Advantage 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.

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

  • Uganda’s Transport Minister outlines motivations behind creation of Uganda Airlines
  • Nexus Aero shortlisted as potential advisor for new Gabon national airline as carriers circle for new opportunities
  • Zimbabwe commissions expansion project at Harare Airport
  • Rwanda and China sign bilateral air services agreement
  • SunExpress is considering expanding its footprint in Africa
  • ROUTE UPDATE: latest route launches and announcements
  • DATA SNAPSHOT: Monthly frequencies from Africa to Europe (2012 – 2018)

Uganda’s Transport Minister outlines motivations behind creation of Uganda Airlines
Uganda’s Minister of Works and Transport Monica Azuba Ntege says the new Uganda Airlines is being established to support three main goals – to enhance the country’s competitiveness by reducing the cost of air transport and easing connectivity; support economic opportunities to promote tourism, agriculture, minerals, oil and gas; and meet the growing demand for passenger and cargo air transport. Ms Ntege adds in a formal editorial: “The effort to revive the national airline is premised on the desire to improve the overall growth of Uganda’s air transport sector, by enhancing its competitiveness and turning its international airport into a regional transport hub.”


Nexus Aero shortlisted as potential advisor for new Gabon national airline as carriers circle for new opportunities
Gabon’s Government is in discussions with Saudi Arabia based Nexus Aero International on potentially advising for creation of a new Gabonese national airline. Gabon Minister of Transport and Logistics Justin Ndoundangoye confirmed: “Nexus was shortlisted to be able to set up, with the Gabonese State, a business model that would lead to the feasibility of creating of our national company”. In Ghana the process of establishing a new national carrier is “far advanced” and a strategic partner will be appointed in the coming months with Air Mauritius and Ethiopian Airlines understood to be in the running. Ethiopian Airlines is also looking to acquire a stake in Eritrean Airlines, has held talks with Djibouti Airlines on the acquisition of shares in the company and similar deals could be agreed with new carriers in Chad and Guinea. Air Mauritius reportedly plans to cooperate with Comoros’ Government to establish a new carrier named Karthala Airways. The new carrier is reportedly awaiting issuance of an air operator’s certificate. The carrier is also in talks with Kenya Airways, RwandAir and South African Airways to create an African alliance.


Zimbabwe commissions expansion project at Harare Airport
Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa commissioned a USD153 million project to modernise Harare Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport on 23-Jul-2018. The project will ensure the airport meets international standards, while expanding the international terminal and apron, introducing four aerobridges, a secondary radar system, a new VVIP area, new ground lighting technology and communication equipment. President Mnangagwa challenged the industry to increase collaboration with academic institutions to “enhance the development of relevant skills and competences, as well as modern technologies”. President Mnangagwa added: “The spin-offs from the development of this airport must extend far beyond the aviation industry and stimulate growth in other sectors of our economy in anticipation of the expanded connectivity that will result there from”.


Rwanda and China sign bilateral air services agreement
China and Rwanda have signed a bilateral air services agreement, forming the legal foundation for establishing nonstop air service between the countries. China now has a bilateral with 125 countries. Rwanda’s Government has also signed a USD50 million loan agreement with China to construct an access road to the new Kigali Bugesera International Airport The new highway connecting the city to the under construction airport is expected to be finished by Dec-2019.


SunExpress is considering expanding its footprint in Africa
SunExpress head of network planning Wilken Bellmann has revealed the carrier is considering the possibility of operating to West Africa, but warned “route development is a long process and we have to be really sure it is feasible”. SunExpress currently operates to Tehran and SunExpress Germany to Hurghada and Agadir, according to OAG.


Route Updates

  • Air Peace plans to commence four times weekly Abuja-Accra service and four times weekly Monrovia service on 06-Aug-2018. The airline also plans to add Kaduna, Makurdi, Port Harcourt City AFB Airport and Warri to its network.
  • Ethiopian Mozambique Airlines has reportedly reached the third of five stages in the process to obtain an air operator’s certificate and could commence domestic operations in Mozambique within two months.
  • Latvia and Ghana reportedly aim to sign an air services agreement to allow airBaltic to commence operations from Latvia to several countries in West Africa, using Ghana as a hub.
  • fastjet commenced a daily Harare-Bulawayo service on 20-Jul-2018. The airline operated the inaugural service with Embraer ERJ 145 equipment.
  • SWISS plans to commence weekly Geneva-Hurghada service with Airbus A220-300 equipment from winter 2018/19. The route will be operated on Saturdays from 13-Oct-2018 to 15-Dec-2018 and on Sundays from 23-Dec-2018 to 30-Mar-2019.
  • Emirates Airline plans to operate a one off Dubai – Accra service with A380 equipment on 02-Oct-2018, to mark the opening of terminal 3 at Accra Kotoka International Airport. It will mark the first scheduled A380 service to Ghana.

  • DATA SNAPSHOT: Monthly frequencies from Africa to Europe (2012 – 2018)Source: CAPA – Centre for Aviation and OAG