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 and Seychelles Tourism Board renew joint marketing agreement

Air Seychelles and Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) signed a MoU to renew their joint marketing agreement, aiming to reinforce their collective support in promoting destination awareness. Air Seychelles and STB aim to collaborate on several joint marketing and PR initiatives and attend key tourism events. STB CEO Sherin Francis has urged hotels and airlines to provide promotional packages for the low season in May and June to boost tourism arrivals. Ms Francis stated if the country looks to “achieve bigger growth in 2020, our strategy has to focus on our weakest months of the year”. Ms Francis additionally noted Seychelles has experienced “with an average growth of only 3.6% hotel beds over the 2016 to 2018 period… We have to remain mindful of that when planning for growth as rooms have become an inhibiting factor”. Seychelles’ Tourism Minister Didier Dogley reported the nation’s tourism industry is “doing well” with no “major turbulences” looking forward, however the nation “must be mindful that this industry is a very dynamic and fragile one”.

Other African countries are approaching Air Peace to collaborate in the set up national carriers

Air Peace CEO Allen Onyema stated Nigeria must “resist” African counties attempting to launch operations in Nigeria. Mr Onyema reported Nigerian airlines are “very strong” and it is “insulting for another African airline to come to our country to help us set up a national carrier”. Mr Onyema said Nigeria’s Government must “trust our airlines” because “other African countries are coming to Air Peace for assistance to set up their own national carriers”.

euroAtlantic airways and LAM negotiate agreement for Lisbon-Maputo service

euroAtlantic airways president Eugenio Fernandes has stated the carrier would be interested in cooperating with LAM – Mozambique Airlines to resume Lisbon-Maputo service at least until Mar-2020. euroAtlantic airways sent a delegation to negotiate an agreement with LAM and the Mozambique Government. Mr Fernandes stated: “We believe we can be a good partner”. According to OAG, TAP Air Portugal is currently the sole operator on the route.

Less than a third of Flysafair passengers take bags, according to CEO

Flysafair CEO Elmar Conradie reported approximately 30% of the carrier’s passengers take check in bags on board. Mr Conradie stated: “The question is why do all the other airlines charge you for a bag that you don’t actually take? So we decided to take the bag out, it was a big deal”. Mr Conroadie additionally noted the carrier has “taken out any excess weight” and implemented “slim line seats that weigh less” with aims to save fuel. He also acknowledged the carrier needs to “see a middle class develop in Africa, a proper middle class” and noted it is “the middle class that fly with the low cost carriers and that go on holidays”.

Uganda Airlines to initially operate to Nairobi, Dar Salaam and Mogadishu

Uganda’s Minister of Works and Transport, Monica Ntege Azuba reported initial destinations for Uganda Airlines include Nairobi, Dar Es Salaam and Mogadishu to familiarise crew with procedures and standards. Ms Ntege Azuba noted “immediately after that” destinations such as Kilimanjaro, Juba, Bujumbura and Mombasa will be added to the carrier’s network, followed by Kinshasa, Khartoum, Addis Ababa, Zanzibar, Kigali, Harare, Lusaka and Johannesburg from Sep-2019.

IATA not recommending travel restrictions in Democratic Republic of Congo due to Ebola

IATA reported its Emergency Committee is not recommending any travel restrictions or the closure of borders at points of entry due to the outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The committee additionally does not consider entry screening at airports or other ports of entry outside the region to be necessary. IATA will continue to monitor developments closely in the Ebola outbreak in close coordination with the World Health Organisation and ICAO.

News Briefs

  • The governments of Liberia and Belgium have entered an air transport agreement with the aim of strengthening aviation services between the countries. The agreement is a renewal of an existing bilateral aviation agreement between the nations.
  • Saudi Arabia’s General Authority of Civil Aviation signed an air transport agreement with Senegal to enhance cooperation between the countries. The agreement includes several regulatory provisions guaranteeing the rights of the both countries and an aviation security and safety roadmap.
  • Zimbabwe’s Government reportedly held negotiations with Knighthood Capital with the aim for Air Zimbabwe (AirZim) “to resume international flights”, according to the airline’s chairman Patrick Chinamasa. Knighthood Capital is reportedly “looking for an investment partnership in which they can assist AirZim to lease planes”.

CAPACITY SNAPSHOT: African Domestic Seats (as at 22-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

  • Tanzania’s President John Magufuli reportedly stated the government will purchase another two A220-300 and one Bombardier Q400 aircraft for Air Tanzania. According to the CAPA Fleet Database, the carrier operates two A220-300s.
  • EgyptAir plans to operate a number of domestic services with Airbus A220-300 equipment starting from 06-Sep-2019, reports Routes Online. These include the Cairo-Aswan, Cairo-Aswan-Abu Simbel, Cairo-Hurghada, Cairo-Luxor and Cairo-Sharm el Sheikh.
  • Jasmin Airways CEO Ali Ben Amara stated the carrier is scheduled to receive its third Embraer E170 aircraft in Jul-2019. Mr Amara added the carrier plans to operate E190-E2 aircraft in four years to “consolidate” and “diversify” its network.
  • Comair took delivery of one leased Boeing 737-800 (MSN 40247). According to the CAPA Fleet Database, the carrier operates 19 aircraft of the type.
  • ExecuJet took delivery of its second Pilatus PC-24 aircraft. Its VP Africa Gavin Kiggen stated the aircraft’s “off-road capabilities” makes it “the perfect aircraft for exploring Africa”.
  • ASKY Airlines announced it took delivery of one Boeing 737-800 aircraft (ET-AXO). The aircraft is configured with 168 seats, including 12 business class seats.
  • Elix Aviation Capital has delivered an ATR 42-500 (MSN 633) to Afrijet Business Service. This is the first turboprop delivery by Elix to Afrijet, which now operates a fleet of three ATR 72-500s and three ATR 42-500s.

CAPACITY SNAPSHOT: African International Seats (as at 22-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

  • Ethiopian Airlines plans to reduce Addis Ababa-London Heathrow frequency from 10 to seven times weekly, effective 31-Oct-2019 to 10-Dec-2019. The airline operates the service with A350-900 equipment.
  • Air Tanzania commenced three times weekly Dar Es Salaam-Mumbai service on 17-Jul-2019. The airline operates Boeing 787-8 aircraft on the service. It is the sole scheduled operator on the route, according to OAG.
  • Qatar Airways plans to increase Doha-Casablanca frequency from seven to nine times weekly, effective 02-Aug-2019 to 13-Sep-2019, according to Routes Online. The carrier plans to operate the route with Boeing 787-9 equipment.
  • Austrian Airlines plans to increase Vienna-Cape Town frequency from weekly to three times weekly from 25-Dec-2019 to 18-Mar-2020, operating with Boeing 777-200ER.