Tuesday 30 April 2019

Ryanair Boeing 737 Diverts To Paris After Engine Failure

A Ryanair Boeing 737 has been forced to divert and perform an unplanned landing at Paris-Beauvais Airport.

The aircraft apparently experienced problems with its right hand engine and had to shut down in order to continue flying. No one was injured.

This 737-800 was a third generation aircraft and not the troubled fourth generation MAX from Boeing.

Ryanair flight FR7411 was en route from Faro Airport in Portugal, one of Ryanair’s hub airports to Eindhoven Airport in the Netherlands when the pilot noticed something wrong.

The flight deck noticed that the oil pressure in their right-hand engine had dropped to dangerous levels. Whilst above Paris at the time, they decided to shut down the aircraft and divert to a closer airport.

They deemed the situation to not be dire though only operating on one engine and landed 43 minutes after starting their descent at the closest airport, Paris Beauvais.

After landing and given the all clear, passengers and crew were disembarked. Passengers flew on a replacement plane that soon arrived, and engineers have scoured the plane looking for the cause of the malfunction.

Fortunately, there were no injuries in this incident.

Some aviationists have questioned why the aircraft landed at Paris Beauvais, when the original destination, Eindhoven Airport, was equally far away 45 minutes.

Ryanair has been blamed for not reporting the situation to passengers until they had landed, causing undue panic.

Tourism Observer

Thousands Stranded As SAS Strike Continues In Its Fifth Day

As the SAS pilots strike continues into a fifth day, the number of passengers affected has increased past the quarter of a million mark. With no resolution to the conflict in sight, how long will this SAS strike take?

It was last Friday when more than 1,400 pilots walked out on SAS. Pilots from Sweden, Denmark and Norway refused to work anymore until SAS improved their working conditions and salaries.

At least 70% of flights have had to be cancelled as a result.

With an estimated 280,000 passengers affected, SAS could be looking at a large bill for compensation, on top of the loss of revenue as a result of the strike.

Under EU regulations, all passengers are entitled to a €600 compensation payment if their flights are delayed for more than three hours.

However, SAS have said they will reject these claims, citing extraordinary circumstances as a reason not to pay. SAS’s information manager Morten Johansen said:

Passengers are not entitled to compensation when the delay is caused by a strike, as that is considered an extraordinary circumstance that is outside the airline’s actual control.

However, it’s unlikely that this stance will be challenged going on previous outcomes of strikes.

When Ryanair refused to pay compensation following strike action, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said that the airline must settle these claims and are taking the Irish carrier to court to make them pay.

The short answer is not any time soon. Even the mediators are losing hope of a resolution.

Mediator Jan Sjölin on Tuesday morning said: We are in constant contact with the parties, but there are no negotiations scheduled today. Things can of course change quickly, but at the moment nothing is booked in,

The parties remain fixed in their positions. It makes no sense to meet and repeat the same things all over again. We are on standby to get to work again whenever, but things have to change from what they were when talks broke down.

Apparently, it’s not that SAS aren’t keen to talk. It is, after all, in their best interests to get things moving as soon as possible.

Their CEO, Richard Gustafson said that both he and SAS have been creative in trying to resolve the situation.

We have made attractive offers that they have turned down. We’ll have to see what else we can do, he said.

However, the Swedish Pilots’ Association doesn’t think they’re doing enough. Rawaz Nermany, chairman of the Association, is quoted as saying:

The way forward is that SAS shows a genuine will to sit down and negotiate. If they do that, I am convinced that we can resolve this. I think SAS has to take responsibility,”

The Association is demanding a 13% pay raise for pilots, as well as better working hours and more predictable shift patterns. SAS are offering a 2.3% pay rise, but the union has apparently said that it’s more about the working conditions than the pay.

So, it seems that negotiations have reached a deadlock. With even the mediators lacking hope for a swift resolution, it looks like the strike action could go on a lot longer than initially thought.

Since the strike started late last week, it is estimated to have led to almost 3,000 cancellation, disrupting the travel plans of more than 280,000 passengers.

SAS said that the action by its pilots is having a very negative effect on our customers and our business.

DnB Markets lowered their rating on SAS shares as the strike entered the fifth day. Their analysts have halved their 2019 earnings per share estimate since the start of the strike. They’ve also warned that these may be cut further if the issue is not resolved by Wednesday.

Estimates are that the strike is costing SAS as much as 100 million Swedish Crowns ($10.5m) each day it drags on. Share prices have dropped by over 9% since before the strike.

The airline had previously targeted a 3bn Crown cost saving by 2020 in the face of rising fuel prices and stiff competition, but that target is looking increasingly unattainable in light of the current situation.

Tourism Observer

INDIA: SpiceJet Overshoots Runway At Shirdi Airport, Taking Two And A Half Hours To Rescue Passengers.

Budget airline SpiceJet operating on the Delhi-Shirdi route, overshot the runway while landing at the Shirdi airport on Monday on April 29.

According to the airline, no harm was caused to either the passengers or the crew.

On 29 April 2019, SpiceJet B737-800 aircraft operated SG 946 from Delhi to Shirdi. While landing at Shirdi, the aircraft overshot the runway. Passengers and crew are safe and are being deplaned normally, the airline said in a statement.

After a few Indian runway incidents late last year, yet another near miss has occurred. A SpiceJet Boeing 737-800 overran the runway while landing at Shirdi airport. The incident occurred earlier today as the flight was arriving from Delhi.

There have been several close calls involving Indian aircraft during takeoff and landing during the past year.

One of these saw an aircraft land on an unfinished runway, while another resulted in a wall being struck during takeoff. Thankfully, none of these incidents have had serious consequences

The incident involved a Boeing 737 registered to SpiceJet as VT-SGJ. The aircraft was originally delivered to Air Berlin in 2005. It spent eight months serving for Blue Air in 2010, before joining the SpiceJet fleet in December 2010. As such, the aircraft is 14 years old.

The aircraft was operating flight SG-946 from Delhi to Shirdi in the South of India. Initial reports suggest that 164 people were on board the aircraft at the time.

The pilots overran the 2,500m runway by around 100 feet, resting the aircraft on soft ground.

While there were no injuries reported, both pilots have been grounded as is customary in these circumstances.

While the incident took place at 1630 local time, the aircraft’s occupants weren’t rescued until two and a half hours later.

It reportedly took two and a half hours to rescue those onboard.

Dhiren Bhosale is the airport’s director said a SpiceJet aircraft shot off the runway by about 50 meters and skidded off. There is no injury to any passenger and the crew, though. Our first priority is to evacuate passengers without compromising their safety.

This single incident is a worrying part of a much bigger problem. SpiceJet is not the only Indian airline which has been affected by takeoff or landing troubles of late.

In September of 2018, an Indian Airlines Boeing 737 landed on an unfinished runway being built at Male in the Maldives. The aircraft got caught in plastic debris on the runway.

A month earlier in August, a Jet Airways Boeing 737 attempted to take off from a taxiway in Mumbai. The aircraft came off the taxiway and got stuck.

Another incident saw an Air India Boeing 737 strike a wall during takeoff.

Interestingly, the pilots didn’t realise the extensive damage until they were warned on the ground. Other incidents have also taken place.

Tourism Observer

UAE: Emirates Wins World's Best Airline Award

Emirates continued winning when it took top honours by sweeping five awards at the Business Traveller Middle East Awards 2019.

The airline took home awards for Airline with the Best First Class, Airline with the Best Economy Class, Airline with the Best Frequent Flyer Program and Best Airport Lounge in the Middle East.

The airline also took home the coveted award of Best Airline Worldwide.

Thierry Antinori, Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer for Emirates, received the awards on behalf of the airline and commented: It is an honour to receive these five gongs from the Business Traveller Middle East Awards 2019 and to see that our brand is recognised by customers is a fantastic encouragement to continue to raise the bar and develop innovative products and services.

This with a strong customer focus aligned with our brand promise to fly better. We would like to thank our employees for the hard work and commitment they deliver for an exceptional customer experience which helps Emirates stand out on the global stage day in and day out."

Emirates most recently redefined premium travel with its game-changer Boeing 777-300ER interiors featuring - six fully enclosed First Class Private Suites with meticulous design details inspired by the Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

Laid in a 1-1-1 configuration, each suite has floor to ceiling sliding doors and up to 40 square feet of personal space, cutting-edge technologies, including a NASA inspired zero-gravity seating position, 'virtual windows' for middle aisle suites, and personal video-call service.

The newest Boeing 777-300ER game-changer aircraft currently flies to six global cities, including Riyadh and Kuwait.

Emirates has also completed the reconfiguration of 10 Boeing 777-200LR aircraft. The multi-million dollar refurbishment included a fully refreshed economy class cabin with the latest colour palette of soft greys and blues, ergonomically designed headrests, and generously pitched seats.

The airline's state-of-the-art, First Class lounges at Concourses A, B, and C in DXB offer premium customers a chance to refresh using showers and enjoy savouring in gourmet cuisines.

With a seating capacity of over 2,500 - the award-winning lounge offers a business centre, a la carte dining, spa with treatment rooms, dedicated duty free area, premium cigar lounge, and a complimentary shoe shine service.

The Business Traveler Middle East Awards are the latest in a series of accolades won by Emirates which include the 2019 TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice® awards for Airlines, where Emirates won four awards including: Best First Class in the world, Best Regional Business Class Middle East.

Also Best First Class Middle East; and overall Travelers' Choice Major Airline honour for the Middle East.

TripAdvisor also ranked Emirates as one of the world's top carriers based on the quantity and quality of reviews and ratings for airlines by TripAdvisor flyers.

Tourism Observer

UAE: Flydubai Wants Compensation From Boeing And Replacement Of 737 Max

Most airlines across the world grounded 737 Max after an Ethiopian Airlines jet crashed in March. Flydubai may prefer an option of replacing its order of more than 100 Boeing 737 Max jets with Airbus A320neos.

Then further demand compensation from the US plane-maker for the loss incurred following the grounding of 14 narrow-body aircraft, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of the low-cost carrier said on Monday.

Speaking at the Arabian Travel Market, Sheikh Ahmed, who is also Chairman of Dubai Airports and Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group, said the airline had to cancel up to 15 flights a day after grounding almost 10 per cent of its fleet.

Most airlines across the world grounded 737 Max after an Ethiopian Airlines jet crashed in March and a LionAir jet crashed last October, killing a total of 346 people.

Sheikh Ahmed did not say when flydubai would exercise the option for replacing the order nor did he reveal how much was the compensation flydubai would demand from Boeing.

The Dubai-based carrier operates a fleet of only 737 aircraft and is one of the largest Max operators having ordered 250 of the plane in November 2017 in a deal valued at $27 billion.

With so much aircraft on order, he said he couldn't sit and do nothing but needed to look at options such as the Airbus A320.

He stressed the replacement option and compensation are flydubai's rights.

We didn't ground those aircraft just because we wanted to. Even if we wanted to fly this aircraft, it would not be possible as nobody will allow it to fly within their airspace.

Sheikh Ahmed said he expects the US plane maker to improve communication with customers. We do not have a definite idea about the date when Max aircraft will be flying again.

On Boeing's claim that it is developing a software fix and new pilot training for regulatory approval to get Max recertified, Sheikh Ahmed said there was lack of clarity about those fixes and how long the plane grounding will last.

I have to see when this aircraft will be flying again and what assurances we will be getting, and how much compensation we will get. I don't want the delay to continue, he said.

On the higher fuel price and its impact on the airline's profitability, he said several other factors, including geopolitical issues, are posing challenges of all operators, but the full year 2018 results would be positive for the group. However, I would like to see oil prices at $60.

On the status on the talks with India to boost bilateral seat quota, Sheikh Ahmed said he expects to get more capacity, but did not say when a new agreement could be inked.

On Airbus 380 aircraft of the world's largest commercial jet-liner of which Emirates is the largest operator in the world, he said although its production would cease, the plane would continue to be operational for another 15 years.

We are today at 107 aircraft, it will go up to 125 before we see that some of the older aircraft come out of the fleet, he said.

Tourism Observer

INDONESIA: Volcano Spews Ash In Bali, Tourists Warned

The UAE Embassy in Jakarta has issued a travel alert for tourists after a volcano erupted in Bali.

Mount Agung erupted at 3.21am local time on Sunday morning, and spewed ash up to 2,000 metres high.

The UAE mission alert citizens travelling to Indonesia’s holiday destination to be vigilant for any further development regarding the volcano’s activity.

In a statement, the embassy said: Due to the state of Mount Agung, the UAE Embassy in Indonesia advises Emiratis on the island of Bali to stay away from the volcano, take precautions and follow safety instructions.

Please register with the Twajudi service so we can locate your whereabouts. In the event of an emergency, contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation’s call centre on 800 44444.

A number of areas across Indonesia, including in Sulawesi, Lombok and the Sumatra region, are still reeling from the aftermath of earthquakes that broke out in February and March 2019.

As of Wednesday, April 24, the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advised against all travel within four kilometres of the Mount Agung crater in east Bali, and to stay at least seven kilometres away from Mount Sinabung crater in Kalo Regency, North Sumatra.

These are exclusion zones put in place by the local authorities due to ongoing volcanic activity.

If you’re in either exclusion zone, you should leave immediately, said the FCO.

Tourism Observer

PAKISTAN: Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) Moves 85 Flight Attendants From Karachi To Islamabad

Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), transferred 85 flight attendants from Karachi to Islamabad.

PIA administration, in a notification, directed concerned stewards and stewardesses to report to Base In-charge Flight Services in Islamabad for further assignment of duties within six days following the recent transfers.

The notification stated that special allowances will be given to the flight attendants for transportation as married officials will get a one-month allowance and unmarried personnel will be provided 15 days allowance besides provision of free air passage including their families, if married.

For the transportation of baggage, married officials can carry up to 273 kilograms while unmarried attendants can take away 182 kilograms if travelling by air.

The officials will be allowed to take 1119 kilograms baggage if travelling through surface transportation while unmarried personnel will be allowed to carry up to 746 kilograms.

On April 15, the Pakistan International Airline (PIA) had decided to launch action against facilitators of crew members deployed abroad in contravention of stipulated rules.

Tourism Observer

RWANDA: Qatar Interested In Funding Bugesera International Airport

Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani

A Qatari government delegation led by Foreign minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani was in Kigali a month ago for bilateral talks key among them the financing of the Bugesera International Airport.

Rwanda has been seeking funds for the new airport that will be its largest and whose construction began in August 2017 with a deadline set for 2020.

The government entered into a public/private partnership with Portuguese firm Mota Engil that granted the company the rights to operate the airport for 25 years to recoup its total investment, estimated at about $820 million, with an option to extend the agreement for 15 years.

However, late last year, the government suspended construction works to make improvements in design and quality and even expand it.

Mota Engil injected $418 million in the initial phase of the project. The second phase had been estimated to cost $382 million.

But the redesign is expected to push up costs and has forced Rwanda to hunt for more financiers.

The Rwandan delegation that held talks with the Qataris was led by Foreign minister Richard Sezibera. Ministers for Infrastructure Claver Gatete and ICT Paula Ingabire were also present as well as national carrier RwandAir chief executive Yvonne Manzi Makolo.

We are discussing investment in Bugesera airport and there seems to be good interest in this. Hopefully the deal will be closed soon. I can’t tell you the size of the investment since negotiations are still ongoing. I can only tell you that the discussions are going on well, Dr Sezibera disclosed.

Asked whether Mota Engil will be part of the new agreement, Dr Sezibera said Bugesera and other potential investments we have are big enough for many actors. The only challenge is that we don’t have as many investors as we would like to.

The Qatari delegation also met Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente on Friday and held private talks with President Paul Kagame at his home in Muhazi.

Once complete, Bugesera is expected to handle 1.7 million passengers per year, almost double the country's current total traffic.

Qatar is expected to become a major investor in Rwanda’s Bugesera Airport after both countries signed an agreement to bolster aviation investments and co-operation.

The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, was in Kigali this past week on a three-day tour where he held talks with President Paul Kagame. This came at a time when Qatari investments in the region are increasing.

The two countries signed agreements in aviation travel and logistics, culture, sports and tourism and business events.

The Emir’s visit was a follow-up to President Kagame’s visit to Doha in November 2018, where they sealed deals on economic, commercial, and technical co-operation.

The agreements involve strategic co-operation with Rwanda’s Aviation Travel and Logistics (ATL)—the company managing RwandAir—and Qatar Airways.

ATL is also the government’s aviation investment arm with a 25 per cent stake in the Bugesera Airport, while 75 per cent is owned by Portuguese firm Mota-Engil.

The government said it wants to attract more investors in the Bugesera project, which is expected to become the country’s largest airport.

Mota-Engil began construction of Bugesera Airport in August 2017, but construction stalled after disagreements over the airport’s design.

Talking on the sidelines of the African CEO Summit in Kigali last month, Manuel Mota, the CEO of Mota-Engil Africa said that the project had stalled due to a mandatory redesign.

We are redesigning the project to cater for the change in traffic projections for RwandAir, said Mr Mota.

So far, more than $130 million has been injected in the project and the first phase of construction is estimated to cost $418 million.

The 2020 deadline for completion of the first phase of the airport is likely to be extended.

Since assuming power in 2013, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al has embarked on a series of tours and investments in Africa, and pledged to spend at least $800 million in development projects across the continent.

Before his Kigali visit, the Emir visited Kenya in 2017 and signed agreements for scientific research and assistance in higher education.

Whereas diplomatic relations between Qatar and Rwanda began as recently as 2017, the Gulf country has had ties with Kenya, East Africa’s biggest economy since 2003, when Kenya opened an embassy in Doha.

Qatar runs three embassies in the region, Kenya, Tanzania and South Sudan and 20 in other countries on the continent.

In November last year, a Qatari delegation visited Uganda that was headed by Sheikh Faisal bin Thani Al-Thani, the director of regional investment funds and investments in the mining sector were high on the agenda.

Uganda guaranteed tax and regulatory incentives to Qatari investors during that visit.

In March, Tanzanian President John Magufuli hosted the Qatar Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani and signed agreements in air transport.

In January, Qatar pulled out of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, ending its 52-year membership.

Doha’s main interest in Africa for the past decade has been food imports.

In March 2018, Qatar and Sudan signed a $4 billion deal to jointly manage a Red Sea port.

Qatar Airways flies to 48 destinations in Africa.

Tourism Observer

KUWAIT: Kuwait Stops Admitting Expat Workers From 20 Countries

The Kuwaiti General Directorate of Residence Affairs recently announced a ban on recruitment of domestic workers from five African countries.

The latest ban raises the list to 20 countries.

According local media sources, the Kuwaiti ministry of foreign affairs issued a circular mentioning the names of the 5 countries, which include Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, Bhutan, Guinea and Guinea-Bissau.

Additionally, the other 15 African countries are Djibouti,Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, Togo, Senegal, Malawi, Chad, Sierra Leone, Niger, Tanzania, the Gambia, Ghana, Zimbabwe and Madagascar.

The circular also included five other African countries whose domestic workers faced a temporary ban, including Cameroon, the Congo, Burundi, Eritrea and Liberia.

Tourism Observer

Monday 29 April 2019

PAKISTAN: US Slaps Pakistan With Sanctions Over Refusal To Take Back Its Citizen Deportees

The US has imposed sanctions on Pakistan after Islamabad refused to take back its citizen deportees and visa over-stayers from America, warning that it may withhold visas of Pakistanis beginning from its senior officials.

The State Department on Friday said that consular operations in Pakistan remain unchanged as of now but as a result of such a sanction mentioned in a Federal Register notification dated April 22, the US may withhold visas of Pakistanis beginning with its senior officials.

Pakistan is the latest to join the list of 10 nations that have been imposed with sanctions under a US law according to which countries refusing to take back deportees and visa over-stayers will be denied American visas.

Notably eight of these countries have been slapped with such visa sanctions under the Trump administration. Two of them, Ghana and Pakistan have been included in the list this year.

The other countries include Guyana in 2001, the Gambia in 2016, Cambodia, Eritrea, Guinea, and Sierra Leone in 2017, Burma and Laos in 2018.

Under Section 243 (d) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, the Secretary of State is required to discontinue granting immigration or non-immigrant visas to a nation upon receiving notice from the Homeland Security Secretary that the country has denied or is unreasonably delaying accepting a citizen, subject, national or resident of that country.

The State Department tried to downplay the impact of the sanctions on Pakistan.

Consular operations in Pakistan remain unchanged, a State Department Spokesperson told PTI when asked about the federal register notification.

This is a bilateral issue of ongoing discussion between the US and Pakistani governments and we are not going to get into the specifics at this time, the spokesperson said.

Former Pakistan's Ambassador to the US, Hussain Haqqani, feels that this will make things difficult for Pakistanis.

This measure will create hardship for Pakistanis who want or need to travel to the US and could have been avoided if Pakistani authorities had not ignored American requests to respect their legal requirements for deportation,Haqqani told PTI, days after the federal register notification.

He said that Pakistan's refusal to accept its citizens deported from the US is not new.

Pakistan's refusal to accept every Pakistani citizen deported from the US is not new. It seems that the US is no longer willing to overlook a wide range of official Pakistani behaviour. Bonhomie has been replaced by sanctions and restrictions based on Islamabad's policy decisions, Haqqani said.

Tourism Observer

INDIA: Pakistan Air Space Closure Causes Heavy Losses For Air India

Air India has suffered losses of around Rs3 billion or Rs300 crore since late February as its long haul flights from New Delhi are taking longer to reach destinations in Europe, the Gulf and the US because of the closure of Pakistan's airspace.

The Pakistani airspace has remained shut for traffic to and from India ever since hostilities broke out between the two countries after the Pulwama suicide bombing in Jammu and Kashmir on February 14.

With its aircraft operating from New Delhi spending longer time in air, Air India is incurring daily loss of Rs6 crore on extra fuel burn, cabin staff expenses and reduced flights.

The national carrier has approached the Civil Aviation Ministry to ensure it is compensated for the loss given that the airline cannot pull out these flights due to various obligations.

Ministry officials said Air India had communicated to them about this and that it was being taken up with all concerned.

The Air India flights to the US from Delhi now take 2-3 hours extra one way due to the restrictions over Pakistani airspace. Flights to Europe are taking almost two hours more resulting in financial loss.

The airspace closure following an air strike by the Indian Air Force on the Jaish-e-Mohamnad (JeM) terror camp in Pakistan's Balakot on February 27 has affected most airlines from Europe and the US that operate flights to and from New Delhi.

Almost the entire air traffic from South East Asia to Europe has also been impacted as they would pass through north India into Pakistan and onwards.

American carrier United has temporarily suspended its Delhi-Newark flight and is monitoring the situation.

German flag carrier Lufthansa had said earlier that connections to Bangkok and Singapore would also be hit besides operations to India.

We are already preparing adjusted routes and will increase the amount of additional fuel in the event of delays. Some traffic rights for the new routing must also be secured, the airline had said on closure of Pakistani airspace.

An Air India official said that the airline has significant operations to Europe and North America and the diversion of flights due to closure of Pakistani airspace had so far caused a total loss of about Rs3b.

The losses on account of payload restriction and cancellation alone is about Rs 2.75 crore per day. The longer flying time has affected the duty hours of cabin staff and pilots, he said.

The other airlines have an option to pull out services in such situations but as the national carrier we cannot do so, the official added.

Tourism Observer

Sunday 28 April 2019

UAE: Passengers Face Consequential Delays As Six Air India Flights From UAE Affected By Software Glitch

Flights in the Gulf region were minimally affected by the massive disruption experienced by Air India due to a server crash yesterday, an airline official said, adding that only six flights were delayed, with passengers being duly notified.

Thousands of passengers across the world were stranded after the Indian flag-bearer’s server crashed at around 5am local time, halting its global operations.

Though the services were restored after around five hours of delay, dozens of flights were affected with the breakdown not allowing passengers to check in.

According to Air India’s regional manager, Mohit Sain, most of the flights from the region had departed before the disruption happened.

Here in the UAE we have had a limited impact of the disruption because the server crashed after most of our flights had departed from Dubai and Sharjah, said Sain.

However, he added the global crash led to delays of six flights and passengers were alerted in time, and notified about the change in timings.

Among the affected flights were AI934 Dubai to Kochi, which was rescheduled to 5.35pm, experiencing a three-hour delay.

Another flight facing significant delay was AI938 Dubai to Calicut, which was rescheduled to 8.45pm.

The airline’s budget carrier Air India Express also faced disruptions, with two flights from Sharjah rescheduled, including IX536 to Thiruvananthapuram which was scheduled for a 1pm departure, running late by more than an hour and IX354 was rescheduled for a 4pm departure, delayed by one hour 20 minutes.

According to a statement by Air India, a glitch in its passenger services system developed by aviation IT solutions firm SITA hampered the airline’s check-in and other passenger services.

At least 35 flights were affected when the system was down between 5am and 10am, however, the cascading effect of the disruption delayed more than 150 flights both domestically and internationally.

Air India has had previous issues of system failures with the most recent being in June last year when its passenger check in software crashed due to unexpected network connectivity issues.

As of 3.05 pm, Saturday, April 27:

The national flag-carrier Air India had managed to restore its system following a check-in software glitch that caused massive delays across its domestic and international operations.

The carrier tweeted that the temporary glitch was restored at 8:45 am, but expected that passengers were to face consequential delays.

Between 3:30 to 4:30 am Saturday, passenger services system of Air India that is run by SITA was taken for maintenance and after that it remained down till 8:45 am, it has just come back.

System restored. During the day we will see consequential delays, Air India chairman Ashwani Lohani said.

Air India's flight operations were affected across India and abroad since early morning on Saturday due to knock-effect of the server shutdown. Air India earlier said the server breakdown affected its flights all over the world.

Air India chairman Ashwani Lohani, in an interview with the local channel NDTV, attributed the problem to shutdown of SITA software. SITA (Société Internationale de Télécommunications Aéronautiques) is a multinational IT company providing telecommunication services to the air transport industry.

Thousands of Air India passengers were stranded at airports across the world Saturday, after a software glitch left those travelling with the state-run airline unable to check in, officials said.

More than 155 domestic and international flights were delayed for several hours because of a problem with the company's check-in software that brought operations to a halt causing further flight delays across the globe.

Our check-in software experienced a glitch following a routine software upgrade. It was resolved after six hours, Air India spokesman Praveen Bhatnagar said.

Bhatnagar said most of the delays were on its domestic circuit and they were doing everything possible to clear the backlog.

There were no flight cancellations and the airline expects operations to be back to normal by early evening, the spokesman said.

Meanwhile, CMD Air India Ashwani Lohani said that the glitch has been rectified.

The airline issued a statement on Twitter, saying: Our server system SITA, which faced a temporary glitch, this morning was restored at 08.45hrs. Air India senior executives, including CMD, Directors, Station Heads rushed to airports to take control of situation and facilitate pax.

Earlier, one user, R Vasundara, posted a picture of a crowded Mumbai airport, labelling the whole incident a nightmare.

Another user with the handle Priyam expressed anger at the failure with operations, saying What to expect if that’s the condition of a national carrier.

Priyanka Gulati posted a video of a crowded airport, calling the process a waste of time.

After hours at the the Chandigarh airport and under threat of missing a connecting flight, Twitter user Mukhtiar Singh uses social media to ask authorities for answers.

He wrote: Hi authorities what’s happening. I am on the Chandigarh airport with family from 5:30 am waiting for flight to delhi and then From delhi to london. It’s a real shame authorities are not updating us what’s happening.

An Air India spokesperson issued a statement, explaining: The SITA [IT] server is down. Due to which flight operation is affected. Our technical teams are on work and soon system may be recovered. Inconvenience is deeply regretted.

India's aviation industry is in choppy waters after one of the country's largest private carriers, Jet Airways, last week halted its operations indefinitely following refusal by lenders to pay it cash to run day-to-day operations.

The state-owned loss making Air India operates more than 450 fights a day across the globe, with a majority of them flying domestically.

Saturday's software malfunction is a repeat of a similar outage in June last year that caused flight delays globally.

Tourism Observer

INDIA: Hundreds Of Air India Passengers Stranded After Soft Ware Crash

Air India flights across the network since 3am (IST) on Saturday have been affected due to SITA’s passenger and baggage handling system being down.

The system resumed at 9am and along with a string of delayed flights. As a result, over 150 AI flights are likely to face delays of about two hours till 8.30pm.

Incidentally, SITA, a leading air transport IT specialist, says the snag happened during maintenance of the system and affected only Air India.

Thousands of passengers are stuck at big airports like Delhi and Mumbai as the affected system controls passenger and baggage check-in. AI is rescheduling flights to clear the backlog and flight delays of about two hours are expected.

After supervising the situation at Delhi Airport, AI chairman Ashwani Lohani said that SITA system has resumed at 8.45am. Due to this, till 10am, 85 of our flights have been delayed.

The ripple effect of the delays will be felt mainly on domestic flights till tonight. As of now, we have rescheduled 18 flights for today and cancelled some.

International flights will not face much impact barring a few like the Shanghai departure being delayed by 1.5 hours. The afternoon departures for Europe will leave with a delay of 15 to 30 minutes. It was a very major software disruption that we experienced.

AI and AI Group including AI Express and Alliance Air has 470 and 674 daily flights, respectively. AI officials rushed to airports to handle the situation as large number of passengers were stranded at high hubs.

Globally airlines experience such outages. We regret the inconvenience caused to passengers by the snag in SITA system. Some of our transit passengers like those coming from Kathmandu, Bangkok, Singapore to Delhi may miss their connections.

We have made hotel accommodations for such passengers. The change and reschedule charges have been waived for passengers affected by this major SITA outage, Lohani said.

Air India server crashed since 3.30 am. All flights cancelled. Thousands of passengers stranded at the airport. Nobody knows what is happening. Don’t go to the airport without confirming.

Air India server crashed since 3.30AM. All flights cancelled. Thousands of passengers stranded at the airport.

The snag affected functions like check-in, both at airport counters and web check-in, that delayed flights.

SITA spokesman Julius Baumann said SITA experienced a complex system issue during server maintenance early this morning, which resulted in operational disruption to Air India flights. We have now fully restored services at all airports where Air India were affected.

Our priority remains, as always, to ensure a stable system where customers can conduct business efficiently and effectively, and we are undertaking a full investigation to understand the root cause and prevent a recurrence.

We deeply regret the inconvenience this has caused to the airline and their customers owing to this disruption.

Tourism Observer

USA: American Tourist Speaks About Her Ordeal With Kidnappers

Kimberly Endicott spoke out for the first time since being kidnapped by armed men during a safari vacation in Uganda three weeks ago.

Endicott and her driver were kidnapped in Uganda’s Queen Elizabeth National Park on April 4, and later released after a $500,000 ransom was paid.
Endicott said that the ordeal felt like pure fear.

The American tourist who was kidnapped during a safari vacation in Uganda spoke out about the ordeal three weeks after her abduction.

Kimberly Endicott and her safari driver were kidnapped by four men in Uganda’s Queen Elizabeth National Park on April 4.

They were released four days later after a $500,000 ransom was paid.

Endicott said she first thought the men were park rangers carrying guns, but soon realized they were not in uniform.

“They make us get out of the vehicle … they make us sit on the ground and that’s when things go very – I don’t know how to describe it – there’s really not a word to describe what that felt like. Pure fear. But that almost doesn’t do it justice,” Endicott said.

She said that while the men ransacked their vehicle, she and her guide were told to sit on the ground, while an older couple on the tour were told to keep standing.

Then suddenly, Endicott said, she and the guide were whisked off by the men.

It just really, when I think back about it, it felt like, ‘swoosh,’ and that’s it. We’re off, she said.

Her guide was identified as Congolese national Jean-Paul Mirenge Remezo.

Uganda’s Queen Elizabeth National Park is one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations.

It spreads over 760 square miles and is home to more than 95 mammal species and more than 600 bird species.

An American tourist who was kidnapped with her driver in a national park in southwestern Uganda has been rescued unharmed, Ugandan police announced Sunday.

Kimberley Sue Endicott, 35, was abducted by gunmen in Queen Elizabeth National Park, near the border with Democratic Republic of Congo, on April 4.

The kidnappers later demanded a ransom of $500,000 for her release. Authorities didn't confirm whether any or all of the ransom had been paid, but sources said that the safari company they were traveling with paid it.

She has been located and rescued unharmed," Uganda military spokesman, Brigadier Richard Karemire said. Ugandan government spokesman Ofwono Opondo said in a tweet that the driver had also been rescued.

The Uganda Media Centre said Wednesday that four armed men kidnapped a woman and a Ugandan driver in park and that officials were conducting a search and rescue operation.

After the two were held at gunpoint, they were taken back to a lodge at the park, a Wild Frontiers Uganda safari operation spokesperson said.

The Ugandan government tweeted Sunday to celebrate the rescue, thanking all security forces involved in the mission. It's unclear what agencies participated.

The park is one of the country's hottest tourist destinations, spreading over 760 square miles and hosting more than 95 mammal species and over 600 bird species.

Ugandan police said in a press release that this is the first incident of its kind in the park and that safety measures have been put in place for local residents and visitors.

Tourism Observer

Wednesday 24 April 2019

MALAYSIA: Malindo Goes To Adelaide

Malindo Air has made Adelaide (ADL), destination for this year’s World Routes, its fourth Australian gateway, launching a four times weekly service from Kuala Lumpur (KUL) via Denpasar (DPS) to the city.

The carrier is already present in Australia with flights to Perth, Melbourne and Brisbane. Launched 16 April from Kuala Lumpur, the carrier will serve the tri-city route using its fleet of 737-800s.

Competition on the 5,688-kilometre connection between Kuala Lumpur and Adelaide comes from Malaysia Airlines. The oneworld member already serves the airport pair five times weekly using its fleet of A330-300s.

The 3,764-kilometre sector between Denpasar and Adelaide is also served by another operator, with Jetstar Airways offering a daily rotation between the two destinations at present.

Malindo Air has added a fourth destination in Australia following the arrival of the Malaysia-based carrier’s inaugural service to Adelaide.

Flight OD173, operated by Boeing 737-800 9M-LCD, touched down in Adelaide a little after 0600 local time Wednesday morning and was greeted by an Airservices Aviation Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) monitor cross as it taxied to the terminal building.

The aircraft was on the ground for about two hours before operating the reciprocal OD174 to Denpasar (Bali), following some celebrations at the boarding gate. The flight then continues onward to Kuala Lumpur.

Malindo Air chief executive Chandran Rama Muthy, who was on the inaugural flight into Adelaide, said there had been a good response to the service since ticket sales began three weeks ago.

“I see the demand as solid from Adelaide to Bali and Kuala Lumpur,” Muthy told Australian Aviation in an interview on Wednesday.

“The Australian market is really good for us. We use Bali as our intermediate hub before flying into Kuala Lumpur, mainly because our aircraft needs refuelling.”

“We found that Bali is another good destination for Australians so why not use Bali as a transit hub.”

Further, the Adelaide route also offered good connections from Kuala Lumpur to Malindo’s Asian network, which stretches north to Japan and west to countries such as India and Sri Lanka.

“We have a great range of connecting destinations from Kuala Lumpur and also from Bali,” Muthy said.

“From Kuala Lumpur you can connect to about 57 destinations.”

Adelaide Airport managing director Mark Young the airport was excited to have Malindo Air at Adelaide.

“Malindo Air will also be the first carrier since 2016 to offer a Business Class product directly between Adelaide and Bali,” Young said in a statement.

“This service provides South Australian passengers with more choice when heading to two of our most popular destinations, and also creates opportunities to attract South East Asian visitors to our city and local attractions.”

Malindo Air will operate four Kuala Lumpur-Denpasar-Adelaide flights a week with a mix of 737-800s and 737-900s featuring business and economy class seats.
Currently, Malaysia Airlines offers nonstop flights between Adelaide and Kuala Lumpur, while Qantas’s low-cost carrier (LCC) Jetstar is on the Adelaide-Denpasar route.

Malindo Air, which is part of Indonesia’s Lion Air group of carriers, started serving Australia in November 2015 when it began nonstop flights from Kuala Lumpur to Perth.

It added Kuala Lumpur-Denpasar-Brisbane and Kuala Lumpur-Denpasar-Melbourne services in March 2017 and June 2018, respectively.

All routes are served with either Boeing 737-800 or 737-900s in a two-class configuration. The airline has fifth freedom traffic rights for all it one-stop flights from Kuala Lumpur to Australia via Denpasar.

Muthy said he hoped to start flights between Kuala Lumpur and Sydney, again via Denpasar, in the second half of the year.

“We are still waiting for one final regulatory approval from the Malaysian civil aviation authority,” Muthy said. “Once that is sorted out, then we will announce the date and start operating the flight.”

“Hopefully we can catch the June school holidays. That would be great. We’ll see how it goes.”

As aviation thinktank CAPA – Centre for Aviation noted in a recent research report, Malindo is utilising the available capacity to serve Australia from Bali under the Indonesia-Malaysia air services agreement.

The bilateral allows Malaysian carriers to operate a maximum of 28 flights a week between Bali and Australia, and a maximum of seven frequencies per Australian destination.

Should Sydney launch with a daily service, that would mean Malindo would operate a total of 22 of the 28 available weekly Bali-Australia flights – four flights a week to Adelaide and Brisbane, as well daily services to Melbourne and Sydney – leaving only six frequencies for other airlines.

CAPA chief analyst Brendan Sobie said the expansion of Malindo in this part of the world has led to an intensifying of competition in the Australia-Bali market.

“Bali remains a popular and growing destination for Australians. As competition intensifies the fares will likely come down, stimulating further demand,” Sobie said in his March 19 2019 research note.

Jetstar could drive a new phase of growth as it starts to take delivery of A321neoLRs, some of which are earmarked for Australia-Bali routes, in 2020.

“The return of AirAsia X could have an even bigger impact, but bilateral constraints will need to be resolved.”

Muthy said Malindo would remain a narrowbody operator for the foreseeable future.

“I’m quite concerned to expand into widebody because the cost of operations is totally different than narrowbody,” Muthy said.

“We don’t want to take the risk of competing head to head with the national carrier and also the other carrier, fighting for market share.”

Tourism Observer

Tuesday 23 April 2019

SRI LANKA: Negombo A Tourist City In Sri Lanka

Negombo is a city in Sri Lanka. Negombo is a major city in Sri Lanka, situated on the west coast and at the mouth of the Negombo Lagoon, in Western Province.

Negombo is one of the major commercial hubs in the country and the administrative centre of Negombo Division. Negombo has about 142,136 population within its divisional secretariat division.

Negombo considered as one of the largest economic centre of the country. Negombo is about 5–6 km from the Bandaranaike International Airport, and the free trade zone. Negombo has a moderate fish port mostly used during the periods of Portuguese and Dutch colonization.

The economy of Negombo is mainly based on tourism and its centuries-old fishing industry, though it also produces cinnamon, ceramics, and brass ware.

The Colombo Stock Exchange Negombo branch and many major financial corporations have their key branches in Negombo. There are department stores, large supermarkets, and boutiques in the bustling streets of Downtown and international food outlets are being opened.

Negombo is known for its long sandy beaches and centuries old fishing industry. Negombo has a large bilingual population of Roman Catholics, known as Negombo Tamils who have their own Tamil dialect but mostly identify themselves as Sinhala.

The name Negombo is the Portuguese colloquial name of its Tamil name Neerkolombu.

The Sinhala name Migamuva means Village of the honeycomb, gaining its name from a legend mentioned in Rajaveliya.

The army of King Kavantissa found bee honey in a canoe near the seashore, for Viharamahadevi who was pregnant with the prince Dutugamunu. Because of this, the place was named Mee-Gomuwa.

The shallow waters of the Negombo Lagoon provided safe shelter for seafaring vessels and became one of the key ports along with Kalpitiya, Puttalam, Colombo, Kalutara and Galle, from which the Sri Lankan kingdoms conducted external trade.

The Jaffna kings who controlled greater parts of the North-west coast of Sri Lanka, built fortifications at Negombo, Colombo and Chilaw. The language used in and around the Negombo and Chilaw area was predominantly Tamil when the Portuguese colonizers arrived in the 16th century.

Negombo served also as a shelter for Arabic vessels, whose descendants are the Sri Lankan Moors. Negombo was a major port known for its trading activity and was well known for its cinnamon cultivation. The cinnamon trade was controlled by the Jaffna kings and later by the Sri Lankan Moors.

Negombo is about 2 meters above sea level, and Negombo's geography is a mix of land and water. The Dutch canal flows in the heart of the city. The lagoon is one of the most scenic landmarks of Negombo.

There are over 190 species of wildlife and plenty of birds in its mangroves. The northern border of the city is formed by the Ma Oya river which meets the Indian Ocean.

Negombo features a tropical rainforest climate. The city receives rainfall mainly from the Southwestern monsoons from May to August and October to January. During the remaining months there is a little precipitation due to Convective rains.

The average annual precipitation is about 2400 millimetres. The average temperature varies 24 to 30 degrees Celsius, and there are high humidity levels from February to April.

Negombo Lagoon is large semi-enclosed coastal water body with plenty of natural resources. The lagoon is fed by number of small rivers and the Dutch canal. It is linked to the Indian Ocean by a narrow channel to the north, near Negombo city.

The lagoon and the marsh land area also support local agriculture and forestry. It has extensive mangrove swamps and attracts a wide variety of water birds. The lagoon supports so many distinct species of flora, fauna and as well as another species of birds and variety of animals.

Negombo Lagoon is a major local and tourist attraction primarily for sightseeing and boating tours.

The fishermen who are based at the Negombo lagoon live in abject poverty in shanty thatch palm villages along the water's edge. They rely mainly on their traditional knowledge of the seasons for their livelihood, using outrigger canoes carved out of tree trunks and nylon nets to bring in modest catches from September through April.

Their boats are made in two forms, oruvas a type of sailing canoe and paruvas a large, man-powered catamaran fitted with kurlon dividers.

The men are regularly forced to head out to the ocean to fish, often losing money in the chartering process. In recent years, the villagers have supplemented the income earned from fishing by collecting toddy, or palm sap, which is used to brew arrack.

The Airport Expressway opened in 2013 links the capital Colombo through the Katunayake Interchange with Negombo city minimising travelling time to approximately 20 to 30 minutes.

There are highway bus services running between from Negombo to Galle and Matara the southern tip of the country using the Southern Expressway.

The A3 main road from Colombo, goes through Negombo, extends to Jaffna, and Trincomalee via Anuradhapura. Negombo is connected with some of the B grade roads, and there is a good road network in and around Negombo City.

The Bus Terminal complex of Negombo has multiple facilities for passengers and public. It is served by many bus routes, connecting with some major destinations in the country.

Due to Negombo being situated along A3 Main Road, it is served by many bus routes from Colombo to Northern and North western points of Sri Lanka including Jaffna, Vavuniya, Padaviya, Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu, Pulmude, Mannar, Kankasanthura, Point Pedro, Velvetithurai, Nikaweratiya, Panduwasnuwara, Anamaduwa and Silawathurai.

Four railway stations serve Negombo, they are: Kurana, Negombo Downtown, Kattuwa and Kochchikade. Negombo Downtown Station is the main railway station on the Puttalam railway line. It serves Panadura, via Colombo from south and to Puttalam, via Chilaw from north.

The Sri Lanka Railway Department has introduced an intercity express train between Chilaw and Colombo with stops at Negombo Downtown and Kochchikade Stations.

The Negombo Downtown Station is close to the central Bus Terminal Complex. Negombo is the closest major city to the Bandaranaike International Airport.

According by the statistics of 2011, 6.3% of the population of Gampaha district live in Negombo city limits and 11.6% of the population of the district live in Negombo Metropolis. It is a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural city. Most of Negombo's residents belong to the Sinhalese majority.

There are Tamil and Muslim people also living in the city. Though almost all of the residents living in Negambo are Sri Lankans there are small foreign communities that are present in the city, most notably the Chinese community.

Religious & Ethnic Identification and Classification in Negombo:

- Roman Catholic: 92,527

- Muslim: 20,308

- Buddhist: 15,681

- Hindu: 8,290

- Other Christian: 4,740

- Other: 130

- Total: 141,676

Negombo is a multi-religious city. Since the beginning of European colonization, the township of Negombo has had a majority of Roman Catholics along with Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims.

Negombo has been given the name Little Rome due to the highly ornate Portuguese-era Roman Catholic churches such as St. Mary's Church found in the township and because the majority are the Roman Catholics.

St. Sebastian Church at Sea Street and Katuwapitiya, Saint Stephen’s Church, Negombo, Grand Street St.Mary's Church, St.Anne's churches at Kurana and Palangatura, St.Anthony's church Dalupotha and Our Lady of Sorrows Church, Kandawala are the biggest parishes in Negombo. There are over 25 Roman Catholic churches in the city.

There is a branch of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Negombo. The church building is just west of the intersection of Ave Maria street and Old Chilaw street. There are also Methodist churches, Baptist churches, and the other Anglican churches in Negombo.

Kali Amman Temple Negombo Sri Lanka
Buddhist temple: Agurukaramulla Raja Maha Viharaya (Bodhirajaramaya) is a famous Buddhist temple bringing Buddhists from all over Sri Lanka to Negombo every year.

Abhayasekararamaya temple (Podipansala), Sri Sudarshanaramaya, Dutugamunu viharaya and Sri Buddhagaya maha viharaya are famous Buddhist temples in the city.

Hindu Kovil temple: There are many Hindu temples (Kovil) in Negombo: Kali Amman temple, Ganapathi (Pillaiar) Temple, Kamachchi Amman Temple, Muththumari Amman Temple, Murugan (Kandaswami) Temple, Karumari Amman Temple etc.

Muslim Masjid or mosques: There are nine Jummah Mosques in Negombo. The Kamachchoda Jummah Masjid in Kamachchoda, Negombo is one of the oldest in Sri Lanka.

Another old Msajid in Negombo is the Udayar Thoppuwa Mosque, Mirigama Road, Dheen Junction, Negombo which was built in 1846 by Maththicham Saleem Lebbe Muhammed Thamby Vidane and the old building which was built in 1846 is still in use.

Katunayake airport is closer to Negombo than Colombo. Most Hotels arrange to pick up but at a very high cost, around 1500 to 2500 LKR. An official airport taxi costs 1450 LKR, book at one of the counters in the departure lounge.

A cheaper option is to take the free shuttle bus, exit the airport, turn left and walk until the shuttle bus stop at the end of the building from the Arrival Terminal to Katunayake bus stop which is just 5 minutes away from the airport.

Then take a tuk-tuk to your hotel in Negombo for 400 to 500 LKR or take a regular bus to Negombo centre for around 50 LKR.

After leaving arrival building many taxi drivers want to sell you a ride and tell you wrong information. You should not pay more than 700 LKR for a tuk tuk. Taxi is only interesting if you are a group of 6 or more persons.

If you want to go by public bus it is recommeded only at daytime 6am - 3pm) :

Leave Airport and turn right. There is a sign, to the left to colobmo, to the right to Negombo. Please be strong and ignore all the TukTuk.

Walk along road for around 2 or more kilometers until a T-Crossing on the left; Avariwatta Road. You cannot miss it there are many houses.

Turn left and go to next crossing with a clock tower. You will pass on the left the entrance to the airport export area or something like that. You can take a shortcut to the bus stand or keep going on the street.

On the clock tower crossing turn left, many shops and restaurants Bus Stand on the left.

The village/area is called Katunayake. The name of the bus stand is "AIRPORT" in case you come from Colombo.

Within Bus stand find the bus to Negombo Beach every 20-30 min; Tickets are paid within bus.

Within Bus Stand in Negombo search bus 905 and go to Negombo Beach.

From Colombo the regular slow bus departs at the Colombo Central Bus Stand, roughly every 30 minutes. The Air-Conditioned Express Bus costs LKR130 and leaves from the Gunasinghepura Bus Stop behind the Central Bus Stand and is a 2 minute walk. There is a designated waiting for the AC 240 Bus.

Tuk Tuk or Three wheelers 150 LKR from the Negombo Bus/Train Station to any hotel at Lewis Place. Bus 905 runs between Ethukala and Negombo Centre. Approx. every 30-60mins.

There is not much to see in Negombo just a long strip of Sandy Beach, sit back, relax, sun bath or take a dive in to the Indian Ocean but the water is mostly rough.

You can also visit:

- Negombo Fish Market.

- Muturajawella Marsh land.

- Anavillundawa Bird sanctuary. Ramsar declared wet land 50 km from negombo

- Dutch Canal.

- Mangrove park at negombo Lagoon.

- Dutch Fort & Church.

- Grand Street Church, Main Street Negombo.

You will need to buy Beach wear, gems and batiks

Eat at Sea Joy, lowis place st. next to no.189. good local food and lovely service! if you ask they can make hoppers and pittu. The guest house rooms are nice and very clean. cheap.

The Peacock, 125 Lewis Place. A friendly bar with various drinks and wooden benches and stools and a wall written with greetings and recommendations. Also serves food. Drinks from Rs200.

Lespri Grand, 35, Kimbulapitiya Road, Thelwaththa Junction, Negombo 10 minutes from the Airport. checkin: 02:00; checkout: 10:30. A comfortable home away from home type, guest house with friendly staff, spotless rooms and free WiFi. All rooms have spacious private bathrooms and a television.

They offer Free drop to Bandaranaike International Airport. With/without A/C and breakfast.

Hostel First Colombo Airport, No 477 Negombo Road, Negombo, 11450, Sri Lanka. The distance is 4.5 kilometres from the airport. Just follow the road away from the airport until it crosses with Negombo Road. Turn right and follow Negombo Road until you see Hostel First sign on the left.

Star Beach Hotel, 83/3 Lewis Place. The hotel is on the beach beside Golden Star Beach Hotel, Opposite Ocean View Tourist Guest House. Older hotel with beach front access, a nice sitting area, hammocks, and free WiFi. Friendly staff and new owners who are currently improving the hotel.

Throw back a couple glasses of arrack with the owners, they're fun to talk to. Non-air conditioned room ground floor 2450 Rupiya, clean and simple rooms.

St. Lachlan Hotel & Suites, St. Lachlans Beach Villa, St. Anthony's Lane, Ettukala. The hotel comprises of 16 elegantly appointed guest rooms and Suites, all of which have LED TV, DVD Player, mini-bar, and tea/coffee making facilities.

Some of its amenities are a pool bar, swimming pool, and a gift/souvenir Shop. Rates on official website start at USD 176.00.

Marine Tourist Guest House, 118 Lewis Place 1 km from the city center. checkin: noon; checkout: noon. A modern guest house with friendly staff, spotless rooms free WiFi and with private balcony. All rooms have spacious private bathrooms and a television refrigertator.

Available is a 24 hour front desk , pickup from Bandaranaike International Airport. With/without A/C and breakfast Rs3500/4500 Dormitory female only and Mixed with Air conditioning and Hot water per bed Rs.1300 1,500.

Mr Silal Fernando Homestay, Just outside Negombo. Mr Fernando is an amicable gentleman who runs this small homestay. He offers airport pickups for 800 rupees. Meals available. Sgl 1000, Dbl 1500 With A/C 2500.

Windmill Hotel, On Beach Rd, close to Topaz Beach Hotel. The rooms here are pretty basic and could be cleaner, but the staff are friendly. As of September 2012 the hotel was halfway through putting in a pool. Family room 4500.

Suriya Arana, 92 Park Lane, One block back from Beach Road, close to shops and restaurants. This is a small guesthouse with an apartment, large family room and two double rooms. The rooms are clean, there is WiFi, and the owners are helpful.

Meals, tours and airport pickup are available. Prices vary depending to season.

Hostel Negombo Beach, 42, Kannattha Para, Cemetery Road. Amazing new and cheap place with super nice lady, great to meet other travelers, clean toilets, new house, superfast WIFI, free kitchen and very near the beach. Basic meals of fried rice/noodles can be arranged for 200 LKR.

There is no sign at the door yet, so you have to check for the house at the number 42 it's near by Blue Horizon hotel 1300LKR dorm.

Blue Horizon Guest House, 81 Cemetary Road, Kudapaduwa, Negombo. Clean and comfortable. Rooms have TV and hot water. Free wifi. Free tea and coffee in the lobby. single/double with AC: $33/38.50.

Villa Flywing Guesthouse, 72/A Cemetary Road. New homestay that feels like crashing with messy relatives. Fun vibe. Big sunny rooms with private bathroom with hot water. There is a kitchen that guests can use, as well as free wifi. Call Gayan Randeni for more pricing. Double: $30 with AC and breakfast.

Hotel Dorset, 70/1A Cemetary Road, Kudapaduwa, Negombo. Free wifi. Rooms have private baths with hot water. This guesthouse has a split personality: the rooms vary in quality so ask to see them.

There are cheaper rooms available for 1800 LKR but they are damp and dark, whereas the rooms upstairs are bright, sunny, and very clean. Single with fan/AC: 2100/2400 LKR; Double with fan/AC: 2200/2500 LKR; Triple: 2400 LKR..

Sha Residence, 80 Cemetary Road. Free Wi-Fi. Rooms have cable TV and private bathrooms with hot water. Clean, bright, and sunny rooms. Single with fan/AC: $10/15 single w/ fan 2000 LKR. Double with fan/AC: $25/30. Triple with fan/AC: $35/40. Can provide breakfast for an additional $5.

Parklane55 Apartments, 55, Park Lane, Ettukala Negombo. Comfortable Apartments with free WIFI zone in all areas, Flatscreen Satellite TV with international channels, seating area and full equipped kitchen. Beach and international restaurants are in walking distance, just enough laid back for a quiet and relaxed stay.

Parklane88 Apartments, 88, St. Joseph Mawata Ettukala, Negombo. Just opposite Parklane55 Apartments. Brandnew Apartments, big balconies or terraces, breakfast restaurant. You will find comfortable rooms with free WIFI zone in all areas, Flatscreen Satellite TV with international channels, seating area and full equipped kitchen.

Beach and international restaurants are in walking distance, just enough laid back for a quiet and relaxed stay. Outside Jaccuzy pool

Jetwing Beach, Porutota Road, Ethukale, Negombo 11500. The hotel comprises of 75 deluxe rooms and 3 exclusive suites which feature a private balcony or terrace with panoramic views of the Indian Ocean. It is also inclusive of Spa Treatments, 2 Swimming pools, a tennis court and much more.

Jetwing Ayurveda Pavilion is nice and serene hotel, and in close proximity to Negombo. They offer airport pickup, staff is friendly and you really feel at home. prices may vary from LKR25,000 to LKR28,000 full board.

Jetwing Blue, Jetwing Beach, Ethukale, Negombo, Sri Lanka. Quick Links. Jetwing Beach is overlooking the beautiful ocean and consists of spa treatments and wellness facilities with luxury rooms. Starting prices for a room go at LKR15000 and can climb to LKR25000

Jetwing Sea, Jetwing Sea, Palangaturai, Kochchikade, Negombo, Sri Lanka Quick Link. Jetwing Sea is located is a beautiful pristine location in front facing the ocean. with wellness seas and many activities to do, their rooms start at 25,000

Jetwing Lagoon, Jetwing Lagoon, Pamunugama Road, Thalahena, Negombo, Sri Lanka. Jetwing lagoon is surrounded by pristine beaches and consists of luxury accommodation. Prices may vary from the standard deluxe room to the bawa suite starting at LKR22000

Jetwing Thalahena Villas, B425, Negombo. checkin: 2 pm; checkout: 12 Noon. The perfect villa in Sri Lanka nestled away from hectic urban life. The two deluxe rooms and one suite at Jetwing Thalahena Villas can accommodate a maximum of eight guests if you wish to book the entire villa for yourselves. $135.00.

Club Hotel Dolphin, Kammala South, Waikkal, Negombo, located at a distance of 56 km from the city of Colombo and 20 kms from the Bandaranaike International Airport. checkin: 2 pm; checkout: 12 pm. Club Hotel Dolphin, in Negombo is a family hotel, located minutes away from the international airport.

This beachfront property is great for your beach vacation. The hotel features a spa and wellness centre, meeting and event venues, swimming pool, theatre, discotheque, fitness centre, mini library, pool table, badminton, tennis and squash courts, archery and a range of watersports such as kayaking, water aerobics, boat rides, etc. Rates on the official website start at USD 90.

Wallawwa, The Wallawwa, Minuwangoda Road,Opatha, Kotugoda,Sri Lanka. Located at a distance of 18 kms from the Katunayake Airport to colombo. checkin: 2 pm; checkout: 12 pm. Wallawwa is located just 20 minutes from the Katunayake airport.

This is a luxury boutique hotel ideal for your transit holidays. Hotel features many suites and rooms, swimming pool, restuarant and a beautiful garden

Buses leave the main Negombo Bus Stand every 30 mins. The journey costs about 40 LKR. Last bus from Negombo to the airport goes around 18:30. Last bus on sunday laeves at 6:30pm.

To Colombo buses leave the main Negombo Bus Stand every 30 mins. The journey costs 75 LKR and lasts 30 minutes, depending on the traffic. Also there is a new air conditioned Luxury bus service between Colombo and Negombo which uses the newly built Expressway and it is the fastest way to travel between these two cities.

The ticket price for one way journey is Rs 120. Kandy: Bus leaves the main Bus terminal every 30 min.Journey takes 3-4 hours and cost Rs.200

Sigiriya/polonnaruwa, bus leaves the main Bus terminal at 14 hours.It reach sigiriya around 18.00 hrs and polonnaruwa around 20.. hrs

Anuradhpura: you get in to the bus at periyam mulla junction bus stop in negombo. Journey take 4-5 hours. Alternatively you can take A/C bus from Negombo Bus Terminus every 30 minutes starting form 5a.m., it also stops on bus stops until its full of people to Kurunegala, then take direct local bus to Anuradhpura the journey takes about 2 and 1/2 hours.

Tourism Observer

Monday 22 April 2019

EGYPT: Deutsche Hospitality To Open Two Hotels In Egypt

Deutsche Hospitality has revealed plans to open two hotels in Egypt in 2019, bringing the total of hotels the Company has opened in Egypt this year to three.

The two new hotels include the Steigenberger Hotel El Lessan Ras el Bar near Damietta in the north of the country and the future Steigenberger Resort Achti on the east bank of the River Nile, metres away from the Great Pyramids of Gizeh. Most of the property’s 132 rooms provide views of the Pyramids and of the new Egyptian Museum, the Company revealed.

Deutsche Hospitality’s portfolio in Egypt currently includes twelve hotels.

The Steigenberger Hotel El Lessan in Ras el Bar is being developed on the promenade of a peninsular which is formed by a Mediterranean beach and the estuary of one of the branches of the River Nile.

The property will feature 158 rooms and suites, two restaurants, a lobby bar, a swimming pool with a separate children’s section, a health and beauty spa and gym facility, and two ballrooms.

Conversion works are currently being carried out to elevate the Resort Achti Luxor to Steigenberger standards, and, according to a statement by Deutsche Hospitality, plans are in place is for official operations under the brand name to commence in 2019.

The future property will feature 281 rooms, suites and bungalows. It will also feature two restaurants, a bar with terraces overlooking the River Nile, a jacuzzi in the bungalow area, an outdoor pool with river views, and a conference room.

Reportedly, the Company plans to achieve annual growth rates of 15%. Specific development plans are in place for more than 30 hotel openings between now and 2021. These include Steigenberger Hotels & Resorts in Denmark, India and Thailand.

Deutsche Hospitality also said that the main focus of the expansion being pursued by Steigenberger Hotels & Resorts are in the Middle East and Europe.

Tourism Observer

UAE: Emirates To Fly Five Times A Week To Riyadh

Emirates has introduced the first scheduled Airbus A380 service to Saudi Arabia’s capital city, which will be effective 21 April 2019.

Riyadh will be the 51st destination to join the Emirates A380 network.

Flight EK 817/818, currently operated by a Boeing 777-300ER, will now be operated five times a week by Emirates A380.

Speaking about the introduction of the A380 to Riyadh, Adil Al Ghaith, senior vice president commercial operations Gulf, Middle East & Iran, said: The introduction of the A380 to Riyadh also supports Saudi Vision 2030 by helping to grow the Kingdom’s aviation sector through stimulating robust traffic growth, increasing connectivity and deepening its global footprint.

The Emirates A380 aircraft that will serve the Dubai-Riyadh route will be set in a three-class configuration, with 429 seats in economy on the main deck, 76 fully flatbed seats in business class and 14 first class private suites on the upper deck.

According to a statement from the airline, Emirates has been facilitating tourism and trade in the Kingdom for more than 30 years, developing its services to Riyadh, Jeddah, Medina and Dammam.

Today the airline serves these four gateways in the Kingdom with 84 weekly flights to Dubai and connecting travellers to key business and tourism destinations in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas.

The airline has previously deployed two one-off A380 missions to Riyadh in celebration of the Kingdom’s National Days, and displayed its A380 aircraft at the recent Saudi International Airshow 2019.

Tourism Observer

USA: Man Arrested After Spraying Unknown Liquid And Touching Faces Of Passengers In Flight

A 25-year-old male flying on American Airlines Flight 1346 was arrested on 12 April following a bizarre incident in which he went around the cabin touching the faces of other passengers during the flight.

The cabin crew reported the unruly passenger to local authorities ahead of landing at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX). Law enforcement officers were on hand to meet the aircraft as it arrived at the terminal.

Before the main doors of the aircraft were opened, however, the man accessed a service door on the other side of the aeroplane and jumped out and fell 10 feet onto the tarmac.

Sustaining minor injuries from the fall, the man was later apprehended and taken to the hospital for treatment.

An official statement released from local law enforcement noted that in addition to touching the faces of fellow passengers, the man was also spraying them with an unknown liquid.

It is currently not known what the substance was.

None of the other passengers on American Airlines Flight 1346 was reported to have sustained any injuries as a result of the incident and none are pressing charges.

The official statement noted however, the 25-year-old will likely be charged by the prosecutor’s office for trespassing.

Tourism Observer

TURKEY: Turkish Airlines Start First Flight From Istanbul To Mexico City And Cancun From 21 August 2019

As part of its network expansion for the 2019 year, Turkish Airlines has announced the upcoming launch of its first flight to Mexico. Kicking off from the 21 August 2019, the airline will operate a triangle route between Istanbul, Mexico City and Cancun.

According to the airline, the entire route will operate under one flight number, TK181.

Operated three times a week, the route is expected to be served by Turkish Airline’s latest Boeing 787-9 aircraft that features a novel business class offering.

Commenting on the latest addition to its global network, Ahmet Olmuştur, chief marketing officer at Turkish Airlines, said: We are very pleased to announce this service to Mexico on Turkish Airlines.

As the flag carrier of Turkey, we are continuously looking to expand our network in order to present our quality-focused and service-centric concept to new destinations. Mexico is a country that has been on our radar for some time, and this new route marks a very exciting milestone for us.

The new route will be operated from the newly-minted Istanbul Airport.

Though currently still in developed, the new hub is expected to be able to process 200 million passengers a year, once all phases are completed.

Over the course of 2019, the carrier is expected to launch flights to six new destinations.

The upcoming additions include Marrakesh, Sharjah, Port Sudan, Bali, Luxor, and Rovaniemi.

Tourism Observer

INDIA: InterContinental Hotels Group To Open 39 New Hotels

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has 39 new hotels in the pipeline in India which will add a total of 6,200 rooms in the next two to three years.

The group that already has 39 hotels in India — InterContinental Hotels and Resorts, Crowne Plaza Hotels and Resorts, Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express said that they plan grow in the midscale category.

Pascal Gauvin, Managing Director, IMEA, IHG said: IHG currently has 39 hotels in India under four IHG brands, with another 39 in the pipeline – due to open in the next 2-3 years.

Our focus in the country is to continue to tap into the growing midscale category with our Holiday Inn brand family which represents close to 80% of our pipeline by number of hotels.

Tourism Observer

IRAQ: Sulaymaniyah Is The Tourism City And Paris Of Iraq

Sulaimaniya is a city in Iraqi Kurdistan.

One of the major cities in both so called Kurdistan region and Iraq, situated 385 Km north Baghdad and 198 Km north east Erbil the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan Region.

The city sits between two chains of mountains, Goyzha and Glazarda longitude (44.50- 46.16) East and latitude (35.04 - 36.30) North. The city was founded by Ibrahim Pasha in the year 1784.

Claudius James Rich the famous (March 28, 1787 - October 5, 1821) the British traveler and antiquarian scholar said in his book that Sulaimaniya from the beginning of its establishment had large markets, clean public baths of Turkish design.

Today Sulaimani has developed in most modern life aspects, hotels, motels, supermarkets & Malls, theatres, restaurants & Parks.

Sulaymaniyah, also called Slemani, is a city in Iraqi Kurdistan. It is surrounded by the Azmer Range, Goyija Range and the Qaiwan Range in the northeast, Baranan Mountain in the south and the Tasluja Hills in the west.

The city has a semi-arid climate with very hot dry summers and cool wet winters. Sulaymaniyah served as the capital of the historic principality of Baban from 1784 to 1850.

The modern city of Sulaymaniyah was founded on 14 November 1784 by the Kurdish prince Ibrahim Pasha Baban who named it after his father Sulaiman Pasha.

From its foundation Sulaymaniyah was always a center of great poets, writers, historians, politicians, scholars and singers, such as Nalî, Mahwi, and Piramerd.

The city is known as the capital of enlightenment among the Kurds, but the official nickname of the city on national level is: Sulaimaniyah is the Paris of Iraq or the bride of Iraq's cities.

Sulaymaniyah is considered the center of the Sorani Kurdish culture in Kurdistan. It is recognized officially as the cultural capital of South Kurdistan.

Development of Sorani as a modern literary language started in this city in the early 19th century, when many Kurdish poets such as Nalî, Piramerd, Muhamed Amin Zaki, Abdulla Goran, Muhamad Salih Dilan, Ahmad Hardi, Ibrahim Ahmad, Nuri Sheikh Salih Sheikh Ghani Barzinji, Sherko Bekas, and Bachtyar Ali published their works.

The city is known for its open, relatively liberal and tolerant society when compared to other cities of Kurdistan. The city has a Chinatown as a result of attracting foreign investment. Around 500 Chinese people reside in the city.

In 2006 the Movement for Change started in Sulaymaniyah and challenged what it called the corrupt and nepotistic Kurdish Government. The movement gained massive support from the city.

The two independent newspapers Hawlati and Awena and the two independent political magazines Lvin and Shock, are published and distributed in Sulaymaniyah city.

Sulaymaniyah is the only city in South Kurdistan that regularly celebrates world music day or FEte de la Musique.

Culture is hugely important to the Kurdish people, especially in Sulaymaniyah, but there is a strong pull to the west, modernisation and consumerism driven perhaps by the satellite televisions they have had access to since they started running their own affairs.

And at the university, students mill around the campus, chattering with each other and doing some last minute cramming for their exams. The war only stopped lectures for a few weeks. There are probably more women than men and they are happy to air their views to anyone who asks.

Since 2003 Iraq has seen a huge economic boom. Sulaymaniyah's economy today relies on tourism, agriculture and a number of small factories, most of which are involved in the building trade.

In 2004 the Comprehensive Food Security and Vulnerability Analysis in Iraq released an in-depth survey of the Sulaymaniyah Governorate in which they surveyed each city. In this survey one can see the economic boom of 2003 mentioned earlier.

The city was visited by more than 60,000 tourists in 2009. Sulaymaniyah attracted more than 15,000 Iranian tourists in the first quarter of 2010, many drawn by the fact it is not subject to strict laws faced at home.

Newroz 2010 drew an exodus of Iranian tourists choosing to celebrate the event in the region.

Sulaimani Museum: It is the second biggest museum after the national museum in Baghdad. It is home to many Kurdish and ancient Persian artifacts dating back to 1792–1750 BC.

In 1820, only 26 years after the creation of the city, a British man named Rech visited the city and estimated that its population was more than ten thousand, containing 2,144 families of which 2,000 were Muslim, 130 Jewish, and 14 Christian.

Ottoman documents from 1907 suggest that there were 8,702 Muslim and 360 non-Muslim residents living in the city at that time.

The Peshkawtin newspaper which was distributed in Sulaymaniyah in 1920 estimated its population to be around ten thousand.

According to Iraqi government documents, by 1947 the number of residents had increased to 23,475; by 1998 to 548,747, and in 2015 to 656,100

There is an international Sulaimaniya Airport near Bakrajo, with direct flights from Dusseldorf-Germany, Dubai-UAE, Amman-Jordan, and Istanbul-Turkey. There are many services per day and people from all over the world come to enjoy the most beautiful nature in Kurdistan

For a spectacular bird's eye view of Sulaimaniya or Suly in short, travel to the surrounding mountains of Goizha, Azmar, Piramagrwn and Baranan. The city is in the phase of transition from a usual city to a tourism city in every sense of the term.

Amna Suraka or Red Security: The highlight of any trip to Sulaimaniya ought to be this museum, housed in one of Saddam's old torture facilities known as Amna Suraka or Red Security.

Since the Peshmerga or Kurdish army liberated the prison in the 1990s, not much has changed, the buildings are empty shells with bullet holes everywhere.

Great Mosque In the middle of the bazaar district is Sulaimaniya's great mosque. Not really an architectural wonder, or even very old, this is nevertheless a sort of hub, especially on Fridays.

It is possible to go inside if you visit after prayers have finished, however you can go inside the brand new Chinese shopping mall opposite Kaso Mall, offering good views over the mosque from the upper floors.

Possibly the only place in the world where you'll see Iraqi, Kurdish and Chinese flags decorating a doorway. Public Park or Baxi Gshty. The closest to the center of the city, it is a small one on Salm Street, almost opposite the Palace Hotel.

This one is busy in the morning with tea drinkers, and has an avenue of heads, stone busts of some important local historical figures.

Sulaimaniya museum Suly is a city in the midst of a tumultuous rebirth, so you may be pleased to see that it has a Museum, full of local treasures. Short walk on Salim Street from the Sulaimani Palace Hotel.

Azmar Mountain Sulaimaniya is surrounded by high mountains. The mountain from the north just closest to Chavy Land is a very popular picnic site.

On the weekend, many Kurdish families drive their cars to the mountain to eat kebab and enjoy the wonderful view of city. At night many people travel to the top of the mountain and take pictures as mementos of the unbelievable view of the city in the night.

Sara Square Suly has a local Bazaar where you can buy almost everything you need. The city is well known for this square, with its big portrait of Shex Mahmood Nemir. Many people go there to sit, read books and chat. Sarchinar resort is about 5 km from the west of Sulaymaniyah city.

This is a magnificent resort covered with trees and features a freshwater fountain. This resort includes a modern and comfortable restaurant, kids' club, swimming pool and a zoo. It should be noted that Nawroz and Jekjek resorts are located in the same area.

You can spend your time walking on the streets day or night, with very comfortable temperatures between 0-35C most days of the year.

One can have a good time in Public Park the closest to the center of the city, it is a small one on Salm Street, almost opposite the Palace Hotel.

This one is busy in the morning with tea drinkers, and has an avenue of heads, stone busts of some important local historical figures. or Mother Park or Baxi Daik north east of the bazaar, small but new and well designed, with a large statue of a woman as its centerpiece.

Azadi Park, it is somehow similar to the large park in Erbil. Azadi Park has the grave and legacy of the most brilliant and well known Kurdish poet Sherko Bekas the father of modern Kurdish poetry.

It does have the obligatory enormous Kurdish flag fluttering above an abstract monument to something or other. The Bazaar Take any street off Mawlawi or Kawa streets and you'll end up in the bazaar.

It is huge, and getting lost is part of the fun. The most interesting section is probably the maze of covered alleyways between the two main roads. The bazaar is built on a bit of a slope, so don't be afraid to go up or down any stairs you may come across. They just lead to more levels full of shops

There is a bowling center,speed center and many other places to go.

The Zara supermarket to the East end of Salm Street, where the gate to the bazaar area is, and then 300 meters North, uphill. Or go to Southeast corner of Azadi park. In either case, look for a large silver dome on top of its building.

It has appointed itself as the source for Western products. They don't have much, but they are more likely to have something else than other stores.

Amazon shop , at bazzar Mawlawy you an shop for cosmetics. There is also an oriental mall in the centre of town in an area dedicated to koreans for their support

Yaprax a Kurdish Dish
There are different types of amazing kurdish dishes. One of the most famous dishes is Yaprax, which you may not find easily in city restaurants, but in some restaurants you can find Kofta which also tastes great.

You can go to Sara Restaurant near Xasraw xal bridge, where you can find Kebab, Goshty brzhaw or grilled meat, Brnj rice shla and other types of food. Sara Restaurant is very good and clean. If you're looking for more international dishes you can have Pizza and Italian food at Roma restaurant at Tooy Malik.

There are two kinds of places to eat in the old part of the city: sit down places and sandwich type places. There are tons of sandwich type places. They cost about 1,000 dinars for a sandwich of chicken, meat, or falafel on a little white bun or else wrapped up in a flatbread. 1,000 dinars is roughly equal to a dollar or a euro.

In a sit down place, you can typically get rice, baked beans, some chicken and clear chicken soup with flat bread. In such a place you also pay about 1,000 dinars for each item so you end up paying like 3,000-4,000 dinars for your meal in such a place.

There are also pizza places and juice places where you can get delicious fruit juices, for less than a dollar. I don't know how much pizza costs but it's probably 1,000 dinars.

Coffee is not big in Sulaymaniyah, and tea is generally a better bet. As with anything here, there are many shops with basically the same selection. The local taste is for instant coffee, and the coffee section of a grocery store will be dominated by MacCoffee and Nescafe.

Coffee beans generally come only as little bricks of Turkish coffee, 200 grams roasted dark and ground fine. If you don't want 1/4 cardamom, check the package to make sure it says 100% coffee.

Pasha's coffee, In the bazaar area, Walk through the gate opposite the Palace Hotel, and straight up the street to the first circle with the booksellers, go around them, and take the shallow right and look for Pasha's on the left. One of the only places in town with proper coffee.

They have a sign in Latin characters, and there is usually a crowd of coffee drinkers out front. You can get good espresso from the machine and they have bulk coffee, 28 000 for a kilo of Columbian beans and coffee makers in styles unavailable elsewhere.

Sulaymani Palace. For now, this is the best hotel in town, although it is by no means up to international standards. Nevertheless, it's a decent enough experience. It is however the best hotel you could get in the city. 100 USD.

Ramada Hotel Sulaymaniyah is a comfortable international hotel, not quite up to the highest international standards but it's still nice and clean and the food is pretty good. 100 USD.

Dolphin Hotel. No breakfast but very fast internet. Rooms are clean and nice. Right next to the old mosque in the very scenic old part of town. in the innermost center of the city, in the bazaar that you can get whatever in any time. 40 USD.