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Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 29 - 12 - 2005

British Airways is going places next year. Rehab Saad discovers where
, British Airways manager for North Africa, has disclosed the company's future plans following vigorous 2005 developments both locally and regionally.
According to British Airways officials, the company had a successful year both internationally and locally. It launched new routes to some parts of the country and increased the frequency of existing ones.
"In addition to our important daily morning schedule between Cairo and London, we started a schedule of direct flights to the Red Sea Riviera, which are already extremely popular for customers on both ends of the route. The flights, operated by our franchise partner GB Airways, offer a service of three times a week from London Gatwick to Sharm El-Sheikh and twice a week to Hurghada," Phipps told Al-Ahram Weekly, stressing that many British Airways tour operators have expressed a desire for direct schedule services to the Red Sea Riviera, a widely known travel destination for all seasons. "I am sure everyone involved in tourism will be pleased to see these routes being served by British Airways," Phipps said.
He added that in Alexandria, British Airways' franchise partner BMED had increased its schedule to London from three to four non-stop flights per week. The convenient morning flights leave Alexandria every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
"We believe in the market and our commitment to Egypt is best illustrated by the fact that we operate a total of 16 flights per week to London, and offer more than 370,000 seats a year between Egypt and London."
For British Airways officials, Egypt remains a very popular destination for both tourists and business travellers due to its excellent climate, ancient sites and friendly people. British Airways worldwide network brings customers from all parts of the world to Egypt. The numbers will increase with the addition of the new routes. Moreover, the company strongly believes in regional commitment.
"Due to popular demand, we increased our schedule to Algeria and Libya. British Airways now operates daily flights between Tripoli and London, and we have increased our flights between Algeria and London to four flights per week and now operate two flights per week to Hassi Messaoud, which is Algeria's second airport," Phipps said.
British Airways is constantly looking for opportunities in Egypt. Evidence of its dedication to meeting its travellers' needs in the Egyptian market is its recent increase in the flight schedule to four main cities.
According to the company's officials, the economic development in the country has attracted many international investors. Business on the company's service between Egypt and Britain is buoyant and is expected to remain strong in the years ahead. "We currently have some special offers, for instance, giving our Club World travellers flying between Cairo and the USA or Canada the opportunity to experience our First cabin with a free upgrade. Passengers booking full fare Club World tickets for travel between now and 31 March 2006 will be eligible to receive a free upgrade to First on one sector of their journey. All travel must start and end in Cairo before 31 March 2006.
Phipps said that during the same travel period, the airline is offering a LE1,000 reduction on World Traveller Plus tickets (premier economy cabin) to the USA and Canada.
British Airways offers convenient flights from Egypt to London Heathrow, enabling customers to make same day connections onto the airline's worldwide network, covering some 150 destinations in nearly 80 countries or onto the oneworld alliance network, which encompasses a total of over 550 destinations in more than 130 countries. Passengers flying from Egypt in British Airways' First or Club World cabins or in a premium cabin on a British Airways code share flight are eligible to use the simple and effective FastTrack when connecting at London Heathrow to another flight.
Customers in Egypt can log on to ba.com to book, pay and receive an e-ticket for all flights between Egypt and London. The e- booking system and paying online was introduced in July. "Our customers in Egypt have sounded a note of approval by spending over LE1 million online. Utilisation of ba.com has gone up in the past three months as customers are using ba.com to plan, book and pay for their tickets online," Phipps said. Payment can be made with a local or foreign- billed credit card and customers receive an e- ticket receipt by e-mail. "Customers have told us how pleased they were to be able to take control of their bookings in a system which simplifies the whole procedure for them," he added.
Through ba.com travellers have complete control over their travel plans. Customers can book, pay and manage their whole trip from the comfort of their own home or office, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.


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