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.
This new weekly round-up will deliver some of the key aviation and travel news stories from across Africa.
- FEATURE: Green Africa Airways plans to take to the air in Nigeria with some big name support
- BRIEF: Airbus A330neo to visit Mauritius for the first time under route proving trials
- BRIEF: flyafrica to undergo recertification following AOC suspension
- BRIEF: Air Tanzania to receive first 787 in Jul-2018; in talks for a second
- BRIEF: Kenya Airways seeking travel agent agreements for Nairobi-New York service as key sales period approaches
- BRIEF: Mixed May-2018 metrics for hotels across the Middle East and Africa
- BRIEF: NAS inaugurates new Pearl Lounge at Cairo International Airport T2
- ROUTE UPDATES: latest route launches and announcements
- DATA SNAPSHOT: Africa Fleet Breakdown (w/c 02-Jul-2018)
Green Africa Airways plans to take to the air in Nigeria with some big name support
A Nigerian start-up carrier that has just completed its Series A round of financing with Kuramo Capital, has established an advisory board of senior industry leaders led by Tom Horton, former CEO & chairman of American Airlines and former chairman of oneworld Alliance, William Shaw, founder & former CEO of VivaColombia, and Virasb Vahidi, former CCO of American Airlines.
The new airline, Green Africa Airways, has received an Air Transport License (ATL) from the Nigerian Government, commenced its Air Operating Certificate (AOC) process and is in conversations with leading aircraft manufacturers. It has already appointed Captain Jag Singh, VP of flight operations and former acting CEO of Caribbean Airlines, as chief operating officer, and Captain Bart Roberts, former VP of flight operations at JetBlue and ex-chief pilot at American Airlines, as chairman of the Safety Review Board.
The well-known names supporting the project will certainly help the carrier in being taken seriously in a marketplace where there have been many airline start-ups and just as many airline failures. The start-up’s financing partner is a Pan African independent investment management group based in New York with additional offices in Lagos and Nairobi. Its founder and CEO, Walé Adeosun describes the airlines as “a legacy opportunity for Kuramo Capital to generate attractive risk-adjusted return for our investors and build a world-class business that will serve as catalyst for economic growth on the African continent”.
Tom Horton describes Nigeria as being “uniquely positioned to be the home of the next major value airline in the industry that will bring air travel to a much broader group of people”. He says he will work with Green Africa Airways’ founder and CEO Babawande Afolabi to “launch and shape Green Africa Airways into a preeminent customer-focused brand”.
Green Africa Airways describes itself as “a value airline” and will be headquartered and operate commercially from Lagos Murtula Muhammed International Airport, initially flying internally within Nigeria with a small fleet of leased short-haul jets.
Airbus A330neo to visit Mauritius for the first time under route proving trials
Airbus has announced it will deploy an A330neo test aircraft to Mauritius for the first time, as part of the final phase of test flights leading to the Type Certification for the updated airliner. The A330-900 aircraft will visit Mauritius as part of its route proving campaign and marks the A330neo’s first visit to an African state. Air Mauritius has already ordered two A330-900, on lease from Air Lease Corporation. The carrier is due to take delivery of its first A330neo later in 2018, which will make the carrier the first airline to operate both the A330neo and the A350 XWB. Air Mauritius operates a fleet of 12 Airbus aircraft, comprising two A350s, six A340s, two A330s and two A319s.
flyafrica to undergo recertification following AOC suspension
flyafrica chairman Cassidy Mugwagwa said the airline decided to undergo recertification after the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) suspended its air operator’s certificate (AOC) earlier in Jun-2018. Speaking to the local press Mr Mugwagwa said: “flyafrica has, after consultations and guidance from CAAZ, taken the decision to go through a recertification exercise, in order to move the airlines operating aircraft leases from an ACMI arrangement to a permanent dry lease arrangement. The recertification should conclude soon and see us unreservedly returning to the skies”.
Air Tanzania to receive first 787 in Jul-2018; in talks for a second
Air Tanzania is expected to receive its first Boeing 787 on 06-Jul-2018, after the aircraft completes its first test flight in Seattle, according to local media reports. The airline plans to use the aircraft to commence intercontinental operations with Mumbai service in Sep-2018. Air Tanzania MD Ladislaus Matindi reportedly said the carrier is in talks with Boeing and Tanzania’s Government to secure delivery of a second 787 “in the near future”. He said the aircraft will also be used to commence China and Europe services. Mr Matindi has also detailed the airline’s plans to use its new Bombardier CS300 fleet to expand operations in Africa. He said: “We are looking at South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe and in the future expanding to West Africa with Ghana and Nigeria”. Tanzania’s tourism earnings reportedly increased +13.9% year-on-year to TZS5250 billion (USD2.3 billion) in the year ended Apr-2018, according to the Bank of Tanzania. The growth was attributed to an increase in tourist numbers.
Kenya Airways seeking travel agent agreements for Nairobi-New York service as key sales period approaches
Kenya Airways Group CEO Sebastian Mikosz said the airline is seeking agreements with US travel agents for Nairobi-New York JFK service, scheduled to commence on 28-Oct-2018. The main booking period for the service is expected to commence in Aug-2018. Mr Mikosz said: “The biggest selling window is ahead of us. So we have no reason to be pessimistic, but it is still a challenge”. He added: “It is still a very difficult market. Competition is enormous”. You can hear his views on the New York service and developments at the airline in this following CAPA TV interview from this year’s CAPA Airline Leader Summit.
Mixed May-2018 metrics for hotels across the Middle East and Africa
Hotels in the Middle East reported negative May-2018 performance results, while hotels in Africa posted growth across the three key performance metrics, according to data from benchmarking specialist STR. Based on USD constant currency rates occupancy in the Middle East declined-10.7% in May-2018 (versus May-2017) to 57.0%. While average daily room rate (ADR) rose +1.7% to USD151.62 for the month, revenue per available room (RevPAR) declined a significant -9.1% to USD86.45. In Africa, occupancy levels slipped -1.7% to 54.5% in May-2018 (versus May-2017), but ADR rose +4.6% to USD109.67 and RevPAR increased +2.8% to USD59.73.
NAS inaugurates new Pearl Lounge at Cairo International Airport T2
National Aviation Services (NAS) inaugurated (26-Jun-2018) its new Pearl Lounge at Cairo International Airport terminal 2. NAS subsidiary National Logistics Services (NLS) and Cairo Airport Authority entered a five year agreement for NLS to build and operate the lounge. The new facility covers 540sqm, offering free WiFi, charging points, F&B services and a kids entertainment area. NAS operates in 17 countries across the Middle East, Asia and Africa, managing 31 airport lounges.
- EgyptAir plans to replace Boeing 737-800 with A330-200 equipment on its four times weekly Cairo-Mumbai service, between 01-Oct-2018 to 28-Oct-2018 The airline also deployed A330 equipment on the service from Jan-2018 to May-2018.
- Air Peace has reached an agreement with the Benue State Government to commence Abuja-Makurdi and Lagos-Makurdi services “in a few weeks time”. The services will be operated under the Air Peace Hopper brand with Embraer ERJ-145 equipment.
- ASL Airlines France plans to commence weekly Toulon-Oran service from 02-Jul-2018, as confirmed by the CAPA Route Changes Database. The carrier also plans to commence weekly Toulon-Algiers service from 06-Jul-2018.
- SA Airlink has announced plans to increase Johannesburg-Hoedspruit frequency from daily to twice daily, “in response to market requests, for additional capacity and convenience”, effective 01-Aug-2018;
- Norwegian Air International plans to launch weekly Helsinki-Agadir service with Boeing 737 MAX 8 equipment, effective 03-Nov-2018;
- Proflight Zambia plans to increase Lusaka-Lufupa frequency from twice to four times weekly for the peak safari season, effective 15-Jul-2018 to 18-Aug-2018. The airline operates the service with Cessna Caravan aircraft. The expanded operation is intended to increase tourist arrivals to Kafue National Park.