UAE airline news: Etihad's new cabins, Emirates' superjumbo routes and other regional firsts
From new places to go to seasonal summer schedules, here's all the airline news you need to know about this month
Normal service has resumed at Dubai International Airport with completion of runway maintenance and in Abu Dhabi, Etihad has rolled out changes in economy cabins on its narrow-body aircraft.
If you're a student and flying with Gulf Air you can now check-in an extra bag free of charge, good timing for those heading home for the holidays. Elsewhere, there are lots of seasonal changes on various routes. As we head into summer, here’s everything you need to know.
Emirates adds superjumbo flights
With everything back to normal at DXB after maintenance on the southern runway ended, Emirates has been busy breaking records this month with the news of the world’s shortest superjumbo flight. Flying from Dubai to Muscat twice daily from July 1, the A380 will have an in-air time of around one hour and cover a distance of 340 kilometres. It will operate on this schedule until late October.
The airline has also launched A380 serviced flights to Amman, and to Boston. Until October 26, the world’s largest passenger jet replaces one of the three aircraft currently servicing the popular Dubai to Amman route. To Boston, the A380 takes over operations from the existing aircraft until September 30, and then again from December 1 to January 31 to cover winter demands.
Etihad’s new economy class
Flying on Etihad’s narrow-body A320 or A321 over the summer? You can expect wider, more comfortable seats but also the loss of your seat back in-flight entertainment. Make sure you travel with your personal device, charging cable and headphones if you want to use the airline's new wireless entertainment system. Etihad has also introduced a revised economy-dining service and its first ever retail menu.
New flight routes from the UAE
Air Arabia is launching two new routes this July. First up is a four times a week flight from Sharjah to Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan with flights starting on July 4. Travellers will also be able to fly from Sharjah to history-rich Tunis. The route commences on July 4 with four flights per week until September, when the service will drop down to three time per week. Elsewhere, Air Arabia is launching a new flight from Egypt’s Sharm El Sheikh to Naples in Italy, with flights starting from July 15.
Another new route on the radar is Dubai to Qingdao with China Eastern. The Chinese airline is launching a thrice-weekly service to the seaport city from June 29. Flights depart on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays and the journey time is set to be around ten hours.
Student perk with Gulf Air
Students flying with Bahrain’s Gulf Air can now check-in an extra bag free of charge. Any student with a valid student ID card flying between any destinations on the Bahrain-based airline's network can check-in an extra bag, up to 23 kilograms in weight meaning plenty space for books, laptops and more.
Two daily flights from Abu Dhabi to Moscow
Passengers headed from Abu Dhabi to Moscow Domodedovo now have two daily flights to choose from as Etihad has launched a second daily service. Set to operate seasonally from October 27 to May 10, the twice-a-day service will help serve the Russian market, which is the second biggest source of inbound tourism to the UAE.
Dubai to Sochi with Flydubai
Staying in Russia and looking to Flydubai, travellers can now fly to the resort town of Sochi with Dubai's low-cost carrier. Flights commence on July 1 to the seaside town on Russia's Black Sea Coast. Just four hours from the UAE, Sochi is known for its beaches in summertime and idyllic alpine winters, could this be your new weekend getaway option?
Summer flight schedules of Nile Air, Georgian Airways, Air Serbia, Etihad and Thai Airways
Summer is almost upon us and that means lots of changes in the world of aviation.
Throughout June, Nile Air is offering new flights on a Cairo to Madrid to Luxor route. There will be one flight per week departing every Saturday at 10.30am from the Egyptian capital.
Travellers looking to fly from Jordan to Georgia, and vice versa will have another option this summer as Georgian Airways has announced a Batumi to Amman flight, which will operate until August 26. The airline has also added a weekly Tbilisi to Amman service, which will operate across the same period.
If you’re travelling with Air Serbia from Belgrade to London Heathrow, you might now find yourself travelling with Etihad. That's because the Abu Dhabi airline is operating a wet lease service to the Serbian airline. The changes will also see frequency on the route increase from nine to 16 flights per week.
London-bound travellers from Abu Dhabi have more choice than ever before with Etihad as the airline has increased its services over summer from three flights per day to five. Flights to London Heathrow will fly at this capacity from June 23 until September 28.
Travelling to Thailand from Oman? If you are flying in the first half of June, you can now fly non-stop with Thai Airways, instead of the usual Bangkok — Karachi — Muscat route. This summer, the flight will run three times a week from June 2 until June 13, 2019.
FlyBosnia flying to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia
Fledgling start-up FlyBosnia has commenced operations with flights from Sarajevo to the Middle East. Kuwait and Riyadh are the first two destinations welcoming the low-cost airline with flights commencing from June 4. Weekly flights to Saudi Arabia’s Qassim will begin on June 11, followed by Jeddah where flights will launch on June 15.
Long-haul from Lagos to Sharjah
Although you can't yet make a reservation on Air Peace’s website, the Nigerian carrier is launching its first long haul route which will fly from Lagos to Sharjah. The direct flights will operate three times per week, but no further details are available at present. Watch this space.
More options to fly to India
Headed to India? Have family in Delhi? Or planning a trip to Mumbai? Air India is expanding its service to Dubai with a second daily flight from both Indian cities commencing immediately.
IndiGo has introduced two new destinations for travellers heading to India from Abu Dhabi with the launch of two new daily flights. India's largest airline will now fly from the capital to Delhi and to Mumbai.
And if you’re already in the subcontinent, hopping across to Nepal is about to get a little easier as IndiGo has also expanded services between Kathmandu and Delhi. From June 20, a second daily flight will be added in the afternoons between the two cities. Serviced by an Airbus A320, passengers can leave Delhi at 13.25pm and be in Nepal’s capital by 13.45pm.
Hop around the Philippines with Royal Air Philippines
Planning to island hop in the Philippines this summer? Or maybe you’re headed home to visit family in various provinces? Royal Air Philippines has you covered with five new routes from Cebu. Destinations include Caticlan (perfect for visiting Boracay), Cagayan de Oro, Davao, Manila and Puerto Princesa (for island visits to Palawan). On the other side of the spectrum, from June 3, the airline is reducing services on its Clark to Caticlan and Clark to Puerto Princessa routes.
Flydubai to Kilimanjaro
Travellers looking for low-cost summer flights to Africa can fly to Kilimanjaro with Flydubai. The airline will operate up to two daily flights on its Boeing 737-800 aircraft on its Dubai-Dar es Salaam to Kilimanjaro route until June 30. The airline's Dubai to Zanzibar flights will also increase in frequency, with two services per day until September this year.
Fly Emirates superjumbo to Sydney and Air Canada increases flights to Toronto
Looking ahead to the winter season, travellers heading to Sydney for Christmas from Dubai will be getting there on one of Emirates' superjumbos. The airline confirmed schedule updates that replace the usual Boeing 777-300ER on this route with an Airbus A380’s for the busy winter travel period. The thrice-weekly service will run from December 1 until January 31, 2020.
And if home is in the other direction, or you’re planning a visit to Canada, from October Air Canada will increase the number of flights it operates from Toronto to Dubai. Five weekly, 14-hour flights will being operations on October 27 until March 28, 2020, an increase from the previously scheduled three and four flights per week.
Updated: June 6, 2019 12:18 PM