Month: May 2019

Home / 2019 / May
South African Airways launches direct service to Guangzhou, China

South African Airways launches direct service to Guangzhou, China

South African Airways (SAA), one of the leading carriers on the African continent, will launch direct flights between Johannesburg and Guangzhou, China, on 18 September 2019, giving customers access to the heart of China’s export led manufacturing industries.

This is yet another strategy implementation initiative aimed at enhancing SAA’s route network.

“The decision to launch this direct service between Johannesburg and Guangzhou means we remain on track in executing our strategy to transform SAA into a fit for the future airline that will operate both efficiently and competitively,” said SAA CEO, Vuyani Jarana.  

The Guangzhou route will cater for a spectrum of travellers between Johannesburg and China including business and corporate travellers and will be of special interest to traders. Cargo operations will complement the viability of this route considering that high value cargo is sourced from Guangzhou.

SAA will be the only carrier operating a direct service between Johannesburg and Guangzhou, with flight time of approximately 13 hours and 40 minutes, providing the shortest travel time on a nonstop basis between the two points.

There will be three new flights per week to Guangzhou, in South China, and these will complement SAA’s current operations to Hong Kong. This means, SAA will fly four times a week to Hong Kong.  Airbus A340-300 aircraft will operate both the Guangzhou and Hong Kong routes.

Guangzhou is the largest city in the Guangdong province in South China and the third largest Chinese city after Beijing and Shanghai. It is an important transportation hub and trading port, located on the Pearl River about 120km Northwest of Hong Kong.

“Adding a direct service to mainland China, combined with our current popular flights to Hong Kong provides SAA with immense growth opportunities to and from mainland China. It also gives our traders access to the centre of Chinese manufacturing,” said Jarana.

The province of Guangdong is the centre of China’s export led manufacturing industries and described as “the world’s manufacturing hub”. Formal and informal traders source the majority of goods purchased in Sub-Saharan Africa from the province, due to Africa’s poor manufacturing capacity.

For more travel options for SAA customers flying to and from Guangzhou, the airline has interline agreements with China Southern Airlines, China Eastern, Air China and Hainan Airlines. To complement this initiative Guangzhou city has an extensive fast train network connecting the hub with important cities in China within 1-3 hours of SAA’s arrival and departure time. The newly opened 45 minutes’ fast train line between Guangzhou and Hong Kong provides alternatives to our customers to use both SAA’s Hong Kong and Guangzhou services.

SAA is also negotiating a code share agreement with Hong Kong Airlines, anticipated to be in place this financial year, for further travel options for customers travelling beyond Hong Kong. Hong Kong airlines will codeshare on SAA’s Hong Kong-Johannesburg sector and provide feeder traffic from Japan, Korea, Philippines and China.

The planned schedule, which will be published on Monday, 06 May, aims to offer morning arrivals in Johannesburg, seamless connection with SAA’s regional network with less than three hours lay-over in Johannesburg. The afternoon arrival flight in Guangzhou will connect to more than twenty cities in China and these include SHANGHAI, BEIJING, FUZHOU, XIAMEN, NANNING, KUNMING, HAIKOU, QINGDAO, NANCHANG, WUHAO, and CHENGDU to mention the top ten within one to three hours of arrival time in Guangzhou. The inbound flights from Guangzhou will allow for connections with arriving flights from Japan and Korea that are an important market on days SAA will not be operating from Hong Kong.

“We are confident that the introduction of this route is based on sound commercial considerations and will not only benefit SAA but South Africa as a whole as China is the largest source market in Asia. It is also South Africa’s largest trading partner in the world,” concluded Jarana.


Aeroflot launches direct flights between Volgograd and Sochi from 2 June

Aeroflot launches direct flights between Volgograd and Sochi from 2 June

Aeroflot launches direct interregional flights between Volgograd and Sochi. Daily flights on Boeing 737 will operate from 2 June through 1 October 2019 on the following schedule:



Departure time*

Arrival time*


Volgograd – Sochi





Sochi – Volgograd





all times local

Direct Aeroflot flights will connect large cities of the Russian South, thereby fulfilling an important task of launching new interregional flights that bypass Moscow. Aeroflot’s efforts help achieve the government’s goal of increasing air transport accessibility by a third by 2024.    

Aeroflot is continuously expanding its route network and increasing flight frequencies to popular destinations. This Summer Aeroflot will fly to 159 destinations in 54 countries, including 58 destinations in Russia.

Rail Europe: Travelling can be so easy

Rail Europe: Travelling can be so easy

Travelling by Swiss public transport is comfortable and convenient. It may seem complicated at first sight: buying tickets, changing transportation, finding connections, not forgetting the luggage or missing the right stop. Sounds like a challenge. Fortunately, all of this is wonderfully easy in Switzerland. Here are 5 reasons why Switzerland is best explored by train, bus and boat.

Travelling can be so beautiful.

Switzerland’s numerous panoramic trains delight their guests with captivating scenery slowly passing by. From canyons with wildly plunging glacier water to high Alpine peaks with eternal snow, from pristine mountain valleys to Mediterranean lakes with palmlined shores: Travellers enjoy the views through high panoramic windows reaching far up to the ceiling. Passengers probably wouldn’t be tempted to step off the train at all – if it weren’t for those mountain railways at almost every station, luring them to Alpine and pre-Alpine summits to savour spectacular vistas.

Travelling can be so comfortable.

It’s almost like a home from home! That’s how welcome and comfortable guests feel on Swiss trains. Generous compartments with comfortable seats in high-quality material offer ample space to stretch one’s legs. There’s enough room for large pieces of luggage. However, travellers don’t have to worry about that. On request, their luggage is transported from hotel to hotel. That leaves even more leisure for enjoying the delicious cuisine in the onboard restaurants offering specialities from all Swiss regions. And that’s not only true on the train: The vessels on Swiss lakes provide the same all-around carefree service for a comfortable journey.

Travelling can be so simple.

Out of the bus and onto the boat; from the train straight to the airplane: Changing transportation is wonderfully easy in Switzerland – wherever the journey may go. With 25,836 stops, the densest public transport network reaches practically any travel destination. Regular interval timetables guarantee synchronised connections, even at 3,000 meters above sea level, as well as with neighbouring countries Italy, Germany, Austria and France. No wonder that the Swiss are unrivalled when it comes to using public transport.


Travelling can be so authentic.

Switzerland stands for reliability, quality and safety. Of course, this also holds true for public transport. No doubt that’s why in each and every public means of transportation locals are met with: from the genuine “Alpöhi” – a quirky, original mountain dweller – to the family on its way to a vacation and the cheerful hiking group. Whoever wants to experience Switzerland at its most authentic should to as the locals to – and travel like the Swiss: by train, bus and boat.


Travelling can be so diverse.

The nostalgic funicular leisurely drives past peacefully grazing cows. Little later, the state-of-the-art CabriO cableway floats towards an almost 2,000 metres high summit. In Switzerland, one does not have to choose one or the other. Here, historic and modern means of transportation go hand in hand. Also, public transport is not just about taking passengers from A to B. It also offers numerous adventure lines that turn the journey into its own reward. A ride on the Chocolate train, a dinner in the panoramic cabin of a cableway called the “restaurant in the sky”, or a family outing on the children’s train “Globi Express” create unforgettable memories for young and old. The rich variety of public transport in Switzerland demonstrates what the locals have long known it actually is: innovative, traditional, eventful.

Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth Kicks off Inaugural Season in Alaska with Maiden Call to Homeport of Vancouver on May 21

Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth Kicks off Inaugural Season in Alaska with Maiden Call to Homeport of Vancouver on May 21

Queen Elizabeth departed Vancouver, British Columbia on Tuesday as she began her first voyage to Alaska.

Series of unique experiences underpin newly expanded 2020 programme, that now includes Glacier Bay 

Queen Elizabeth kicked off Cunard’s return to Alaska in its West Coast homeport of Vancouver. Queen Elizabeth will sail four ten-night roundtrip voyages out of Vancouver in 2019, and ten voyages in 2020.

To celebrate this inaugural season, Captain Inger Klein Thorhauge, Master of Queen Elizabeth, along with Simon Palethorpe, President, and Josh Leibowitz, Senior Vice President North America, of Cunard, welcomed on board dignitaries from the Port of Vancouver for a traditional Plaque and Key Ceremony, welcoming the ship to the city.

It was announced that Cunard will visit the awe-inspiring Glacier Bay during its 2020 Alaska voyages. Cunard will be the only cruise line offering 10, 11 and 12 day round trip voyages from Vancouver in 2020 that soak up the majestic and pristine drama of both Glacier Bay and Hubbard Glacier. In other experiences only to be found on Cunard, guests will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the culture of Alaska with Cultured Heritage Guides on every sailing. For relaxation, guests can indulge in Mareel Wellness & Beauty (Cunard’s new holistic spa concept) on every voyage, offering oceanic treatments and meditation rituals inspired by the wilderness.  As night falls, with the backdrop of Alaska, guests will enjoy a unique sense of occasion with an Ice White Ball in the spectacular Queens Room on every voyage.

Cunard’s 2019 programme runs May through June and, due to popular demand, the company has doubled its Alaska programme in 2020, offering a full season from June through September. All voyages are roundtrip out of Vancouver ranging from nine to 12 nights and one getaway voyage to San Francisco for an overnight stay on the 4th of July 2020. The Alaska voyages will feature full days in ports such as Ketchikan, Victoria, Juneau, Skagway, and others.

“We are thrilled to launch our inaugural Alaska season in Vancouver,” said Simon Palethorpe, President, Cunard. “Alaska is one of the world’s most inspiring destinations, and our guests now have the opportunity to sail into this spectacular region while enjoying the luxury and style of a Cunard ship. With Glacier Bay added to our 2020 Alaska itineraries, our guests will have an even more dramatic front-row seat from which to witness the immense beauty of the region.”

UK Guests who book a 2020 Alaska Voyage by 31 July, 2019 receive:

• Additional money to spend on board (including drinks, spa treatments and shore excursions)

• Complimentary stateroom upgrade (guests can choose the stateroom they want and then pay for the stateroom a grade lower)

Queen Elizabeth, the youngest ship in the fleet, underwent a refit at the end of last year, launching the new spa concept Mareel Wellness & Beauty, developed in partnership with industry innovator Canyon Ranch. The new spa offers a holistic approach with a focus on the healing energy of the sea. 

Cunard continues its partnership with Rocky Mountaineer, offering pre- and post-cruise tours on the famous railroad. Tours include three or five nights’ accommodation, plus two full days on board the train. Highlights include the Continental Divide, Kicking Horse Canyon, Spiral Tunnels and the rushing waters of Hell’s Gate in the Fraser Canyon.


United Airlines and Audubon International Team Up to Save Owls in San Francisco

United Airlines and Audubon International Team Up to Save Owls in San Francisco

 United Airlines today strengthened its emerging reputation as the world's most environmentally conscious airline by announcing that the carrier is expanding its successful Raptor Relocation Network to its premier West Coast hub, San Francisco International Airport. United is again teaming up with Audubon International to trap raptors – primarily barn owls – residing near the airport and resettle these birds of prey at suitable golf course habitats where the species are more likely to thrive.

United initially partnered with Audubon International to launch the Raptor Relocation Network in 2017 at Newark Liberty International Airport, where it has successfully resettled more than 80 birds – including several American kestrels, a species of concern in New Jersey. United will now work in tandem with Audubon International and San Francisco airport officials to resettle the barn owls and other at-risk species at Bay Area golf courses certified within the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program As an official sponsor of the PGA Tour, United is uniquely positioned to help connect wildlife professionals at airports with the suitable golf course habitats identified by Audubon International for relocation purposes and to help inform the public on the importance of environmental sustainability.

United's expansion of the Raptor Relocation Network follows the airline's recent announcement in San Francisco that the company has committed to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2050. United's pledge to reduce emissions by 50% relative to 2005 represents the equivalent of removing 4.5 million vehicles from the road, or the total number of cars in New York City and Los Angeles combined.

"Being environmentally conscious means more than just reducing our footprint; it means convening different groups to develop new and innovative ways to actively protect vulnerable species," said Janet Lamkin, United's president of California. "As we continue our commitment to protect raptors in the New York area, we are excited to expand our efforts to San Francisco and further underscore our industry-leading efforts to operate sustainably and responsibly."

"Audubon International is excited to be working with United Airlines' Eco-Skies program to expand the Raptor Relocation Network to the West Coast," said Christine Kane, Audubon International's chief executive officer. "Thousands of golf courses across the world have adopted environmentally sustainable property management practices that support wildlife habitat through our Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program. Bringing this all together to provide safe, high-quality habitat for raptors is a great success."

United's Commitment to the Environment

The expansion of United's Raptor Relocation Program represents yet another innovative initiative the airline has undertaken to minimize its impact on the environment. Several of United's most significant environmental achievements include:

  • Becoming the first airline globally to use sustainable aviation biofuel on a continuous basis, marking a significant milestone in the industry by moving beyond test programs and demonstrations to the everyday use of low-carbon fuel in ongoing operations from United's supplier, World Energy.
  • Investing more than $30 million in California-based sustainable aviation fuels producer Fulcrum BioEnergy, which remains the single largest investment by any airline globally in sustainable fuels. United's agreement to purchase nearly 1 billion gallons from Fulcrum BioEnergy is the largest offtake agreement for biofuel in the airline industry
  • Becoming the first airline to fly with Boeing's Split Scimitar winglets, which reduce fuel consumption by an additional 2%; United is the largest Scimitar winglet operator today, with nearly 300 aircraft equipped with these winglets.
  • Becoming the first U.S. airline to repurpose items from the carrier's international premium cabin amenity kits and partnering with Clean the World to donate hygiene products to those in critical need.
  • Eliminating non-recyclable plastic stirring sticks and cocktail picks on aircraft and replacing them with an environmentally friendly product made of 100% bamboo.
  • Continuing to replace its eligible ground equipment with cleaner, electrically powered alternatives, with nearly 40% of the fleet converted to date.

United's Award-Winning Eco-Skies Program

United's award-winning Eco-Skies program represents the company's commitment to the environment and the actions taken every day to create a sustainable future. In 2017, Air Transport World magazine named United the Eco-Airline of the Year for the second time since the airline launched the Eco-Skies program. Last year, United Airlines ranked No. 1 among global carriers in Newsweek's Global 500 Green Rankings, one of the most recognized environmental performance assessments of the world's largest publicly traded companies.