No-visa Qatar, Fiji-Hong Kong codeshare, onboard lounges and more

Qatar Airways chief executive Akbar al Baker announces the lifting of travel visa restrictions

Qatar lifts travel visa restrictions
Qatar is offering visa-free entry for citizens of 80 countries in a bid to reduce the impact of a blockade by its Arab neighbours. Instead of a visa, a multi-entry waiver will be issued free of charge at the port of entry on presentation of a valid passport with a minimum validity of six months and a confirmed onward or return ticket.

Depending on the nationality of the visitor, the waiver will either be valid for 180 days, from the date of issue, and allow the visitor to spend a total of 90 days in Qatar (multiple-entry waiver); or it will be valid for 30 days from the date of issue and entitle the visitor to spend up to 30 days in Qatar with the possibility of applying for an extension of the waiver for an additional 30 days (multiple-entry waiver).

Qatar to get first A350-1000
Qatar Airways has been told by Airbus it will receive its first A350-1000 aircraft before the end of the year. Qatar is the launch customer for the largest twin-engined passenger jet and has ordered a total of 37. The airline cancelled orders for four of the smaller A350-900s and in the past has rejected aircraft over what it said were quality issues.

Sarajevo joins Qatar network
Qatar Airways is adding yet another new eastern European destination, Sarajevo (above), the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, to its global network. The new four times weekly A320 service from Doha will begin on October 31. This follows recent announcements of other services to Skopje, Prague and Kyiv (Kiev). Sarajevo is rich in history – an assassination there sparked World War I – and was besieged by pro-Serbian forces in the most recent Balkans conflict. Its modern atmosphere offers cultural attractions, such as Baščaršija, an Ottoman bazaar, as well as stunning views of the surrounding mountains.

Fiji Airways codeshares with HKA
Fiji Airways and Hong Kong Airlines (HKA) are codesharing services between Hong Kong and Fiji, as well as routes to New Zealand, Japan and Thailand. These are Fiji Airways operated by Hong Kong Airlines: Hong Kong-Bangkok,
 Hong Kong-Osaka Kansai and
 Hong Kong-Tokyo Narita; and

 Hong Kong Airlines operated by Fiji Airways: Nadi-Auckland 
and Nadi-Hong Kong.

Emirates increases Egypt service
Emirates will increase capacity on its services to Egypt from October 29 with the launch of four additional scheduled flights every week from Dubai to Cairo. The extra flights will increase frequency to three times daily and provide direct daily connections each way in Dubai with Emirates’ four daily A380 New Zealand services. 

The new flights will also use a 360-seat Boeing 777-300ER in a three-class configuration. The additional Dubai-Cairo flight, EK 925, will leave Dubai at 2050 and will arrive in Cairo at 2305. The return flight, EK926, will depart Cairo at 0045 and arrives in Dubai at 0615. 

Nine years of onboard lounges
The first of Emirates’ new A380 onboard lounges are in use (above). They have been redesigned for a smaller space and are inspired by luxury yacht cabins. A380s joined the Emirates fleet nine years ago and 96 have onboard lounges. Four daily A380 services fly to New Zealand. The lounges cater for up to 26 guests at a time.

First Wing is flying at Heathrow
British Airways says about 1800 passengers a day are using The First Wing, a dedicated check-in and security channel for first class at London Heathrow Terminal 5. BA says further improvements to its first class Concorde Room will be completed by October 2017. Click to take a tour of the new First Wing: (1.13).

Route news of the week
Qantas is launching services to Kingscote (Kangaroo Island) from Adelaide and Melbourne. Adelaide-Kingscote will run five times weekly from December 4, reducing to three times from April from April 2. Melbourne-Kingscote will run three times weekly from December 17 to January 28, 2018. Both services will operate on behalf of Eastern Australia Airlines. Jetstar will begin an Adelaide-Hobart service three times weekly from November 14. This will be the first direct flights between the two cities since Tiger Airways pulled off the route in August 2010. Jetstar will use and 180-seat Airbus A320s on the route. China Southern Airlines is boosting its three times weekly Guangzhou-Adelaide service to five times a week from December 10 to February 26, 2018. The aircraft will be upgraded from an A330-200 to an A330-300.

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