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.

  • African countries are opening up to aviation liberalisation
  • Kenya Airways CEO: African markets must mature before SAATM implementation
  • Ethiopian Mozambique Airlines commences operations
  • SA Express interim CEO expects USD44m loss in FY2019, break even by Apr-2019
  • Kenya Airways denied permission for regional services due to ‘political decisions’: CEO
  • Namibia Airports Company passes IACO security audit, no significant security concerns identified
  • Jambojet appoints new MD, CEO
  • ROUTE UPDATE: latest route launches and announcements
  • DATA SNAPSHOT: Regional seat comparison from East Africa’s largest hubs (w/c 03-Dec-2018)

African countries are opening up to aviation liberalisation
African Development Bank and Africa Union Commission, in the 2018 Africa Visa Openness Report, stated African countries are becoming more open to each other on average, with the launch of the African Continental Free Trade Area and the Single African Air Transport Market representing “major milestones”. Benin made the most progress in opening up its borders to African travellers, moving from 27th place in the 2017 edition to first place in the 2018 report. Zimbabwe also broke into the top 20 with the introduction of a visa-on-arrival policy for SADC members. When compared to 2017, Africans do not need a visa to travel to 25% of other African countries (up from 22%), can get visas on arrival in 24% of other African countries, and need visas to travel to 51% of other African countries (down from 54%).


Kenya Airways CEO: African markets must mature before SAATM implementation
Kenya Airways Group MD and CEO Sebastian Mikosz commented on implementation of the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) programme, stating: “We need to first ensure our markets are mature before we go into a united one or else we find ourselves in a situation of collapsing airlines at a time countries are literally outdoing each other in creating own carriers”. He added: “Our aviation numbers are still too small for a viable united market on a continent where only 100 million passengers fly yearly out of a 1.3 billion population”.


Ethiopian Mozambique Airlines commences operations
Ethiopian Mozambique Airlines commenced operations on 01-Dec-2018, in partnership with Ethiopian Airlines. The airline plans to serve Beira, Chimoio, Maputo, Nacala, Nampula, Pemba, Quelimane and Tete. Ethiopian Mozambique Airlines CEO Redi Yesuf said the airline will improve air connectivity “to more than a dozen cities in Mozambique” and will gradually add hubs in the country’s north, south and central regions. Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO Tewolde GebreMariam stated: “Ethiopian is making huge investments in launching this start up African airline but is confident that with a market driven and customer focused approach Ethiopian Mozambique will succeed in its objectives”. He said Ethiopian Mozambique aims to “support economic development and enable the continent to gain better market share of travel to, from and within Africa that is currently heavily dominated by non-African carriers”.


SA Express interim CEO expects USD44m loss in FY2019, break even by Apr-2019
SA Express interim CEO Siza Mzimela forecasts the airline will record a ZAR600 million (USD43.8 million) loss for FY2018/19, but will break even by Apr-2019. Ms Mzimela stated: “In order for us to break even we need to fly more aircraft, more often and sweat our assets”. Ms Mzimela also commented: “SA Express is critical. It is a feeder airline and so has a very important role to play. We are waiting to see what shape and form the future alignment takes. Normally feeder airlines are a lot more profitable than mainline carriers”.


Kenya Airways denied permission for regional services due to ‘political decisions’: CEO
Kenya Airways Group MD and CEO Sebastian Mikosz reportedly said the airline was refused authorisation to operate services to Burundi, Djibouti and South Sudan with Bombardier Q400 aircraft for “politically motivated” reasons. The local media report Mr Mikosz as saying: “While we have an aircraft that is much cheaper to operate and is a very decent aircraft… and we want to expand, we find political decisions not allowing us to operate those aircraft”.


Namibia Airports Company passes IACO security audit, no significant security concerns identified
Namibia Airports Company successfully passed an ICAO security audit, according to Minister of Public Enterprises Leon Jooste. Mr Jooste stated the audit did not identify any “significant security concerns”, adding: “There are certain areas where improvement is required and these will have to be addressed, but this has not affected the outcome of the audit”.


Jambojet appoints new MD, CEO
Jambojet appointed Allan Kilavuka as its new MD and CEO, effective 01-Jan-2019. Mr Kilavuka takes over from Willem Hondius, who has been at the helm since the airline’s inception in 2014. Prior to his appointment Mr Kilavuka served at General Electric (GE), where he was the executive in-charge of global operations for sub-Sahara Africa responsible for the strategic leadership in developing the shared service model and designing organisation and structure. He has also held other senior roles in GE both in Kenya and South Africa.


Route Updates

  • Afriqiyah Airways reportedly plans to resume twice weekly service to Istanbul from Mitiga, Misurata and Benghazi on 09-Dec-2018.
  • SA Express plans to launch daily Johannesburg-Mthatha service, effective 10-Dec-2018
  • PassionAir plans to commence 12 times weekly Accra-Takoradi service on 10-Dec-2018.
  • Air China plans to replace nonstop Beijing-Johannesburg service with Beijing-Shenzhen-Johannesburg service from 03-Jan-2019. The route will continue to be served three times weekly.

  • DATA SNAPSHOT: Regional seat comparison from East Africa’s largest hubs (w/c 03-Dec-2018)Source: CAPA – Centre for Aviation and OAG