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.

  • SAA and Emirates to expand codeshare network and develop greater cooperation
  • Seychelles holds aviation talks with 23 countries, signs ASAs with eight
  • High Court overturns suspension of CemAir AOCs after airline accuses SACAA of ‘malicious intent’
  • Air Peace to commence operations at Lagos Airport T2 in Jan-2019
  • Congo Airways planning network expansion in Africa and Europe in 2019
  • Cameroon and Nigeria amend air services agreement; Camair to commence Abuja service
  • ROUTE UPDATE: latest route launches and announcements
  • DATA SNAPSHOT: African international departure frequencies by week (as at 17-Dec-2018)

SAA and Emirates to expand codeshare network and develop greater cooperation
South African Airways (SAA) and Emirates Airline have signed an “enhanced commercial partnership” to expand their codeshare agreement across both airlines’ networks, subject to government approval. The carriers will improve connectivity by adjusting connecting times in Johannesburg with a focus on popular regional markets. The airlines will also work towards greater synergies in their networks, schedules, customer touch points and cargo services and intend to enhance their frequent flyer programmes. SAA CEO Vuyani Jarana said the expanded agreement “will enable us to explore and leverage synergies between ourselves in a much more enhanced relationship of mutual benefit”. SAA currently codeshares on Emirates’ four times daily Dubai-Johannesburg, three times daily Dubai-Cape Town and daily Dubai-Durban services. The carriers handled approximately 90,000 passengers under their codeshare agreement in 2017/18.


Seychelles holds aviation talks with 23 countries, signs ASAs with eight
Seychelles Civil Aviation Authority has announced the Seychelles’ delegation to the 2018 ICAO Air Services Negotiation Event met with 23 countries and signed eight air services agreements (ASA). Seychelles signed ASAs with the Bahamas, Greece, Jamaica, Kenya, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland and Turkey. Seychelles’ Ambassador to Kenya David Pierre said: “These agreements provides an important framework that would allow for strategic planning and continued development and growth in air services and the tourism industry in Seychelles”. The Seychelles delegation also met with Chile, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ghana, Luxembourg, Mali, Mozambique and Poland to negotiate and conclude new air services frameworks. Meetings were also held with delegations from Comoros, Iran, Qatar, Tanzania, the UAE, UK and Zambia.


High Court overturns suspension of CemAir AOCs after airline accuses SACAA of ‘malicious intent’
CemAir’s application to the High Court of South Africa to overturn the South African Civil Aviation Authority’s (SACAA) suspension of the airline’s air operating certificates (AOC) was successful. The airline will announce plans to restore operations “as soon as possible”. CemAir stated it “adamantly” rejects the reasoning behind the SACAA decision to indefinitely suspend the airline’s air operating certificates (AOC). CemAir stated: “We are an airline deeply committed to safety and excellence and have offered multiple reasonable solutions to the SACAA’s stated concerns, all of which have been rejected, an indication of a malicious intent by the SACAA to bring CemAir to its knees by grounding it unnecessarily at peak season”.SACAA’s decision follows a review of CemAir’s corrective action plan, which sought to address the initial findings of the annual renewal audit conducted in Dec-2018. SACAA said the corrective action plan or proposed remedial actions by CemAir were found to be unsatisfactory and did not adequately address the findings. SACAA also said CemAir has been operating some aircraft outside of permissible loading limits and, despite being issued with a prohibition order, “knowingly continued to fly their aircraft in contravention of the applicable regulatory prescripts”. SACAA stated: “The actions and conduct of this operator pose [a] serious and immediate threat to safety”.


Air Peace to commence operations at Lagos Airport T2 in Jan-2019
Air Peace plans to commence operations at MMA2 on 02-Jan-2019, Lagos Murtala Muhammed International Airport has confirmed. The airline will operate Lagos-Akure, Lagos-Asaba, Lagos-Kaduna and Lagos-Port Harcourt City AFB services from MMA2. Other Air Peace services will remain at the airport’s general aviation terminal. Air Peace corporate communications manager Chris Iwarah said: “We are quite hopeful that the expansion of our Lagos base to MMA2 will afford us the space and convenience to deliver first class flight experience to our loyal customers”.


Congo Airways planning network expansion in Africa and Europe in 2019
Congo Airways stated it plans to commence Abidjan, Bangui, Brazzaville, Bujumbura, Libreville, Luanda, Nairobi and Pointe Noire services in 2019. The airline also hopes to secure EU third country operator certification with the aim to service Europe from late 2019.


Cameroon and Nigeria amend air services agreement; Camair to commence Abuja service
Cameroon Civil Aviation Authority (CCAA) has announced Cameroon and Nigeria held “aeronautical consultations” at the 2018 ICAO Air Services Negotiation Event to “amend the routes schedule” under the countries’ existing bilateral air services agreement. CCAA said the parties signed a MoU which “paves the way for Camair-Co to launch operations to Abuja”.


Route Updates

  • Airworks Kenya reportedly plans to commence daily Nairobi Wilson-Eldoret-Kitale service with Bombardier Dash 8-200 equipment in Jan-2019.
  • Air Botswana announced it has resumed three times weekly Gaborone-Cape Town service. As previously reported, the airline temporarily suspended the service in Feb-2018.
  • Air Austral and Air Madagascar will jointly offer six return Reunion-Antsiranana services between 18-Dec-2018 and 22-Jan-2019 to serve seasonal demand. Air Austral will operate the service weekly with ATR 72-500 equipment, making a technical stop in Toamasina. Air Madagascar will codeshare on the service.
  • ASL Airlines France plans to increase Bordeaux-Oran frequency from weekly to twice weekly from 03-Jul-2019 to 05-Sep-2019. The carrier launched the route – also flown year-round by Air Algerie – on a seasonal basis in summer 2018.
  • EgyptAir will operate domestic services from Cairo Sphinx International Airport from 25-Jan-2019 to 09-Feb-2019, confirms Egypt’s Ministry of Civil Aviation.

DATA SNAPSHOT: African international departure frequencies by week (as at 17-Dec-2018)Source: CAPA – Centre for Aviation and OAG