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Emirates, Google Join Hands to Launch “Celebrating Arabic Reading”

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Emirates Airline and Google are ‘Celebrating Arabic Reading’ all through October in a collaboration to reach millions of smartphone users in the region, and support the UAE’s Year of Reading, a national initiative spearheaded by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

The aim of the UAE’s Year of Reading is to nurture an entire generation of lifelong readers, and ensure the groundwork is in place to support the country’s knowledge economy goals.

The mission of the ‘Celebrating Arabic Reading’ initiative is to make Arabic books more accessible for first-time online book readers and book lovers alike with unprecedented discounts of up to 90% off on online books at the Google Play Books store, the world’s largest ebookstore that hosts more than 5 million titles and offers readers smart technology.

Discounts are valid across nine countries in the Google Play Store (both in IOS and Android) for: the UAE, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt. This is the first such online book initiative, and the first discount of this scale in the region at the Google Play Store.

For a four-week period, Google will run its highest ever discount on the Play Books store on more than 4,000 popular fictions, non-fiction and children’s titles in an effort to reach millions of smartphone users in the Middle East and GCC.

Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman and chief executive, Emirates Airline and Group commented on Emirates’ partnership with Google: “Books can stimulate, inform, touch minds and hearts, and open up a world of possibilities for readers. As founding sponsors of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, we are staunch supporters of the written word.

“Our ‘Celebrating Arabic Reading’ initiative with Google aims to encourage more people to read, and try out Arabic e-books. Smartphones and tablets are increasingly a part of our daily lives, so it makes perfect sense to promote reading on these new platforms as well. People are hungry for content, especially Arabic digital content, and there isn’t a smarter investment for the future of this region than providing access to e-books to broaden the horizons of millions.”

Ronan Harris, vice president for Large Customer Sales for Google Europe Middle East and Africa said: “Technology has always played a pivotal role in providing people with equal access to information, and empowering them with knowledge. That’s something we’re very passionate about at Google and it’s in line with our core mission here in MENA to help promote and preserve local Arabic content on the web whether it was on YouTube, Search, Maps or Play. Through our collaboration with Emirates, we hope we can make Arabic literature more accessible and enjoyable than ever. There is so much opportunity to build the digital ecosystem here and we’re happy to have partners like Emirates make it happen.”

To showcase the best of Arabic content, Emirates also commissioned the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature and the Emirates Literature Foundation to help identify and curate a collection of over 50 Arabic books in the Google Play Books store that will be discounted at 90% off.

This curated book collection encompasses a wide variety of bestselling fiction and nonfiction titles such as Rua Falsafia Fel Hekam Wal Forousia and Tell You About My Tribe, as well as a robust list of children’s e-books like Creatures on the Ceiling, Altghrayib  Al-Bilaliyah and I Love.

Emirates actively supports and sponsors a number of educational and cultural initiatives in the UAE, including the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, which last year attracted over 40,000 participants, 170 writers, thinkers and speakers from 35 countries.

The airline also supports literature through its extensive audio-book section on ice, as well as engaging author interviews on Emirates World, a popular channel on ice. In addition, Emirates SkyCargo recently carried almost 8 tonnes of books to different parts of the world to support reading.

Internet connectivity and mobile technology has helped cut the information divide in the Arab world.

More people than ever own or have access to a digital device, whether it is a tablet, mobile phone or laptop.

According to the Mobile Economy Arab States 2015 Report, over 200 million people across the region are subscribed to a mobile device, presenting a unique opportunity to deliver e-book and educational content.

The UAE 2021 Vision and National Agenda includes a direct emphasis on Arabic language literacy. Data from 2014 shows that just under 60% of students are currently at this level in the UAE. By 2021, the UAE is targeting that 90% of students have proficient Arabic literacy skills.

According to UNESCO research, 67% of adults living in Arab States have basic literacy skills, compared to a global average of 82%, underscoring the need for developing local, relevant Arabic content on the web which is central to information knowledge sharing.

* The mission of the ‘Celebrating Arabic Reading’ initiative is to make Arabic books more accessible for first-time online book readers and book lovers alike with unprecedented discounts of up to 90% off on online books at the Google Play Books store.

 

 

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Aero Contractors gets NCAA Approval for C-check Maintenance

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Nigeria’s oldest airline, Aero Contractors, has received certification from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to handle C-checks on Boeing B737-300, B737-400 and B737-500.

Capt. Ado Sanusi, Managing Director of Aero Contractors, made this known while briefing newsmen on yesterday in Lagos.

Sanusi said the NCAA approval that takes effect from Sept. 2 was given to the Aero Contractors’ Aircraft Maintenance Organisation (AMO) at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos.

”This represents for us a significant achievement and is a major instrument for our turn-around efforts. This feat has benefits far beyond Aero Contractors.

”The fact that C-check on the B737 Classic can now be performed in Nigeria by Aero Contractors will reflect directly in significant drop in maintenance cost for airlines in Nigeria and the sub-region as well as reduction in downtime for such checks.”

Explaining further, he said that a normal C-check cost between $1.8 million to $2 million outside the country, adding that performing it in Nigeria would reduce the demand for foreign exchange as airlines could now pay in Naira.

“So, it is a very positive development for Nigerian airlines and the Nigerian aviation industry because it will improve the ease of doing business,” Sanusi added.

He disclosed that the airline spent N60 million to renovate and expand the MRO facility which had been in existence for over 50 years in order to meet the required local and international standards.

According to him, the airline has also signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with international partners, including the maintenance unit of Ethiopian Airlines and South African Technik, to render assistance on the C-checks. Sanusi said that domestic airlines alone operate about 22 B737 Classics, stressing that the facility would have a viable market.

“We want to appeal to the Federal Government to give us the Free Trade Zone status. “We want to have free access to import tools and aircraft spares without hindrances from Customs when our demand increases,” he said.

The Aero boss commended the NCAA for its professionalism and encouragement during the certification process.

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Construction: FAAN Advises Passengers on How to Meet Up with Flights

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The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has notified passengers and other airport users that the Lagos State Government has commenced the reconstruction of the Murtala Muhammed Airport Road, Lagos

The project which would last for 15 months is aimed at expanding the road for better service to users.

Appealing for understanding from all while the project last, Yakubu Henrietta, general manager, Corporate Affairs at FAAN, urged passengers and other airport users plying the road to always leave their homes earlier than usual, so as to be able to get to the airport in good time and also avoid missing their flights.

Specifically, the design of the project includes the reconstruction and expansion of the existing carriage to three-lane Expressway on both directions, construction of two-lane Service Road in both directions, construction of Ramp Bridge to provide a U-turn from Ajao Estate to Airport, construction of a flyover at NAHCO/Toll Gate and drainage works.

Others include the removal of existing Pedestrian Bridge at Ajao Estate and construction of Pedestrian Bridges at Ajao Estate and NAHCO/Hajj Camp, construction of Slip Road to provide access to Ajao Estate, construction of Lay-bys and installation of Street Lights, among others.

“Meanwhile, security agencies and other traffic officers have been mobilized to ensure that road users and passengers have relatively hitch free passage while the road is under construction.

“The Authority, in conjunction with the Lagos State Government, has put in place necessary measures to mitigate the effect of the construction on the road users while the project last”, she said.

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US May Bar Nigerian Airlines over Safety Concerns

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United States federal aviation administration has given Nigerian airlines a 65-day ultimatum to resolve specified security issues or risk being barred from flying to its country.

A team of US FAA officials who recently carried out an audit for the renewal of Nigeria’s category one safety status gave the ultimatum on August 24.

The US FAA periodically check foreign airports with which it has bilateral agreements to ensure they meet set standards.

The checks include having effective and efficient aviation regulations, operational state civil aviation systems and safety oversight functions and technical personnel qualification and training.

Others include the provision of technical guidance, tools, provision of safety-critical information, licensing, certification, authorisation and approval obligations.

John Ojikutu, member of aviation industry think tank, Aviation Round Table (ART) and CEO of Centurion Securities, told BusinessDay that he doubts if Nigeria can attain the category one safety status without having its major airports certified.

Ojikutu said airport certification is compliant to the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations (NCAR) Part 12.6.4, which carries obligations on the operator to continuously maintain standards and competence in operation and ensuring availability of skilled manpower in sufficient numbers, for the periodic maintenance of the facilities and the system.

“Many stakeholders would probably be asking; what is the necessity for the certification when the industry was already classified category one?” he said.

“What many do not know, however, is that the classification of Nigeria as Category one, was meant only for the NCAA Regulations and oversight competence, the way university academic programs are rated or accredited by the Nigeria Universities Commission (NUC).

“Unfortunately, the NCAA is like a university that has been long accredited but has not been able to graduate a student. The NCAA, in spite of its category one status classification in 2010 and even today in 2017 after its reclassification, has not been able to give certification to a single airport among the over 28 federal and state airports in the country.”

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