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.

Mauritania Airlines receives the first Embraer E175 in Africa

Mauritania Airlines received its first Embraer E175 aircraft (5T-CLL, MSN 17000786, according to the CAPA Fleet Database) on 28-Mar-2019. The aircraft is configured with 76 seats in two classes. Mauritania Airlines CEO Mohamed Radhy Bennahi said the aircraft “will allow us to add more frequencies and new destinations whilst enhancing the quality of passenger experience”. Embraer Commercial Aviation VP sales for Middle East and Africa Raul Villaron said the arrival of the aircraft marks “the delivery of the first E175 aircraft to Africa”. Mauritania Airlines signed a firm order for two E175s valued at USD93.8 million in 2018. The second aircraft will be delivered in 2Q2019.

ICAO: Economic potential of air transport and tourism in Africa remains ‘largely untapped’

ICAO Council president Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu, at the inaugural ICAO-UN World Tourism Organization African Ministerial Conference, commented that in Africa today, “the incredible economic potentials of air transport and tourism still remain largely untapped”. He added: “The African air transport market has the highest potential for growth out of all world regions”. ICAO noted Africa has accounted for only 5% of global tourist arrivals and 3% of tourism spending in recent years, despite modest growth attributable to the revival of the tourism industry in northern Africa and improvements in African air connectivity. Dr Aliu reported a variety of constraints, including capacity restrictions at many African airports, lack of finance and investment for infrastructure development and modernisation, education and training capacity gaps and “ill-conceived” market, taxation and visa facilitation regulation in some jurisdictions.

South Africa’s and Delta Air Lines interline agreement

Delta Air Lines and have entered into an interline agreement covering Delta’s Atlanta-Johannesburg service and services from Johannesburg to Cape Town, Durban, East London and George. Delta already has an interline partnership with Comair (South Africa) covering Port Elizabeth, Harare, Livingstone, Victoria Falls and Windhoek services to and from Johannesburg.

Air Namibia is eyeing Nairobi service as part of development study

Air Namibia corporate communications manager Paul Nakawa has confirmed the airline may consider commencing Windhoek-Nairobi service, subject to the results of a market study. Mr Nakawa told local media: “Nairobi is one of the many destinations we are looking at as part of the business development programme”. He added that Nairobi is a “good destination” as it has local point-to-point traffic potential and can serve as a hub for connections to Europe through Air Namibia’s codeshare agreement with Kenya Airways.

News Briefs

  • Cape Verde’s Government has signed an air transport agreement with the Republic of the Congo and a tourism agreement with Angola. The agreement with the Republic of the Congo opens potential air routes to the airlines of both countries, including Cabo Verde Airlines, and includes a technical assistance agreement.
  • Reunion’s Departmental Council plans to sell its stake in Air Austral majority shareholder Sematra. The council holds an 11% stake in the carrier, and expects to receive around EUR8 million for the stake.
  • Cabo Verde Airlines and Air Senegal commenced a codeshare partnership covering Dakar-Praia and Dakar-Sal services operated by Air Senegal, effective 03-Apr-2019. The codeshare agreement forms part of a strategic partnership between the airlines.

CAPACITY SNAPSHOT: African Domestic Seats (as at 01-Apr-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

  • EgyptAir received its first Boeing 787-9 (SU-GER, MSN 38798) on long term operating lease from AerCap, as recorded by the CAPA Fleet Database. The aircraft is configured with 30 business class and 279 economy class seats. The carrier’s second 787-9 is expected to be delivered in Apr-2019 with another four to be delivered by the end of 2019.
  • Silverstone Air Services has received another Bombardier DHC-8-300 (MSN 375) on lease from Elix Aviation Capital. The aircraft is the fifth DHC-8 delivered by Elix to Silverstone Air.
  • LATAM Airlines Brazil plans to deploy an Airbus A350-900 on its daily Sao Paulo-Johannesburg service from 01-Aug-2019, replacing Boeing 767-300ER equipment.
  • Air Tanzania recently acquired its fourth Bombardier Q400 aircraft. Manufacturer, Bombardier Aerospace, reported Air Tanzania’s Q400 fleet serves 12 destinations with average aircraft utilisation of up to 11 hours per day and had handled almost 500,000 passengers on Q400 aircraft as of Dec-2018.

CAPACITY SNAPSHOT: African International Seats (as at 01-Apr-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

  • RwandAir plans to increase Kigali-Harare-Cape Town frequency from four to five times weekly, effective 05-Jul-2019, according to the CAPA Route Changes Database. The carrier will operate the five times weekly schedule, flown with Boeing 737-800 equipment, through to 28-Sep-2019.
  • Aero Contractors commenced five times weekly Lagos-Abuja-Yola service with Boeing 737-500 equipment on 26-Mar-2019. Yola is the airline’s eighth domestic destination, according to OAG.
  • Join UP! launched a Poltava-Sharm el Sheikh charter service on 26-Mar-2019, operated by SkyUp. The service is scheduled to operate weekly until 25-May-2019 and twice weekly from 03-Jun-2019 to 28-Oct-2019.
  • Africa World Airlines has “initiated processes” to commence Accra-London service, according to comments from Ghana’s Minister of Aviation Joseph Kofi Adda.