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.

‘High taxation is one of the root causes of the reason our airlines are dying’ – Aero Contractors CEO calls for government to improve fuel supply, reduce fuel costs and taxes

Aero Contractors CEO Ado Sanusi called for Nigeria’s Government to support airlines by improving the supply of fuel, reducing fuel prices and reducing taxes. Mr Sanusi said: “The first government intervention to reduce cost of operation should be in the supply of fuel… if we can have a constant supply of Jet A1 at constant price, airlines will know how to plan their budget and how they can bring down the cost of ticket”. Regarding taxes imposed on airlines, he stated: “The most important thing government should tackle is multiple taxation”. Mr Sanusi added: “The last time they reviewed taxes in aviation was a very long time ago… if they continue to heavily tax the airlines it will continue to impact on their finances… high taxation is one of the root causes of the reason our airlines are dying”.

Ethiopian Airlines updates mobile app with new features

Ethiopian Airlines has updated its mobile app with new features including document scanning, Apple Passbook and Google Wallet functionality for boarding passes and localisation. The app also features booking, more than 27 payment options, check in and self boarding functions. The app is available for Android and iOS devices in six languages. The app has been downloaded more than 700,000 times since its launch in Dec-2017.

Tanzania on track to grow tourist arrivals to two million in 2020

Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB) MD Devota Mdachi said Tanzania is on track to increase tourist numbers from 1.49 million in 2018 to two million in 2020. Ms Mdachi said TTB is seeking to promote Tanzania in new markets, including India, the UAE and European countries. Tourist arrivals to Tanzania increased 12% year-on-year in 2018.

Studies underway to privatise Air Burkina

Air Burkina director of management control and internal audit Youssouf Zongo said “studies are in progress” for the potential privatisation of the airline by Burkina Faso’s Government. Mr Zongo commented: “There’s no deadline, but the objective is there”. In an interview with trade publication African Aerospace he revealed the airline is considering adding new destinations from 2H2019, including Abuja, Conakry, Libreville and Pointe Noire. The carrier also plans to increase frequency on existing services to Abidjan, Accra, Bamako, Bobo Dioulasso, Cotonou, Dakar, Lomé and Niamey using one Embraer E175 and two E195s leased from Nordic Aviation Capital since Nov-2018.

News Briefs

  • Air Seychelles has selected AirFi to provide wireless streaming inflight entertainment on board its new A320neo aircraft, due to be delivered in Jul-2019. The airline will provide a range of streaming content, including movies, TV shows, games, audio and moving maps on the new aircraft, which will not feature seatback screens.
  • Aigle Azur and ASL Airlines France have commenced a new codeshare partnership on routes between France and Algeria These include services from Paris CDG, Paris Orly and Toulouse to Algiers; and from Bordeaux, Marseille, Perpignan and Toulouse to Oran.
  • Nigeria’s Minister of State for Aviation Hadi Sirika said the government plans to develop a cargo terminal at Benin City airport to support agricultural exports from Edo State, with a focus on international markets.

CAPACITY SNAPSHOT: African Domestic Seats (as at 20-May-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

  • Jambojet plans to add four Bombardier Dash 8-Q400 aircraft to its fleet during 2019, which will be used for regional expansion. The aircraft are expected to be delivered in Jul-2019, Aug-2019, Sep-2019 and Nov-2019 and the carrier is considering new services to Bujumbura, Goma, Juba, Kigali and Zanzibar.
  • XL Airways France plans to deploy its new Airbus A330neo on Paris CDG-Reunion service when they arrive in 2020. The carrier will launch the route on 26-Jun-2019, according to the CAPA Route Changes Database.

CAPACITY SNAPSHOT: African International Seats (as at 20-May-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 Arabia plans to launch four times weekly Sharjah-Tunis service, effective 04-Jul-2019 with A320 equipment.
  • Air France has postponed the planned deployment of A350-900 equipment on its Paris CDG-Bamako-Abidjan service from 23-Sep-2019 to 07-Oct-2019, according to Routes Online.
  • Turkish Airlines plans to launch twice weekly Antalya-Casablanca service from 10-Jun-2019, operating with Boeing 737-800 aircraft.
  • Air Arabia Maroc plans to launch twice weekly Tangier-Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen service, effective 04-Jul-2019, operating with A320 equipment.
  • TUI Airlines Belgium plans to launch the following services to Morocco in summer 2019. These comprise Alicante, Lille, Madrid, Montpellier and Paris CDG to Casablanca; Alicante, Lille and Madrid to Nador; and links from Paris CDG to Oujda and Rabat.