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.

This new round-up will deliver some of the key aviation and travel news stories from across Africa.

  • Air Austral set to wet lease A380 for Reunion-Paris service
  • Angolan Government disbands aviation committee, voids agreement for six Q400s
  • Royal Air Maroc seeks authorisation to commence Casablanca-Miami service
  • DHL and Ethiopian Airlines to create Addis Ababa-based logistics services venture
  • Egypt gains enhanced Canadian connectivity via expanded air transport agreement
  • ROUTE UPDATE: latest route launches and announcements
  • DATA SNAPSHOT: Largest African airlines by fleet size (as at Jul-2018)

Air Austral set to wet lease A380 for Reunion-Paris service
It has emerged that Air Austral, a previous customer for the Airbus A380, may be among the first operators to take advantage of the Super Jumbo’s debut in the ACMI market with HiFly. The airline is understood to have agreed a deal to wet lease HiFly’s A380 from end of Aug-2018 to replace its Boeing 787 equipment on the Reunion-Paris route. Air Austral, like so many 787 operators, is being affected by Rolls-Royce engine issues. HiFly president and CEO Paulo Mirpuri has said the market reaction to its acquisition of the second-hand A380 has exceed expectations and the company already has “many carriers lining up to be the first to sign” for availability. It confirms it has already agreed the first wet lease contract for the A380 with “an undisclosed well established European carrier”. The aircraft will be flying long haul sectors during summer period with possible extension.


Angolan Government disbands aviation committee, voids agreement for six Q400s
Angola’s Government has disbanded a technical commission tasked with developing a new domestic air transport model and voided actions undertaken by the commission, including a purchase agreement for six Bombardier Q400 aircraft signed in May-2018. Bombardier signed the agreement with African Aero Trading, which was acting on behalf of a consortium forming Air Connection Express. The government reportedly stated some of the companies forming the consortium were not formally constituted when the agreement was announced and had not complied with the necessary procedures and formalities.


Royal Air Maroc seeks authorisation to commence Casablanca-Miami service
Royal Air Maroc has formally applied to the US Department of Transportation for exemption authority to operate between Casablanca and Miami for an initial period of two years. The airline intends to serve Miami with Boeing 787 equipment from Apr-2019. Royal Air Maroc currently operates the only nonstop services between Morocco and the US and the proposed service would be the first nonstop connection between Casablanca and Miami.


DHL and Ethiopian Airlines to create Addis Ababa-based logistics services venture
DHL Global Forwarding and Ethiopian Airlines have signed an agreement to form DHL-Ethiopian Airlines Logistics Services, a joint venture (JV) company to be based in Ethiopia. Ethiopian Airlines holds a majority stake in the JV and will provide regulatory and operational support. DHL will establish air, ocean and road freight connections between Ethiopia’s main trade hubs and the rest of the world. Pramod Bagalwadi, who leads the DHL industrial projects team in sub-Saharan Africa, will also lead the JV. Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO Tewolde GebreMariam said: “With this JV we aim to make the country a logistics hub for Africa”. DHL Global Forwarding has been supporting the MRO operations of Ethiopian Airlines’ commercial segment since 2010.


Egypt gains enhanced Canadian connectivity via expanded air transport agreement
Transport Canada has announced Canada has expanded its air transport agreement with Egypt. The agreement allows designated airlines to operate up to seven passenger frequencies per week, up from four, as well as any city in the other country’s territory. The new rights under the expanded agreements are available for use by airlines immediately. These expanded agreement was reached under Canada’s Blue Sky policy, which encourages long-term, sustainable competition and the development of international air services. Under the policy, the Government of Canada has concluded new or expanded air transport agreements covering 104 countries. In 2017, bilateral merchandise trade between Canada and Egypt totalled CAD1.3 billion.


Route Updates

  • Air Cairo plans to commence weekly Sharm El Sheikh-Bologna service on 28-Oct-2018, weekly Hurghada-Milan Malpensa service on 29-Oct-2018, weekly Luxor-Milan Malpensa service on 29-Oct-2018 and weekly Sharm El Sheikh-Venice service on 02-Nov-2018. The airline also reportedly plans to commence weekly Sharm El Sheikh-Bari service on 29-Oct-2018.
  • Overland Airways plans to commence Cotonou, Lomé and Niamey services in 2018, according to its social media channels. The airline plans to operate the international services from Lagos.
  • Luxair plans to operate seasonal weekly Luxembourg-Marrakech service with Boeing 737-800 aircraft from 30-Oct-2018 to 30-Apr-2019, the sole operator on the route.
  • Eritrean Airlines plans to commence three times weekly Asmara-Addis Ababa service with Boeing 737-300 equipment on 01-Aug-2018. The carrier also plans to commence twice weekly Assab-Addis Ababa service on 01-Sep-2018.

  • DATA SNAPSHOT: Largest African airlines by fleet size (as at Jul-2018)Source: CAPA – Centre for Aviation and OAG