Skift Travel News Blog

Short stories and posts about the daily news happenings around the travel industry.


Dubai Events Deal with Severe Thunderstorms and Floods

7 months ago

Intense storms and flash floods in the Middle East city of Dubai this Friday morning have halted its events calendar. Across the country, storms began at around 4am local time, with Dubai Police and other authorities issuing public safety warnings shortly after. The National Centre of Meteorology issued orange and yellow alerts nationwide, cautioning residents about potentially dangerous weather conditions for outdoor activities.

One affected event is the Dubai Watch Week, which began on Thursday. It is held in the emirate’s upmarket financial district and serves as the springboard for lavish Swiss watchmakers to announce new pieces.

Attendees this morning were stuck in nearby hotels, namely, Hilton’s Waldorf Astoria and Marriott’s Ritz-Carlton, told not to leave over safety concerns. For now, Dubai Watch Week organizers have said the event is on hold, but the hotels have re-opened their doors, Skift has been told by those staying.

Founded and organized by local watch retail gaint Ahmed Seddiqi & Son, Dubai Watch Week is now in its sixth edition, drawing in close to 20,000 attendees comprising brand representatives, journalists and horology enthusiasts.

Dubai Watch Week runs until Monday, November 20.

Dubai Airshow Goes Ahead

Dubai’s other major event of the week, the Dubai Airshow, is going ahead as planned for its final day this Friday. Far larger than Dubai Watch Week, the airshow pulls in around 100,000 attendees and serves as the place for airlines to sign multi-billion-dollar orders.

In a statement on social media, the country’s Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation said: “The Ministry calls on private sector companies across the UAE to apply flexible work patterns, 17th November, given the current weather conditions.”

“Necessary measures need to be taken by companies to ensure outdoor work, which is necessary to resume, complies with the occupational health and safety requirements.”

Dubai Flights Diverted

The weather has also had an impact on flights into Dubai International Airport, one of the world’s busiest hubs.

“As of 10am UAE time (0600 GMT), 13 inbound flights were diverted to neighboring airports while six outbound flights were canceled,” the spokesperson said in an emailed statement to Reuters. “Dubai Airports is working closely with airlines, control authorities and other service partners at DXB to minimize any inconvenience to our customers.”

*This story has been updated to include Dubai Airport flight delays due to Friday’s severe weather.


Riyadh Air and Saudia Airlines Partner Up

7 months ago

Saudi Arabia’s two national carriers, Riyadh Air and Saudia have entered a partnership that will start with a codeshare agreement, but go on to include much more collaborative efforts. The pair of Kingdom carriers announced the deal at the Dubai Airshow taking place in the emirate this week.

Along with codeshares, the deal will see each carrier’s loyalty program sync up so that travelers will be able to earn points or credits when traveling on codeshare services operated by the other.

Riyadh Air “Raising The Bar”

Riyadh Air CEO Tony Douglas stated: “Riyadh Air and Saudia will play a significant part in the growth of travel tourism within the Kingdom and so having the national carriers working side-by-side is the best way to accelerate and manage this growth.”

“We are confident that Riyadh Air will raise the bar in air travel and working in cooperation with Saudia will help us achieve this as we prepare for take-off in 2025.”

Riyadh Air was launched earlier this year by the Kingdom’s crown prince, looking to connect to 100 destinations by 2030 and significantly support the country’s lofty 150 million visitor goal that same year. Headed by the former chief of Abu Dhabi’s Etihad, the carrier says it will create 200,000 jobs by the end of the decade and contribute billions to the local economy.


Riyadh Air Unveils More Subtle Livery Design At Dubai Airshow

7 months ago

Saudi Arabia’s latest national carrier Riyadh Air has shown off its second livery at Dubai Airshow. While its first livery was a striking all-over purple design, the second is more subtle, which, according to the airline “reflects purity and the future-focused vision of Saudi Arabia.”

“This iconic second livery is the latest milestone for Riyadh Air as we shape and disrupt the future of air travel and aviation, with many more things to come,” said CEO Tony Douglas.

In March, Saudi Arabia unveiled plans for the establishment of a second national airline, while concurrently placing a preliminary order for as many as 72 Boeing 787 aircraft, as part of its broader economic diversification efforts, moving away from its traditional reliance on oil production.

Operating from Riyadh as its hub, the airline aims to connect to more than 100 destinations by the end of 2030. It also wants to create more than 200,000 jobs and add $20 billion to the Kingdom’s GDP.