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.

Our regular round-up delivers some of the key aviation and travel news stories from across Africa.

  • IATA: ‘Progress is being made’ on safety in Africa, but ‘still more to do’
  • Loftleidir Icelandic submits binding offer for majority share in Cabo Verde Airlines
  • Kigali Bugesera International Airport aims to be greenest airport in Africa
  • fastjet aims to grow fleet in South Africa with Federal Air
  • SA Express on track to break even in Apr-2019: interim CEO
  • ROUTE UPDATE: latest route launches and announcements
  • DATA SNAPSHOT: Africa international versus domestic movements (w/c 26-Nov-2018)

IATA: ‘Progress is being made’ on safety in Africa, but ‘still more to do’
IATA director general and CEO Alexandre de Juniac commented safety is one of the main areas of cooperation between IATA and the African Airlines Association (AFRAA). On safety improvements in Africa, Mr de Juniac said: “With no jet hull losses for two years running and two years free of any fatalities on any aircraft type it is clear that progress is being made. There is, of course, still more to do”. Mr de Juniac requested African governments drive additional improvement with “concrete actions”. These include recognising IOSA in safety oversight (Mr de Juniac noted Egypt recently renewed its IOSA commitment and reported progress in Rwanda and Zimbabwe. He commented: “We need more governments to follow their good example”); and adopting ICAO standards and recommended practices (SARP). Mr de Juniac noted only 24 African states comply with at least 60% of ICAO SARPs and said: “That is not good enough for an industry that depends on global standards for safety”. IATA is encouraging African governments to allocate resources, ensure the independence of safety oversight bodies and cooperate regionally.


Loftleidir Icelandic submits binding offer for majority share in Cabo Verde Airlines
Loftleidir Icelandic confirmed plans to submit a 51% binding offer for shares in Cabo Verde Airlines, with the investment split 70:30 between Loftleidir and other Icelandic investors. Loftleidir and the Cape Verde Government signed an agreement in 2017 to restructure and develop the airline. The agreement also stipulated Cabo Verde Airlines is to be privatised. The purchase price has not been disclosed and it will not be reflected in the group’s consolidated financial statements. The share will be classified as an associated company. Loftleidir Icelandic MD Árni Hermannsson said: “Further opportunities are related to shared use of aircraft from Icelandair Group’s fleet, and crews where applicable, as is already being done in various projects… We have opportunities for well organised connecting routes between Europe and South America on one hand, and West Africa and North America on the other, along with West Africa and Europe. The island’s [Cabo Verde] location is ideal for developing connecting flights”.


Kigali Bugesera International Airport aims to be greenest airport in Africa
Global Green Growth Institute Rwanda stated that Minister for Environment Vincent Biruta said he believes Kigali Bugesera International Airport will be the greenest airport in Africa, once complete. As the “country’s largest” infrastructure project, the airport’s designs were recently upgraded to meet “green standards”. Global Green Growth Institute DG Frank Rijsberman commented the new airport will be among the first airports to achieve ‘green’ certification. The airport, under construction, will be a net zero emissions complex as a result of “energy and water efficiency and solar power”, according to Dr Biruta.


fastjet aims to grow fleet in South Africa with Federal Air
fastjet CEO Nico Bezuidenhout said the airline aims to acquire additional aircraft to operate under Federal Air’s air operator’s certificate in South Africa. He stated: “It would make sense to stick to Embraer aircraft, but we remain open to being convinced otherwise”. fastjet operations in South Africa under a brand licence agreement with Federal Air are expected to commence by early 2019.


SA Express on track to break even in Apr-2019: interim CEO
SA Express interim CEO Siza Mzimela reportedly stated: “If we remain on track as we’re doing right now, once we break even in April, we’re of the view that we would also record net profits for the two years”. She added: “Some of the key issues that we had in our system were just a lot of irregular expenditure that was taking place, irregular contracts were taking place and costing the airline a significant amount of money”.


Route Updates

  • Baby Jet Airlines founder Asamoah Gyan reportedly said he hopes the airline will be fully operational by Dec-2018 or Jan-2019. He reportedly said: “I can confirm 95% of work has been done”.
  • Air Mauritius plans to replace A340-300 with A350-900 equipment on two of three weekly Mauritius-London Heathrow frequencies, effective 05-Dec-2019, reports AirlineRoute.
  • Air Arabia Maroc plans to launch twice weekly service from Casablanca to Tunis and Lisbon on 31-Mar-2019, utilising A320 equipment.
  • Jambojet plans to commence daily Nairobi-Mogadishu service with Bombardier Q400 equipment on 05-Dec-2018, operating on behalf of Kenya Airways.
  • Ethiopian Mozambique Airlines is expected to commence operations on 01-Dec-2018. The airline is expected to serve Beira, Chimoio, Maputo, Nacala, Nampula, Pemba, Quelimane and Tete.
  • Turkish Airlines has launched a twice weekly Istanbul-Dakar-Banjul service.
  • Air Algerie plans to launch twice weekly Algiers-Brussels service on 18-Dec-2018, utilising Boeing 737-600 aircraft.
  • RwandAir reportedly plans to commence five times weekly Kigali-Addis Ababa service on 02-Apr-2019.

  • DATA SNAPSHOT: Africa international versus domestic movements (w/c 26-Nov-2018)Source: CAPA – Centre for Aviation and OAG