Advantage Africa – a weekly 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.

This new weekly round-up will deliver some of the key aviation and travel news stories from across Africa.


  • Nigerian Government to announce details of new national carrier in Jul-2018
  • Ethiopian Airlines returns to Eritrea after 20 year absence
  • Mango CEO: Domestic travellers ‘increasingly price sensitive’, demand for FSCs shrinking
  • Local governments set to subsidise Air Arabia Maroc Fez-Agadir and Fez-Tangier services
  • Air Tanzania receives first 787
  • Tunisair targeting growth in 2018
  • Kenya Airways aims to double cargo revenue contribution in five years
  • Ethiopian Airlines seeks authorisation to codeshare with Air Cote d’Ivoire on US services
  • ROUTE UPDATES: latest route launches and announcements
  • DATA SNAPSHOT: Africa Fleet Breakdown (w/c 02-Jul-2018)

Nigerian Government to announce details of new national carrier in Jul-2018
Nigeria’s Minister of State for Aviation Hadi Sirika, via his official Twitter account, stated the Nigerian Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission issued an “outline business case certificate of compliance” for the new national carrier project. Mr Sirika stated: “The December kick off date of the project is slowly becoming reality”. He added “the name, logo, colour scheme, the structure and the type of airplane”, including an aircraft order, will be announced at the Farnborough International Airshow on 18-Jul-2018. The first of five aircraft for the new airline is expected arrive on 19-Dec-2018. Mr Sirika said: “We intend to get a 30 aircraft market in five years. But we will begin with five aircraft on the day of launch”. He said the carrier will operate domestic, regional and international services. The airline will be established through a public-private partnership and the project is expected to require USD8.8 million in preliminary costs and USD300 million to launch operations.


Ethiopian Airlines returns to Eritrea after 20 year absence
Ethiopian Airlines operated (08-Jul-2018) a VVIP service to Asmara for Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, marking the carrier’s first operation to Eritrea in 20 years. The airline stated: “We are looking forward not only to connect Eritrea with Ethiopia but also to connect Eritrea with more than 114 international destinations”.


Mango CEO: Domestic travellers ‘increasingly price sensitive’, demand for FSCs shrinking
Mango acting CEO Nic Vlok, via Amadeus’ official blog, stated domestic travellers in South Africa “have become increasingly price sensitive” and are “accustomed to paying for most ancillaries”. Mr Vlok commented: “Obviously, there is still a role for so called legacy full service carriers but the demand is shrinking. The existence of high density routes with mostly point to point demand such as Johannesburg-Cape Town and Johannesburg-Durban complements the equation for a successful operation”.


Local governments set to subsidise Air Arabia Maroc Fez-Agadir and Fez-Tangier services
Fez-Meknes Region Council reportedly agreed to provide subsidies to Air Arabia Maroc for the launch of services from Fez to Agadir and Tangier, according to local reports. The council will reportedly provide MAD5.8 million (USD613,000) for Fez-Agadir service and MAD4.92 million (USD520,000) for Fez-Tangier service. The Agadir Council will also contribute MAD2.9 million (USD306,000) and the Tangier Council will contribute MAD2.46 million (USD260,000). The subsidies form part of plans to improve connections between Fez Saiss Airport and other regions of Morocco.


Air Tanzania receives first 787
Air Tanzania and Boeing have confirmed the delivery of the airline’s first 787-8 aircraft. The aircraft is the carrier’s first widebody. The aircraft is configured with 262 seats in three classes and will be used to commence Mumbai service in Sep-2018. The airline may also commence Bangkok and Guangzhou services.


Tunisair targeting growth in 2018
Tunisair has outlined its reform plan for the period 2018 to 2020. The airline aims to achieve 8.3% year-on-year growth in business activity in 2018. Passenger numbers increased 10.5% in 1H2018, following 17.1% growth in 2017. The airline’s share of passengers at Tunisian airports increased from 39.8% in 2016 to 41.7% in 2017. Tunisia’s Prime Ministers Office reported visitor arrivals reached about 3.2 million in 1H2018, up 26% year-on-year. Full year 2018 arrivals are projected to reach eight million.


Kenya Airways aims to double cargo revenue contribution in five years
Kenya Airways COO Jan De Vegt said the airline aims to increase the contribution of cargo to total revenue from 10% to 20% in five years. The carrier may also add two freighter aircraft. The airline aims to attract business from e-commerce companies, upgrade warehouse facilities and develop hub operations to handle imports and temporarily store transshipments. Mr De Vegt said he is also initiating a programme to reduce aircraft weight, enabling greater cargo capacity.


Ethiopian Airlines seeks authorisation to codeshare with Air Cote d’Ivoire on US services
Ethiopian Airlines applied (03-Jul-2018) for a blanket statement of authorisation from the US Department of Transportation to codeshare with Air Cote d’Ivoire on services operated between Ethiopia and the USA, for an indefinite period. The carriers intend to implement the codeshare on service to New York Newark, as soon as government approval is obtained.


Route Updates

  • Air Tanzania plans to commence four times weekly Dar Es Salaam-Entebbe service on 26-Aug-2018 and three times weekly Dar Es Salaam-Bujumbura service on 30-Aug-2018. The airline also stated it will serve Mbeya daily from 12-Jul-2018, Kilimanjaro twice daily from 29-Jul-2018 and Kigoma daily from 30-Aug-2018.
  • Silverstone Air plans to expand its domestic network to include Eldoret, Homa Bay, Mandera, Marsabit and Wajir. The airline also plans to lease two 50 seat Bombardier Dash 8-Q300 turboprop aircraft.
  • Air France plans to increase Paris CDG-Nairobi frequency from three to five times weekly from 31-Mar-2019. The carrier will continue to utilise Boeing 787-9 aircraft on the route.
  • Tassili Airlines commenced Oran – Strasbourg service on 06-Jul-2018. The airline will operate the service weekly with Boeing 737-800 equipment until 06-Sep-2018.
  • SA Airlink plans to introduce Embraer E190 equipment on Cape Town-Hoedspruit service in Sep-2018. The aircraft is configured with six business class and 92 economy class seats. The airline also revised its schedule for the service, effective 31-Jul-2018, “to address the concerns raised by the trade and lodges as to the late arrival in Hoedspruit”.
  • Air Mauritius reportedly plans to commence twice weekly Mauritius-Singapore-Bangkok service from 31-Oct-2018, according to Mauritius’ High Commissioner to Malaysia Eshan Patel. The airline currently operates Mauritius-Singapore-Kuala Lumpur service, according to OAG.
  • FlyEgypt has commenced a weekly Hurghada – Memmingen service on behalf of tour operator FTI. The service will operate until 22-Oct-2018.
  • ASL Airlines France has commenced Bordeaux-Oran service. The seasonal route operates weekly until 05-Sep-2018. Air Algerie also operates the route on a year round basis.

DATA SNAPSHOT: Busiest Domestic African Routes (w/c 09-Jul-2018)Source: CAPA – Centre for Aviation and OAG