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.

SPECIAL NOTE: Coronavirus

The COVID-19 outbreak has significantly impacted air service to, from and within Africa. Initially, this was on services into China and parts of Asia, more recently into  Europe, and latterly within the continent as an increasing number of cases have been recorded. But while the spread has been notable, it has not had the devastating impact that many had predicted.

This has seen restrictions on arrivals, and cancellations of numerous flights across the region. This is a fluid situation that is changing by the day. To keep up to date on the devastating effect of the virus on the aviation and supporting industries, read this new essential update from CAPA – Centre for Aviation, which curates intelligence from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and myriad industry sources. Its mission is to help cut through the noise and provide a useful daily snapshot of the COVID-19 outbreak evolution, together with key industry developments.

Tanzania’s aviation regulator approves new security charges at Zanzibar and Pemba airports

Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA) approved a new security charge at Zanzibar Abeid Amani Karume International Airport and Pemba Airport effective 01-Sep-2020. The USD5 charge for international passengers and USD2 for domestic passengers will be incorporated into fares. Zanzibar Airports Authority said the charge will develop a sustainable regular revenue stream to finance the development and maintenance of security operations as per international standards.

Nigeria government considering plans to provide USD70m to support aviation sector

Nigeria’s government is reportedly reviewing a proposal to provide NGN27 billion (USD69.6 million) in support to the aviation sector, with the aim of offsetting the impact of coronavirus on airlines, airports, caterers and other aviation operators. The government is also considering plans to remove value added tax from airline tickets.

African aviation industry urges African Governments to implement ICAO global guidelines

IATA, Airports Council International – Africa (ACI Africa) and ICAO Regional Offices for African States urged governments in Africa to rapidly implement ICAO’s global guidelines for restoring air connectivity to ensure the safe and harmonised restart of aviation in the region. Africa’s demand in 2020 is forecast to decrease 58.5% year-on-year, with airlines in the region expected to post a net loss of USD2 billion. Job losses in aviation and related industries in the region could reach 3.1 million and GDP supported by aviation could fall by USD28 billion. ICAO, IATA and ACI Africa also pledged their commitment to providing support to industry stakeholders in the region to help ensure implementation and compliance with the recommended ICAO guidance.

South Africa receives unsolicited proposals for country’s new national airline

South Africa “has received unsolicited proposals from private sector funders, private equity investors and potential airline partners for a new national airline that must emerge from the [South African Airways] SAA business rescue process,” reports the country’s Department of Public Enterprises (DPE). It says the government “is committed to support the formation of such a new airline with no legacy financial and operational issues which will be managed by competent, competitive and skilled personnel who have strategic and technical capabilities which are critical to the success of the new carrier”.

Airline bosses hit out at plans to provide aid to Mango as part of South African Airways rescue

The bosses of two South African airlines have hit out at the possibility of the business rescue plan for South African Airways (SAA) including ZAR1 billion (USD57.7 million) to recapitalise its LCC subsidiary Mango. FlySafair CEO Elmar Conradie said if Mango needs ZAR1 billion then “surely they should go into business rescue themselves”, adding “surely subsidiaries should be recapitalised as a separate process and not hidden in the SAA rescue plan”. CemAir CEO Miles van der Molen described the business rescue plan to recapitalise SAA subsidiary Mango, as a “sneaky way of trying to bail out Mango without it going into a business rescue process or changing anything”. Mr van der Molen claimed the plan attempts to “sneakily remove Mango’s debt from the equation and roll it up in… [SAA’s] business rescue process, which legally can’t be correct”.

CAPACITY SNAPSHOT: African Domestic Seats (as at 22-Jun-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

  • Morocco plans to ease Covid-19 restrictions from 24-Jun-2020, allowing for the resumption of domestic air and rail travel and up to 50% capacity at businesses in provinces excluding Tangier, Larache, Marrakech and Kenitra. Royal Air Maroc says it plans to incrementally resume domestic service, effective 25-Jun-2020.
  • The founder of South Africa budget carrier, Gidon Novick, has proposed the launch of a new domestic airline in South Africa. Mr Novick stated: “There is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to start with a fresh, efficient and unencumbered business model”.
  • TAAG was due to take delivery of the first of six De Havilland Canada Dash 8-400 aircraft on 23-Jun-2020. The airline had initially expected to take delivery of the aircraft in late Mar-2020, followed by a second Dash 8-400 in late Apr-2020.
  • The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) moved its corporate headquarters to Abuja following a directive from Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Aviation. It explains the move will ensure operational efficiency and improve the quality of services.

  • CAPACITY SNAPSHOT: African International Seats (as at 22-Jun-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)

Route Updates

  • Trans Air Congo plans to resume scheduled domestic services on 23-Jun-2020 with the resumption of Pointe Noire-Brazzaville service. The airline suspended scheduled services from 21-Mar-2020 due to the outbreak of coronavirus.
  • Air Arabia Maroc plans to resume domestic services in Morocco from 25-Jun-2020, including Fez-Marrakech; Agadir-Tangier; Agadir-Fez; Marrakech-Dakhla; Nador-Tangier; Agadir-Rabat; Tangier-Marrakech; which will be flown two, three or four times weekly.
  • TAAG filed plans to resume a number of international services in Jul-2020. These include flights from Luanda to Cape Town, Johannesburg, Lisbon, Maputo, Sao Paulo and Windhoek from 01-Jul-2020; Lagos from 02-Jul-2020; Sao Tome from 03-Jul-2020; and Kinshasa from 06-Jul-2020.
  • ASL Airlines France announced plans to resume operations from mainland France to Djerba and Tunis from 01-Jul-2020. According to the CAPA Route Changes Database, the carrier will resume three times weekly Paris CDG-Djerba and Paris CDG-Tunis services from Jul-2020.
  • Air Mauritius plans to resume three times weekly Mauritius-Rodrigues service on 01-Jul-2020, following a temporary suspension due to coronavirus. This will be the airline’s sole scheduled service between 01-Jul-2020 and 31-Aug-2020.
  • PassionAir planned to increase Accra-Kumasi and Accra-Tamale frequency to twice daily, effective 24-Jun-2020.
  • Eurowings plans to commence weekly Hamburg-Marrakesh service with A319 equipment, effective 31-Oct-2020, according to the CAPA Route Changes Database. According to OAG, the route was last operated on a scheduled basis by Ryanair in Dec-2019.
  • Air Côte d’Ivoire plans to resume domestic services on 26-Jun-2020 with a three times weekly Abidjan-Korhogo and Abidjan-San Pedro (increasing to four times weekly in Jul-2020); and twice weekly Abidjan-Man, Abidjan-Bouake and Abidjan-Odienne.
  • Cabo Verde Airlines plans the resumption of operations with twice weekly service to Paris on 01-Jul-2020, subject to government regulation. This will be followed by a four times weekly service to Lisbon and twice weekly service to Boston from Cape Verde between Jul-2020 and Aug-2020.