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.

United Airlines requests authorisation to operate New York Newark-Cape Town service

The US Department of Transportation (DoT) has received an application from United Airlines requesting authorisation to operate three times weekly New York Newark-Cape Town service with Boeing 787-9 aircraft from/near 15-Dec-2019. This route will be the first nonstop service between New York Newark and Cape Town and the only nonstop service between the US and Cape Town. The airline also requests renewal of its certificate of public convenience and necessity to engage in scheduled foreign passenger and cargo service between any points in the US, via intermediate points in third countries and coterminal points of Johannesburg and Cape Town, and beyond South Africa to Harare.

Kenya Airways ‘has the highest structure of costs in the region’

Kenya Airways (KQ) Group managing director and CEO Sebastian Mikosz said Kenya Airways “has the highest structure of costs in the region, unlike RwandAir and Ethiopian [Airlines] which are fully government funded”. Regarding the airline’s proposal to take over operation of Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta International airport from the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA), Mr Mikosz commented: “It’s not about KQ having access to the money of KAA, but giving us access to the hub at lower prices”. In a war of words KAA managing director Johnny Anderson had claimed the airline has no technical capacity to run the airport, due to its financial situation and lack of staff skilled in airport operations. Kenya Airways defended its proposal and warned of defective infrastructure at the airport which would risk Kenya losing its position as a key African aviation hub.

African ministers adopt ‘Declaration and Action Plan on Air Transport and Tourism’

UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) announced 21 African ministers of tourism, transport and aviation approved and adopted the ‘Ministerial Declaration and Action Plan on Air Transport and Tourism Development in Africa’. The declaration “outlines the direction that the signing governments will take in order to advance innovative, sustainable solutions to foster the development of air connectivity and seamless travel in the African continent while building a common understanding and response to the business imperatives through strengthened dialogue between the two sectors”.

Colliers International forecasts rise in Egypt arrivals

Egypt’s tourism industry is witnessing healthy and steady growth and Colliers International forecasts arrivals from Europe to Egypt to increase to 9.1 million tourists in 2022, up from 6.2 million in 2018. It also forecasts arrivals from the Middle East to Egypt to witness the highest compound annual growth rate at 11%. Las year arrivals were up 14.5% from 8.3 million in 2017 to 9.5 million.

Uganda Airlines aiming to commence operations in Aug-2019

Uganda Airlines will conduct demonstration flights and complete air operator certification between Apr-2019 and Jul-2019 with the aim to commence commercial operations in Aug-2019, according to Uganda’s Cabinet Minister for Works and Transport Monica Azuba Ntege. The airline is expected to take delivery of aircraft in phases from late Apr-2019 to Sep-2019.

Angolan President reportedly annuls decree on TAAG fleet modernisation

Angola’s President João Lourenço has reportedly annulled a decree made in Jan-2019 to approve a plan for the restructuring and modernisation of TAAG’s fleet, pending a more detailed study of the airline’s restructuring plan. As previously reported, the original decree authorised Minister of Transport Augusto da Silva Tomás was to secure financing and enter contracts with Boeing and Bombardier for the acquisition of aircraft for delivery from 2020. The fleet plan also includes refinancing of two 777-300ER aircraft.

Côte d’Ivoire Government developing revitalisation plan for Air Côte d’Ivoire

Côte d’Ivoire’s Government reportedly plans to implement a revitalisation plan for Air Côte d’Ivoire in the near future. The government reportedly aims to make the airline more competitive, increase passenger numbers and grow revenue. The plan will reportedly include leasing a Boeing 777 aircraft to enable the launch of Abidjan-Paris service.

News Briefs

  • Kenya Airways has activated a codeshare agreement with Delta Air Lines covering connections through New York John F Kennedy International airport to and from 11 destinations in the US and four in Canada.
  • Seychelles Minister of Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine Didier Dogley has reported the islands’ have seen a 10% year-on-year increase in visitor arrivals to 110,009 for the year to date.
  • Canadian Transportation Agency has approved Air Canada‘s request to codeshare on the flights of Brussels Airlines between Canada and the Ivory Coast for an indefinite period, effective 14-May-2019.

CAPACITY SNAPSHOT: African Domestic Seats (as at 15-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

  • Air Zimbabwe is expected to receive one Embraer ERJ145 and two Boeing 777-200ER aircraft in the coming weeks, according to Zimbabwe’s Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development Joel Biggie Matiza, part of a process “to make sure that Air Zimbabwe comes back to life”.
  • Royal Air Maroc was identified by CAPA as a previously undisclosed commercial customer for a single Boeing 737 MAX following analysis of Boeing’s Mar-2019 orders sheet.
  • Regourd Aviation received one ATR 72-600 aircraft (MSN 1259) on lease from Nordic Aviation Capital (NAC).
  • TAP Air Portugal plans to deploy A330neo aircraft on services from Lisbon to Luanda and Maputo effective from 29-Mar-2020.

CAPACITY SNAPSHOT: African International Seats (as at 15-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

  • Air Namibia has increased Windhoek-Johannesburg capacity through the deployment of A330 equipment on three weekly frequencies until the end of Apr-2019. The A330 is configured with 30 business class and 214 economy class seats.
  • Cabo Verde Airlines plans to operate four times weekly Sal-Milan Malpensa and three times weekly Sal-Rome Fiumicino services for the summer season, effective 24-Jun-2019 to 26-Oct-2019.
  • Serbia’s Civil Aviation Directorate has rejected FlyEgypt‘s request to launch Hurghada-Nis service as the operation was apparently not in accordance with the air transport agreement between the countries.