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 latest key aviation and travel news stories from across Africa.

Kenyan Parliament approves air services agreements with three countries
Kenya’s Parliament approved the ratification of air services agreements with the Bahamas, Jamaica and Jordan in Dec-2018. The National Assembly also approved the signing of a protocol on amending the air services agreement between Kenya and Turkey. The agreement between Kenya and Jordan was initialled in Apr-2008 and the agreement between Kenya and Jamaica was initialled in Nov-2014.

Air Peace to focus on improving customer experience as it implements ‘bolder decisions’
Air Peace chairman and CEO Allen Onyema, said the airline plans to focus on improving services for its customers in 2019, as it looks to offer enhanced long haul services to Dubai, Sharjah, London, Guangzhou, Houston, Mumbai and Johannesburg. The airline moved Lagos-Kaduna, Lagos-Asaba, Lagos-Akure and Lagos-Port Harcourt AFB operations to MMA2 on 02-Jan-2019. Mr Onyema said: “2018 was both challenging and exciting for us… In 2019, we are going to implement a series of bolder decisions aimed at giving the flying public a truly exciting experience”.

Akwa Ibom Government to launch Ibom Air
Akwa Ibom’s Governor Udom Emmanuel outlined plans to launch Ibom Air, a state owned carrier, to “lessen the problems currently being encountered by numerous air travellers”. Three aircraft to be operated by the proposed airline are expected to arrive by Feb-2019. Mr Emmanuel noted: “Our state-owned and run Obong Victor Attah International Airport has a category 2 runway and work is ongoing on the second taxi way”.

SAA and Africa World Airlines planning codeshare partnership
South African Airways (SAA) has announced plans to commence a codeshare partnership with Africa World Airlines. The agreement will cover services between Accra and destinations in West Africa, including Abuja, Freetown, Lagos and Monrovia. SAA said the partnership “will soon be in place”.

Zimbabwe committed to repatriating USD150m in debt to airlines
Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Finance and Economic Development stated it is committed to clearing USD150 million in debt owed to airlines through IATA. The Ministries of Finance and Tourism reached an agreement in Oct-2018 to make monthly payments of USD4 million to service the debt.

Ethiopian Airlines implements self service check in
Ethiopian Airlines has implemented IATA’s Fast Travel Self Check In initiative for services departing Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, enabling customers to check in online or using check in kiosks. Passengers may obtain boarding passes through the airline’s website or mobile app. The system also enables domestic passengers to receive a boarding pass by email three hours prior to departure.

News Brief

  • Ethiopian Airlines and Hibret Bank have launched a co-branded debit card enabling members of Ethiopian’s ShebaMiles loyalty programme to earn bonus miles.
  • Tunisia’s Ministry of Transport issued a new air operator’s certificate to Syphax Airlines on 03-Jan-2019. The airline previously ceased operations on 30-Jul-2015.
  • Egypt’s Minister of Civil Aviation, Younis al-Masry, has ordered development of Hurghada International Airport Terminal 2 to be completed by 01-Feb-2019. The construction work, which includes the installation of security devices to meet international standards, has been halted for the last 14 months.
  • Ghana Global Airlines has stated it “will be operating with our US partners” from 20-Mar-2019 and tickets are now available through its website. The airline confirmed it is US based.

DATA SNAPSHOT: African weekly system seats (as at 07-Jan-2019)Source: CAPA – Centre for Aviation and OAG

Fleet Development

  • Green Africa Airways and Boeing announced just ahead of the holiday period a commitment for up to 100 737 MAX 8 aircraft, comprising 50 firm orders and 50 options. The agreement is valued at USD11.7 billion at list price. Boeing said the commitment represents “the largest aircraft deal ever for the African continent”.
  • Air Botswana acquired one Embraer E170 aircraft (A2-ABM, MSN 17000318) on 29-Dec-2018, as recorded by the CAPA Fleet Database. The aircraft was previously owned by Southern Air Consultancy. Air Botswana confirmed the arrival of the aircraft at Gaborone Sir Seretse Khama International Airport on 31-Dec-2018.
  • Airbus has announced Air Senegal‘s first A330-900 aircraft rolled out of the paint shop. The aircraft will undergo engine fitting, cabin installation, ground tests and flight tests before joining the airline’s fleet “in the coming weeks”.
  • Libyan Wings leased two A319 aircraft (5A-WLC, MSN 2905 and 5A-WLD, MSN 2935), effective 30-Dec-2018. The aircraft are owned by AWAS and managed by Dubai Aerospace Enterprise Capital.
  • Ewa Air received two ATR 72-600 aircraft at the turboprop manufacturer’s facility in Toulouse on 28-Dec-2018. The aircraft are the first to be fully owned by an airline based in Mayotte.

CAPACITY SNAPSHOT: African monthly system capacity changesSource: The Blue Swan Daily and OAG

Route Update

  • South African Airways (SAA) plans to increase Johannesburg-Accra-Washington Dulles frequency to five times weekly, effective 01-Apr-2019.
  • Air Algerie plans to commence twice weekly Algiers-Vienna-Budapest service on 02-Feb-2019, according to the CAPA Route Changes Database. The service will replace existing nonstop twice weekly Algiers-Budapest and Algiers-Vienna services, according to OAG.
  • Nouvelair Tunisie plans to commence three times weekly Tunis-Istanbul Ataturk service, effective 25-Feb-2019. The airline is scheduled to increase frequency to four times weekly from 21-Mar-2019.
  • Air Europa Express plans to commence four times weekly Madrid-Tunis service with Embraer E190 equipment on 02-Jun-2019, subject to government approval. Air Europa’s North Africa network also includes Marrakech.
  • Air Malta plans to commence twice weekly Malta-Cairo service on 25-Mar-2019. The airline’s North Africa network also includes Casablanca and Tunis.

CAPACITY SNAPSHOT: Monthly African system capacity changes by regionSource: The Blue Swan Daily and OAG