Newsletter

Mega Emirates Sale

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OR Tambo International Airport is to extend its irregular baggage rules over June and July.


Since March, round bags, bags with long hanging straps and those without flat surfaces have had a restriction placed on them. Betty Maloka, senior manager: corporate affairs at OR Tambo, says: “No passenger will be turned back due an irregular bag, rather our agents will educate the passenger on the correct bag and/or refer them to the baggage wrapping service.”

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The State Department is now requiring nearly all applicants for US visas to submit their social media usernames, previous email addresses and phone numbers.

In a move that's just taken effect after approval of the revised application forms, the department says it has updated its immigrant and non-immigrant visa forms.
Social media, email and phone number histories had only been sought in the past from applicants who were identified for extra scrutiny, such as people who had travelled to areas controlled by terrorist organisations.
 
The new rules apply to all applicants for immigrant and non-immigrant visas. The new visa application forms list a number of social media platforms and require the applicant to provide any account names they may have had on them over the previous five years. They also give applicants the option to volunteer information about social media accounts on platforms not listed on the form.

In addition to their social media histories, visa applicants are now asked for five years of previously used telephone numbers, email addresses, international travel and deportation status, as well as whether any family members have been involved in terrorist activities. Only applicants for certain diplomatic and official visa types are exempted from the requirements.

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MASSIVE WINTER WARMER SALE

Don’t miss out on Emirate's fantastic winter Mega Sale, offering massive savings on Economy, Business and First Class fares from Johannesburg/Cape Town and Durban to destinations below.
Fares include airport taxes but all subject to availability and Terms and Conditions apply.

 

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Upgrading existing bookings using Gold Upgrade vouchers.

British Airways are pleased to announce that from 17 June 2019 you will now be able to upgrade existing bookings for Executive Club members when using their Gold Upgrade Vouchers, as well as new bookings.

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LANDING CARDS - UK

The UK Government has announced from 20 May 2019 customers from all countries will no longer require landing cards on arrival into the UK, as well as the expansion of eGates for millions more passengers on arrival into the UK at most major airports. This will mean eligible passengers travelling with biometric passports from one of the following countries: Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the United States of America will join customers from the UK, EU, EEA countries (Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein) and Switzerland to use the eGates, a faster automated way through UK border control.
 Passengers must also be aged 12 or older and in possession of a biometric passport. A small number of customers coming to the UK for a specific reason such as short term study, certain types of work or those travelling with children will need to see an officer on arrival. More information can be found here: www.gov.uk/border-force/fastertravel
 Important visitor information regarding Citizens of Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the USA are granted entry into the UK as a visitor for up to six months. As a condition of this entry into the UK these visitors cannot work, study and have no recourse to public funds.

 

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France to propose new tax on flights in Europe

France has proposed a new tax on flights in Europe to encourage travellers to switch to less polluting forms of transport, a source in the transport ministry.
The airline sector is coming under increasing pressure from so-called "flight shamers" and climate change activists who point to the industry's large carbon footprint.
The French government will propose that the European Union adopt a new tax on air travel, which could be in the form of an extra levy on fuel or tickets, or changes to the European carbon emissions trading system.

"Different charges could be considered to reinforce the principle of 'polluter pays' and France believes that they should be weighed up in order to find the best way of doing it," the source said on Wednesday.

"Given the scale of the climate challenge, France believes that we need to go further and more quickly," the source added.

 

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HEATHROW CONNECTIONS TO GET EASIER

 

Star Alliance has added Heathrow to the list of airports that offer its Connection Service initiative.

Airport staff will use software to monitor passengers’ transfer windows and will take steps to ensure the customer reaches their connecting flight.

According to Star Alliance, the software will help staff see when passengers and their checked bags are in danger of missing their onward flight and allows them to consider the options available to help the customers make their connection, including personally escorting them to their next departure gate.

Agents can also take the decision to book delayed customers on to alternative travel options before the inbound flight lands.

The new service adds to Star Alliance’s enhanced transfer experience at its Heathrow Terminal 2 hub, and allows passengers whose flights arrive and depart from the terminal to pass through security within the same concourse to save time transferring between services.

The Star Alliance Connection Service launched at Chicago O’Hare in 2017, and has subsequently rolled out to airports including Frankfurt, Houston, Munich, Newark and Toronto.

 

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KENYA GREAT MIGRATION STARTS EARLIER THAN USUAL

Kenya’s Great Migration, which usually starts in the Masai Mara in July and August, has started early this year, with Wildebeest already being spotted in the Mara River area.

“Herds have already been spotted along the Western Corridor/Grumeti Reserves,” says Chalo Africa, a company that provides eco-friendly experiences for Africa-bound tourists, and provides Migration forecasts and monthly updates. “We predict an earlier migration to the Mara as well this year, with herds most likely entering the Mara by the first week of July.”

The 1 510-square-kilometer Maasai Mara National Reserve usually sees the Great Wildebeest Migration taking place between July and October each year, offering tourists the opportunity to witness one of the most magnificent natural phenomena while on safari.

Over two-million animals migrate from the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania to the Maasai Mara National Reserve, including Thompson’s Gazelle, Zebra, Eland, and Wildebeest.

The early migration is due to the extended dry season, which sees water dry up in the Serengeti – leaving the only other source of water for the animals, the Mara River. While this may be a boon for travellers who have come to Africa in the hopes of witnessing this National Wonder of Africa, should climate change and human intervention continue as they stand, it could potentially change migration patterns in the future.

By the end of summer, which is usually the rainy season in September, the wildlife starts its journey back to the Serengeti, and visitors travelling to see the Great Migration would usually plan their travel around these times. This pattern change could impact bookings made around the Migration.

 

COMAIR(BA) and KULULA Flights around the country may be affected by the proposed strike (see below) for the next few days.

Please advise any travellers to do online check-in and be at the airport no later than 2 hours minimum before scheduled travel time.

Today, at 13h00 the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA), issued Comair with a strike notice. Comair was served the required 48-hour notice, allowing staff represented by the union to exercise their right to strike from 13h00 Thursday, 18 April 2019.

Comair and NUMSA will remain engaged to find a sustainable solution that works for both parties, however, in order to ensure a continuous operation over the busy Easter period, Comair has approached the Labour Court for an urgent interdict to avert the strike.

In addition, we have a comprehensive contingency plan in place and intend to continue with our daily operations. We will do everything possible to minimise the impact on our customers. We encourage customers to check-in online or at the self-service kiosks at the airports and to drop their bags at the bag-drop counter. Employees from across the Comair business have volunteered to assist over the busy period to assist customers and minimise potential disruption.

We appreciate your understanding and support during this challenging time.

For more information or assistance, please contact your Comair Account Manager or the travel hotline on 011 921 0397.

Thank you for your understanding and appreciate these matters are outwith the control of XL Oceanair Travel. Please call us if you need to make alternative arrrangements, bearing in mind it is a holiday weekend and all flights are extremely heavily booked.

Ukutula Lodge - a game lodge and so much more

WELCOME TO UKUTULA LODGE

Place of Quiet

Known as the “place of quiet” the lodge is nestled in lush bushveld where the roar of the lion can be heard for miles around. Ukutula is conveniently situated within an hour’s drive from Johannesburg and Pretoria. The reserve comprises 260 hectares of unspoiled bushveld boasting a variety of wildlife species, including predator and antelope species, giraffe, zebra and more.

Ukutula is also home to more than 130 different bird species. Ukutula supports and apply the IUCN’s One-Plan-Approach (OPA) to Species Conservation and Animal Breeding Principals and so much more........

 

World first at Ukutula

A lioness at the Ukutula Private Game Reserve (ukutula.com), in the North West Province, South Africa, has given birth to two cubs conceived via non-surgical artificial insemination (AI), using fresh semen collected from an adult male lion at the same facility. These are the first ever lion cubs to be born by means of artificial insemination – a world first achievement.

Mr Willi Jacobs, owner of Ukutula and founder of the UCC & Biobank (ucc-biobank.org), and Dr Isabel Callealta, proudly confirmed the birth of the cubs on Saturday, 25th August 2018. The artificial insemination was done by Dr Isabel Callealta, a qualified veterinarian from Spain and PhD candidate at the University of Pretoria (UP), under the supervision of Dr Imke Lüeders and Prof André Ganswind.

UKUTULA Conservation Center (UCC) & Biobank
The UCC focuses on Wildlife Research and predator Conservation and includes a brand new Biobank and Cheetah Clinic

The new Ukutula Conservation Center is a world-class research and Conservation facility, specializing in Wildlife Research and Predator Conservation. The UCC also includes a state of the art Genetic Bio-Bank for endangered mammal species.

UCC are managed and operated by a group of highly qualified, skilled and experienced professionals, dedicated to wildlife conservation and the preservation of Bio- and Genetic Diversity. All animal procedures at the UCC are conducted with full veterinarian support and assistance, treating ALL animals with respect, dignity & compassion.

Research and conservation projects at the UCC are managed by the UCC and its research partners and associates on a highly sustainable basis to ensure the long-term conservation and scientific research contribution by the UCC.

Current Research Projects at the UCC & Biobank

Since 2006, numerous professional mammal research studies have been conducted by various scientific research institutions and professionals at Ukutula Game Reserve.

Presently the Ukutula Conservation Center (UCC) & Biobank is hosting a number of research projects by various academic institutions and international researchers and post-graduate students, including a long-term study on the endocrine/hormonal changes in the lioness and its influence on reproduction, a study on the effect of cub/wildlife-interaction on human connection with wildlife and their relationships with nature, as well as various other projects on feline reproduction and cryopreservation of genetic material of endangered wildlife species.

 

5 Star Hospitality

Visitors at Ukutula Lodge are spoiled with luxury 5* service and aaccommodation!

CHALET AND LODGE ACCOMMODATION
3-6 Beds available per chalet/unit/lodge.....
For further information on rates and availability please contact XL Oceanair Travel.

SWITCHBOARD PROBLEM and LOAD SHEDDING

Please note our Johannesburg office is experiencing switchboard problems, which are being rectified. In the interim and during loadshedding please contact your Consultant on their direct lines or on undernoted numbers:

011 772 1110 or 011 772 1114

Also whilst load shedding please contact
Cape Town: 082 856 3259
Durban: 079 021 0539

Thank you for your patience and understanding during these times.

South African Airways Secures R3.5bn Loan To Operate Until Financial Year End

South African Airways says it has secured the R3.5bn loan it needed to keep operating until the end of the financial year in March, providing temporary relief for the cash-strapped airline. The loss-making flag carrier, which is battling cash flow challenges, is implementing a three-year turnaround strategy and has said it needs a total of R21.7bn in loans over the same period.

SAA spokesperson Tlali Tlali told Fin24 on Tuesday that the R3.5bn, which has been secured from local lenders, was part of the R21.7bn funding requirement.

“The airline, working jointly with the shareholder was able to secure an undertaking from local lenders to make available the amount of R3.5bn to SAA,” said Tlali.
He said the funds would enable the airline to operate up to the end of the financial year in March. In October, the National Treasury allocated R5bn to SAA, as announced during the medium-term budget policy statement.

The funds were directed at debt repayment.

Tlali stated that there was no expectation that SAA was going to become profitable before 2021, stressing that plans were underway to steer the airline out of its financial quagmire.

“We are working towards the goal of becoming profitable by 2021, there is no plan of shifting the goal post,” he said