Air Astana, the flag carrier of Kazakhstan, intends to launch flights to Montenegro. The airline also expressed an interest in cooperating with Montenegro’s new national airline, ToMontenegro, which hopes to begin flying by this summer.
Air Astana interested in flying to Montenegro
Montenegro’s state secretary for tourism, Ivana Đurović, has been in Moscow this week for the International Travel and Tourism Exhibition. As part of this exhibition, she spoke to Ismail Sekerbekov, the sales director of Air Astana. Ms Đurović spoke to Montenegrin media yesterday about Air Astana’s plans for Montenegro that Mr Sekerbekov told her about.
She revealed that Air Astana intends to launch flights to both of Montenegro’s airports, Podgorica and Tivat, in the near future. Some in Montenegro have speculated that this could be as soon as April this year, linked to an imminent visa relaxation scheme.
In a press release, the Montenegrin Ministry of economic development also stated that Air Astana had expressed an interest in cooperating with Montenegro’s new national airline, ToMontenegro. However, ToMontenegro is not flying yet, and it probably will not be for a while.
Air Astana is doing well right now
Despite the pandemic and having had a tough 2020, Air Astana has seen a strong start to 2021. As Simple Flying reported earlier this month, the airline’s CEO said the following:
“Air Astana is estimating financial performance for the combined months of January and February 2021 at its highest level since 2017.”
Like many airlines, Air Astana received a financial boost from cargo last year. It converted a Boeing 767-300 into a freighter aircraft to capitalize on the new demand. It also consolidated its fleet. It retired a pair of twenty-year-old Boeing 757-200s and a handful of Embraer ERJ-190s. Now, Air Astana operates Boeing 767-300s and Airbus A321LRs on its long-haul international routes.
Air Astana hopes to cooperate with ToMontenegro
Meanwhile, in Montenegro, the national airline and flag carrier, Montenegro Airlines, was shut down. The Montenegrin government is now working on ToMontenegro, a new national airline, which it hopes will be ready to start flying by this summer. Montenegro is the European country most heavily reliant on income from tourism to support its economy.
Air Astana has expressed an interest in cooperating with ToMontenegro, though the exact form that this cooperation would take is not known yet. The two airlines might establish a codeshare partnership so that ToMontenegro and Air Astana could both sell flights from Kazakhstan to Serbia, for example, on a single ticket.
Air Astana has also expressed an interest in linking Montenegro with Uzbekistan, so it will be interesting to see how this cooperation develops in the future.
Do you think flights between Kazakhstan and Tivat or Podgorica are likely to happen? Let us know what you think of this story in the comments below.
Istanbul Sets A Goal Of Becoming A Child Friendly Airport
Today, Friday, April 23rd, is Turkey’s “National Sovereignty and Children’s Day.” With this in mind, Istanbul Airport is letting the world know that it’s a fantastic, world-class facility designed considering the needs of children and families. Let’s take a look at what the airport has to offer and what makes it such a great airport for families with kids.
“Now is the time for kids to fly”
Anyone traveling with young children will know that it can be a challenge. From keeping them safe and entertained to finding facilities to change diapers, taking little ones on a family vacation can be more of a job than a vacation.
According to Istanbul Airport, “now is the time for kids to fly.” The airport has produced a slick, high-quality promotional video and other public messaging to promote its suitability for families traveling with children. The facility is now branding itself as a “Children and Family Friendly Airport.”
“The Child and Family Friendly Airport concept draws its inspiration from children’s multifaceted interests and the questions they keep asking while exploring. Because children learn so many things for the first time…iGA enables children to experience the joy of exploring in the best way possible and uncovers this in the light of their favorite activity, namely the games.” -Istanbul Airport
Family-friendly features at Istanbul Airport
Istanbul’s family and child focus begins at the airport’s parking facility, where families with children can park their cars in spots reserved for them. Next, at the airport terminal entrance, children and their families can “pass through the special doors designed exclusively for them in the form of a space shuttle.”
After passing through security, traveling families can go to the iGA Lounge*, which is marketed as one of the main areas of the airport for families as it includes the following amenities:
- Children’s restroom
- Infant care room
- Breastfeeding room
- A playroom with games and child-friendly television
While kids are playing and watching television in the playroom, parents can monitor their children using screens in the food court of the lounge.
*The iGA lounge is a pay-to-access lounge and can be entered with a one-time fee or with the “iGA PASS” membership program. Single-use pricing is as follows:
- Adult – €50,00
- Child – €25,00
- Baby – Free
700 square meters of playground facilities
İGA also has several concept playgrounds, including ones with themes of:
“The total size of the playground, which feature five different game concepts
designed for children to have a pleasant time at the airport, covers an area of
700 square meters,” the airport notes.
Heading to your flight
Finally, the airport states that there is a free buggy service for children between the ages of 0 and 2. There is also a “special welcoming and farewell assistance for the 0-6 age group.” With this service, children and their parents are “farewelled” to the door of their planes by a train designed in the shape of an airplane.
It looks like Istanbul airport has gone to great lengths to make itself a child and family-friendly facility. This will make it ideal for the residents of Istanbul as well as those wanting to make Istanbul the next destination for a family vacation. Travelers with layovers at the airport, perhaps using Turkish Airlines as a connecting carrier, will benefit as well.
While the iGA lounge has some fantastic features, its price tag might be a little high for some families, especially those with multiple children.
What do you think of these features? Have you traveled as a large family with children? Please share your experiences with us in the comments.
Why Did A TUI Boeing 737 MAX Divert To Doha Airport?
On April 21st, a TUI Boeing 737 MAX 8 on its way to Dubai from Brussels diverted to Hamad International Airport in Doha, Qatar. The aircraft appeared to enter a holding pattern for 40 minutes, with sources report that the aircraft issued a call via squawk code 7700 only after it had spent some time in the holding pattern. Squawking 7700 indicates that an emergency situation is taking place and assistance is required. The aircraft landed at 21:07 local time in Doha and has since carried on to Dubai and returned to Brussels.
The TUI 737 MAX registered OO-TMY departed Brussels at 12:19 local time on April 21st and headed southeast towards Minhad Air Base in Dubai – a military airport. The aircraft was nearing Dubai when it entered into a holding pattern over the waters of the Arabian Gulf, some 80km (50 miles) from Dubai and around 200km (124 miles) from Doha.
Dutch aviation site Up In The Sky reports that the jet circled for some time before putting out an emergency call via squawk code 7700. Next, the aircraft headed towards Doha, where it performed a safe landing some 70 minutes after entering the holding pattern.
Landing at 21:07 local time, the jet left Doha at 00:33 and landed at Al Minhad Air Base at 02:18 local. The aircraft then departed for home base in Brussels 01:13 this morning.
Why the flight to an airbase in Dubai?
First, let’s address why the aircraft, operated by a carrier that typically markets itself as a leisure airline, was headed towards a Middle Eastern military airbase. While we don’t yet have firm confirmation from the airline, the December 2020 news that TUI would be operating charter flights for Belgian Defence forces is almost certainly what was happening with this incident flight.
Belgium has announced its withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan will take place this year. The UAE’s Al Minhad (MND) has had a supporting role for foreign troops arriving in the region, including those from Australia and Canada.
Aviation24.be noted at the time that the Belgian Air Force had returned an Airbus A321 to its lessor, HiFly. Airbus A400M military transports would have taken the place of the A321s. These are based in Melsbroek airbase. A330MRTTs from NATO’s Multinational Multirole Unit at Eindhoven airbase would have also flown some of these missions.
However, delays in the delivery of these aircraft combined with delays in certifying pilots had forced Belgian Defence to seek out the services of TUI to perform charter flights. The organization told Aviation24.be the following:
“To guarantee the continuity of our operations and exercises, Belgian Defence will partially use charter flights in 2021 and 2022. Around twenty flights which will take place in January and February 2021 will be carried out by TUI“,
What was the reason for diverting to Doha?
While we’ve inquired with TUI about the incident, we have yet to receive a response from the airline. There are some interesting aspects to this incident, as you may have already picked up on:
- The aircraft was closer to its destination, Al Minhad Air Base than it was to the diversion airport of Doha.
- Reporting indicates that the squawk 7700 call was only made after it had been circling for some time.
It’s these two factors that lead us to think that the holding pattern had to do with communicating with Al Minhad; perhaps there was trouble establishing communications or receiving clearance to land from the Emirati government. Perhaps, after multiple attempts to gain permission to land, the aircraft was running low on fuel and thus needed to issue a the squawk 7700 to indicate an urgent situation, with Doha responding first.
It’s also quite interesting that the aircraft didn’t land at any of the numerous UAE airports that were much closer- including Dubai International, Dubai World Central (Al Maktoum International), Sharjah, or even Abu Dhabi.
While we would love to find out more about this situation- operational details that have to do with the military may not be as forthcoming, especially when compared to regular commercial passenger flights.
What do you think happened in this case? Let us know in the comments.
Goodbye Kitty! EVA Air Set To Repaint Hello Kitty Boeing 777
EVA Air is officially saying goodbye to one of its unique ‘Hello Kitty Sanrio Family’ Boeing 777 liveries. The aircraft will return to the carrier’s standard green livery next month after over seven years. Let’s find out more about this livery and aircraft.
EVA Air announced yesterday that it is planning to say goodbye to one of its beloved Boeing 777 liveries. In specific, the airline is retiring the “Hello Kitty Sanrio Family” livery on one of its 777-300ERs. The plane will return to standard EVA Air colors on 16th May 2021, which means fans have three weeks to see the aircraft in the skies.
Currently, the plane is operating services between Taipei and San Francisco, so keep your eyes peeled if you find yourself in either city. According to data from RadarBox.com, the aircraft has also been seen in Los Angeles and Hanoi in recent weeks, so keep an eye out!
The aircraft carrying this livery is a 15-year-old Boeing 777-300ER, registered B-16703, according to Planespotters.net. This type is the most popular in EVA Air’s fleet and operates long-haul routes in Europe and the US in usual times. The plane was reconfigured in 2016 to have 38 seats in business class, 64 in premium economy, and 221 in economy.
As mentioned, the livery featured here is the Hello Kitty Sanrio Family one, known as “Hand In Hand.” This was painted in September 2013 and came with a new onboard experience to match. On the flight, passengers would be served in Hello Kitty-themed cutlery and could buy exclusive products, a lucrative business.
According to Paxex.aero, EVA Air reported that Hello Kitty flights saw 3% strong operations compared to other flights. This was despite charging slightly higher for the onboard experience, which passengers didn’t seem to mind. The special liveried 777s on long-haul routes were the most popular for the airline.
However, since last year, the Hello Kitty experience has been suspended due to the COVID-19 fears. This likely meant that the licensing costs no longer made much sense for the airline since passengers could not buy merchandise or enjoy the experience. However, the Hello Kitty liveries lives on with EVA Air.
Not the only one
While we might be saying goodbye to the earliest Hello Kitty livery in the fleet, EVA Air still has more available! In fact, the airline currently has three more specially painted jets, two A330-300s (B-16332 and -33) and one more 777-300ER (B-16722). All three of these aircraft feature different Sanrio characters for passengers and onlookers to enjoy.
What do you think about the Hello Kitty liveries? Are you sad to see them go? Let us know in the comments!
India Joins England Red List Meaning Direct Flights Banned
India has officially joined the UK’s red list as of 04:00 AM BST, heavily restricting travel between the two countries. The ban comes as several other nations also restrict travel from India amid a surge of cases and possible new variants. Let’s find out more about the impact of these restrictions.
As of this morning, no travelers except British or Irish citizens or those with residence rights in the country can enter the UK. Those who can still travel must submit to a 10-day, £1,750 ($2,425) hotel quarantine. The ban extends to anyone who has been in India in the 10 days before arriving in the UK.
The decision to add India to the red list was made on 19th April, giving travelers just over three days to reach the UK before the ban on 23rd April. However, thousands were unable to reach in time due to Heathrow and the government denying extra repatriation flights from India due to various issues.
Data from Public Health England, according to BBC, showed that 3,345 passengers arrived in the UK between 25th March to 7th April. Of these travelers, 4.8% of them (161) later tested positive, raising fears of a new variant spreading in the UK.
Not the only one
Yesterday, two major popular destinations for India found themselves banned. The UAE imposed a 10-day ban on all travelers from India entering the country, with some exceptions. The decision will have a huge impact on UAE aviation, given India is the single largest market for airlines there, and on Indian airlines.
Routes between the UAE and India had become some of the busiest international ones in the world last winter. There are 62 direct routes between India and the UAE offered by carriers in both countries, putting much at stake for airlines. However, given the current situation in India, flights are unlikely to resume in 10 days.
Canada also announced a ban on travelers from India for 30 days last night, in another blow to long-haul airlines. The ban went into effect from 11:30 PM local time yesterday, which means no more passengers can enter for now.
New Zealand had already canceled flights from India at the start of April due to rising cases. Australia has also decided to cut flights from India by a third due to rising cases in its hotel quarantine system. Oman also banned the entry of travelers from India from 24th April onwards, according to Hindustan Times.
The decision to issue travel bans comes as India tackles the largest COVID-19 wave in the world. The country saw 332,530 cases on Thursday, the highest daily toll for any country in the world ever. Moreover, fears of a new variant that is more dangerous has also pushed countries to ban travel. For now, don’t expect restrictions to be eased any time soon.
What do you think about the decision to ban travel from India? Let us know in the comments!
Mining Bitcoin: How to Mine Bitcoin
Fintech offers brokers better commissions after BID
OWL 2021 Power Rankings – #9 Guangzhou Charge
Coinbase Addresses Future Revenue Concerns With Plans to Become Crypto’s Amazon
Hello Pal Signs Definitive Purchase Agreement to Acquire Interest in Dogecoin/Litecoin Mining Assets
CDL Challengers Elite Stage 3 Preview
xQc Banned From NoPixel GTA RP Server Once Again
Twitch streamer Lando Norris takes Italian F1 Grand Prix podium
Three takeaways from the SWT Japan Ultimate Online Qualifier
Cloud9 Perkz says Kassadin can’t ever be balanced in LoL
Did Coinbase Insiders Really Cash Out? It’s Complicated
Ontario Securities Commission Just Approved New ETH ETFs
Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals to Webcast Fiscal 2021 Second Quarter Results
Valorant: Meet the top 4 EU teams qualified for VCT EMEA Stage 2 Challengers Final
HashChing acquires Mystro to further expand its offering to mortgage brokers
Nigma make impressive debut versus Team Secret in Europe Season 2 DPC league
United Airlines a first quarter 2021 net loss of $1.4 billion
Gary Gensler is now head of the SEC. What comes next?
Krypto Person der Woche Alex Mashinsky
Binance Team to Burn all the Allocated BNB Token
Esports1 week ago
Free Fire World Series APK Download for Android
Esports6 days ago
C9 White Keiti Blackmail Scandal Explains Sudden Dismissal
Esports1 week ago
League of Legends’ Patch 11.8 introduces Gwen, champion updates and new Skins
Esports6 days ago
Overwatch League 2021 Day 1 Recap
Esports1 week ago
Dota 2: Top Mid Heroes of Patch 7.29
Esports1 week ago
Ludwig Closes Out Month-Long Streaming Marathon in First Place – Weekly Twitch Top 10s, April 5-11
Blockchain1 week ago
CoinSmart Appoints Joe Tosti as Chief Compliance Officer
Esports6 days ago
Fortnite: Epic Vaults Rocket Launchers, Cuddlefish & Explosive Bows From Competitive
Esports1 week ago
Fortnite Leak Teases Aloy Skin From Horizon Zero Dawn
Blockchain1 week ago
Bitfinex-Hacker versenden BTC im Wert von 750 Millionen USD
Blockchain1 week ago
April Continuum Blockchain Legislation Summit ContinuumBlockLegs
Esports1 week ago
Don’t Miss Out on the Rogue Energy x Esports Talk Giveaway!