TASMANIA--The Island State of Australia

The Island State of Australia is a famous tourist destination for visitors from all over the World. It was first discovered by a Dutch explorer "Abel Tasman" and originally named as Van Diemen Land.

Tasmania is also called "Tassie" for short, by many Australians. The other names are "Apple Island", "Treasure Island". Because of its delicious apples and historical and natural heritage.

Location and Connection: Tasmania is 240 km south of the Australian mainland. It is located between 40 and 43.3 meridians of the southern hemisphare surrounded by the Southern Ocean (to the south and west),Tasman Sea (to the east) and Bass Strait (to the north). Bass Strait is approximately 30-90 metre deep.

It takes 55 minutes fly from Melbourne (most southern city) to Launceston (second largest city after Hobart) and 90 minutes to Hobart (capital of the State). So the shortest and the cheapest flight connection (usually) from the mainland to Tassie is Melbourne - Launceston.

Size and Landscape:Tasmania is comparible in size with the Republic of Ireland, West Virginia (USA) and Hokkaido (Japan).

Despite being a small island, Tasmania boosts eight mountains that are greater than 1,500 m in heights and 28 mountains that are more than 1,220 m. high. Tasmania has more variation in landscape over short distances than any other part of Australia and New Zealand due to topographical variations such as mountains, hills and valleys.

Tassie is a gifted island with many rivers, lakes,wildlife and World Heritage listed National Parks. www.parks.tas.gov.au/natparks/index.html

It has its own unique flora and wildlife different than the Australian mainland and the bright blue sky (well, when not cloudy of course) that you might not have seen before as well as the cleanest air in the World. Hobart has the longest daylight in Australia.

Despite its size, Tasmania has different landscapes in the different regions-Eastern and Western regions are quite different, Midland plateau, Huon Region (south),Tasman Peninsula, North are all different which also affect the climate.

Food:Tassie is also well known for its fine food,locally,grown produce, cherries, orchards, crops, deliciously baked breads, salmon, trout, oysters, mussels, cheese and award winning cool climate wine.

First agricultural fair, in Australian history, was held in Ross, a midland village which is famous for its carved stone bridge, Wool Centre,colonial buildings and historical Ross Bakery.

Delta joins transpacific fare war.

"Delta Air Lines has joined the airfare war that has been building on trans-Pacific routes, offering return fares on its Sydney-Los Angeles service from A$777, excluding taxes.

Delta intends to launch service on the route in July, and will face stiff competition from Qantas, United and V Australia.

Passengers on Delta will be offered the option of flying beyond Los Angles for an additional A$200, to destinations including Atlanta, Boise, Cincinnati, Detroit, Indianapolis, Memphis, New Orleans, New York, Orlando, Salt Lake City and Seattle.

Until 9 April, Direct Flights is offering fares, with the new Delta service, from A$1105 return, inclusive of taxes, from Sydney to Los Angeles, Atlanta, New York, Detroit, New Orleans, Seattle, Cincinnati, Salt Lake City, Memphis, Orlando, Indianapolis and Boise.

The special launch fare for Business Class travel starts from $7785 per person.

These Direct Flights US special fares are valid on departures from 3 July 3 to 31 October 2009, making it possible for Australians to enjoy the American summer at low season prices.

V Australia recently defended its decision to provide service on the hotly-contested trans-Pacific route as a way of challenging the domination by Qantas and United for many years."

(Delta Airlines)

Royal Air Maroc will order six new planes this month

"Morocco's flag carrier Royal Air Maroc (RAM) will order six new planes this month despite the bleak outlook for business travel during the global economic downturn, its chief executive said on Thursday.

Royal Air Maroc, one of the most profitable airlines in North Africa, has plans to beef up its Boeing-dominated fleet to 50 jets, RAM chief executive Driss Benhima said.

It is benefiting from the government's policy to increase tourism to 10 million visitors by 2010 from 8 million in 2008. The government is also encouraging the expansion of air transport, including low-cost flights.

Morocco signed an Open Skies agreement with the European Union in 2006 allowing new airline competitors, including low-budget carriers such as Ryanair and easyJet.

"We will put an order for six planes. We will sign the order deal by the end of this month," Benhima told a business conference in the North African country's commercial capital Casablanca.

He gave no more details on the order, but said RAM is looking beyond this year's economic crisis to develop its business and survive the competition from European airlines."


Cathay Pacific boosts services to Paris, Shanghai and Jakarta

Cathay Pacific announced that it will increase the number of flights it offers to three key destinations – Paris, Shanghai and Jakarta – in response to sustained customer demand. The service enhancements will be introduced in the airline’s summer schedule, which comes into effect on 29 March 2009.

An additional four flights a week will be added to and from Paris – departing Hong Kong every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday – meaning the airline will provide a double-daily service to the French capital.

In another change effective from the summer schedule, Cathay Pacific will add two more flights each day to Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport, with early- and late-afternoon departures from Hong Kong, taking the airline’s total to three flights daily.

For Jakarta, the existing twice-daily service from Hong Kong will be supplemented by three more flights a week, departing Tuesday, Friday and Sunday and departing from the Indonesian capital late the same day.

Cathay Pacific Director Corporate Development Ian Shiu said: “We are pleased to be able to strengthen our services to these three cities and I’m sure passengers will appreciate the additional choice and increased convenience when planning their journeys. Overall, Cathay Pacific’s capacity will grow at less than 1% this year – a significant reduction on our original plan as a result of the current financial crisis – but we will take whatever opportunities we can to strengthen those routes where demand and revenue potential remain high.”

" Singapore Airlines is increasing flights to the Gulf Arab region to tap growing demand despite the global downturn, its regional head said on Monday.

Earlier this month, the Straits Times newspaper quoted an airline circular issued to travel agents as saying Singapore Airlines would reduce the numbers of flights to China, India, Australia, London and Zurich in response to falling passenger numbers.

Meow-Seng Lim, the airline's Gulf general manager, said the flag carrier expected to boost its passenger load factor due to a surge in tourism to and from the Gulf because of lower fuel costs.

The airline is launching flights to Kuwait in March and is increasing its weekly flights to Abu Dhabi to seven from three, he said. The airline operates 21 flights to Dubai per week.

"With the expansion, we will be operating 38 flights a week to the Gulf, of which 28 are to the United Arab Emirates alone. We are seeing growth in demand due to the growing trade links between the Gulf countries and the Far East," Lim told reporters."


Shrish Pandey


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