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Middle East protests against US impacts on tourism


Travel and tourism could be impacted as violent protests continue in the Middle East, following the release of a US film depicting Islam in a negative light. Seven people were killed in the rallies on Friday, according to reports.

The film, entitled ‘innocence of Muslims, portrays the Prophet Muhammad as a womaniser and leader of a group of violent men, was distributed online with an Arabic voice-over.

Protests broke on Tuesday targeting US embassies in the Middle East in response to the release of the clips online

Three people were killed in the US embassy in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, according to reports. Meanwhile two people were killed in Tunisia with one death reported in Egypt and one in Lebanon.

The UK embassy was also targeted by protesters but was not badly damaged and no injuries were sustained.

Foreign Secretary William Hague confirmed “I am glad to say that all UK and Sudanese staff present during the attack are safe and that no injuries were sustained. All other UK staff in Khartoum are also accounted for,”

“This event is a reminder of the dangers that our diplomats around the world sometimes have to face.

Our travel advice has been updated to reflect today’s events and we advise British nationals to avoid any demonstrations or large gatherings of people, and keep themselves informed of developments, including by regularly checking the FCO website,” he added.

The protests also spread to London where up to 200 Muslims marched to the US embassy, according to reports.

While the origin of the film and its motivation is still unknown, as developments unfold in the Middle East and violence escalates, this volatile region could be dealt a blow to tourism,

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Posted by on 16/09/2012 in Tourism News

 

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Middle East shows the way in global aviation growth


The Middle East will see the strongest growth of any global region in available long-haul airline seats in September, adding 22,000 extra seats per day, according to the latest statistics from OAG.

The OAG FACTS report for September 2012 reveals an expected five per cent growth in available seats to and from the Middle East, compared to September 2011, with 13.1 million anticipated in the month.

Meanwhile, flight operations to and from the region are expected to increase by four per cent to 59,771.

Rob Shaw, director of analytics at OAG, said: “Dubai is expected to lead all major local hubs in September in terms of growth, with an eight per cent increase in flights and a 12 per cent increase in seats, a disparity partly reflecting Emirates’ adoption of the Airbus A380.

“However, Abu Dhabi is enjoying the fruits of its own expansion strategy and will remain the fastest growing hub in the Middle East, with a 16 per cent increase in seat capacity to 1,661,512 compared to September 2011.

Doha and Riyadh will also see strong growth in seat capacity of ten per cent and five per cent respectively.

“The Middle East remains at the vanguard of long-haul air traffic growth globally.

While this expansion in part reflects the ambitious growth targets of the ‘superconnector’ airlines – Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways – airport infrastructure investments across the region continue to make the Middle East attractive to other long-haul carriers.”

In contrast to the region’s long-haul growth, air traffic within the Middle East is expected to decrease in September, with a three per cent drop in both flights and seats. Low-cost carriers (LCCs) are expected to increase their share of intra-Middle Eastern seat capacity to 15 per cent, an increase of 12 per cent over September 2011.

Meanwhile, LCC flights in the region are expected to grow by 16 per cent in the month, with 856 extra flights compared to the same period in 2011.

Shaw said: “LCCs are increasing their market share in the Middle East. Not only are they achieving robust growth within regional flights and seats, but low-cost operations are also becoming more prominent in long-haul traffic.

“In September, LCCs are expected to achieve 18 per cent growth in flights and seats to and from the Middle East compared to 2011, equivalent to 1,048 extra flights and 182,139 additional seats.”

Asia Pacific on the rise

While the Middle East comes top in many key air traffic metrics today, OAG FACTS also reveals the fast-gathering strength of Asia Pacific as tomorrow’s air traffic titan.

Shaw said: “Atlanta is expected to remain the world’s largest global hub in September, with flight numbers level with September 2011 and seats up 2 per cent. However, Beijing is fast closing the gap, with a seat number deficit against Atlanta of only 248,000 in September 2012, contrasted with 544,000 in September 2011.”

According to Shaw, Asia Pacific’s rapid economic development is clearly indicated by growth in the area’s intra-regional air traffic. Asia Pacific remains the world’s largest market for regional air travel in terms of seat numbers.

“Only the Middle East and Asia Pacific will see increases in intra-regional flights and seats in September compared to 2011.

“However, while the Middle East is expected to show a healthy 16 per cent growth in seats – an extra 145,000 – Asia Pacific will add 32% more seats in the month. That’s an additional 5.8 million.”

LCC seat capacity within Asia Pacific is expected to grow by 32 per cent in September versus the previous year, representing 7.2 million extra seats (over 241,000 additional seats per day). Meanwhile, LCC intra-regional flights in Asia Pacific are due to increase by 24 per cent.

Shaw said: “The real hot spot for LCC growth is south-east Asia, which will see a huge 76 per cent increase in seats versus September 2011, a rise of 4.4 million.”

Global highlights

Worldwide, scheduled airline flights are expected to decrease by 0.4 per cent in September 2012 versus September 2011 (11,799 fewer), although seat capacity will be two per cent higher (6,088,628 more).

The total number of scheduled flights operating in September will be 2,615,534, with 340,191,374 seats offered. North America is expected to record the greatest volume decreases in intra-regional volumes in the month, with a fall of almost one million seats and 28,000 flights against the prior year, continuing the recent trend.

Seat capacity performance at the top ten global hubs will be mixed, with only half recording increases. Heathrow, Chicago, Paris and Los Angeles are all expected to show decreases. Frankfurt will be the fifth largest hub by seat capacity, up from sixth in September 2011.

For the year to date (January-September 2012), scheduled flights are expected to show growth of one per cent versus the same period last year, an increase of 324,842 flights. Seat capacity is expected to grow by three per cent, creating 92 million additional seats in the period.

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Etihad Airways cancels to flights to Syria


Etihad Airways has become the latest airline to suspended flights Damascus due to the deteriorating security position in Syria.

The flights, which had operated out of the UAE flag-carrier’s base in Abu Dhabi will be halted with immediate effect and until further notice.

“The safety of passengers and crew is paramount to the airline,” Etihad said in a statement.

Etihad Airways confirmed it would notify affected passengers and offer a full refund for unused tickets.

Air France, Turkish Airways, and Aeroflot are among the other carriers to have cancelled flights into the Syrian capital in recent days.

 
 

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