Brits take to skies as COVID-19 travel rules scrapped

Brits take to skies as COVID-19 travel rules scrapped
The CEO of British Airways hopes other countries will follow the UK in loosening travel restrictions. (File/AFP)
Short Url
Updated 11 February 2022

Brits take to skies as COVID-19 travel rules scrapped

Brits take to skies as COVID-19 travel rules scrapped
  • Egypt, Dubai among top destinations
  • British Airways urges other countries to follow suit

LONDON: Egypt and Dubai are among the top destinations for hundreds of thousands of holidaying Brits after COVID-19 testing rules were scrapped for fully vaccinated flyers.

 As of 4 a.m. on Friday, Brits no longer need to take a test on their arrival back in the UK. ABTA, formerly known as the Association of British Travel Agents, said the easing of restrictions represents a “new chapter” for the travel industry’s recovery.  It added that among the most popular destinations is Egypt for a shorter flight and Dubai for those willing to fly further.

Stansted Airport told ABTA that it is expecting around 200,000 passengers to depart between Feb. 11 and 18.

Gatwick is expecting so many travelers that it has reopened a terminal that had been shut due to the near-total drop in demand for travel during two years of the pandemic. The airport is expecting around 186,000 travelers during the half-term break.

British Airways CEO Sean Doyle said: “We hope that other countries will soon catch up with the UK’s pragmatic approach.”

Airlines are still hopeful that passenger numbers, particularly in international travel, will pick up as virus-related restrictions have either been completely lifted or are being gradually eased in major economies.

In Britain, demand for flights has been edging back toward pre-COVID levels for the crucial summer holiday season, according to market data that also showed bookings for the period only 16 percent behind comparable levels in January 2019.

Fully vaccinated people will no longer need to take a COVID-19 test when they land in the UK starting from Friday, making trips cheaper and relatively hassle-free.

London’s Gatwick Airport will reopen its south terminal next month, counting on the easing of coronavirus curbs to boost demand this summer as travelers venture out after the omicron variant of the virus dampened new year celebrations for most, Reuters reported.

A number of airlines will return to the south terminal from March 27, said the UK’s second-largest airport, which has kept the terminal shut for nearly two years as passenger numbers plummeted during the health crisis.

Carriers including British Airways, Dublin-based Aer Lingus, Oslo-listed Norwegian Air and low-cost carriers Vueling, Wizz Air and Ryanair will operate from the terminal, while easyJet will operate across south and north terminals.

“We are going to see significant growth at the very beginning of the summer season here at Gatwick, and then progressively we will build to operate at about 90 percent of the 2019 levels,” said Gatwick CEO Stewart Wingate.

The pandemic was especially hard on the travel sector as the emergence of a number of new variants has led to recurring curbs, wiping out company earnings and making it difficult for businesses
to plan.

The possibility of new variants and rising living costs that could force people to reassess their budgets still pose a threat to a sustained rebound.


Kylie Jenner sports part Arab label during London trip 

Kylie Jenner sports part Arab label during London trip 
Updated 08 August 2022

Kylie Jenner sports part Arab label during London trip 

Kylie Jenner sports part Arab label during London trip 

DUBAI: From shopping sprees to date nights, US reality TV star and beauty mogul Kylie Jenner has been setting style trends this week in London with chic and sporty looks. 

As the Kylie Cosmetics founder prepares for her birthday on Aug. 10, the entrepreneur was spotted wearing Romanian Jordanian designer Amina Muaddi’s mini patent Giorgia top handle bag. 

Jenner was on a shopping trip to Harrods department store with her four-year-old daughter, Stormi Webster. 

Jenner showed off Amina Muaddi’s mini patent Giorgia top handle bag. (Instagram)

She wore the black bag with a hot pink figure-hugging top and skirt set from Japanese Paris-based label Comme des Garcons. She also wore Italian brand Gianvito Rossi’s Aileen PVC slingback sandals. 

The 24-year-old star documented her shopping spree on TikTok. 

“We just pulled up to Harrods to see Kylie Cosmetics and Kylie Skin. I brought my daughter to see it. I also haven’t seen it so I am a little excited and I am bringing you guys along with me,” she told her 45.4 million followers. 

On one of Jenner’s strolls this week, she wore a head-to-toe denim look from French label Marine Serre’s Spring 2023 collection. (Instagram)

Jenner then shared clips of her and Stormi walking through the entrepreneur’s products booth. Stormi had a small basket to which she added a few items from her mom’s brands. 

The businesswoman then showed a room filled with high-end clothes, accessories and toys. 

“Look what Harrods did for Stormi to go shopping,” Jenner told her fans in the video. “Is this not the craziest? You are a spoiled, spoiled girl.”

On one of Jenner’s strolls this week, she wore a head-to-toe denim look from French label Marine Serre’s Spring 2023 collection. 

For a date night with her partner and the father of her two children, Travis Scott, Jenner stepped out wearing a white-and-red leather motorcycle zipper jacket by French fashion house Mugler, which she paired with a mini skirt from clothing brand Devised Antithetical. 

On Saturday, Scott performed his first arena concert since the Astroworld tragedy last year that saw a surge in the concert crowd leaving 10 individuals dead and many others injured.

Both Jenner and Stormi attended the concert at London’s O2 Arena. 


Review: Netflix’s ‘Keep Breathing’ is a survivalist story that lacks drama

‘Keep Breathing’ is now streaming on Netflix. (Supplied)
‘Keep Breathing’ is now streaming on Netflix. (Supplied)
Updated 08 August 2022

Review: Netflix’s ‘Keep Breathing’ is a survivalist story that lacks drama

‘Keep Breathing’ is now streaming on Netflix. (Supplied)

CHENNAI: “Keep Breathing,” a limited series on Netflix created by Martin Gero and Brendan Gall, is a survivalist drama that could have done with a little more drama. 

The six-episode show sees Liv (Melissa Barrera) board a small plane with pilot George (Mike Dopud) and his friend, Sam (Austin Stowell), after her routine flight to Inuvik in Canada is delayed. She is a hotshot, hotheaded Manhattan lawyer who bulldozes the two virtual strangers at the airport — even offering them a bribe — to take her to her destination on their private plane. 

But disaster strikes when the small Cessna aircraft crashes somewhere in the Canadian wilderness and Sam and George are killed. Bereft of survival skills or food, Liv’s efforts to get back to civilization form the premise of the series. Sadly, the show lacks tension or the kind of magnificent performance we saw in Tom Hanks’ “Cast Away.” Barrera hardly conveys the helplessness or urgency of her plight, and most of the time looks too made up for the mess she has got herself into. 

 

 

The work relies mostly on flashbacks to move the narrative along, telling us how Liv uses her past problems and difficulties as lessons to try to escape from the remote place. Her experiences with her dull mother (Florencia Lozano), sickly father (Juan Pablo Espinosa) and her boyfriend (Jeff Wilbusch) help Liv on her mission to get back to civilization. 

It all seems a tad contrived and forced, with plenty of missed opportunities for a few thrills. Unfortunately, the hint of heightened adventure never materializes and even the introduction of a wild bear does little to save this middling survival story. A tantalizing tenet is fleetingly introduced when Liv finds tubes full of money and tubs of opiates that her shady pilots were smuggling across the border. However, any possibility of an exciting storyline is shut down by the creators, who chose not to follow up on the plot point. 

Despite the focus on the supporting characters, they are not well written and hardly make an impression. The series struggles to find the right balance, veering off into Liv’s past too often and ignoring the gripping potential of her present circumstances.


Artist Osman Yousefzada unveils new installations in London 

Artist Osman Yousefzada unveils new installations in London 
Updated 08 August 2022

Artist Osman Yousefzada unveils new installations in London 

Artist Osman Yousefzada unveils new installations in London 

DUBAI: British Afghani Pakistan multi-disciplinary artist Osman Yousefzada has unveiled a series of installations titled “What is Seen and What is Not” at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum.

Running until Sept. 25, the artworks respond to Pakistan's 75th Independence Day and explore themes of displacement, movement and migration.

“What is Seen and What is Not” runs until Sept. 25. (Supplied)

The site-specific works created by Yousefzada, who is also a world-famous fashion designer, bring together textiles, wrapped objects and a seating installation.

“It’s a great honor to be commissioned to reflect on the 75 years of Pakistan’s independence,” said the artist in a released statement. “‘What is Seen and What is Not’ offers a portrait of contemporary Pakistan, through a British diasporic lens as it attempts to reel away from colonial subjugation.”


Saudi Arabia among top 5 overseas markets as ‘Bullet Train’ rakes in $62.5M

Saudi Arabia among top 5 overseas markets as ‘Bullet Train’ rakes in $62.5M
Updated 08 August 2022

Saudi Arabia among top 5 overseas markets as ‘Bullet Train’ rakes in $62.5M

Saudi Arabia among top 5 overseas markets as ‘Bullet Train’ rakes in $62.5M

LOS ANGELES: The stylized action romp “Bullet Train,” starring Brad Pitt, earned $62.5 million worldwide over its opening weekend, according to studio estimates this week, with Saudi Arabia earning a spot on the overseas play ranking.

The film racked up $32.4 million at the international box office and $30.1 million on the domestic charts.

Overseas play was led by the UK with a $3.5 million start, followed by France at $3.1 million, Mexico delivering $3 million, Australia rolling to $2.2 million and Saudi Arabia clocking $1.9 million.

The UAE ranked sixth, delivering $1.3 million.

The movie trailer was displayed on Burj Khalifa. (Supplied)

The “Bullet Train” debut for Sony Pictures was solid but unspectacular for a movie that cost $90 million to make and was propelled by Pitt’s substantial star power. Even if it holds well in coming weeks, movie theaters have no major studio releases on the horizon for the rest of August, and few sure things to look forward to in early fall.

The movie trailer and a message from Puerto Rican rapper Bad Bunny, who stars in the film as the Wolf, were displayed on the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa, this week to elevate the anticipation of the movie-goers for the film.


Model Alessandra Ambrosio, actress Vanessa Hudgens turn to Arab labels for summer style 

Model Alessandra Ambrosio, actress Vanessa Hudgens turn to Arab labels for summer style 
Updated 08 August 2022

Model Alessandra Ambrosio, actress Vanessa Hudgens turn to Arab labels for summer style 

Model Alessandra Ambrosio, actress Vanessa Hudgens turn to Arab labels for summer style 

DUBAI: From US Egyptian jewelry maker Jacquie Aiche to Lebanese eyewear maven Karen Wazen, celebrities from around the world are turning to Arab designers to accessorize their summer looks. 

US actress Vanessa Hudgens recently shared a picture of herself wearing a ring designed by  Aiche. The “High School Musical” star championed the brand’s double pyramid triangle ring in smoky topaz. 

Hudgens’ summery look featured a vintage Versace tie dye mini dress and a midsize Queen Nefertiti necklace in yellow gold designed by jewelry label FoundRae. 

Another one of Aiche’s loyal clients is Canadian supermodel and former “America’s Next Top Model” contestant Winnie Harlow. 

The star was spotted flaunting one of the brand’s turquoise beaded necklaces. 

Earlier this week, Brazilian supermodel Alessandra Ambrosio stepped out wearing Aiche’s pave diamond Small Mama necklace that retails at $5,750. 

On her Malibu stroll, the catwalk star wore a linen jumpsuit which she paired with a cotton bandeau top. Later that evening, she posed for pictures in an oversized suit by The Mannei, a brand founded by Polish-Jordanian stylist and model Sara Boruc Mannei. 

In a previous interview with Arab News, Aiche said that to her, jewelry is “everything” — it is much more than just adornment. “It speaks to the soul. It is a form of self-expression, a way of deep healing and a talisman of personal meaning,” she explained. 

Aiche, who launched her eponymous label from her garage in 2008, amassed an impressive celebrity client list that includes Hailey Bieber, Usher, Rihanna, Jada Pinkett Smith and Blake Lively. 

“I have such a strong, beautiful tribe, who have all sort of organically found and gravitated towards my designs. I love that about life, the unknown and the unexpected,” she said. 

Meanwhile, Lebanese eyewear designer Karen Wazen also had her moment in the spotlight this week with a number of international celebrities stepping out in her shades. 

Real estate broker and breakout star of Netflix’s popular “Selling Sunset” reality show Christine Quinn wore Wazen’s Pam reflective glasses in gold.

Meanwhile, US content creator Chriselle Lim, who has more than 1.4 million followers on Instagram, wore the Jen shades in brown.