Airline and travel news: British Airways cancels UAE flights

British Airways cancels flights amid strike action, Emirates is ranked for reliability and there are cheap fares to be found with Etihad and Singapore Airlines

Etihad is increasing services from Abu Dhabi to the Maldives this winter 
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It's been a hectic month for air travel. From protests at Hong Kong Airport to British Airways cancelling hundreds of flights amid pilot strikes plus updated flight schedules and seasonal sales, there's a lot going on.

British Airways strike action: Dubai and Abu Dhabi flights cancelled

For the second time this summer, British Airways is facing strike action from pilots. The airline has cancelled almost 100 per cent of flights that were due to arrive or depart London Heathrow on Monday, September 9 and Tuesday, September 10, 2019.

From the UAE, British Airways flights BA104, BA106 and BA108 departing Dubai International Airport for London Heathrow, are cancelled.

From Abu Dhabi, flight BA72 to London Heathrow is cancelled on both days of strike action. Flights from London's Heathrow Airport to the UAE could also be affected. Customers have been alerted about cancellations.

Passengers set to fly with BA have been advised not to travel to airports after pilots rejected another pay deal from the airline. The airline is offering full refunds to ticketed passengers, or giving travellers the option to rebook to a different date. If you're one of the 195,000 passengers due to fly with British Airways this week, check the status of your flight on the airline's Manage My Booking page. A further 24-hour walkout is planned for Friday, September 27, 2019.

Flights on sale: Etihad, Singapore and Cebu Pacific

Singapore Airlines has cut-price economy fares from Dubai to several locations in Asia. Courtesy Singapore Airlines 

If travel planning is on your radar, now might be a good time to book if you want to secure some cut-price fares.

Etihad Airways has a sale runs until Thursday, September 12 and covers travel up until June 2020. There are 50 destinations on sale from Abu Dhabi, including Barcelona with economy fares from Dh2,53 and London from Dh2,313. Business travellers can book return fares to Amman from Dh4,279 or to Cairo for Dh5,579.

For travellers planning to head east, Singapore Airlines has promotional fares on select destinations from Dubai, bookable until Wednesday, September 25, 2019. Valid on travel between Sunday, September 1, 2019 and Tuesday, June 30, 2020, cut-price economy fares are on sale for flights to Manila and Cebu in the Philippines from Dh1,355.

Bargain economy fares from Dubai to Singapore start from Dh1,555 and you can also find bargain fares to selected cities across Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Japan and Australia.

If the Philippines is in your plans for next year, Cebu Pacific has another of its promotional airfare sales on now. You'll have to be quick as the promotion officially ends on Tuesday, September 10, but typically the best fares sell out much faster. Promotional airfares are supposed to start from a Dh1 base fare, but you will struggle to find this price. At the time of writing the best promotional fare found was a return flight from Dubai to Manila departing on Tuesday, August 4, 2020 for Dh318, including all taxes and charges.

Reliable airline: count on Emirates 

Emirates was ranked number six in the world's reliable airlines study. Courtesy Emirates 

If avoiding delays and cancellations is something that's up there for you in terms of travel priorities, take note of Get Going Travel Insurance's Airline reliability study. The UK insurance company analysed more than 100 airlines to discover which airline was the most reliable to fly with in terms of cancellations, safety, punctuality and waiting times. Topping the list was Japan Airlines, while the KLM Cityhopper service was ranked in second. Emirates also made the top ten, coming in at number six and boasting the lowest flight cancellation percentage in the top ten rankings.

Etihad’s winter rush

Etihad is increasing its Abu Dhabi to London Heathrow service ahead of the winter demand. Courtesy Anthony Delanoix 

Fancy beating the 'winter' blues with a tropical escape? Etihad Airways seem to think many people will be craving exactly that as the airline is adding additional services on its popular Abu Dhabi-Maldives route. From Tuesday, December 17, 2019 until Thursday January 9, 2020, the national carrier of the UAE will fly 14 times per week from the capital to Male.

In slightly less tropical news, the airline is also boosting its Abu Dhabi to London service in time for winter. From Sunday, October 27, 2019 the airline will add a fourth daily service to London Heathrow. The new service has a mid-morning departure from Abu Dhabi and a late evening return flight.

Visit China's Terracotta Army with direct flights from Dubai

China Eastern has launched three weekly flights between Dubai and Xi'an where travellers can visit the Terracotta Army

China Eastern has launched direct flights from Dubai to Xi'an, which is good news if visiting China's Terracotta Warriors has been on your travel bucketlist. There are now three flights per week between the two cities and the journey takes just over eight hours.

Xi'an's 2000-year-old Terracotta army consists of over ten thousand life-sized terracotta troops, all standing in battle formation and filling three huge rectangular vaults. The site lies around 30 kilometres east of Xi'an. As impressive as the army is, it's not Xi'an's only draw. The 600-year-old City Wall and iconic Big Wild Goose Pagoda are also worth a visit.

From Egypt to South Korea

Asiana Airlines is launching flights to Saudi Arabia

Travellers flying from Egypt can add South Korea to any visit lists as Asiana Airlines has announced plans to begin direct flights from Egypt to Seoul from Friday, December 6, 2019. Announced as part of the winter plans for South Korea's second largest airline, the flights from Incheon International Airport to Cairo serviced by a Boeing 777-200ER will operate on a weekly basis.

More connections from India to the Middle East

Low-cost Indian airline IndiGo is introducing new routes between the subcontinent and the Middle East. Travellers flying from Delhi will be able to fly direct to Kuwait from Saturday, October 12, 2019 thanks to a new daily service connecting India's capital territory with Kuwait City. Those looking to fly between Delhi and Saudi Arabia will be able to take advantage of a new daily Delhi to Riyadh route, also launching October 12. Serviced by Airbus A320 aircraft, the routes are already open for reservations. Elsewhere, IndiGo will also increase services between Hyderabad and Dubai from daily to twice per day starting from Thursday, September 12, 2019.

Air India is also extending in the Middle East. The airline will add a new route from Mumbai to Kuwait from Sunday, October 27, 2019. It will also increase its weekly services from Mumbai to Dubai from 14 flights per week to 17 weekly.

Indonesia to Saudi Arabia

Batik Air is set to commence flights from Indonesia to Saudi Arabia's Madinah and Jeddah. From Tuesday, December 3, 2019 there will be a weekly flight from Makassar to Jeddah and another weekly service from Medan Kuala Namu to Madinah and Jeddah.

A few days later, on Thursday, December 5, 2019, Batik Air will also launch flights from Solo to Madinah and Jeddah.

Winter in Russia

If the idea of visiting Russia in its snow-covered winter appeals to you, then you might be happy to know that Russian carrier Azur Air has introduced two new routes to the country from Dubai. Effective Tuesday, October 29, 2019, travellers can fly from Dubai World Central to Kaliningrad on the Baltic Coast of Russia. The airline is also introducing a weekly flight to Arkhangelsk.