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 selects Immfly digital services and IFE system for 20 aircraft

Ethiopian Airlines has selected Immfly’s connected digital services and IFE platform for installation on 20 aircraft by summer 2019. The system will feature entertainment content, Immfly’s proprietary content modules and the ‘Immfly Active’ direct access portal, which enables airlines to track onboard KPIs, analyse data and manage a greater number of onboard services. The platform will be available in English, Amharic, Chinese, French and Arabic.

Nigerian Government seeking bids for creation of local aircraft leasing company

Nigeria’s Government is reportedly seeking bids from lessors, financial institutions and investors to participate in the creation of a Nigerian aircraft leasing company. The government will hold a minority stake in the proposed company, which is intended to source aircraft from international lessors for sub-lease to Nigerian airlines. Bids are due by 20-May-2019.

Air Mauritius to acquire 20% stake in Mauritius Duty Free Paradise from Airports of Mauritius

Air Mauritius’ board has approved the acquisition of a 20% shareholding in Mauritius Duty Free Paradise from Airports of Mauritius for an estimated amount of MUR400 million (USD11.5 million). The acquisition will be settled via the issue of 27 million ordinary shares of Air Mauritius to Airports of Mauritius. The transaction is subject to completion of all formalities including statutory and regulatory approvals.

Kenya Airways to implement Amadeus Altéa Network Revenue Management system

Kenya Airways announced plans to implement the Amadeus Altéa Network Revenue Management solution. The airline will be the first in sub Saharan Africa to adopt the system. Kenya Airways has partnered with Amadeus for more than 20 years and has used the Altéa Suite of products for the last 12 years.

Ethiopian Airlines CEO: 737 MAX will have a ‘stigma’ attached to it

Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO Tewolde GebreMariam confirmed the carrier is assessing remaining orders for Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, as it will be a “hard sell for us to convince our customers” about the aircraft following the crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302. Mr GebreMariam said there will be a “stigma” that is “attached with the airplane”, but no decision on orders has been taken. The carrier will wait to see how Boeing rectifies the issue with the aircraft and will consider the actions taken by regulators and other airlines.

News Briefs

  • Airports Company South Africa reported Cape Town International Airport will receive a R7 billion (USD495.3 million) upgrade including a realigning of the runway, refurbishment of the domestic terminal and an international terminal expansion.
  • Senegal’s Government reportedly plans to increase Air Senegal‘s capital by XOF300 billion (USD513.2 million), according to Minister of Air Transport and Airport Infrastructure Development Maimouna Ndoye Seck. The government will reportedly offer XOF20 billion (USD34.2 million) to local shareholders by 2020.

CAPACITY SNAPSHOT: African Domestic Seats (as at 08-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

  • Uganda Airlines confirmed an order for two A330-800 aircraft. The aircraft will feature the ‘Airspace by Airbus’ cabin and will be deployed on medium and long haul routes. The airline’s first Bombardier CRJ900 aircraft will reportedly arrive at Entebbe International Airport on 23-Apr-2019. The airline has four CRJ900s on order, according to the CAPA Fleet Database.
  • Ethiopian Airlines received one new A350-900 (ET-AWM, MSN 289) as recorded by the CAPA Fleet Database. The airline now operates 11 A350s with 13 remaining on order.
  • Nouvelair Tunisie received one A320-200 aircraft (LZ-EAA, MSN 424) on 06-Apr-2019. The aircraft was chartered from Electra Airways.
  • Air Tanzania reportedly received one Fokker 50 aircraft (5H-TGF, MSN 20231) from Tanzania’s Government on 01-Apr-2019. The airline will reportedly also receive a Fokker 28 (5H-CCM, MSN 11137) from the government in the coming months.

CAPACITY SNAPSHOT: African International Seats (as at 08-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

  • ASKY Airlines plans to commence four times weekly Lome-Lagos-Libreville-Johannesburg and three times weekly Lome-Lagos-Douala-Johannesburg services, effective 15-Jun-2019. Ethiopian Airlines will codeshare on the services.
  • Iberia plans to suspend three times weekly Madrid-Johannesburg service effective from 01-Sep-2019, as per its GDS and inventory timetable display.
  • TAAG plans to commence twice weekly Luanda-Sao Tome-Sal service on 28-Apr-2019, according to the CAPA Route Changes Database. The airline will operate the service with Boeing 737-700 equipment.
  • TUIfly plans to commence weekly Frankfurt-Agadir service with Boeing 737-800 equipment from 07-Nov-2019. Lufthansa, Condor and Ryanair also operate on the route, according to OAG.