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.

Brussels Airlines introduces more flexible baggage booking options for African routes

Brussels Airlines has introduced flexible baggage booking options on 17 routes to/from sub Saharan Africa. Economy class passengers will now have the option to book a one baggage airfare a cheaper choice for price-conscious passengers who are travelling with limited luggage and do not require any ticket flexibility.

A second travel option is the ‘Standard’ fare, including two checked bags and free advanced regular seat reservation. The third option within the Economy Class is the ‘Flex’ fare for passengers who like extra legroom and more flexibility with complimentary ticket changes and refunds.

“Our goal as an airline is to give our guests the choice to select an offer that best fits their personal needs,” says Dirk Janzen, VP Pricing & Revenue Management, Distribution and Commercial Steering.

The changes for the African network follow the debut of hand luggage-only fare on the European network and an Economy Light fares on flights across the Atlantic.

SAA hopes to resume Blantyre service in early Feb-2019

South African Airways (SAA) says it is optimistic of resuming three times weekly Johannesburg-Blantyre service on 02-Feb-2019. The airline temporarily suspended the service on 18-Jan-2019 in response to the results of an audit of Blantyre Chileka Airport.

The airline, working together with the Malawian authorities as well as stakeholders such as the Malawian Ministry of Transport and the local municipality in Blantyre, implemented the required interventions to return the airport to expected levels for safe operations.

SAA says its has notified the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) that “remedial interventions have been implemented”. The resumption of service is subject to an airport inspection by SACAA on 30-Jan-2019.

Kenya Airways’ return to Rome boosted by additional African connections

Kenya Airways plans to introduce a four times weekly link between its Jomo Kenyatta International Airport hub in Nairobi and Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci airport this June, using Boeing 787 equipment. It will operate two flights routing Nairobi-Geneva-Rome Fiumicino-Nairobi and two Nairobi-Rome Fiumicino-Geneva-Nairobi from 12-Jun-2019.

The joint route with Geneva marks its return to the Italian capital, a market it previously served up until June 2012. It expands its European network to five points, also including Amsterdam, London and Paris.

The return to Rome will be supported by a growing network and connection options to 43 destinations across Africa. The carrier has significantly beefed up its intra-African activity since it last served the Italian market and that will complement the direct leisure and business flows on the route.

Kenya Airways will be one of ten carriers offering direct flights between Rome and 15 destinations across Africa this summer with close to 20,000 weekly seats.

Tanzanian Government considering freighters for Air Tanzania

Tanzania’s Minister of Transport Isack Aloyce Kamwelwe said the government is considering leasing at least two cargo aircraft for Air Tanzania (ATCL) to support exports, particularly of fresh fish and other products from Mwanza.

In an article appearing in Tanzania Daily News, he commented: “We are going to involve the private partners in securing investors in the cargo business and I would like to challenge the business partners to take full advantages of ATCL services instead of going for expensive alternative routes”.

News Brief

  • Ethiopian Airlines transferred operations to Abuja Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport’s new terminal, effective 24-Jan-2019. It is the second airline to commence operations at the new terminal after ASKY Airlines and other carriers, including British Airways, EgyptAir, Emirates and Lufthansa, are expected to move to the new terminal in the near future.
  • Kenyan carriers Jetways Airlines, Silverstone Air and Skyward Express have implemented Pesapal’s integrated payment system to process Mpesa, Visa, mVisa, MasterCard and American Express payments on their websites. Using Pesapal, travellers are able to pay in US dollars or Kenyan shillings.
  • Seychelles Airlines CEO Robert Marie reportedly said the airline expects to receive its first aircraft by Nov-2019, receive an air operator’s certificate by Dec-2019 and commence operations by Jan-2020. The airline intends to operate from the Seychelles to Asia and Europe.
  • Royal Air Maroc commenced the gradual transfer of services to Casablanca Mohammed V Airport’s new terminal 1 on 26-Jan-2019. The airline operated Casablanca-Paris service from the terminal on that day.

DATA SNAPSHOT: African LCC Development (2009-2018)Source: CAPA – Centre for Aviation and OAG

Fleet Development

  • Kenya Airways is considering the expansion of its fleet to 70 aircraft by 2025. Its CEO Sebastian Mikosz told ATW Online, it is considering Boeing 737 MAX, Embraer E195-E2 aircraft and 10 to 12 new Boeing 787-9 aircraft, having also held talks with Airbus regarding the A321LR.
  • FlyEgypt received a Boeing 737-700 (SU-TML, MSN 36114), as recorded by the CAPA Fleet Database. The aircraft was previously in service with Germania.

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

  • Route Update
  • Air Seychelles plans to increase Seychelles-Johannesburg frequency from six to seven times weekly, effective 15-Mar-2019 to 26-Apr-2019, to meet demand over the Easter holiday period. The additional frequency will increase capacity to more than 1900 seats per week.
  • SA Airlink has resumed Johannesburg-Mthatha service with smaller 29 seat Jetstream 41 aircraft after the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) downgraded Mthatha Airport’s rescue and fire fighting services rating.
  • Turkish Airlines plans to continue Istanbul-Marrakech service into 2019/2020 winter season. The carrier will operate five times weekly, replacing Boeing 737-800/-900ER/MAX 8 mix with 737 MAX 9 equipment.
  • LAM – Mozambique Airlines plans to commence twice weekly Beira-Quelimane, Tete-Pemba and Tete-Johannesburg services on 04-Feb-2019, according to the CAPA Route Changes Database.
  • SCAT Airlines reportedly plans to launch seasonal Petropavl-Sharm el Sheikh service from Jul-2019 through to Sep-2019.

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