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.

SAA CEO: New business and commercial models needed to suit Africa

South African Airways Group (SAA) CEO Vuyani Jarana, speaking at this week’s CAPA Middle East & Africa Aviation Summit, stated new business and commercial models must be developed to suit Africa. He said revolution in air transport will require more than just regulatory change and governments must appreciate the economics of the aviation sector and the impact of excessive charges and taxes. Mr Jarana said reform policies are not easy for governments to implement unless they are provided with clear economic models of the benefits of travel.

Qatar Airways signs business agreement with Royal Air Maroc to expand Qatar-Morocco connectivity

Qatar Airways announced a joint business agreement with Royal Air Maroc to expand the number of services available between Qatar and Morocco to meet increased consumer demand. Under the agreement, Royal Air Maroc will launch daily Casablanca-Doha service in Jun-2019. Qatar Airways currently operates five times weekly Doha-Casablanca-Marrakech, in addition to twice weekly Doha-Casablanca service, and also plans to launch Doha-Marrakech-Rabat service in late May-2019.

Jambojet CEO: Open skies ‘is both a threat and an opportunity’

Jambojet MD and CEO Allan Kilavuka said open skies in Africa “is both a threat and an opportunity”. He commented: “If you are prepared for it, you will take advantage of open skies. If you are not prepared for it, yes it is an existential risk because the bigger players take more advantage of liberalisation so you suffer in the process”.

Astral Aviation CEO: African cargo sector ‘very dynamic’

Astral Aviation CEO Sanjeev Gadhia, speaking at this week’s  CAPA Middle East & Africa Aviation Summit, stated the “cargo sector is very dynamic” in Africa, adding: “We’re seeing a lot of growth”. Mr Gadhia said the intra Africa market is “very disconnected” and there are many opportunities to increase connectivity. He said the African Continental Free Trade Area will result in “more African countries doing business with each other” and represents a unique opportunity for air cargo.

CAPA: Africa shows signs of growth, but internal connectivity remains low

CAPA – Centre for Aviation executive chairman Peter Harbison, speaking at this week’s CAPA Middle East & Africa Aviation Summit, stated there are “reasonable signs of growth” in the African aviation sector, but internal connectivity in the continent remains “very low”. Mr Harbison said liberalisation declarations and agreements have had “little impact” in Africa, while protectionism and bilateralism make it very hard to grow. Mr Harbison also noted African airlines have an ageing fleet with few replacements on order.

Emirates renews MoU with Mauritius and Seychelles

Emirates Airline has extended its MoU with Mauritius and Seychelles to promote the growth of tourism in both countries. Emirates SVP of commercial operations in Africa Orhan Abbas stated the renewal of these agreements demonstrates Emirates’ “commitment to these destinations” and underpins its confidence that the “growth of tourism to both Mauritius and Seychelles can be further developed”.

SAA to transfer aircraft to Mango and sell catering business in efforts to increase capital

South African Airways (SAA) CEO Vuyani Jarana, speaking to Bloomberg on the sidelines of the CAPA Middle East & Africa Aviation Summit, outlined his plan to transfer four underutilised Boeing aircraft to the airline’s LCC subsidiary, Mango. Mr Jarana added: “There’s more growth in the low cost services in the domestic market, which makes Mango very critical for SAA”. He added SAA is considering appointing an advisor to assist in the sale of the group’s catering business, in order to raise capital and divest of non core assets.

News Briefs

  • Algiers Houari Boumediene airport opened a third terminal, which aims to handle 10 million additional passengers per year. The airport reported it has plans for the new terminal to be accessible by rail in the future.
  • Tunisia and Equatorial Guinea signed a bilateral agreement on air transport on 29-Apr-2019.
  • Rolls-Royce VP customers Africa Kevin Evans said the African market is “one of strategic importance to us” as the continent has a “large and growing” air travel market. Rolls-Royce is supporting an “an increasing flow of previously owned aircraft coming into the continent” which is needed to serve the “demands of such a varied, rapidly growing market”.

CAPACITY SNAPSHOT: African Domestic Seats (as at 29-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

  • Tunisair commercial deputy general manager Ali Miaoui has confirmed the carrier will take delivery of ten new aircraft between 2022 and 2023.
  • Mauritania Airlines International reportedly took delivery of one Embraer E175 aircraft (MSN 17000791).
  • Royal Air Maroc plans to operate seven to 10 times weekly Casablanca-Montreal service with Boeing 777-300ER from 21-Jun-2019 to 14-Sep-2019. The carrier will lease the aircraft from Qatar Airways

CAPACITY SNAPSHOT: African International Seats (as at 29-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

  • Ethiopian Airlines plans to reduce Addis Ababa-London Heathrow frequency from 10 to seven times weekly, operating between 29-Apr-2019 and 29-Jun-2019, reports Routes Online. The carrier will operate the route with A350-900 equipment.
  • Cabo Verde Airlines plans to launch service to Angola from Oct-2019. The carrier entered a strategic partnership with TAAG Angola Airlines on 26-Apr-2019.
  • EgyptAir has launched twice weekly Cairo-Kigali service with Boeing 737-800 equipment.
  • China Southern Airlines plans to launch twice weekly Guangzhou-Changsha-Nairobi service with A330-200 aircraft from 22-Jun-2019. The service will increase the overall frequency between Guangzhou and Nairobi to four times weekly.
  • Air Tanzania plans to commence three times weekly Dar es Salaam-Mumbai service on 17-Jul-2019 with Boeing 787-8 aircraft.
  • ASL Airlines France has opened reservations for Paris CDG-Tunis service, scheduled to operate twice weekly with 148 seat Boeing 737-700 equipment from 02-Jul-2019 to 06-Sep-2019.