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.

Air Peace CEO describes SAATM as ‘a fraud against Nigeria’

Air Peace chairman and CEO Allen Onyema described the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) as “a fraud against Nigeria”, adding: “It has not created a level playing field for everyone”. Mr Onyema said other countries “are just making a feast out of Nigeria while at the same time making it difficult for Nigerian airlines to come into their countries”.

Parliamentary Committee recommends Kenyan Government take full ownership of Kenya Airways

Kenya’s Parliamentary Committee on Transport, Public Works and Housing recommended the government take full ownership of Kenya Airways and establish a holding company for government aviation assets. The proposed holding company would have four subsidiaries, including one to operate Kenya Airways and one to operate Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. Kenya’s Government holds a 48.9% stake in Kenya Airways. The committee’s proposals are subject to debate and a vote by parliament.

SA Express making ‘significant progress’ and not at risk of liquidation: Chair

SA Express (SAX) chairperson Tryphosa Ramano stated the airline’s board is “excited about the progress that the airline continues to make, despite concerted efforts by competitors and detractors to destabilise the airline”. Ms Ramano said the carrier’s “significant progress and recovery” will result in “stronger competition for those operators who stand to gain from its demise”. She also commented: “Those entities which had irregular dealings with the airline are unhappy that their contracts are under review under SAX’s new board and management” and stated: “SA Express… wishes to allay any fears based on the false rumours being peddled that the airline is facing imminent liquidation as a result of court action that has been brought against it by one of its service providers”.

UNWTO ‘Agenda for Africa 2030’ making progress

UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) reported it is making progress with its newly launched ‘UNWTO Agenda for Africa 2030’. The four year plan is aimed at realising the potential of tourism for Africa, with a special focus on tourism as a driver of poverty alleviation, job creation and professional development.

News Briefs

  • Kenya Airways is hopeful of receiving slots at Beijing’s new Daxing International airport upon its completion. Its CEO Sebastian Mikosz stated: “The Civil Aviation Authority said it will grant KQ slots in the new airport which is in the final stages of construction”.
  • São Tomé and Príncipe’s Government is reportedly working with Equatorial Guinea’s Government to establish a partnership between STP Airways and CEIBA Intercontinental which will see CEIBA replace euroAtlantic airways as a strategic partner in STP Airways.

CAPACITY SNAPSHOT: African Domestic Seats (as at 17-Jun-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

  • TAAG Angola has purchased six De Havilland Canada Dash 8-400 aircraft. The order was previously attributed to an unidentified customer. TAAG chairman Rui Carreira said the aircraft will enable the airline to better serve smaller communities and increase frequencies within the country.
  • Nouvelair Tunisie received one A320 aircraft (MSN 3827), as recorded by the CAPA Fleet Database. The aircraft is leased from GECAS.
  • ATR has announced Bestfly will take delivery of two ATR 72-600 aircraft from lessor Acia Aero in early Jul-2019 for the operation of corporate and charter services in Angola.
  • Ethiopian Airlines is among the airlines currently evaluating the Boeing 777X. The airline’s managing director international services, Esayas Hailu, confirms the aircraft is “in our radar. He adds: “If the outcome of the evaluation is good for us and fits into our mission, definitely, we are going to take it”.
  • Air Seychelles confirmed it plans to take delivery of its first A320neo (S7-VEV) in Jul-2019. It will be the first airline in the Indian Ocean and Africa to take delivery of an A320neo.
  • Air Austral has chartered an Airbus A330-200 from Aigle Azur to ensure continued operations between Mayotte and Paris following the grounding of a Boeing 787-8 aircraft (F-OLRC) on 03-Jun-2019 due to engine issues.
  • British Airways plans to extend London Heathrow-Cairo leased Air Belgium service until 31-Oct-2019. The Air Belgium A340-300 aircraft replaces its own Boeing 787-8 aircraft from 18-Aug-2019.

CAPACITY SNAPSHOT: African International Seats (as at 17-Jun-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

  • RwandAir launched a three times weekly Kigali-Mumbai-Guangzhou service on 18-Jun-2019. The service is an extension of RwandAir’s existing Kigali-Mumbai service.
  • Emirates Airline has increased Dubai-Durban frequency from daily to 11 times weekly, operating between 14-Jun-2019 and 04-Aug-2019. The carrier also launched its first class cabin for Boeing 777-300ER aircraft on Dubai-Durban service.
  • Air Peace chairman and CEO Allen Onyema said the airline plans to commence Johannesburg service on 02-Jul-2019 and Sharjah service on 05-Jul-2019. The carrier also plans to commence operations to India in late Jul-2019 or early Aug-2019.
  • Air India plans to commence four times weekly Mumbai-Nairobi service on 27-Sep-2019. The airline will reportedly deploy 256 seat Boeing 787-8 aircraft on the service.
  • Air Arabia Maroc plans to launch weekly Tangier-Bratislava service, operating between 30-Jun-2019 and 15-Sep-2019. The carrier will operate the route with A320 equipment.
  • Kenya Airways launched Nairobi-Geneva-Rome Fiumicino-Nairobi and Nairobi-Rome Fiumicino-Geneva-Nairobi services on 12-Jun-2019, marking its fourth and fifth destinations in Europe after Amsterdam, London and Paris. The carrier serves Geneva and Rome four times weekly with Boeing 787-8 equipment.
  • Ethiopian Airlines MD international services Esayas Hailu said the airline intends to resume service to Kaduna “whenever the economics justify it”. The airline previously operated to Kaduna for almost three years.
  • Westair Aviation reported it is eligible to service new destinations such as Cape Town, Walvis Bay, Ondangwa and Johannesburg, with local services expected to be introduced in Jul-2019 and regional services in Aug-2019.