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.

  • After successfully building its Addis Ababa hub, Ethiopian Airlines now launches stopover packages in Ethiopia
  • Proflight Zambia adds 737-500 aircraft to meet increasing demand
  • Uganda Airlines may be getting the headlines, but there are more start-ups planning flights
  • Cape Verde Government outlines planned process for privatisation of TACV
  • SA Express looks back to experienced hands to deliver new future
  • Embraer hopes Africa sales tour helps boost E-Jet’s right-sizing role across the Continent
  • ROUTE UPDATE: latest route launches and announcements
  • DATA SNAPSHOT: Africa system seats by business model (w/c 06-Aug-2018)

After successfully building its Addis Ababa hub, Ethiopian Airlines now launches stopover packages in Ethiopia
Ethiopian Airlines has launched a stopover package product designed to promote tourism in Ethiopia. Passengers transiting in Addis Ababa may choose from stopover offerings from Ethiopian Holidays, including sightseeing in Addis Ababa, Axum, Lalibela, Harar, Gondar, the Blue Nile, Simien Mountains, Hawassa, Arba Minch and Kaffa. International visitors may access an online e-visa service for processing stopover visas. Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO Tewolde GebreMariam says: “Ethiopian is working with all stakeholders in the tourism chain to make Ethiopia a tourism destination of choice… With the stopover packages, we aim to attract a significant portion of our transit customers in Addis as tourists and to considerably enhance the flow of tourism into the country”.


Proflight Zambia adds 737-500 aircraft to meet increasing demand
Proflight Zambia has added a 114-seat Boeing 737-500 aircraft to its fleet to meet increased demand on services from Ndola to Livingstone and Durban, citing a “noticeable growth” in passenger traffic in 3Q2018. The aircraft will help meet demand while the airline awaits delivery of one Bombardier Dash 8 aircraft from Canada. “We feel compelled to add a bigger aircraft to our fleet to meet the high demand on our domestic routes, specifically Lusaka-Ndola,” says Captain Philip Lemba, director of government and industry affairs at the airline. According to a recent Zambia Airports Corporation report, passenger numbers have increased by 12.4% to date in 2018 compared to the same period last year, due to reduced fares and the introduction of more domestic flights.


Uganda Airlines may be getting the headlines, but there are more start-ups planning flights
Uganda’s Civil Aviation Authority has announced that the new national carrier, Uganda Airlines, is not the only company planning to commence flights or continue activities in the East African country. It confirms that Africana International Air Services, Kampala Aero Club and Flight Training Centre, Kampala Executive Aviation, Kush Air Uganda, Uganda National Airlines and Ugawings Aviation have all applied for the grant or renewal of air service licences.


Cape Verde Government outlines planned process for privatisation of TACV
Cape Verde’s Government has confirmed the go ahead for the proposed privatisation of Cabo Verde Airlines (TACV). According to official documentation, it will be undertaken through three share sales comprising the direct sale of 39% of share capital to institutional investors, a direct sale of 51% of share capital to a strategic partner and the sale of up to 10% of share capital to employees and Cape Verdean nationals. The strategic partner is required to have relevant experience in international air transport, technical and managerial experience in aviation and the necessary financial capacity and will not be able to sell shares to another party for a minimum of five and a maximum of 10 years. The equity for employees and Cape Verdean nationals will be offered at a discount of up to 15%. If the allocation is not taken up in full, the government says it may sell the remaining shares to the institutional investors or strategic partner. The government reported expressions of interest from 20 entrepreneurs and companies.


SA Express looks back to experienced hands to deliver new future
South Africa’s Department of Public Enterprises has announced the appointment of Siza Mzimela as SA Express acting CEO as current acting CEO Matsietsi Mokholo takes up a new position at the Presidency. Ms Mzimela is a former CEO of South African Airways (SAA) and was part of the ministerial intervention team appointed in May-2018 to stabilise SA Express’ operations, its finances, and to identify options to recapitalise the airline given its immediate short term liquidity problems. This experience makes her “well-positioned” to take over the functions of SA Express says the airline’s board.


Embraer hopes Africa sales tour helps boost E-Jet’s right-sizing role across the Continent
Brazilian manufacturer Embraer has concluded a sales mission across Africa with its Embraer E190-E2 prototype during which it visited Algieria, Morocco, Kenya, Ghana, Mauritius and South Africa. Embraer Commercial Aviation VP sales for Middle East and Africa Raul Villaron says: “some of the airlines for which we presented the aircraft are already an E-Jet operator and eager to know more about the E2s”. Embraer notes the majority of capacity in Africa is above the 150 seat segment, however 70% of intra regional and domestic services operated with narrowbodies have fewer than 130 passengers on each service. The company said this results in low frequencies, with 70% of intra Africa routes operated less than daily, and average load factors of approximately 60%. Mr Villaron adds: “Embraer’s priority is to continue to grow our customer base in the continent”.


Route Updates

  • Air Mauritius plans to tweak its Asian network and offer commence a weekly Mauritius-Bangkok service effective 03-Nov-2018, a weekly Mauritius-Singapore-Bangkok service effective 31-Oct-2018 and reduce Mauritius-Singapore-Kuala Lumpur frequency from four times weekly to twice weekly effective 30-Oct-2018.
  • Tunisair plans to launch weekly Tozeur-Lyon service with Boeing 737-600 equipment, effective 01-Oct-2018, the sole operator on the route.
  • PassionAir is set to commence operations in Aug-2018 with a three times daily Accra-Kumasi service. It also plans to introduce Accra-Takoradi and Accra-Tamale services during the month.
  • South African Airways plans to launch direct service between Johannesburg and Maldives from 24-Nov-2018.
  • LATAM Airlines Brazil has increased Sao Paulo Guarulhos-Johannesburg frequencies from five to seven times weekly, effective 05-Aug-2018 with two class 220 seat Boeing 767-300 aircraft.
  • Turkish Airlines is working to commence Istanbul-Lusaka service by Dec-2018, according to Turkey’s President Recep Erdoğan and Zambia’s Ambassador to Turkey Joseph Chilengi.
  • Blue Air plans to collaborate with Lidl Tour to jointly commence seasonal weekly Bucharest-Marrakech service, operating from 03-Nov-2018 to 05-Jan-2019.

  • DATA SNAPSHOT: Africa system seats by business model (w/c 06-Aug-2018)Source: CAPA – Centre for Aviation and OAG