Travel News - page 3

1time Flight Emergency Landing due to Engine Damage

Date: 8 August 2012

1time Airlines, one of South Africa's low cost carriers, made an emergency landing in Durban on Sunday, 5 August 2012 when one of the two engines on its plane bound for Cape Town was damaged.

The cause of the damage is unclear at this stage, but the incident is being probed by the Civil Aviation Authority.

While the aircraft could have flown to Cape Town using only its other engine, the pilot opted to be cautious and to turn the flight back.

Johannesburg Tourism Company Promotes Johannesburg in China

Date: 10 June 2012

The Johannesburg Tourism Company is currently participating in a series of workshops in various cities in China, with a view to promoting tourism to Johannesburg and South Africa.

South African Tourism is running the workshops which are taking place in the cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong.

A number of airlines offer flights from Johannesburg to Beijing, and South African Airways is the only airline offering direct flights from Johannesburg to Beijing and from Beijing to Johannesburg.

The JTC's intention, in participating in the workshops, is to position Johannesburg as Africa's premier destination for business and leisure travel within the Chinese market. 

Mango Airlines offers in-flight wifi

Date: 26 May 2012

Mango Airlines, the domestic low-cost airline which is owned by South African Airways, is the first airline in South Africa to offer in-flight wifi internet access to its passengers.

While in-flight wifi is commonplace in a number of developed countries across Europe as well as in the United States, this is a first for a domestic airline on the African continent, and it remains to be seen whether Mango's local competitors will follow suit in offering wifi internet access to passengers on domestic flights.

Mango has partnered with Vodacom to provide the necessary infrastructure for the service, and passengers pay a set fee per flight to be afforded unlimited internet access. The pricing model based on unlimited access for a set fee is similar to the one used in most developed countries.

New South African Airways Flight Route to Benin

Date: 23 May 2012

On Sunday, 20 May 2012, South African Airways launched its new flight route to Cotonou in Benin.


Cotonou is the economic capita of Benin, and the new route forms part of the airline's strategy to expand into parts of Africa which are not frequently serviced, and underscores the effort to strengthen tourism and trade between South Africa and other African countries.


With the inclusion of Benin as a flight destination, SAA now flies to a total of 24 African countries.


South Africa may have World's Most Expensive Airports

Date: 18 October 2011

Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) has received approval to increase tariffs at all of South Africa's major airports by as much as 161% over the next five years. If ACSA increases tariffs in line with this approval, South Africa could have the world's most expensive airports.  On 1 October 2011, ACSA already hiked tariffs for passenger service, aircraft landing and parking charges by nearly 70%.


South Africa’s aviation industry directly contributes R51 billion to the economy, and directly creates 270 000 jobs. The planned tariff hike is expected to hurt the aviation industry as it will result in airlines paying higher costs to use airports. It is also likely to result in job losses as well as higher travel costs for consumers, as airlines will inevitably have to pass the increased costs on to travellers in order to remain profitable.


Low cost airlines will be particularly hard-hit by the tariff increases, as their profit margins on ticket sales are generally low, and with the increased tariffs, it will be difficult to provide travellers with low airfares while remaining profitable. They are likely to increasingly favour using private airports such as Lanseria airport in Johannesburg, which is not regulated by ACSA, in order to avoid the tariff increases. 


Virgin Atlantic Developing Low Carbon Aviation Fuel

Date: 12 October 2011

n order make good on this promise, Virgin Atlantic is developing the world's first low-carbon aviation fuel which it plans to use in its airline from 2014.  The fuel will have half the carbon footprint of ordinary aviation fuel.


Virgin Atlantic is developing the fuel in partnership with LanzaTech, a specialist energy company, and the fuel will be made using waste gases from industrial steel production.  Aviation fuel currently used for commercial airlines is produced from oil.


“With oil running out, it is important that new fuel solutions are sustainable, and with the steel industry alone able to deliver over 15 billion gallons of jet fuel annually, the potential is very exciting,” says Sir Richard Branson.


According to Sir Richard Branson, “This partnership to produce a next-generation, low-carbon aviation fuel is a major step towards radically reducing our carbon footprint, and we are excited about the savings that this technology could help us achieve.”

The development of the new fuel is one of a number of innovations by Virgin, and if their track record is anything to go by, they are set to succeed in revolutionising aviation with the development of the fuel. In 2008, Virgin launched Virgin Galactic, which provides sub-orbital spaceflights to the paying public.


Gautrain Makes Travellers Lives Easier

Date: 3 October 2011

The Gautrain, Gauteng's rapid rail network, has been a huge step towards propelling the province's transport system into the 21st century.  It has two tracks - one operating between Pretoria and Johannesburg, and one operating between OR Tambo International Airport and Sandton, a major business hub in the province. Stations en route include Rosebank, Midrand and Park Station in Braamfontein.


There is also a Gautrain bus system which operates on the areas surrounding the stations, ferrying passengers between designated bus stops and the stations.


One of the major conveniences of the system is that travellers can now avoid traffic and the hassle of arranging taxis or other transport to and from the airport.  The Gautrain takes a meagre 15 minutes between OR Tambo International Airport and Sandton. Operating hours are between 05h30 and 20h30, and trains run every 12 minutes during peak hours and every 20 minutes during off-peak hours.


Passengers use a card-based system through which they top up their Gautrain card with credit, which can then be used for travel on the trains or busses.  Fares are also relatively affordable, and a trip between OR Tambo International Airport and Rosebank station costs R115.00.  A metre taxi between OR Tambo International Airport and Rosebank would cost in the region of R180.00 to R250.00.


Santaco Express Airline's Maiden Flight a Success

Date: 17 September 2011

South Africa's first fully black-owned airline, Santaco Express Airline, successfully made its maiden flight from Lanseria Airport in Johannesburg to Bisho Airport in the Eastern Cape on Friday, 16 September 2011.

The flight left Johannesburg at midday, and landed in Bisho one hour and twenty minutes later, with passengers singing Shosholoza during landing. The flight was hailed as a milestone in South African aviation history.

The airline is set to launch its commercial operations in November 2011, and will fly between Lanseria, Bisho and Cape Town, with a route to Durban planned at a later stage. Ticket prices for prices for trips between Cape Town and Johannesburg are set to cost between R500 and R600, and between Durban and Johannesburg around R300.

A major innovation planned by the airline is to ferry passengers to and from the airport by taxi, using Santaco's extensive road transport infrastructure.

Velvet Sky Airline Acquires New Planes

Date: 16 August 2011

Velvet Sky Airline, South Africa's newest low cost airline, has acquired 2 additional Boeing 737's from leasing company Aergo.

A majority stake in the airline was recently purchased by Excalibur Aerospace, and soon thereafter, the airline announced its plans to expand its offerings beyond the Cape Town - Johannesburg - Durban routes, to include regional flights to other countries in Southern Africa.

Velvet Sky offers free coffee, tea, fruit juice or water on its flights, while its no-frills competitors charge a fee for in-flight food and drinks.

Velvet Sky Airline looks set to be a strong contender in the domestic airline sector. which will become even more competitive with the launch of Santaco Express Airline later this year. 

New "Concrete Tube" Hotel in Austria

Date: 6 August 2011

A brand new hotel in Austria, the Dasparkhotel, is offering guests some of the most unusual lodgings we have come across - guests can stay in a converted concrete pipe which contains a double bed, a round door at one end and a window at the other.

The pipes are reported to be surprisingly comfortable, with ample headroom, storage space, electricity and a warm blanket. 

The hotel is offering accommodation on a "pay as you wish" basis, making it an attractive option for budget travellers, backpackers and travellers looking for a quirky holiday experience. 

Cheap flights turn Amsterdam Airport into mini red-light district

Date: 3 August 2011

Cheap flights between domestic destinations in Europe have turned Amsterdam's Schipol Airport into a miniature red light district.

Girls are reportedly flying to Amsterdam Airport from other European destinations in order to offer their services to passengers waiting for connecting flights in the international lounge of the airport. A number of the girls are Eastern European, and take the passengers to hotels in the departure lounge which offer short stays in order to allow passengers to freshen up.

It is illegal for this to take place outside of designated areas in Amsterdam, but authorities are reportedly turning a blind eye to it.

Cell Phone Use on Flights to be Allowed

Date: 29 July 2011

South African Airways has applied to the Civil Aviation Authority to reconsider its policy of banning cell phone use during flights.

SAA is to start a testing phase to investigate which cell phone models can be used in-flight.

Meanwhile, Comair, which owns British Airways and, also announced that the Civil Aviation Authority has given it permission to allow the use of cell phones on its flights on a trial basis.

It is unclear how long these trial periods will last, and when a final decision regarding in-flight cell phone use will be made.

Santaco Express Airline to be Launched by Taxi Council

Date: 27 July 2011

Santaco, the South African National Taxi Council, has announced that it is to launch Santaco Express, a low-cost airline, in November 2011.

Santaco Experess's head office will be in Bisho in the Eastern Cape, and Santaco plans to list the airline on the JSE.

The airline will be operated on Santaco's behalf by AirQuarius, who also operate flights for SA Airlink, Air Namibia and Skylink Arabia.

Santaco Express will initially fly between Johannesburg and Cape Town via Bisho, and tickets will cost between R500 and R600.

Santaco is also considering operating flights between Johannesburg and Durban, with ticket prices of around R300.

VelvetSky the Cheapest for Johannesburg to Cape Town

Date: 26 July 2011

VelvetSky, the newest entrant in the domestic low cost airline market, is currently offering the lowest airfares in South Africa for the Johannesburg to Cape Town route, with one-way tickets priced from R383.

Their tickets costing R383 are available for flights at specific times on Mondays to Wednesdays, the less popular days for travelling. For flights between Thursdays and Sundays, airfares start from R560.

Mango Airlines, SAA’s low cost domestic operator, runs periodic specials for the Johannesburg to Cape Town route, with tickets priced as low as R300. However, tickets at these specials Mango Airlines fares are only sold during 1-day-sales, and to take advantage of these specials, passengers must make their bookings on the specific days when the specials are running.

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