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.

Ethiopian Airlines in discussions ‘at all levels’ to establish new airline in Nigeria: CEO

Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO Tewolde GebreMariam stated the carrier aims establish a new airline in Nigeria. Mr GebreMariam said: “We are making it abundantly clear that we want to start a new one because starting from a clean slate or paper is advantageous because we won’t have any legacy or baggage to carry”. Mr GebreMariam stated the carrier is in discussions “at all levels” with private and local carriers as well as governments in Nigeria with “strong indication and interest from both sides”.

Mozambique Prime Minister attributes lower air transport costs to airspace liberalisation

Mozambique’s Prime Minister Carlos Agostinho do Rosario reported the liberalisation of Mozambique’s airspace has encouraged carriers to operate additional domestic routes, reduced the cost of air transport and influenced the entry of new investments. Mr Rosario noted the government is continuing to rely on airports to improve operational efficiency and implement competitive tariffs to create a more dynamic aviation environment.

Visitors want nonstop services to Cape Town; Norwegian targeted for London link

Wesgro CEO Tim Harris reported Wesgro is in negotiations with Norwegian Air for the potential future introduction of London Gatwick-Cape Town service. Mr Harris stated: “Visitors want to get to Cape Town with one flight” and demand is “all driven by consumer choice, and consumers demand to fly point to point”.

Aviation ‘vital’ to the fight against poverty in Africa

Air Peace chairman and CEO Allen Onyema stated aviation is “a key economic pillar for many African nations” and will aid in improving “Africa’s global standing”. Mr Onyema reported the sector “is vital to the countries’ fight against poverty in their respective territories” with job creation “just one benefit of having a robust aviation industry, in addition to building a stronger tourism and hospitality community”.

Cabo Verde Airlines enters agreement with International Bank of Cape Verde and Ecobank

Cabo Verde Airlines president and CEO Jens Bjarnason reported the carrier entered a USD24 million agreement with the International Bank of Cape Verde and Ecobank. Mr Bjarnason stated the agreement is potentially the final step in ensuring the sustainability and future of the carrier. He reported the carrier was aware it “would need additional capital for the next 18 to 24 months” after the development of its 2018-2024 business plan. Mr Bjarnason further noted Cabo Verde Airlines’ recently contracted credit line “will help us to operate during that time period”.

News Briefs

  • Mango has launched the ‘GoRewards’ rewards programme to provide its passengers with instant rewards. Passengers are entitled to personalised rewards such as local sports games, movies, adventures and experiences as part of the carrier’s strategy to “constantly find opportunities to unlock value for its flyers” as well as providing positive economic benefits for tourism.
  • Morocco’s Office National Des Aeroports reported further double-digit growth at airports across the country in Jun-2019. In total 2.1 million passengers were handled, up +26.5% year-on-year with the biggest airports Casablanca Mohammed and Marrakech reporting+22.8% and+36.2% growth.
  • South African Airways (SAA) regional manager Winnie Muchanyuka has reported the carrier has USD85 million of inaccessible funds locked in Zimbabwean banks.

CAPACITY SNAPSHOT: African Domestic Seats (as at 15-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

  • EgyptAir plans to deploy its Airbus A220-300 equipment on Cairo-Luxor, Cairo-Aswan and Cairo-Sharm el Sheikh domestic services, effective 06-Sep-2019, reports Routes Online.
  • Air Peace chairman and CEO Allen Onyema confirmed the airline will continue to take delivery of 10 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, however the carrier is “in close communication with Boeing for any important development”.
  • Comair received a Boeing 737-800 (ZS-ZWX, MSN 40727), as recorded by the CAPA Fleet Database. The aircraft was previously in service with Pegasus Airlines.

CAPACITY SNAPSHOT: African International Seats (as at 15-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

  • Cabo Verde Airlines reportedly submitted a request to ANAC to launch twice weekly Sal-Porto Alegre service, operating with Boeing 757-200 equipment, effective 12-Dec-2019.
  • Kenya Airways has been granted permission to operate the following domestic services for three years, effective immediately: Nairobi to Kisumu, Eldoret, Malindi, Lamu, Lokichoggio, Isiolo, and Masai Mara; Mombasa to Nairobi, Kisumu, Eldoret, Malindi, Lamu, Ukunda and Masai Mara; Kisumu to Nairobi, Mombasa and Eldoret; and Eldordet to Nairobi and Lokichoggio.
  • Trans Air Congo announced the resumption of services from Pointe-Noire to Libreville and Cotonou, effective 18-Jul-2019.
  • Camair-Co announced the launch of five times weekly service from Douala and Yaounde to Libreville on 16-Jul-2019.
  • Aigle Azur closed reservations for nonstop Marseille-Dakar service from 27-Jul-2019 due to fleet restructuring. The carrier is the sole operator on the route, according to OAG.