26 February 2018

RwandAir launches flights to Abuja 
RwandAir is launching four weekly flights to Abuja, Nigeria from 15 April. The flights will be part of the existing Accra service and will operate via Kigali-Abuja-Accra, departing on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. RwandAir’s current daily flight between Kigali and Johannesburg is scheduled to connect with the new Abuja service. 

Hilton opens Cairo Heliopolis 
Hilton has opened the Hilton Cairo Heliopolis and announced the opening of a branch of its luxury Waldorf Astoria brand in Cairo later this year, the first on the continent. The 593-room Hilton Cairo Heliopolis is next to the 247-room Towers Luxury Hotel, which, after renovations, will be rebranded as Waldorf Astoria Cairo. Hilton and Gulf Egypt Hotels & Tourism have signed agreements to operate the hotels under two distinct brands. After rebranding, both hotels will form part of the HHonors loyalty programme. Renovations are scheduled for completion before the end of the year. In addition to redesigned rooms and lobby area, a spa will be added. The hotel will include an amphitheater with conference technology, two ballrooms, 12 meeting rooms, pre-function areas and a business centre. 

Air Botswana suspends Cape Town route 
Air Botswana has suspended its Gaborone-Cape Town route as a result of the recent grounding of CemAir over regulatory compliance and aircraft maintenance concerns. The four-times-a-week service was operated by a CRJ-100 leased from CemAir. Air Botswana has rerouted all Cape Town ticketed passengers via Johannesburg at no additional charge. 

Emirates to launch a new Auckland service 
Emirates will launch a new daily service to Auckland, via Bali, on 14 June. The flight will operate year-round, complementing the two daily services between Dubai and Bali that currently operate in the Northern hemisphere summer months. A Boeing 777-300ER will operate on the route, with eight seats in first class, 42 in business class and 304 in economy.

Sun International to open first SA multi-star-rated hotel 
Sun International will open The Maslow Time Square hotel in Pretoria on 1 April, the first multi-star-rated hotel in South Africa. The hotel will have three-, four-, and five-star accommodation and facilities, perfect for corporate travellers whose companies preclude them from staying in higher rated hotels. Five-star guests will have their own check-in and dining areas. The Maslow Time Square will have 238 rooms in 10 room types, and two suites. Conferencing venues include meeting, breakaway and seminar rooms seating from five to 144 delegates. Facilities also include two pools and a gym.

Easter UK train travel disruptions announced
Services on some of Britain’s busiest rail routes will be suspended during the Easter weekend due to engineering work. More than 400 projects are to be carried out as part of an investment by Network Rail. Passengers travelling between London and Scotland via the West Coast Main Line from Saturday, 31 March to Monday, 2 April will have to use replacement buses between Glasgow and either Carlisle or Preston, depending on the day of travel. London Euston - the UK’s fifth busiest station - will be closed on Sunday, 1 April, with a reduced service on the previous and following day. Significant work in the Bristol area means no trains will run between Bristol Parkway, Bristol Temple Meads and Yatton/Bath Spa from Friday, 30 March, to Tuesday, 3 April. There will also be disruption to services between London Liverpool Street and Norwich, as well as routes serving London Paddington.

US Toy Story Land opening date revealed
Toy Story Land at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida will open on 30 June. The 11-acre area, inspired by Disney Pixar’s Toy Story films and located at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, will include two new attractions and one which has been expanded. Toy Story Land is part of a multi-year revamp of Disney’s Hollywood Studios and the largest expansion in the theme park’s history. Next year will see the introduction of the 14-acre Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge area and Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, a themed ride-through attraction featuring new technology and visual effects.

Kenya Airways reinstates early-morning Johannesburg flights
Kenya Airways has added three more weekly flights to its Johannesburg route, reinstating early-morning flights on certain days. From 6 June, flights will operate on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. 

Upgraded Botswana airport ready to welcome visitors
Botswana’s Kasane International Airport’s upgraded terminal building opened on 22 February. The original terminal building has been expanded from 1 300 to 7 800 sqm. The runway and surrounding areas have also been extended and provision has been made for airfield ground lighting and an electrified boundary fence.

New VIP terminal at OR Tambo opens for flights
Fireblade Aviation's private terminal at OR Tambo International Airport opened its doors on 12 February. According to Airports Company of South Africa (ACSA) having fully operational international border control capabilities at Fireblade will alleviate crowding in the main terminal at OR Tambo International and will provide additional capacity while at the same time offering premium services. The building consists of a two-story glass wall allowing unobstructed views of the ramp and the two hangars, as well as numerous luxurious features for passengers to enjoy.

New Bangkok-Pattaya train service
Thailand has introduced a new Bangkok-Pattaya train service that will allow tourists to make day trips to the Thai coastal city from March. Launched on a six-month trial, the new train service will run twice daily on weekends. It will depart from Bangkok at 06h30 and reach Pattaya at 09h00, then leave Pattaya at 15h30 to arrive back at the capital at 18h50. There is already a train service between Bangkok and Pattaya, but the train only runs on weekdays. The new train will be air-conditioned, unlike the current train in operation. The journey will also be shortened by about an hour, down from three-and-a-half hours currently. If the trial run is successful the train will operate on a permanent basis. There will reportedly be six stations on the new train service. Shuttle services to nearby tourist attractions will be available at each station. The six stops will be located near the Sriracha Tiger Zoo, North Pattaya, Pattaya Floating Market, Yanasanwararam Temple, Nong Nooch Tropical Garden and the Plutaluang Railway Station. 

2018 maintenance dates for Cape Town Cableway

Visitors planning to head up Cape Town’s Table Mountain via cable car this coming winter should factor in the Cableway’s annual maintenance dates: Monday, 23 July to Sunday, 5 August 2018. Each year the cableway shuts down operations for two weeks to refurbish facilities and to make necessary changes to improve visitors’ experience.

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