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Hurricane Irma destroys one of the most famous airports in the world St Marteen

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Juliana International Airport

AN AIRPORT famous for its spectacular plane landings has been destroyed by strong winds as Hurricane Irma moves across the Caribbean.

Pictures have emerged of a flattened Princess Juliana International Airport after winds of up to 297km/h tore through St Martin, a divided island in the Caribbean split between French and Dutch rule.

The airport sits remarkably close to Maho beach in Dutch-controlled Sint Maarten, which has become a popular site for beachgoers to watch planes swoop perilously close to their heads while coming in for landing.

Irma caused huge rocks to smash into planes, at least one of the jet bridges to collapse and sand and debris from Maho beach to be swept onto the runway.

Pictures in the aftermath of the hurricane also showed severe damage to the airport terminal. Inside the airport, the check-in hall had flooded.

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Princess Juliana International airport suspended all operations on Tuesday, local time, as Irma approached the island.

Sand was blown onto the tarmac. Picture: bondtehond/Twitter Inside the terminal. Picture: bondtehond/Twitter

“We regret any inconvenience this will cause, but must stress that the safety and security of all is priority number one at SXM Airport,” the airport’s chief operating officer Michel Hyman said.

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The nation of St Martin, which is close to Anguilla in the Caribbean, is divided between the Dutch territory of Sint Maarten and the French territory of Saint-Martin.

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At least six people have been killed in the French part of the island at the time of publication.

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Another person has been killed in the popular tourist island of St Barts, France said.

“The situation in St Martin and St Barts is dramatic — there is no drinking water, electricity, public buildings are unusable, houses have been destroyed,” Guadeloupe prefect Eric Maire said.

 

In Saint Martin, the prefecture building has been destroyed, and the fire station is out of order. Several roofs have also been blown off at the police station.

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Irma first hit Antigua and Barbuda which locals described as “sounding like angry people banging on the shutter and roof while a freight train roared overhead.” Nevertheless, the damage in Antigua wasn’t as devastating.

After moving through Sint Maarten/Saint Martin and St. Barts, Irma is now headed to the Virgin Islands, where Virgin’s Richard Branson is planning on hiding in his Necker Island wine cellar. After passing through Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, Orma with then hit Florida over the weekend; Key West is currently being evacuated per a mandatory evacuation.

 

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Airlines

EasyJet launches flights for the first time to Istanbul

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EasyJet Boosts UK Domestic Travel with 140,000 Additional Seats on Belfast Routes"

EasyJet has announced a new route to Istanbul in Turkey from Manchester which will take off this summer. This will be the first time the airline will operate to the Istanbul Airport in Turkey’s largest city, which becomes the 156th destination on easyJet’s extensive short-haul network spanning Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. Seats are on sale now at easyJet.com and via the mobile app, with fares from £51.99.*

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Departing for the first time on 9th June, flights will operate twice a week on Mondays and Fridays, providing a direct connection for customers from the North-West to this unique and iconic city, in addition to existing popular services from Manchester to Antalya and Dalaman.

Istanbul joins other destinations Bodrum, Antalya, Dalaman and Izmir on easyJet’s Turkey network and promises to offer customers something uniquely different.  Straddling two continents, and famously known as the city where East meets West, easyJet’s newest destination boasts a rich history and will offer customers a variety of experiences; from the old city which reflects cultural influences of many historic empires, to world-famous landmarks like the Blue Mosque, while bargain hunters can stroll the iconic Grand Bazaar.

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What’s more, the new route means that brand new package holidays have gone on sale with Europe’s fastest-growing tour operator, easyJet holidays. Holidaymakers can make the most of city break packages starting at just £437 per person, including hotel, flights and 23kg luggage. The holiday provider has 13 hotels to choose from, including the 5* CVK Park Bosphorus Hotel Istanbul in the New City, the 5* Eresin hotels Topkapi in the Old City, and the 5* Wanda Vista Istanbul in Marmara.

EasyJet serves 21 UK airports, offering 482 routes to 125 destinations from the UK across Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. To discover more about easyJet’s UK network and to book, visit easyJet.com

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“Biomimetic Seats and Time Travel: easyJet’s Vision for Travel in 50 Years”

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"Biomimetic Seats and Time Travel: easyJet's Vision for Travel in 50 Years"

EasyJet 2070: The Future Travel Report highlights include:

The airport journey and air travel experience will be revolutionized by technological advances:

  • Heartbeat and biometric passports will replace the traditional passport, for passengers to breeze through their airport. Much like fingerprints and the retina, every person’s cardiac signature is unique. Passengers’ heartbeat signatures and biometric details will be logged on a global system in the same way fingerprint scanning technology works today.

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  • Ergonomic and biomimetic sensory plane seats will become the norm, with smart materials adapting to passengers’ body shape, height, weight, and temperature, providing the ultimate tailored comfort flying experience

  • Inflight entertainment will be beamed directly in front of passenger’s eyes, via optoelectronic devices, replacing the need for onboard screens or downloading movies before you fly

  • e-VTOL air taxis will do away with the airport car park shuttle – the journey to the airport will be quicker and more convenient than ever before with 85% of passengers arriving by e-VTOLs from their homes to the terminal.

As technology advances, it will see significant advances in the accommodation experience abroad:

  • 3D printed hotel buffet food will allow holidaymakers to 3D print whatever they want to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner, while reducing food waste.

  • Subterranean hotels built into the fabric of the earth that are super energy efficient and at one with the environment

  • All hotel rooms will be smart rooms with beds already pre-made to exactly desired firmness, ambient temperatures and favourite music playing based upon preferences you select in advance of booking the holiday

  • A holographic personal holiday concierge will accompany holidaymakers to provide up to date destination information and assistance throughout their stay

  • 3D printed, recyclable holiday clothes on arrival at the hotel will remove the need for suitcases and fast holiday fashion as travellers can print the clothes required in their hotel rooms, tailored to their perfect fit and style, and recycle the materials for the next guest to enjoy.

  • Human powered hotels which harvest energy from its guests’ footsteps in order to generate power

Four of the expert predictions have been brought to life in incredibly detailed renders, showcasing how travel could look in 2070.

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The impressive visuals depict travellers using their unique heartbeats to get through security at the airport, as well as a new way of flying as aircraft are fitted with adaptable, biomimetic seats, with entertainment beamed directly into their eyes. Other images show holidaymakers viewing a true-to-life Colossus of Rhodes wearing haptic suits, and selecting delicious 3D-printed food, personalised to their tastes. Three-quarters (75%) of Brits say that these technological advances would make them more likely to go on holiday in the future.

The survey of 2,000 British adults revealed that biometric heartbeat passports and time-travelling holiday experiences are the advancements in travel that the nation would most like to see happen by 2070.

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Air India Welcomes Its First Airbus A321neo Aircraft

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Air India Welcomes Its First Airbus A321neo Aircraft

The first ever Airbus 321neo has been introduced by Air India, a Tata Group company. On Saturday, the VT-RTD-registered aircraft departed from Hamburg, Germany towards Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi.

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Air India wrote on Twitter, “The Airbus A321 Neo, the newest member of our AI Family, is ready to be welcomed (VT-RTD). We are eagerly awaiting her arrival after it took off from Hamburg. The first A321 Neo (equipped with CFM LEAP 1A Engines) kind of aircraft to be accepted by AI is this one.”

The plane touched down at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL). Since being acquired by Tata Group last year in January 2022, this is the first narrowbody aircraft that Air India has received.

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The Airbus A320, A320neo, and A321neo, all from the European aircraft manufacturer, will be joined by the narrow-body aircraft on the domestic routes by which they will be used. An agreement between Air India and Airbus was just completed, and it calls for the purchase of 250 aircraft. Both Airbus narrow-body and wide-body aircraft will be added to Air India.

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“Airbus and Air India are experiencing a historic time. According to Christian Scherer, Chief Commercial Officer and Head of International at Airbus, “India is on the verge of a revolution in international air travel, and we are honored that our partnership with the Tatas and our aircraft solutions will write that new chapter for the country’s air-connectivity.”

The A321neo is the single-aisle Airbus model with the longest fuselage, comfortably seating 180 to 220 passengers in a conventional two-class configuration and up to 244 in a higher-density configuration.

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Qantas resumes flights between Melbourne and Tokyo

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Qantas resumes flights between Melbourne and Tokyo

Qantas will resume direct flights between Melbourne and Tokyo for the first time in more than three years, creating more options for Australians traveling to Japan.

The new service is the first non-stop flight between Melbourne and Tokyo’s Haneda International Airport by any airline, saving passengers nearly two hours of travel to downtown Tokyo compared with Narita Airport, which the flight operated to before the pandemic.

Qantas Takes off again between Brisbane and Tokyo(Opens in a new browser tab)

The year-round flights will operate four days per week with an Airbus A330 aircraft and add to Qantas’ existing flights from Sydney and Brisbane to Haneda Airport. Together, these flights offer customers more than 420,000 seats between Australia and Japan annually and the choice of double daily flights to Tokyo.

Qantas has this week announced a multi-million dollar investment in new menus, larger meals and premium produce across all cabins in its regional, domestic and international network, including flights to Tokyo. The new menu changes will roll out on 29 March and will feature seasonal ingredients, including plant-based options, coinciding with Autumn. Seasonal grilled chicken, steamed rice, miso soup with Japanese pickles, and pork ramen with pickled shiitake mushroom, shallot and nor, are some of the items which feature on the menu for Qantas’ flights between Australia and Tokyo.

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The Melbourne-Tokyo (Haneda) route launch will be soon followed by the national carrier’s new Melbourne-Jakarta service which is set to commence in mid-April.

The Qantas Group operates up to 35 return flights per week from Australia to Japan. This includes Qantas’ flights from Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney to Haneda and Jetstar’s flights from Cairns to Narita and Osaka, and Gold Coast to Narita.

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Inflight Ramadan Experience: Emirates, Qatar Airways, and Etihad Airways Offer Traditional Meals and Religious Content for Passengers

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Inflight Ramadan Experience: Emirates, Qatar Airways, and Etihad Airways Offer Traditional Meals and Religious Content for Passengers

The most well-known Middle Eastern airlines are providing special Ramadan meals to its customers. Emirates, Qatar, and Etihad have developed distinctive food in response to the holy month of Ramadan.

Emirates

Emirates is preparing thousands of Ramadan meal boxes for fasting passengers both onboard and Iftar boxes at boarding gates, an array of religious content and Ramadan series on ice, and traditional Ramadan refreshments and meals in the lounges.

The Ramadan meal boxes will include light dishes and starters such as hummus and spinach bil zeit, Greek salad and cauliflower bil tahini, falafel sandwiches, pasta salad and fried aubergine with mint, zaatar chicken salad and cauliflower bil tahini, chicken musakhan sandwiches with Arabic bread, as well as staples like traditional dates and refreshing laban. A smaller Iftar box will also be served at boarding gates at Iftar time including all the essentials to comfortably break the fast.

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Emirates’ Ramadan and Iftar boxes will be served to complement the regular hot meal service and menu’s will be refreshed on a weekly basis to ensure a best-in-class dining experience during the Holy Month. The boxes will be served on flights to select destinations during times that coincide with iftar, on flights to and from the Gulf region, as well as flights catering to Umrah groups traveling to Jeddah and Medina during the month of Ramadan.

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Qatar Airways

It offer a bespoke Iftar to passengers on board and at Al Safwa, Al Mourjan and Global Premium Lounges. Special Ramadan offerings will be available on flights to the GCC, Middle East, and some Indian Sub-continent, African and Asian destinations.

Similarly, Qatar Airways Al Safwa First Class Lounge and Al Mourjan Business Lounge will announce the prayer call; in readiness for passengers to utilize the prayer rooms.

Travelers can choose from a selection of traditional Ramadan favorites for a fulfilling dining experience in addition to the Qatar Airways customary dining experience served alongside Qatar Airways’ signature Ramadan-themed lantern.

Etihad Airways

It also offers a culinary design team is collaborating once again with Emirati Chef Khaled Alsaadi to recreate popular Ramadan dishes fusing authentic Emirati recipes with contemporary cooking techniques and local ingredients.

Etihad’s regular hot meal service will be complemented by the Iftar meals onboard, and guests will be treated to meals including Saffron curry crusted seabream, Lamb shank with black lime jus, Lentil soup, Chaami and beetroot salad, Machboos chicken ciabatta sandwich, Aseeda cheesecake, Saffron pot de creme with batheeta crumble and more. A selection of the bespoke recipes will be available online or by scanning QR codes placed at the bottom of the onboard menu, allowing guests to recreate Etihad’s unique inflight meals at home.

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The Etihad Ramadan experience starts from the lounges at Abu Dhabi International Airport, which will also feature Ramadan dishes and beverages as well as dedicated prayer rooms. Travellers breaking their fast prior to departure or just before landing will be provided with takeaway bags containing dates, a drink and a snack.

The airline’s inflight entertainment system, E-box, will be updated with a selection of Ramadan content in addition to recordings of the Holy Quran and the Mecca Qibla pointer that are always available on board.To view Etihad’s special Ramadan menu and select recipes, click here.

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FAA Urges Airlines, Pilots and Others to Take Key Safety Actions

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The FAA has granted Special Funds to 23 colleges in the United States to improve aviation education.

Following the FAA’s Safety Summit last week, the agency issued a safety alert with specific steps it wants airlines, pilots and others to take.

The FAA is urging the following actions:

  • Ensure pilots and flight attendants have the same understanding of what “sterile flight deck” means and the risks associated with extraneous communication during this time.
  • Emphasize the importance of awareness of the aircraft in relation to taxiways, runways and other aircraft. This includes reviewing the following previously published SAFOs:
    • 17012, High Collision Risk During Runway Crossing
    • 11004, Runway Incursion Prevention Actions
    • 08001, Flight crew techniques and procedures to enhance taxi, pre-takeoff, and after-landing safety to reduce the risk of runway incursions
  • Encourage personnel to identify and report existing and emerging safety issues through voluntary reporting programs and understand the usefulness of voluntary reporting systems for the operation in which you are engaged.
  • Reinforce adherence to published processes and procedures, including checklists, Air Traffic Control instructions, and internal company procedures.
  • Ensure Safety Management Systems are accounting for the high rate of change and churn in the industry.
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Israel’s El Al to resume India flights using Saudi corridor

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Israel's El Al to resume India flights using Saudi corridor

El Al Israel Airlines announced on Thursday that it would resume flights to India in October after a three-year break, citing reduced flight times because of the ability to fly across Saudi Arabia and Oman.

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Using Boeing 737 aircraft, Israel’s national airline will fly four times a week from Tel Aviv to Mumbai. The trip should take 5.5 hours instead of the previous 7.45 hours. Moreover, it will operate twice-weekly flights to New Delhi on larger Boeing 777 or 787 aircraft. El Al reported that the flight time on the trip will decrease to 6.5 hours from 9.

After the recently obtained clearance to fly over the skies of Saudi Arabia and Oman, the introduction of the new routes is now feasible, according to El Al.

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Israeli travelers and businessmen enjoy India. El Al has started using the new route on flights to Asia since Muscat joined Riyadh in allowing Israeli civilian overflights last month. El Al claims that the new Saudi corridor will enable it to increase its service to Australia and Asia.

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