Bahrain bus company plans expansion
The Cars Transport Corporation, Bahrain’s main bus operator, which carries around 30,000 people a day, is planning to increase that to 100,000 in the near future, said a top official. It is now in talks with the government to properly regulate the public transport sector and increase the number of routes it operates, said its Bahrain partner company A A Bin Hindi Group president and chief executive officer Ahmed Bin Hindi. 'There is great potential in Bahrain and we have been talking to the government to introduce and enforce regulations in public transport,' he told our sister publication, the Gulf Daily News. 'There is some effort now to introduce regulations and we hope we can have it on the ground soon.' Bin Hindi said the company now carries around 30,000 passengers per day but plans to introduce more routes to carry around 70,000 passengers per day and gradually increase that to 100,000. 'There are now 600 bus stops in Bahrain, but many are not serviced due to unviable routes,' he said. 'Once the sector is regulated, we will have more buses and more passengers.' Bin Hindi said a better public transport system would save people time and resources as well as contribute to the protection of the environment - with the company ready to introduce more routes and buses. 'One bus carries a maximum of around 80 passengers so that translates to at least 20 cars less on the road,' he said. 'We are only waiting for the government to give the green light.' Set up in 2003 in association with Dubai-based CARS, the company also took over the public transport service previously provided by the Public Transport Department of the then Transportation Ministry. It operates a fleet of 50-seater air conditioned Mercedes buses and Toyota mini buses, equipped with electronic route display boards, air curtains at the entrance and automated ticketing machines. Bin Hindi said the company had achieved high levels of Bahrainisation among its 100 plus workforce, including the drivers. 'Besides assuring better frequency and flexibility in timings these buses also boast trained drivers and staff who maintain friendly relations with passengers,' he said.
Source: TradeArabia News Service
Saudi car market demand in 'constant upswing': Dealer
The value of Saudi automotive sector is estimated at over SR26 billion, inclusive of direct sales, spare parts and accessories, and after-sales services. Recent statistics from the Board of the Saudi Chambers of Commerce confirmed that Saudi Arabia has evolved into one of the largest automotive markets, rolling out around 700,000 vehicles in 2011. Saudi automotive companies typically augment their market share by driving up competitiveness in genuine spare parts, providing superb after-sales services and introducing new vehicles for different audiences whether individuals or companies. With this in mind, Suzuki Saudia - a part of the Bamarouf Group - and the sole distributor of Suzuki vehicles in the Kingdom, is launching the new 2013 Suzuki Swift Dzire sedan. The move reflects the company's strategic expansion within the Saudi automotive sector, as the Kingdom enjoys steady economic and business growth and witnesses heightened demand for vehicles. Maher Al Nabawi, Deputy General Manager of Suzuki Saudia, said: "The Saudi automotive market is very promising, with demand on a constant upswing. We intend to capitalize on positive market conditions by introducing the all-new 2013 Suzuki Swift Dzire right after the month of Ramadan. We believe that the market response to our new vehicle will exceed our expectations, given how the Swift Dzire is poised to corner around 50 percent of car sales in India. We are confident that this success story will be replicated in Saudi Arabia. The Swift Dzire will soon be arriving at our showrooms to meet the needs of the Saudi market." The Suzuki Swift Dzire sports a K-12 engine, powered by an impressive Variable Valve Timing (VVT) technology which synchronizes valve opening and closing to deliver enhanced power and efficiency, smoother acceleration, and quicker response. Its suspensions - the front integrating a MacPherson strut with coil spring and the rear featuring a torsion beam with coil spring - provide higher mounting rigidity and confident stability. This results in a more enjoyable and steady drive. Moreover, the new 15-inch ventilated front disc and the rear drum brakes, along with a Brake Assist System (BAS), provide greater braking efficiency even in emergency situations. Additionally, the Swift Dzire sedan also maintains dual airbags, an ABS (Anti-lock Breaking System), fog lamps, a CD player with an mp3 player as well as a USB outlet, with remote control. And finally the vehicle is portrayed with alloy wheels, signal lights and a power package. "The 2013 Suzuki Swift Dzire is perfect for small- and medium-sized families, young drivers, and sedan enthusiasts who want a small mid-sized vehicle that can deliver high standards of performance, safety, luxury, and durability. Drivers will definitely enjoy its workhorse capabilities and how it deftly handles on the roads," Al Nabawai added.
Source: Saudi Gazette
Emirates set to win from Qantas tie-up – analyst
An alliance between Emirates Airline and Qantas Airways would benefit Dubai’s flagship airline more than the struggling Australian carrier, an aviation analyst said. Reports on Wednesday said that Qantas is in talks with Emirates on a deal that would give the former greater access to passengers from Dubai as it looks to boost its loss-making international division. The news saw shares in the airline increase by nine percent. “If Emirates does end up doing a deal with Qantas, it will be the biggest beneficiary rather than the ailing Australian airline,” said Saj Ahmad, chief analyst at StrategicAero Research. “Equally, there is no guarantee that Qantas would gain any rights to fly to Europe from Dubai. If anything, they'll have to accept a watered down code-share on Emirates’ flights,” he added. Qantas confirmed Wednesday it was in talks with several airlines including Emirates. “At any one time, Qantas may be in contact with a wide range of companies about potential commercial cooperation,’’ the airline said in a statement. “These airlines include Emirates, among others,” it added. Emirates said it would not comment on rumors or market speculation. An alliance between the two carriers would either be a code-share agreement or a more global revenue-sharing deal, the Australian Financial Review said, citing unnamed sources. If a deal is reached, Qantas will route many of its international flights through Dubai rather than Singapore, and will rely on its new partner to ferry customers to some European destinations, as well as the Middle East and parts of Africa, said the AFR. But Dubai-based Emirates is unlikely to allow Qantas greater access to routes in Dubai, said Ahmad. “The Middle East has become the travel nexus of choice and there is no way Emirates will allow Qantas to encroach its core business from its Dubai hub - and Qantas will equally be loathed to move any key flights via Dubai if it can't gain freedom rights for onward connections to Europe,” he said. Hub carriers are increasing tying up with “end-of-line” carriers like Qantas. Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways said last week it had been granted permission to double its stake in Qantas rival Virgin Australia to ten percent.
Abu Dhabi taxis to be made hybrid
Thousands of taxis in the emirate of Abu Dhabi are becoming more environmentally friendly as they begin to use a combination of fuel sources. In addition to petrol, taxis are currently being fitted with a system that allows for the use of compressed natural gas (CNG), a fossil fuel source that produces significantly less vehicle emissions and pollutants than petrol. The initiative comes after a decree by the Abu Dhabi Executive Council in 2010. In a statement, the Centre for Regulation of Transport by Hire Cars (TransAD) told Gulf News: “As per the directive, taxi franchises have to convert 25 per cent of their fleet to CNG fuel systems by the end of 2012.” Taxis fitted with the CNG systems can then be run using both petrol and CNG. There are currently six taxi franchises in the emirate, and they operate nearly 7,147 taxis between them. Of these, 1,653 have already been converted to use CNG. “TransAD is monitoring the efficiency of this project. Each converted vehicle therefore has to spend at least Dh500 each month on the use of CNG as fuel. The process of monitoring and tracking petrol and CNG consumption costs is implemented during the taxi conversion system,” the statement added. The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) is working with TransAD to install different capacities of gas cylinders based on the make and type of taxis in Abu Dhabi. According to the statement, air quality will also be improved in the emirate as more vehicles switch to using CNG in the long run. The fuel is also more economical to use. “There is a cost saving of 30 per cent on using CNG as a fuel compared to petrol,” TransAD confirmed. Although the current decree calls for only 25 per cent of each franchise’s fleet to be converted to CNG, franchises do have the ability to convert more as they experience the benefits of using CNG instead of petrol. In addition, TransAD and Adnoc are also conducting lectures for taxi franchises to raise awareness about the benefits of the CNG system. Site visits to the taxi conversion centers have also been organized. “At present, TransAD is studying, along with car dealerships, the feasibility of providing vehicles fitted with CNG systems from the mother factory,” the statement said. When contacted by Gulf News, taxi operators did not wish to comment on the initiative.
Source: Gulf News
Iraq Oks $500 million for Kuwait airline dispute
Iraq’s Cabinet has agreed to allocate US$500m to resolve a long-running dispute with Kuwait over the debts of Iraqi Airways. The Cabinet asked parliament to approve the allocation of US$300m from next year’s budget and another US$200m the following year, State Minister Ali Al Dabbagh told Bloomberg. Kuwait Airways has been seeking US$1.2bn in compensation for ten aircraft taken during Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990. Iraq in March said it had agreed to pay Kuwait US$300m in cash and invest US$200m in a joint Iraqi-Kuwaiti airline venture. In return, Kuwait agreed to suspend legal actions against Iraqi Airways. Iraq said the long-running dispute had prevented its airline from flying into Europe due to the threat of its planes being confiscated. In 2010 Kuwait’s lawyers tried to seize an Iraqi Airways plane on a flight to London. The issue of Iraqi Airways' debts is part of a long-running dispute between Iraq and Kuwait over billions of dollars of reparations dating back to 1990-91. Iraq still owes the Gulf state around US$20bn, which it is paying into a United Nations compensation fund, despite its struggling economy.