Qatar Airways, the state-owned flag carrier of Qatar, will on Saturday, 3 October 2020 resume services to three key destinations in South Africa.
The restored services to South African cities – Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg – will be operated by a mix of the airline’s “modern fuel-efficient” Airbus A350and Boeing 787 aircraft.
With the addition of 19 weekly flights to South Africa, Qatar Airways will operate 63 weekly flights to 17 destinations across the continent including Accra, Addis Ababa, Dar es Salaam, Djibouti, Entebbe, Kigali, Kilimanjaro, Lagos, Maputo, Mogadishu, Nairobi, Tunis, Windhoek and Zanzibar.
Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, HE Akbar al-Baker said: “We are delighted to resume flights to South Africa further expanding our network in the region. We know many passengers across the world and in South Africa have been eagerly awaiting the resumption of scheduled international flights and we look forward to helping reunite them with their families and loved ones. Qatar Airways has worked closely with the government of South Africa throughout this crisis operating 28 special charter flights to help take over 11,500 South Africans and international travellers’ home.
“With the most international flights from South Africa and one of the largest global networks, passengers travelling to or from South Africa can enjoy more flexible travel options with seamless connections via the most connected and Best Airport in the Middle East, Hamad International Airport. Passengers travelling on our Qsuite equipped Airbus A350 can also enjoy the most private business class in the industry with sliding privacy partitions, lie-flat double bed options and world-class entertainment with more than 4,000 options to choose from.
“We have clearly demonstrated an ongoing reliability for customers with our generous travel policies, our comprehensive safety procedures and our continued commitment to sustainable flying. Despite global challenges, we have always been there for our passengers and this resilience continues to inspire confidence that Qatar Airways remains a strong and reliable partner. The airline currently operates over 650 weekly flights to more than 90 destinations across the globe including 27 destinations in Asia-Pacific, 31 in Europe, 12 in the Middle East and nine in North America.”
Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, Qatar Airways’ network has never fallen below 30 destinations with continuous services to five continents. The airline’s strategic investment in a variety of fuel-efficient twin-engine aircraft, including the largest fleet of Airbus A350 aircraft, has enabled it to continue flying, perfectly positioning the carrier to lead the sustainable recovery of international travel.
As the airline’s network rebuild continues, it will remain focused on providing seamless, safe and reliable connectivity to its millions of passengers and ensuring the airline continues to earn the trust of passengers every time they choose to fly with Qatar Airways.
Qatar Airways operations are not dependent on any specific aircraft type. The airline’s variety of modern fuel-efficient aircraft has meant it can continue flying by offering the right capacity in each market. Due to Covid-19’s impact on travel demand, the airline has taken the decision to ground its fleet of Airbus A380s as it is not commercially or environmentally justifiable to operate such a large aircraft in the current market. The airline’s fleet of 49 Airbus A350 and 30 Boeing 787 are the ideal choice for the most strategically important long-haul routes to Africa, the Americas, and Europe and Asia-Pacific regions.
Qatar Airways’ onboard safety measures for passengers and cabin crew include the provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for cabin crew and a complimentary protective kit and disposable face shields for passengers. Business class passengers on aircraft equipped with Qsuite can enjoy the enhanced privacy this award-winning business seat provides, including sliding privacy partitions and the option to use a ‘Do Not Disturb (DND)’ indicator.
Qsuite is available on flights to more than 30 destinations including London, Paris, and Frankfurt.
Qatar Airways’ home and hub, Hamad International Airport (HIA), has implemented stringent cleaning procedures and applied social distancing measures throughout its terminals. Passenger touchpoints are sanitized every 10-15 minutes and boarding gates and bus gate counters are cleaned after each flight.
In addition, hand sanitisers are provided at immigration and security screening points.
HIA was recently ranked “Third Best Airport in the World”, among 550 airports worldwide, by the SKYTRAX World Airport Awards 2020. HIA was also voted the ‘Best Airport in the Middle East’ for the sixth year in a row and ‘Best Staff Service in the Middle East’ for the fifth year in a row.
Rand, Bond Yield Weakens ahead of SA Economic Recovery Plan
South Africa’s Rand has weakened as investors await SA’s economic recovery plan. Also, bonds weakened, with the yield on the benchmark government issue due in mature in 2030 increased by 1.5 basis points to 9.44%.
The rand weakened on Thursday ahead of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s unveiling of a recovery plan that investors are awaiting for details on South Africa’s prospects of bouncing back from the coronavirus crisis.
At 0700 GMT the rand was 0.54% weaker at R16.63 to an American dollar, from an overnight close of R16.54 in New York.
South Africa’s economy has already hit recession levels before the Covid-19 pandemic hit, and a lockdown imposed in late March dragged growth to record contraction in the second quarter and cost more than 2 million jobs.
High demand for the rand has, however, been partly supported by the still high yield on offer on local assets despite the central bank cutting lending rates to a record low.
But analysts have warned that these “hot money” flows would dry up without a credible plan for economic growth and debt.
“While global dynamics continue to drive the rand’s short-term movements, domestic developments in the next few weeks, starting today, are likely to determine its long-term path,” ETM Analytics said in a note.
“Investors will be watching the president’s address very closely, looking not only for fiscally responsible growth-enhancing reforms, but for credible fiscally responsible growth-enhancing reforms.”
Ramaphosa is set to address parliament at 1200 GMT.
Namibia Targets Middle-East As Alternative Market For Its Beef
Namibia is seeking new markets for its beef and has launched several studies which show promising results, the country’s meat board said on Monday.
The Meat Board of Namibia (MBN) said it is scouted for newer markets for Namibian beef to expand opportunities for farmers.
According to the MBN, it is seeking to add to its traditional markets, namely South Africa, China, the United States, Norway and the European Union.
The meat board said it has conducted research regarding several Middle Eastern markets which has shown promising results.
“Current markets are Foot-and-Mouth Disease sensitive and therefore Middle-Eastern markets can offer alternatives,” the board said in a statement.
“We need to be cognizant of the current limited production of cattle and beef as a consequence of the 2019 drought, and that further research on alternative markets will not necessarily lead to market utilisation,’’ said the statement.
The MBN also noted that total cattle marketing decreased by 31 per cent in the January to August period, in spite producer prices showing a 2per cent increase for slaughter cattle and a 39per cent increase for weaner calves.
Exports of weaner calves that represent 63 per cent of the total cattle market share decreased by 49 per cent during the reported period, it added.
In February, Namibian meat processor Meatco sent the South African country’s first shipment of beef to the US, making it the first country in Africa eligible to export beef to the US.
After undergoing several audits, health and safety protocols since Namibia became eligible in 2016, the consignment was the first official commercial shipment to the US.
Namibia’s livestock industry is worth approximately N$3.9 billion annually, according to Meat Board 2019 statistics, with Meatco’s share around 50%.
Botswana’s Central Bank Cuts Bank Rate
Botswana authorities have slashed the the bank rate by 50 basis points, down from 4.25 percent to 3.75 percent, an official has disclosed.
The Bank of Botswana took the decision at a Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting on Thursday in the South African country’s capital, Gaborone.
Central bank governor, Moses Pelaelo, said the current state of the economy and the outlook for both domestic and external economic activity provide scope for further easing monetary policy to support domestic economic activity.
“Accordingly, the MPC decided to reduce the bank rate by 50 basis points to 3.75 percent,” he said.
Commercial banks are required to make the necessary interest rate adjustments with immediate effect to reflect this policy decision, Pelaelo said.
The COVID-19 pandemic and consequent containment measures have severely throttled economic activity globally and domestically as production, supply chains, project implementation and provision of goods and services are constrained, he said.
However, the MPC noted, the short-term adverse developments in the domestic economy occur against a potentially supportive environment, including accommodative monetary conditions, reforms to further improve the business environment and concerted efforts by the government to mitigate the impact of COVID-19.
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