Emirates airline plans to operate about 70% of capacity by winter

Emirates airline plans to operate about 70% of capacity by winter
Emirates is restoring capacity after a year of travel restrictions and lockdowns. (Supplied)
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Updated 04 May 2021

Emirates airline plans to operate about 70% of capacity by winter

Emirates airline plans to operate about 70% of capacity by winter

DUBAI: Emirates plans to restore around 70 percent or its capacity by the winter travel season this year, the airline’s chief commercial officer said on Tuesday.
The Dubai state-carrier has been operating with a significant reduction in capacity since the pandemic grounded its flights for several weeks last year from March.
It has since restored operations with 151 Boeing 777 jets though most of its 118 Airbus A380 superjumbos remain grounded.
“We already have a plan to get back to almost 70 percent of our capacity to be recovered by winter 2021,” Emirates’ Adnan Kazim said at a Dubai press conference.
The airline has resumed passenger flights to 120 destinations, representing about 85 percent of those it flew to before the pandemic, Kazim said.


$18m Saudi ready meals market to grow at annual rate of 5.4%

$18m Saudi ready meals market to grow at annual rate of 5.4%
Updated 2 min 31 sec ago

$18m Saudi ready meals market to grow at annual rate of 5.4%

$18m Saudi ready meals market to grow at annual rate of 5.4%
  • The ready meals segment consists of convenience food that requires minimum or no further preparation before consumption

RIYADH: The Saudi ready meals market was valued at $18.18 million last year and is forecast to grow at an average yearly rate of 5.43 percent over the next five years, according to a report by US-based research company Reportlinker.

“During COVID-19, individuals in Saudi Arabia exceeded their needs and rushed to buy and stock up on groceries as they feared food insecurity. Among Saudi consumers, stress-eating became very common due to lockdown,” the report said. The research also claimed that due to the closure of supermarkets at certain periods during the pandemic, online shopping became a necessity and this supported the surge in demand for ready meals.

“In emerging markets, like the Middle East, a relatively increasing disposable income is creating a new class, which is eager to experience new goods and services,” the report added. Despite concerns of food shortages in western countries, Ahmad BinDawood, CEO of BinDawood Holding, one of Saudi Arabia’s biggest supermarket operators, told Arab News earlier this month that this was not the case in  the Kingdom.

“The operation level that happened here, especially from the government side and us as retailers, and from the customers’ side, was amazing,” he said. “We made sure that there were enough supplies always in the market.”


Summit seeks ‘New Deal’ to ease Africa’s economic woes

Summit seeks ‘New Deal’ to ease Africa’s economic woes
Updated 9 min 3 sec ago

Summit seeks ‘New Deal’ to ease Africa’s economic woes

Summit seeks ‘New Deal’ to ease Africa’s economic woes
  • African economies risk running into a ‘financial gap’ of $290 billion by 2023

PARIS: French President Emmanuel Macron will on Tuesday host a virtual summit of European and African leaders to seek solutions to the financial crisis in Africa, where governments hope to boost development while managing massive debts.

The “summit on financing African economies,” bringing together 30 heads of state and government via videoconference, was planned last year after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) calculated that African economies risk running into a total “financial gap” of $290 billion by 2023.

Economic growth on the continent, which experienced its first recession last year, is expected to rebound to 3.4 percent this year and 4 percent in 2022.

A moratorium on debt servicing, put in place in April 2020 by the G20 and Paris Club group of creditor nations, has given Africa a bit of breathing space, suspending the repayment of €5.7 billion ($6.9 billion) by 50 countries.

The G20 also convinced China, by far the biggest bilateral lender on the continent, and private creditors to take part in future debt negotiations. But this won’t be enough.

“We are collectively in the process of abandoning Africa to solutions that date from the 1960s,” Macron said last month, calling for a bold “New Deal” for Africa.

The French leader warned of the risks of failing to act, including reduced economic opportunities, increased migration and “the expansion of terrorism.”

The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has exacerbated the problems on the continent.

The African leaders called for an “immediate moratorium” on the servicing of all external debts until the end of the pandemic, and the ring-fencing of development aid.

They also urged the IMF to issue African nations special drawing rights (SDRs) convertible to global currencies like the dollar, euro or yen, to provide them with “the liquidity essential for the purchase of basic products and essential medical equipment.”

Macron has also suggested that the IMF sell gold to fund interest-free loans to African countries.

The conditions proposed by the IMF in exchange for its support are still under discussion.

On Monday, Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara asked the IMF to grant African states hoping to benefit from its financing more leeway in their public deficits.

Oxfam has called on the IMF and the World Bank to end “unfair or regressive fiscal conditionalities in the context of their loans and programs.”


EU pledges $9.7 million in fight against desert locusts in Africa

EU pledges $9.7 million in fight against desert locusts in Africa
Updated 12 min 40 sec ago

EU pledges $9.7 million in fight against desert locusts in Africa

EU pledges $9.7 million in fight against desert locusts in Africa
  • The latest outbreak is the worst recorded locust upsurge in Ethiopia and Somalia for 25 years

DUBAI: The EU has pledged €8 million ($9.72 million) toward the fight to combat the spread of desert locusts in Africa.

The EU contribution was from its European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) and was welcomed by the director general of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Qu Dongyu.

“I want to thank the EU and all other supporters for their generous contribution and ongoing assistance in the battle to control the desert locust upsurge, enabling critical livelihood-safeguarding activities,” Dongyu said.

“National governments in collaboration with FAO and partners have achieved major progress in controlling this pest in East Africa, but operations must continue and we cannot afford to let down our guard.” The desert locust is considered the most destructive migratory pest in the world and a small swarm covering 1 sq. km. can eat the same amount of food in one day as 35,000 people.

The surge in the spread of the pest began in early 2020, but experts have warned that recent rainfall in the Horn of Africa has enabled swarms in eastern Ethiopia and northern Somalia to mature and lay eggs.

The latest outbreak is the worst recorded locust upsurge in Ethiopia and Somalia for 25 years and the worst infestation that Kenya has experienced in 70 years.

“As the region is already extremely vulnerable, given three years of drought followed by last year’s heavy rains and floods, compounded by COVID-19 and insecurity, desert locust swarms represent an additional shock that can have severe consequences for food security and livelihoods,” Keith Cressman, senior locust forecasting officer at FAO’s Desert Locust Information Service (DLIS), told Arab News in February.

Although Saudi Arabia has fought to contain desert locusts for decades, the FAO said the impending swarms pose a far greater threat to the Kingdom, Eritrea, Sudan and Yemen than those seen previously.

The Saudi government is taking precautions thanks to a well-established national program and the work of the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture’s Locusts and Migratory Pests Control Center, based in Jeddah.


Oxford study: Return of US shale could derail oil market rebalancing

Oxford study: Return of US shale could derail oil market rebalancing
Updated 16 May 2021

Oxford study: Return of US shale could derail oil market rebalancing

Oxford study: Return of US shale could derail oil market rebalancing
  • With global crude prices heading back toward $70 a barrel, the financial pressures on US shale have eased

DUBAI: The rising oil price could allow for a significant return of US shale to the market in 2022, potentially threatening the rebalancing of the global oil market, according to an analysis by the authoritative Oxford Institute for Energy Studies.

In its latest monthly report, Institute Director Bassam Fattouh and analyst Andreas Economou wrote: “As we enter 2022, the US shale response becomes a major source of uncertainty amid an uneven recovery across shale plays and players alike. As in previous cycles, US shale will remain a key factor shaping market outcomes.”

With global crude prices heading back toward $70 a barrel, the financial pressures on US shale have eased, and producers have adapted to the constraints of lower demand. “There has been a shift in perceptions about this sector’s behavior. There is a widely held belief that US shale producers have endorsed the principle of capital discipline,” the authors said.

The key “rig count” — the number of drilling operations in progress on shale fields — is set to rise to 602 by the end of the year, a big jump from the 13-year low of 222 rigs last summer. While the direct relationship between rigs and production is complex, the authors concluded that rising shale output could affect the careful calculations of OPEC+, the producers’ alliance led by Saudi Arabia and Russia, to balance the global market.

“Unless demand underperforms relative to current expectations, an increase in US shale output of 0.95 million barrels per day could be absorbed, though this would reduce the overall supply deficit to 0.66 million. If the US shale growth hits the upper bound of 1.22 million barrels per day and demand recovery turns out to be slower than expected, then US shale could disturb the rebalancing, flipping the market into a surplus in Q4 2022,” the report added.


UAE’s Ras al Khaimah reveals 20 attractions to get pulse racing

UAE’s Ras al Khaimah reveals 20 attractions to get pulse racing
Updated 16 May 2021

UAE’s Ras al Khaimah reveals 20 attractions to get pulse racing

UAE’s Ras al Khaimah reveals 20 attractions to get pulse racing

DUBAI: The UAE's northernmost emirate has revealed a 500 million dirhams ($136 million) tourism investment plan to tempt thrill seekers and lovers of the great outdoors.
Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority revealed the plans at the Arabian Travel Market which kicked off in Dubai on Sunday.
Some are located at Jebel Jais, the UAE’s highest peak and focus on nature, leisure, adventure, accessibility and authenticity.

"This multi-million investment plan further demonstrates our resolve and commitment to tourism, despite the global challenges faced this past year that continue to shake our industry today," said  Raki Phillips, CEO of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority.

Here are some of the projects that RAK is promoting at this year's travel gathering:

• Earth Hotels Altitude, an eco-based pop-up hotel concept set to feature 15 fully fitted accommodation units, an activation center and swimming pool.

• Saij, A Mantis Collection Mountain Lodge, comprising 35 luxury lodges.



• Cloud7 Camp Jebel Jais – a glamping experience with 30 accommodation units built out of sustainable material.

• The new Basecamp Jais will offer affordable accommodation for outdoor enthusiasts, thrill seekers and nature lovers as well as a range of activities such as yoga, Emirati live cooking and will serve as a leisure hub at the base of the rugged mountains.

• Jais Yard - an F&B Village with food trailers, kiosks, retail containers, vintage truck restaurants, open air cinema and children's play areas.

• Jais Wings - adventure seekers can take off on a paragliding experience from the top of Jebel Jais with landing pads near Saraya Islands and Al Rams. It will be the region’s first dedicated paragliding site in the GCC.



• Balloon Base with fixed hot air balloons that visitors can take in the infinite beauty of Jebel Jais.

• Jais Swing - an Instagramable swing made of twin ropes that provide amazing views and a unique content opportunity.

• Wadi Track at Wadi Showka will feature a new bicycle pump track for bike enthusiasts of all ages.



• Ras Al Khaimah is set to host the first ‘HIGHLANDER’ hiking experience in the GCC in November 2021.
 
• A mega-beachfront development by Marjan with a marine district, inflatable aqua park, leisure trampoline, swimming pool, outdoor gym and extensive food and beverage offering.

• Scallop Ranch at Al Hamra Marine will offer oyster/scallop diving, live cooking, family and kids’ experiences, and cultural activations.



• Cloud7 Camp AlSawan – a luxury glamping experience with 60 units where guests can learn what it takes to become an agriculturalist.

• Flying Arch at Manar Mall will welcome the region's first 130-metre aerial structure composed of over 1.5 million knots and around 300 km of twine that will cause the wind to create a choreography of constantly changing shape and color.

• Luminaze at Manar Mall will also welcome an aesthetic and playful art installation based on a light maze, ideal for family and team activities.

• Ras Al Khaimah is developing Mövenpick Resort Al Marjan Island with 418 hotel keys and direct sea views. Guests can choose from large-sized family rooms, suites or 28 beachfront chalets with private pools and gardens.