Advancing Africa – an update on latest travel developments across the Continent

Is the African market finally ready to fulfil its full potential? Will a new more open approach to air connectivity finally open the door to better intra-African connectivity? These are massive questions for a market that the International Air Transport Association (IATA) predicts will see the strongest growth over the next 20 years and will be home to some of the fastest growing individual country markets in terms of passenger demand.

Our regular round-up delivers some of the latest key aviation and travel news stories from across the Continent.

Tunisair needs to lay off 61% of staff to restore financial balance: CEO

Tunisair CEO Elyes Mnakbi has stated the company needs to lay off 61% off its staff to restore its financial balance.Mr Mnakbi added that given the current financial situation of the company, it is impossible for Tunisair to support a payroll of over 3000 employees. The company has confirmed its intent to lay off 400 full time employees in 2020 as part of a structural reform programme.

Air Namibia working to finalise strategic business plan

Air Namibia interim CEO Xavier Masule said finalisation of the airline’s strategic business plan will be the key focus for Jan/Feb-2020. Mr Masule said the plan will include “business model and organisational structural changes, with strategic initiatives aimed at revenue enhancement, strategic cost containment, efficiency improvements, customer service excellence and human capital development and productivity improvement”. The executive described 2019 as a “challenging” year and said 2020 “will be another year with its own set of challenges”. Mr Masule commented: “Market conditions are expected to continue being tough while the airline is expected to stand on its own feet and become self reliant”.

‘New’ Zambia Airways may launch in 2020

Zambia’s Minister of Transport and Communication Mutotwe Kafwaya said Zambia Airways may commence operations in 2020, subject to the completion of approvals and licensing by the Zambia Civil Aviation Authority and Zambian Government. Mr Kafwaya commented: “The time frame is a difficult call… It is up to the government”.

American and United will be closely watching new routes into Africa

In a report entitled: ‘American Airlines and United: high hopes for Africa in 2020′, CAPA – Centre for Aviation said two of the most closely watched routes from the US in 2020 will be United Airlines’ planned New York Newark-Cape Town service and American Airlines’ Philadelphia-Casablanca service. While United’s planned service has been supported by local tourism and private sector partners in South Africa, American Airlines will codeshare with Royal Air Maroc, giving American the opportunity to evaluate other destinations within Africa such as Ghana. United and American are both approaching service to Africa in different ways and both expect returns on investments, however, the carriers may need to consider service elsewhere if those investments do not satisfactorily materialise.

CAPACITY SNAPSHOT: African Domestic Seats (as at 13-Jan-2020)Source: CAPA – Centre for Aviation and OAG (NOTE: *These values are at least partly predictive up to 6 months ahead and may be subject to change)

News Briefs

  • Africa World Airlines (AWA) has announced an interline partnership with Air Burkina. The agreement enables Air Burkina passengers to connect with AWA services within Ghana and to Abidjan, Abuja and Lagos.
  • Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) reported a +6% year-on-year increase in tourism to Seychelles in 2019, higher than its target of +4%. STB board CEO Sherin Francis stated the increase is due to a marketing strategy focusing on collaboration with partners as well as increasing online visibility.
  • Cape Verde’s Minister of Tourism, Transport and the Maritime Economy José Gonçalves has stated the government is finalising plans to acquire a stake in local regional carrier Binter CV.

CAPACITY SNAPSHOT: African International Seats (as at 13-Jan-2020)Source: CAPA – Centre for Aviation and OAG (NOTE: *These values are at least partly predictive up to 6 months ahead and may be subject to change)

Aircraft News

  • EgyptAir is scheduled to receive one A320-200neo aircraft (SU-GFJ, MSN 9473) in Feb-2020, as recorded by the CAPA Fleet Database. The aircraft is owned and managed by AerCap.
  • Air France plans to replace A330-200 with A340-300 equipment on Paris CDG-Accra-Ouagadougou-Paris CDG (four times weekly, effective 29-Mar-2020), Paris CDG-Ouagadougou-Accra-Paris CDG (three times weekly, effective 30-Mar-2020) and Paris CDG-Bangui-Yaounde-Paris CDG (twice weekly from 16-Jun-2020 to 28-Aug-2020) routes, according to Routes Online.
  • Air Namibia is expected to return two grounded Embraer ERJ135 aircraft to service in 1Q2020.
  • South African Airways has announced a tender for the sale of nine A340-300 and A340-600 aircraft, 15 spare engines and four APUs. The airline operates seven A340-300s and seven A340-600s, according to the CAPA Fleet Database.

MARKET SNAPSHOT: Africa capacity by business model (as at 13-Jan-2020)Source: CAPA – Centre for Aviation and OAG

Route Update

  • EgyptAir plans to launch four times weekly Cairo-Dublin service, effective 05-Jun-2020. This marks Ireland’s first scheduled air service to Egypt.
  • Ethiopian Airlines is seeking authorisation to commence Chongqing, Shenzhen and Zhengzhou services according to the airline’s communications department. The airline is currently working with China’s Government to expedite the approval process and the carrier will commence services “right away” once authorisation is received.
  • Uganda Airlines has increased Entebbe-Bujumbura frequency from three to four times weekly. The airline commenced the route in Sep-2019.
  • Air Peace plans to commence daily Akure-Abuja service on 17-Jan-2020. The airline also operates daily Akure-Lagos service, according to OAG.
  • Vueling has opened reservations for Seville-Marrakesh nonstop service, scheduled to operate twice weekly from 06-Jul-2020. Ryanair also operates year round on the route.
  • Transavia France opened reservations for Nantes-Dakar service, scheduled to operate weekly from 15-Apr-2020 to 21-Oct-2020. The route is currently unserved, according to OAG.
  • TAAG plans to increase Luanda-Lagos frequency from twice to three times weekly, effective 01-Apr-2020, according to the CAPA Route Changes Database. The airline commenced the service in Dec-2019.
  • Royal Air Maroc plans to launch twice weekly Laayoune-Rabat service, effective 11-Mar-2020, as recorded by the CAPA Route Changes Database. It also plans to increase Laayoune-Marrakech frequency from twice to three times weekly. Both routes will be served using Boeing 737-800 equipment.
  • TAP Air Portugal plans to increase Lisbon-Dakar Blaise frequency from seven to nine times weekly with a mix of A320/A321 aircraft effective 07-Feb-2020.