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Tue 21 Aug 2007 11:23 AM

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Virgin scouring GCC for partners

UK airline Virgin Atlantic is looking to increase regional sales by appointing travel agent partners in the Gulf.

Virgin Atlantic has revealed plans to appoint general sales agents (GSAs) around the GCC, following the successful appointment of agencies in Qatar and Bahrain.

The UK-based carrier recently appointed Regency Travel & Tourism as its PSA in Doha, and Dadabhai Travel as its PSA in Bahrain.

"Our current plans are to open GSAs around the GCC," said Andrew Fyfe, regional manager Middle East & Indian Ocean, Virgin Atlantic.

"We are looking at appointing [agencies] in Kuwait, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia within the next 12 months."

Virgin's long-term partner in the UAE, Sharaftravel, has acted as GSA for the carrier since it launched its Dubai to London Heathrow service last year.

"We are absolutely delighted with our partner Sharaftravel who have been extremely attentive towards our requirements and we look forward to a successful future together," Fyfe added.

"It is also an added bonus that they have a branch in Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and Oman as well as their nine outlets around Dubai."

Virgin has enjoyed a steady growth in passenger numbers since it launched the service last March.

The number of weekly flights increased from four to five one month after the launch of the route, and the service has since gone daily, now operating a 308-seat Airbus A340-600, with the revamped Premium Economy cabin on the route.

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