over a ten-day period during which time visitors and Seychelles residents alike can enjoy activities as:
- De-stress and Self Empowerment techniques for the mind
- Spa, Pampering and gentle physical exercises like Tai Chi, Yoga and Pilates for the Body
- Musicians and Artists.
All this can be achieved whilst enjoying the globally acclaimed pristine environment that Seychelles is renowned for, pampered by either 5 star resorts leaving nothing to be desired as well as more affordable accommodation in guest houses or self catering establishments. The all embracing range of free and affordable events will help boost the personal health and wellbeing, enabling clients to re-discover themselves and re-charge whilst exploring this Garden of Eden. For further information on the festival, email enquiries@SeychellesMindBodySpirit.com
Seychelles, truly Another World. Dont miss the inaugural editions of these latest events the Seychelles are putting on to spice up a holiday of a life time even more.
This Leopard does not change its spots – Award winning Leopard Beach Resort and Spa set to add 30 private villas
Arguably today the finest large resort along Diani Beach, itself one of Kenyas best, the Leopard Beach Resort and Spa is entering a new phase in its long and successful existence. Officially opened in December 1974, the hotel instantly became a travelers favourite, and after changes of ownership at the beginning of the last decade started a journey of modernization and upgrading to more luxurious levels of accommodation, service and food, when veteran hotelier Chris Modigell came on board. The resort grew from initially 90 rooms to now 158 villas, suites, superior garden view, superior ocean view and standard rooms, offering the level of accommodation, catering for all tastes and budgets.
Voted domestically six times as Kenyas Best Beach Resort, twice as Kenyas Best Weekend Get Away more notably it gained international acclaim when twice in succession named by the World Travel Awards as Best in 2010 and 2011. The resort is however not resting on its laurels and will this year start to add 30 2 and 3 bedroom villas as a resort within the resort in the format of a gated community, with access to the sprawling grounds of the Chui but the privacy and added private facilities for the villas residents and their guests. Said Chris Modigell in a communication sent to this correspondent: We will be setting a new benchmark for luxury accommodation at Diani Beach offering the security, services and facilities of a world class resort complemented with the space, comfort and privacy of private villas.
The fame of the resort has led to airlines in the region with nonstop flights to Mombasa putting the Leopard Beach Resort and Spa on top of their Kenyan holiday suggestion list for the famous Diani Beach. Located 35 kilometres south of the coastal city of Mombasa, visitors from Nairobi preferring not to drive find it even easier to fly from Wilson Airport directly to the Ukunda airfield, which is only 5 kilometres from the resort and spares guests the lengthy road journey through Mombasa and across the bottleneck Likoni channel.
The Leopard Beach Resort and Spa is running for the World Travel Awards once again as an official nominee and can be voted for via www.worldtravelawards.com/vote. A full list of nominations is available on the award website via www.wordtravelawards.com/nominees and in closing, Diani Beach too has been nominated again as Best Beach, so take a moment or two, visit the nominations site and give the Leopard Beach Resort and Spa and Diani Beach your vote.