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.

Ethiopian Airlines proposes partnership with Air Zimbabwe

Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO Tewolde GebreMariam reportedly made a proposal to Zimbabwe’s Government regarding a potential partnership with Air Zimbabwe, according to Zimbabwe media reports.

They cite Zimbabwe’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Sibusiso Moyo as saying the proposed partnership may include aircraft maintenance, codesharing and pilot training. Dr Moyo also reportedly said Ethiopian Airlines has been unable to repatriate USD18 million from Zimbabwe, commenting: “If they establish a partnership with Air Zimbabwe they will be able to get that money without any problems and in a very short space of time”.

Medavia plans to launch domestic Libyan airline

Medavia applied for an air operator’s certificate (AOC) from the Libyan Civil Aviation Authority to launch a new domestic airline in Libya. Medavia chief executive Rammah Ettir stated the airline would create “more frequent” and “reliable” services “between the Libyan capital cities”. Mr Ettir expects the AOC to be granted in 2H2019.

Zambia Airways appoints CEO; now targeting launch of operations in 3Q2019

Zambia Airways’ board appointed Bruk Endeshaw Abebe as CEO at the its inaugural meeting on 07-Feb-2019. The board directed Mr Abebe to target the commencement of operations in 3Q2019. Mr Abebe is currently Ethiopian Airlines regional director sales and services for southern Africa.

Under the shareholders agreement between Zambia’s Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and Ethiopian Airlines, the first Zambia Airways CEO was nominated by Ethiopian Airlines and the second will be nominated by IDC.

Zimbabwe’s Transport Minister confirms government plans to construct airports

Zimbabwe’s Transport Minister Joel Biggie Matiza reported that the government plans to build an airport in each province. Mr Matiza additionally confirmed that the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe has been overseeing the scheme and has begun carrying out feasibility studies for the construction of these airports.

He stated that: “The potential in the provinces is very high. As a Ministry, we are cognisant of this fact and we would want to see that the economy grows through the contribution of upgrading and building new infrastructure”.

Paragon Investment Holdings signs duty free contracts with three African airports

Paragon Investment Holdings signed a five year extension with Windhoek Hosea Kutako International Airport for its duty free concession. Additionally, the company signed new contracts to operate duty free stores at both Harare Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport and Victoria Falls Airport starting in 2Q2019. The company also committed to building new duty free stores at each of the airports.

News Brief

  • Air Tanzania CEO Ladislaus Matindi has confirmed the airline has secured connections with three GDS providers, comprising “Travelport, a European one and a Chinese one”. Mr Matindi added: “We are also in the final stages of agreements with Amadeus and Sabre”. The agreements will support the airline’s plans to commence China and India services in Mar-2019.
  • Aurecon has received the first Remote Operating Certificate (ROC) from the South African Civil Aviation Authority to operate drones in the country. Aurecon plans to pilot its drones, manned by the company’s engineers, on various project sites throughout the 2019.
  • Royal Air Maroc and S7 Airlines have launched a codeshare agreement, covering the African carrier’s three times weekly Casablanca-Moscow Domodedovo service, operated with Boeing 737 aircraft. The agreement also covers 13 domestic services of S7 Airlines from Moscow.

CAPACITY SNAPSHOT: African Domestic Seats (as at 11-Feb-2019)Source: CAPA – Centre for Aviation and OAG (NOTE: *These values are at least partly predictive up to 6 months ahead and may be subject to change)

Fleet Development

  • Air Senegal reported it intends to use its second A330neo aircraft to commence service to the Americas. The carrier also expects to receive a third A319 dry leased from Apollo Aviation Group in late Jun-2019.
  • Air Algerie CEO Bakhouche Alleche stated the airline plans to acquire 30 new aircraft, which will enter service between 2020 and 2025 as part of a fleet renewal plan.
  • Air Burkina confirmed it has received one Embraer E175 (MSN 17000316) and two E195s (MSNs 19000067 and 19000050) on lease from Nordic Aviation Capital (NAC). The airline is a new customer for NAC.
  • Kenya Airways said two of its Embraer E190 aircraft collided during an engine maintenance check on 08-Feb-2019. The carrier said the aircraft suffered “substantial” damage and were removed from service.

CAPACITY SNAPSHOT: African International Seats (as at 11-Feb-2019)Source: CAPA – Centre for Aviation and OAG (NOTE: *These values are at least partly predictive up to 6 months ahead and may be subject to change)

Route Update

  • Air France plans to deploy Boeing 787-9 equipment on Paris CDG-Freetown-Conakry-Paris CDG service from 02-Jul-2019 to 26-Oct-2019, replacing A340-300 aircraft, reports AirlineRoute. The carrier will operate three times weekly on the route.
  • Guinea Airlines plans to commence three times weekly Conakry-Bamako-Ouagadougou-Conakry service on 01-Mar-2019 and three times weekly Conakry-Accra-Lagos-Conakry service on 02-Mar-2019 using Bombardier Q400 equipment.
  • Transavia France‏ has opened reservations for twice weekly Lyon-Casablanca service, scheduled to operate from 30-Jul-2019 to 01-Sep-2019. Royal Air Maroc and Air Arabia Maroc already operate year round services on the route, according to OAG.