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 Seychelles to launch Seychelles-Tel Aviv service with A320neo; interline with El Al will deliver transfer traffic

Air Seychelles announced (09-Jul-2019) plans to commence weekly Seychelles-Tel Aviv service effective 27-Nov-2019, operating A320neo equipment. The carrier’s A320neo will be configured with 12 business and 156 economy seats and is expected to be delivered by the end of Jul-2019. To facilitate the new route, Air Seychelles entered an interline agreement with El Al to provide onward connections to 20 destinations across Europe, expecting to increase demand to the area from the EU once the interline agreement is established. The service will be timed to enable connections to Johannesburg, Mauritius and Mumbai via the Seychelles. Air Seychelles CFO Michael Berlouis noted the new route will enable the carrier to “open up the Seychelles market, evaluate and develop the destination further” in addition to opening opportunities to introduce a second “A320neo on the route if need be as Tel Aviv has a high GPD per capita”.

Air Zimbabwe and Mack Air launch ‘Flame Lilly Hoppa’ service

Air Zimbabwe and Mack Air entered an agreement to launch joint domestic and regional operations under the ‘Flame Lilly Hoppa’ brand, effective immediately. ‘Flame Lilly Hoppa’ will involve services from Victoria Falls and Harare to tourist destinations including Hwange, Kariba and Chiredzi. Additional services include routes operating between Zimbabwe, Botswana, South Africa and Mozambique. The ‘Flame Lilly Hoppa’ fleet will comprise one Mack Air Cessna Grand Caravan EX and one Air Zimbabwe Embraer ERJ145.

Air Namibia rejects reports of Frankfurt service suspension

Air Namibia stated it will continue to operate Windhoek-Frankfurt service according to its published schedule and rejected reports claiming that Namibia’s Cabinet reached a decision to suspend the route due to lack of financial viability. The airline is working with consultants to re-evaluate its strategy and support its business model to ensure the company’s sustainability. The programme includes identifying opportunities to improve financial performance, enhance efficiency and reduce costs across the network, including the Frankfurt route.

South African Airways and Gol enter codeshare and loyalty agreement

South African Airways (SAA) and Gol – Linhas Aéreas (GOL) entered into a codeshare and frequent flyer agreement, effective immediately. SAA will place its code on 20 connecting GOL services in Brazil to destinations including Rio de Janeiro, Brasília, Curitiba, Porto Alegre, Belo Horizonte, and Florianópolis. The agreement additionally allows SAA and GOL frequent flyers to accrue and redeem miles from both companies.

IATA CEO meets with Zimbabwean President to discuss aviation’s contribution to the economy

IATA announced director general and CEO Alexandre du Juniac met Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa to discuss the contribution of aviation to the country’s economy and development. The meeting aimed to address and find a mutually acceptable solution for the release of USD196 million in revenues owed to airlines from Zimbabwe as well as ensuring current levels of air transportation in the nation for economic and social development.

Air Peace calls for Nigerian Government to ‘stop unfair competition’

Air Peace chairman and CEO Allen Onyema called for support from Nigeria’s Government to “stop unfair competition”. Mr Onyema added: “The policy of multiple designations and frequencies for foreign carriers is detrimental to our economy. Our airlines will not grow under this policy. The government must help us grow the sector and not stifle it”.

Med-View Airline on track to reach profitability, says CEO

Med-View Airline CEO Alhaji Muneer Bankole has confirmed the airline is in discussions with banks to raise capital and reported the carrier is on track to reach profitability. Mr Bankole reported the carrier has set a monthly turnover target of NGN376 million (USD1 million) and plans to return to profitability once it takes delivery of three aircraft by the end of 2019.

News Briefs

  • Cabo Verde Airlines reportedly offered 50,000 shares, representing 5% of total share capital, for sale to employees at a 15% discount on the share price. The share offer is available for one month from 01-Jul-2019.
  • Jambojet received IOSA registration, according to IATA’s official website. It is the second IOSA registered airline in Kenya after Kenya Airways.
  • RwandAir entered a JV with Nexus to locally train aviation members in efforts to decrease the cost of training individuals abroad and hiring expatriates. Nexus will own 60% of the training school while Akagera Aviation will own the remainder.
  • Angola’s Government has reportedly allocated a budget of at least USD300 million for the rehabilitation and expansion of Luanda Quatro de Fevereiro International airport. The construction is scheduled to be carried out in 2020 and is expected to last 18 to 24 months.

CAPACITY SNAPSHOT: African Domestic Seats (as at 08-Jul-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

  • Cabo Verde Airlines plans to expand its fleet to four Boeing 757s in 2019, potentially five in 2020 and 12 in 2023, according to Loftleidir Icelandic SVP sales and marketing Erlendur Svavarsson.
  • Turkish Airlines plans to deploy A330-300s on four of seven weekly Istanbul-Accra frequencies from 13-May-2020 and on a daily basis from 13-Jul-2020. The service currently operates with A330-200 and Boeing 737-900 aircraft, according to OAG.
  • South African Airways will reportedly source the two A350-900s that it will deploy on its Johannesburg-New York route from LATAM Airlines Group.
  • Ethiopian Airlines received a Boeing 737-800 (S2-AHC, MSN 39051), as recorded by the CAPA Fleet Database. The aircraft was previously in service with Jet Airways.
  • Camair-Co plans to operate services from Douala and Yaounde to Garoua, Maroua and Ngaoundere with Boeing 737 equipment. The airline has reportedly received one 737-500 owned by Taron Avia.

CAPACITY SNAPSHOT: African International Seats (as at 08-Jul-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

  • Mozambique’s President Filipe Nyusi reportedly said LAM – Mozambique Airlines may resume operations between Mozambique and Europe from Mar-2020, potentially serving Lisbon first in partnership with TAP Air Portugal or another carrier.
  • Air Botswana reportedly plans to resume Gaborone-Harare service, effective Aug-2019. It previously suspended the route in Nov-2016.
  • Iberia has confirmed plans to launch four times weekly Madrid-Cairo service effective 02-Mar-2020 with two class 141 seat A319 aircraft.
  • Air Senegal plans to commence four times weekly Dakar-Bamako-Abidjan service with A319 equipment on 02-Aug-2019. The carrier already operates nonstop Dakar-Bamako service.
  • easyJet plans to launch twice weekly Manchester-Hurghada and Bristol-Hurghada services, effective 30-Oct-2019.
  • Proflight Zambia plans to launch three times weekly Ndola-Johannesburg service with Bombardier CRJ100 aircraft, effective 02-Sep-2019 to 03-Jan-2020.
  • Thomas Cook Airlines plans to operate a one off London Gatwick-Seychelles service with A330-200 aircraft on 14-Nov-2019, according to Routes Online. The return service will operate on 15-Nov-2019.