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airBalticlaunches flights between Vilnius and Amsterdam

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airBalticlaunches flights between Vilnius and Amsterdam

41TodayairBaltic launcheda new direct route linkingVilniusand Amsterdam. The flight, which will operate three times a week, offers convenient connections between the two capitals, linking Vilnius via Amsterdam to the rest of the world, and linking Amsterdam to the Baltic Region and beyond through airBaltic’s connections to Scandinavia and the CIS.

ChristopheViatte, Chief Commercial Officer airBaltic: “One in three airBaltictravellers who fly through Amsterdam travel onwards to cities all over the world. airBaltic’snew direct flights, which link Vilnius to this major hub, strengthen our service within Europe, and offer unmatched onward connections to the rest of the world.”

The new service from Vilnius adds to the existing Riga-Amsterdamdirect route, and strengthensairBaltic’s presence in the Baltic States.

Starting today, October 30, 2014, airBaltic will fly fromVilniusto Amsterdamthree times a week, with Boeing 737 aircraft. The fares on the route will start at 49 EUR, including airport fees and transaction costs.

airBaltic serves over 60 destinations from its home base in Riga, Latvia. From every one of these locations, airBaltic offers convenient connections via North Hub Riga to its network spanning Europe, Scandinavia, CIS and the Middle East.

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A Strategic Partnership Between Mobily and SCSB on Firnas Platform for Innovation

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A Strategic Partnership Between Mobily and SCSB on Firnas Platform for Innovation

4136The Saudi Credit and Savings Bank “SCSB” and Etihad Etisalat “Mobily” signed a strategic partnership agreement to launch “Firnas” platform for innovation, which provides the necessary support and encourage for innovators in Saudi community.

The agreement was signed by His Excellency Dr. Ibrahim Abdulaziz Al Hanichl, Director General of the Bank and Engineer Khalid Al Kaf, MD and CEO of Mobily on Wednesday morning 17th of September 2014 at the headquarters of the bank in Riyadh.

“Firnas” is an open platform for innovation, initiated by Mobily, in partnership with the National Center of Small and Emerging Enterprises a subsidiary of the Saudi Credit and Savings Bank. The initiative goes in line with the role played by the bank and its orientations in providing the financial and non-financial services for the small and medium enterprises.

“Firnas” is regarded as an open platform for innovation, providing the opportunity for all to share their creative ideas that could be applied practically on the ground as commercial projects. The role of Mobily comes in providing operational and technical support as well as marketing support, whereas the role of SCSB is to provide the commercial support and professional training for innovators.

“Firnas” provides an integrated platform transferring the latest news related to entrepreneurship, technology and innovation, and covers also the events, internal and international conferences of this area. The platform provides also an integrated experience for the ambitious participants who have innovative ideas for commercial projects. Therefore, all the online community members are required to vote on the ideas and give their comments on them.The voting process will determine three winners monthly. “Firnas” will provide the winners the technical and commercial guidance in addition to necessary training to be ready for applying their ideas on the ground. The support will not be limited to this, but “Firnas” will provide the opportunity to meet the investors in a step to convert their ideas into commercial projects. The winners will be also rewarded according to the order of the ideas. The owner of the top voting idea will get SR10, 000, the second position will win SR5,000 and the third position will get SR2,500.

Commenting on this agreement, Dr. Ibrahim Abdulaziz Al Hanichl, Director General of the Bank said that our bank is always urging to find solutions and renewable projects for the youth to encourage them to be engaged in starting their own business. We are aware in the SCSB about the extent of contribution of these projects in achieving the development Goals of the Kingdom’s economy and its positive impact in strengthening the infrastructure of small and medium enterprises.

Dr. Al Hanichl added that we are very pleased with this partnership with Mobily a leading company in its field, and we are in SCSB aim to adopt “Firnas initiative” to achieve one of the major functions of the bank represented in supporting the owners of investment ideas and young innovators through the provision of financial and non-financial support, in addition to spreading the culture of self-employment, and contribute to the service of the owners of such projects and their community by activating their potential and entrepreneurial ideas. We hope that our efforts will be crowned with success in collaboration with our strategic partner in overcoming the obstacles and difficulties and to provide all facilities to them.

From his part Engineer Al Kaf said that “we are delighted to establish this partnership with Saudi Credit and savings Bank, which will support innovators in Saudi society, and this is entirely consistent with the company’s orientations. We appreciate the good efforts of innovators and believe that giant projects always start with an idea”.

Al Kaf added that “the Saudi society has many distinctive brains. If such brains would be provided with the required support, the results will be positive. On this basis Mobily has sought to find such a platform to offer the support to those brains as part of its programs to serve the community.

Both Mobily and SCSB called the creators to take the initiative to benefit this opportunity through registration in the website and sharing their innovative ideas to be a nucleus for a giant project that would support in the future the process of economic development in the Kingdom.

For more information about “Firnas” you can visit the website: http://firnas.org, wherein the visitor can follow up the latest news of the communication and information technology sector in addition to the news of the open innovation platform.

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Mohammed bin Zayed Hails Renewable Energy Accord between U.A.E and Saudi Arabia

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Mohammed bin Zayed Hails Renewable Energy Accord between U.A.E and Saudi Arabia

4167Masdar and the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (K.A.CARE) announced an agreement to work together to advance the development of renewable energy and clean technology across the region.

The accord, which comes at a time of increasing interest in renewables across the region, lays down a framework to jointly invest in clean energy projects and green technology investment funds. It will also create opportunities for collaboration on research and development of advanced clean energy technologies, including solar, wind and water.

His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, attended the signing of the strategic framework agreement, in Abu Dhabi. The agreement was signed by H.E Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, chairman of Masdar and H.E Dr. Hashim bin Abdullah Yamani, president of K.A.CARE.

General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed praised the agreement and its important role in adding to the strong historic and strategic relationship, between the United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, under the leadership of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates.

“Increased cooperation among GCC countries is crucial to advancing security, stability and sustainable growth throughout the region,” said His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed. “Energy is fundamental to all economic and social development. The enhanced cooperation between Masdar and K.A.CARE will contribute to extending the region’s energy leadership.”

H.E Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber said: “Masdar shares many strategic objectives with K.A.CARE. The UAE is a pioneer in deploying renewable energy and is also a major contributor to the international deployment of clean energy.

“By sharing our knowledge and experience with K.A.CARE, we believe that together, we can further advance the use of renewables and ensure our long term economic and energy security.”

The King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy was established in 2010 with the aim of diversifying Saudi Arabia’s energy sources, to include nuclear and renewables.

Through the agreement, Dr. Yamani said, the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy aims to diversify Saudi Arabia’s energy sources.

“We are delighted to sign this agreement with Masdar, that has a proven track record and demonstrated credible achievements during the last eight years in this emerging sector. As renewable energy solutions approach grid parity, we are confident our combined efforts will contribute to the implementation of renewable energy projects in the region and around the world,” Dr Yamani said.

Since its establishment in 2006, Masdar has played an increasingly important role in extending Abu Dhabi’s energy leadership beyond hydrocarbons, by adopting an integrated, holistic renewable energy business model – merging higher education, R&D, investment and sustainable living. The company has deployed close to 1GW of clean energy projects in the UAE and around the world.

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‘Emirates NBD mePay’ enables mobile payments between customers through use of mobile numbers

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‘Emirates NBD mePay’ enables mobile payments between customers through use of mobile numbers

4116Emirates NBD, a leading bank in the region, today announced the launch of ‘Emirates NBD mePay,’ an innovative money transfer service that enables an account holder at the bank to transfer money to another customer using mobile numbers instead of account numbers. The mobile money transfer can be completed in just 30 seconds using the mobile number of the recipient, who must also be an Emirates NBD account holder.

The first-of-its-kind service in the region is powered by the Emirates NBD mobile banking app and allows customers to carry out instant money transfers using the recipient’s mobile number. The app can be used by all Emirates NBD customers as long as the recipient’s mobile number is registered on the bank’s system and linked to an account number.

The launch of ‘Emirates NBD mePay’ is the latest in a series of mobile-based innovative product and service offerings by the bank. These include, among others, its dedicated mobile banking app that enables customers to conduct transactions via a smartphone, ‘Shake n Save’ that allows customers to save money on the go, and ‘Emirates NBD Deals’ which keeps customers updated about all promotions they can avail through use of the bank’s credit card.

“Today’s announcement is continuing evidence of Emirates NBD’s commitment to offering our customers an enhanced banking experience, thus making banking transactions convenient and hassle-free,” said, Suvo Sarkar, General Manager – Retail Banking & Wealth Management, Emirates NBD. “Mobiles have become an inseparable aspect of our lives, and customers are on the lookout to access various services through their smartphones. We are confident that the newly launched service, which is in line with the government’s initiative to transform Dubai into a smart city, will revolutionise peer-to-peer money transfers in the UAE.”

“The launch of ‘Emirates NBD mePay’ is based on the high penetration of smartphones in the UAE, which is among the highest in the world,” said Pedro Cardoso, Head of Multichannel & Customer Relationship Management, Emirates NBD. “There is also a burgeoning need for instant money transfer solutions, and our customer feedback clearly indicates the growing interest among younger people to enable a variety of services via mobile phones.”

According to recent figures from Google’s Mobile Planet, the UAE’s smartphone penetration rate in the first quarter of 2013 touched 73.8 per cent, higher than South Korea, Saudi Arabia and Singapore. Mobile internet usage penetration is also high at 73 per cent compared to MENA and global figures at 41 per cent and 51 per cent respectively.

Emirates NBD mePay, is expected to streamline the process of money transfers between Emirates NBD account holders and make it more efficient, by reducing the procedures and paperwork required for such transactions.

The service is free of charge for all Emirates NBD customers, and is available for iPhone, Android and Windows phone users. Customers are required to download the Emirates NBD Mobile Banking App, and register for ‘Emirates NBD mePay’ under the settings menu of the application to link their mobile number. Once registered, customers can choose ‘Transfer to other Emirates NBD Account’ from the transfers menu using ‘Emirates NBD mePay’ option to complete the transaction.

Emirates NBD has also developed a special video on the bank’s YouTube channel, which explains how the ‘Emirates NBD mePay’ works. To learn more about the service, please visit: http://youtu.be/fruRLC58i2g.

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Bayt.com is first to launch new knowledge-sharing channel between academics and professionals in the Middle East

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Bayt.com is first to launch new knowledge-sharing channel between academics and professionals in the Middle East

4234Bayt.com, the Middle East’s number one job site, has announced the launch of its new Educator Program. The program, a part of the Bayt.com Specialties platform, is designed to engage educators and encourage them to share their knowledge with their peers from across the world, while also providing them with the tools they need to get realistic insights from today’s marketplace and teach with a global view.

“The Bayt.com Educator program will empower educators with the ability to connect directly with professionals, allowing them to share knowledge and insight with career men and women around the region,” said Omar Tahboub, VP of Product, Bayt.com. “We hope it will be instrumental in bridging the gap between education and the workplace. Professionals throughout the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region see a gap between the skills they learn at university and those in demand in the regional job market and according to the Bayt.com ‘Workplace Dynamics in the Middle East and North Africa’ poll (June 2013), 20% of job seekers blame the educational system to some extent for being somewhat ill-prepared for the current job market. We are very excited about the program because it is the first of its kind to connect between these two groups in the region. It will enable academics to share their thoughts and expertise globally and contribute towards the MENA region’s economic development through education. Moreover, this a completely free service for professionals, and it is in line with our continuous efforts to offer the world truly innovative products, which will empower our users with the latest knowledge about the employment industry and career trends in the region.”

Bayt.com’s Educator Program allows academics to be recognized as an innovative educator in their area of expertise, while connecting and collaborating with a global community of peers. They can share the knowledge and expertise with fellow educators and other industry professionals, while gaining insights into other fields of interest and expertise from the professionals engaged in them. There are tremendous benefits for professionals too, as they are able to pose their questions to, and share knowledge and insights with the global community of academics, while staying up to date with the latest research in their areas of interest and expertise. Moreover academics and professionals can through their dialogue and interactions benefit from all the benefits of the Bayt.com Specialties program including personal brand building, industry exposure, rankings, referrals, recommendations and endorsements.

Tahboub elaborates, “The Bayt.com Educator program has a goal of building a community that encourages teamwork, collaborative problem solving, and learning. It’s also a part of the Bayt.com Specialties platform, meaning that it will enrich the online presence of participating educators and professionals. The need to showcase one’s skills and expertise is very important and data from the Bayt.com Personal Branding in the Middle East and North Africa poll (September 2013) shows that 97% of professionals in the MENA region would like to show their key skills and expertise in a more creative way. The platform is a unique solution to credentialing skills that are not well captured in a traditional CV. This approach leverages social learning to empower professionals across all industries and career levels to demonstrate important skills that employers greatly value.”

Educators are invited to participate in the inaugural stages of the Bayt.com Educator Program by contacting Bayt.com at_specialties@bayt.net . Educators can be identified by a special credential badge located on their profiles.

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Etihad Regional launches flights between Zurich and Leipzig/Halle

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Etihad Regional launches flights between Zurich and Leipzig/Halle

410Etihad Regional today marked the start of direct daily services between Zurich, Switzerland and Leipzig/Halle, Germany.

Flight F7251 touched down at Leipzig/Halle airport at 12:20pm local time and the newly branded 50-seat Saab 2000 aircraft was greeted by a traditional water cannon salute.

This is Etihad Regional’s second route launch to Germany from Switzerland, following the start of a Geneva-Stuttgart operation in February.  The airline operates already from Leipzig to Amsterdam and Paris.

Maurizio Merlo, Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Regional said: “It is a great honour for us to link these two important European cities, and even more so with a daily connection.

“Our service will no doubt enhance the already strong commercial and leisure ties between Switzerland and Germany, while at the same time extending Etihad Regional’s geographic presence in the German market.  It is good news for business and leisure travellers alike, as it is for the cities of Leipzig and Zurich.”

Peter Baumgartner, Vice Chairman designate of Etihad Regional said: “Importantly, the new service demonstrates Etihad Regional’s strategy to continue building a strong regional network linking European cities and towns, which also connect to the global network of our partners, including Etihad Airways and airberlin.

“For Etihad Regional, as for the Etihad brand as a whole, providing a remarkable guest experience is one of the core elements of our proposition.  What our guests expect is that we put them first. Put them first with our product, our service and our network, and that’s what we are doing.”

Markus Kopp, Chief Executive Officer of Mitteldeutsche Flughafen AG, the parent company of Leipzig airport, said:  “It’s great to be able to launch a third European service from Leipzig/Halle in conjunction with our airline partner – Etihad Regional.

“We believe demand for the new service will be high both in our region and in the airline’s Zurich catchment area, and it will also be attractive for travellers coming to Leipzig from further afield.”

Beyond linking Leipzig and Zurich, the new flights will also offer travellers a great opportunity to connect onto Etihad Airways, the UAE national carrier’s upcoming services from Zurich to Abu Dhabi.* Flights beyond Abu Dhabi, offered by Etihad Airways and its equity partners, Jet Airways and Virgin Australia connect well with destinations in the Middle East, Indian subcontinent, Asia and Australia.

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434Etihad Regional, operated by Darwin Airline, has commenced a four times per week service from its hub in Geneva, Switzerland to Stuttgart, the capital of the state of Baden-Württemberg in Southern Germany.

The inaugural flight F7260 was operated by Etihad Regional’s newly branded 50-seat Saab 2000 aircraft, which was greeted by a traditional water cannon salute upon arrival at Stuttgart Airport.

Maurizio Merlo, Chief Executive Officer of Darwin Airline, said: “We are proud to be the first airline to offer a direct air link between Geneva and Stuttgart. The new route is the first after the re-branding of Darwin Airline and the 16th year-round destination on our network.

“The new Stuttgart service extends our geographic presence in the German market. The move will create significant benefits for our business and leisure passengers, as well as strengthen the already strong trade and leisure ties between Switzerland and Germany.

“More importantly, the new service demonstrates our strategy to continue building a strong regional airline linking European cities and towns, which also connect to the global network of our partners, Etihad Airways, airberlin and Air Serbia.”

Welcoming the launch, Prof. Georg Fundel, Chief Executive Officer of Stuttgart Airport, said: “We are delighted that Etihad Regional has commenced operations here, which will boost the regional economy, and offer the airline’s passengers a convenient new entry point to Germany through our modern and efficient facility.”

The new flights have been introduced to serve the point-to-point market as well as provide seamless connectivity beyond the Geneva hub to numerous key destinations across Europe, including Cambridge, Valencia, Rome, Lugano, Florence, Toulouse (commencing in April 2014), Belgrade and Zurich (commencing in May 2014), and Bordeaux, Marseille, Nantes and Verona (commencing in June 2014).

The flights will also offer travellers a great opportunity to connect on Etihad Airways, the UAE national carrier’s services from Geneva to Abu Dhabi. Flights from Abu Dhabi, offered by Etihad Airways and its equity partners, Jet Airways and Virgin Australia also connect well with destinations in the Middle East, Indian subcontinent, Asia and Australia.

With the new addition, Etihad Regional now offers year-round flights to 16 destinations in Europe using a fleet of 10 Saab 2000 turboprop aircraft. By mid-2014, this will more than double to 34 destinations.

The summer schedule will include destinations such as Biarritz in France, the Spanish island of Ibiza and Cagliari in Sardinia.

Arrival photocaption: Etihad Regional’s inaugural flight F7260 was welcomed with a water cannon salute upon arrival at Stuttgart Airport in Germany.

Cake-cutting caption: Official’s taking part in the Etihad Regional cake-cutting ceremony at Stuttgart Airport in Germany included: (left to right) Joerg Im Wolde, Director Sales and Marketing, Stuttgart Airport and Mario Tesla, Head of Sales, Darwin Airline.

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Revealed: the property price difference between Abu Dhabi and Dubai

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Revealed: the property price difference between Abu Dhabi and Dubai

4135“Average asking prices in Dubai today stand at AED 5.1 million while those in the capital figure at AED 3.3 million. Whilst Abu Dhabi’s property prices have increased over the course of this year, Dubai’s residential prices have risen more significantly, widening the gap in property values between the two emirates,” said Renan Bourdeau, Managing Director & Partner at propertyfinder.ae.

“In January this year, average property prices in Abu Dhabi were valued at AED 2.3 million which is AED 1 million lower than the current average price. So, whilst the market is showing positive growth, recovery seems limited to prime neighbourhoods, unlike Dubai where the pace of growth has been widespread,” added Bourdeau.

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Renewed strategic agreement between INJAZ and Hikma Pharmaceuticals for ‘School Adoption Programme’

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Renewed strategic agreement between INJAZ and Hikma Pharmaceuticals for ‘School Adoption Programme’

4156Driven by the common goal of encouraging Jordanian youth to capture opportunities and enhance their economic conditions, INJAZ represented by its CEO -Dima Bibi signed a renewed strategic agreement with the Vice President of Corporate Communication at Hikma Pharmaceuticals, Ms. Hana Ramadan, for the ‘School Adoption Programme’, solidifying their commitment for 2013.

The collaboration entails the adoption of four schools in the areas of Bayader Wadi El-Seer and Salt, where Hikma operations are located.

Hikma will contribute to the development of the education process in Jordan through INJAZ’s ‘School Adoption Programme’ and will effectively bridge the gap, teaching real life business skills and offering students practical experience needed to start their professional career.

The private sector’s mentorship reflects a significant requirement for students to compete locally and regionally inspired by global trends and skills.

Hikma will support the maintenance and the infrastructural work in the schools throughout the year to ensure a healthy environment for students to effectively learn without any physical restrictions. In addition, Hikma employees will be volunteering to mentor in the ‘School Adoption Programme’.

On this occasion, Ms. Hana Ramadan, stated, “As a leading pharmaceutical company, we are fully committed to our social responsibility towards our communities, as it is an integral part of our mission. We work on community advancement on all levels and across all sectors; this collaboration with INJAZ gives us the opportunity to improve the school’s learning environment, which for sure will positively reflect on the educational experience of students attending these schools.”

Muhannad Jarrah, Executive Director for the INJAZ Skills Building Programme, acknowledged Hikma’s unique effort contributing to the graduation of skillful students who will become active leaders and decision makers. Jarrah confirmed Hikma’s involvement with INJAZ supporting several programmes too.

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Emirates announces further increase in capacity between Dubai and Bangkok with start of sixth daily

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Emirates announces further increase in capacity between Dubai and Bangkok with start of sixth daily

427Emirates, one of the world’s fastest growing airlines, announced a further increase in capacity between Dubai and Bangkok, with a start of a sixth daily, non-stop service from 27 October 2013.

Emirates’ additional service will operate as EK370 departing Dubai at 1520hrs and arriving in Bangkok at 0020hrs the following day.

The return EK371 will depart Bangkok at 0155hrs and arrive in Dubai at 0545hrs.

“Emirates’ sixth daily flight to Bangkok launches on the same day as the start of our second daily Airbus A380 service to the city, demonstrating the importance of Thailand to the airline,” said Barry Brown, Emirates’ Divisional Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations East.

“Due to passenger demand, we have seen a steady increase in terms of services and capacity on our South East Asian routes. In addition to the Bangkok sixth daily, Emirates is also increasing its Hong Kong services to four daily from 27 October and will be launching a daily, non-stop service to Clark in the Philippines from 1 October,” added Mr Brown.

A Boeing 777-200ER will operate the new Dubai - Bangkok route with 12 seats in First Class, 42 seats in Business Class and 220 seats in Economy Class. Passengers in all cabins can enjoy ice - Emirates’ award-winning inflight entertainment, including movies and TV shows in Thai, Filipino and Cantonese, as well as gourmet food served by Emirates’ multicultural cabin crew.

Emirates, with an all wide-body fleet of 200 aircraft, currently flies to 134 destinations in 76 countries including 22 destinations in 12 countries in the Far East and Australasia. From Bangkok, Emirates offers services to Dubai, Hong Kong, Sydney and Christchurch; from Hong Kong Emirates offers flights to Dubai and Bangkok.

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