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.

United’s Newark-Cape Town service expected to generate USD11 million in tourism spending in first year

United Airlines’ New York Newark-Cape Town service is estimated to generate ZAR154 million (USD10.9 million) in direct tourism spending in Western Cape Province in the first year of operation, according to Western Cape Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities David Maynier. The airline operates the service three times weekly with Boeing 787 from 15-Dec-2019 to 28-Mar-2020.

RwandAir introduces ‘Flight Pass’ product in cooperation with Optiontown

RwandAir introduced the ‘Flight Pass’ product in partnership with Optiontown, enabling customers to pre-purchase tickets at the best available price and choose their travel date later. Customers can purchase between four and 500 one way airfares to multiple destinations, which will remain valid for up to two years. Customers can also choose their own advance booking limit of between four hours and 180 days prior to departure. ‘Flight Pass’ bookings can be shared across up to 200 individual customer names.

Ethiopian Airlines partners with Abay Bank to add payment option to app

Ethiopian Airlines has entered a partnership with Abay Bank to offer a digital payment option through the airline’s mobile app from 13-Dec-2019. The app now offers six international and 13 local payment options and accounts for 44% of the airline’s domestic online sales.

Air Namibia secures USD41 million loan as government deliberates on further funding

Air Namibia interim CEO Xavier Masule confirmed the airline secured a NAD578 million (USD40.7 million) loan in Dec-2019, following the provision of a government guarantee for the same amount as a bridging facility. Mr Masule said the funds “are being used to pay for qualifying arrears invoices, including aircraft maintenance and other service providers, which will see our operations normalise soon”. Namibia’s Government is expected to make a decision on a full financing plan for the airline in 1Q2020.

Casablanca hits ten million passenger milestone for first time in 2019

Casablanca Mohammed V Airport recorded its 10 millionth passenger of 2019 on 26-Dec-2019, reaching the 10 million passengers p/a milestone for the first time. Casablanca Airport accounts for more than 40% of Morocco’s air traffic and is being developed as a key hub for travel to, from and within North Africa.

Air Tanzania to commence Hangzhou charters in Feb-2020

Air Tanzania is expected to commence Hangzhou charter services with Boeing 787 equipment in Feb-2020, in cooperation with Touchroad International Holding Group and the Tanzania Tourist Board. The charter operations are expected to bring 10,000 tourists p/a to Tanzania. The first two services will operate on 24-Feb-2020 and 03-Mar-2020.

CAPACITY SNAPSHOT: African Domestic Seats (as at 06-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

  • Uganda Airlines and the Uganda Tourism Board entered a partnership to conduct joint destination marketing in Asia, Europe and North America. Uganda’s Government aims to increase tourist arrivals from 1.3 million to at least two million per annum in 2020.
  • Gabon’s Prime Minister Julien Nkoghé Békalé, in a general policy statement, has said the government intends to create a new national airline by the end of 2020. The government will also seek to have Gabonese carriers removed from the list of airlines banned from operating in the EU and secure ICAO certification for Libreville Airport.
  • Proflight Zambia has entered into a partnership with Zanaco Bank to enable customers to make payments through the bank’s online ‘Bill Muster’ platform.
  • Iberia extended its codeshare partnership with Royal Air Maroc covering the latter’s services from Casablanca to Fez, Malaga, Marrakech, Nador, Ouarzazate, Oujda, Tangier, Tetouan and Valencia, from mid-Dec-2019.
  • Egypt’s Ministry of Civil Aviation announced Fly Jordan operated a charter service from Jordan to Cairo Sphinx International Airport, marking the first international operation at the airport.
  • Tanzania’s Government secured a USD272 million funding package loan from African Development Bank (ADB) for the construction of an international airport in Dodoma.
  • Cabo Verde Airlines announced it completed its IOSA certification. The airline’s IOSA registration expires on 06-Dec-2021, according to IATA’s website.

CAPACITY SNAPSHOT: African International Seats (as at 06-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

  • Akwa Ibom’s Government acquired two new aircraft for delivery to Ibom Air in Jan-2020. The aircraft will expand the airline’s fleet to five aircraft as part of a plan to grow to 10 aircraft by 2023.
  • Air Côte d’Ivoire is expected to receive a third A320 in 3Q2020. The airline operates 10 aircraft and has two A319neos and one A320neo confirmed on order, according to the CAPA Fleet Database.
  • Tunisair Express received the second of three ATR 72-600 aircraft in Tunis on 31-Dec-2019. The aircraft will be deployed to destinations including Djerba, Tozeur, Malta, Naples and Palermo.
  • Uganda Airlines confirmed it intends to commence services to destinations in Asia, Europe and the Middle East, including Dubai, Guangzhou, London and Mumbai, following delivery of its two A330-800 aircraft. The first aircraft is expected to be delivered in 2020.
  • EgyptAir is scheduled to receive one A220-300 aircraft (SU-, MSN 55074) on 31-Mar-2020, as recorded by the CAPA Fleet Database.
  • Azman Air received one Boeing 737-500 (5N-HBY, MSN 29075), as recorded by the CAPA Fleet Database. The aircraft was previously in service with airBaltic.

FLEET SNAPSHOT: Largest African Airlines (as at 06-Jan-2020)Source: CAPA – Centre for Aviation and OAG

Route Update

  • Ethiopian Airlines filed schedules for three times weekly Addis Ababa-Chennai service, commencing with Boeing 787-8 on 03-Apr-2020, according to the CAPA Route Changes Database. The airline is seeking fifth freedom rights to operate between Chennai and Colombo.
  • Nouvelair Tunisie plans to commence Enfidha-London Gatwick service on 02-May-2020, according to the CAPA Route Changes Database. The airline is scheduled to initially operate weekly and increase to twice weekly from 26-May-2020. The carrier will also commence Enfidha-Manchester service on 03-May-2020.
  • Daallo Airlines plans to commence weekly Mogadishu-Jeddah service with A320 on 09-Jan-2020. The service will be the only nonstop connection between Somalia and Saudi Arabia, according to OAG.
  • Condor Flugdienst plans to commence weekly Leipzig-Marsa Alam service with A321 equipment, effective 05-May-2020, according to the CAPA Route Changes Database.
  • Etihad Airways will operate three times weekly Abu Dhabi-Rabat-Malaga service from 26-Jun-2020 to 13-Sep-2020. The airline will operate the service with Boeing 787-9 equipment configured with eight first class, 28 business class and 190 economy class seats.