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.

Uganda Airlines set to fly and ‘disrupt the market’

Uganda Airlines plans to commence operations on 28-Aug-2019. The airline will initially operate from Entebbe three times weekly to Bujumbura, daily Dar Es Salaam, twice daily Juba, daily Kilimanjaro, four times weekly Mogadishu, three times weekly Mombasa and twice daily Nairobi services. The carrier will operate two Bombardier CRJ900 aircraft configured with 12 business class and 62 economy class seats. The airline’s commercial director Jenifer Bamuturaki stated: “We want our presence to disrupt the market…We have not come into this market as underdogs”.

Air Seychelles to boost capacity as first A320neo arrives

Seychelles’ Principal Secretary for Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine Alan Renaud stated (02-Aug-2019) the arrival of Air Seychelles’ first A320neo aircraft “definitely marks the start of a new chapter in the development of the national airline”. Mr Renaud added: “The increased seat capacity available on the aircraft, will enable Air Seychelles to continue delivering significant contribution towards both the growth of tourism and the Seychelles economy”. Airbus VP sales for sub-Saharan Africa and the Indian Ocean Hadi Akoum commented: “The A320neo will allow Air Seychelles to increase capacity on its network, while delivering significant fuel savings and reducing the airlines’ operating costs”. The carrier’s A320neo is configured with 12 business class and 156 economy class seats.

Nigeria adjusts air services agreements in line with SAATM

Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority director of air transport regulation Edem Oyo-Ita stated Nigeria “streamlined” bilateral air services agreements with other African countries in line with the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) project. He commented: “We should expect more countries to fly into Nigeria as well as Nigerian airlines flying into their countries”. Outside of the African market, the Airline Operators of Nigeria has criticised the allocation of five daily frequencies to UAE airlines operating to Nigeria, while one Nigerian carrier only operates three times weekly to the UAE. Its executive chairman Nogie Mr Meggison commented: “This is a colossal plundering of the Nigerian economy through capital flight and a huge loss of Nigerian jobs”. He called for Nigeria’s Government to review all existing bilateral air services agreements “to readdress the unfair trade advantage given to foreign airlines against Nigerian airlines”.

Air Tanzania may commence London service in 2020

Air Tanzania MD and CEO Ladislaus Matindi said the airline hopes to secure permission to commence operations to London Gatwick Airport by the end of 2020. The carrier intends to operate three times weekly Dar Es Salaam-Kilimanjaro-London Gatwick service with Boeing 787-8 equipment.

Botswana’s and Kenya sign MoU to support resumption of Gaborone-Nairobi services

Botswana’s President Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi reported: “A number of MoUs were signed by government of Botswana and government of Kenya” for the launch of “direct flights between Gaborone and Nairobi operated by Kenya Airways and Air Botswana”. But, it seems there is still a little way to go before flights commence. Kenya Airways country manager for Botswana Juliet Zintambila reported the route resumption is “still a work in progress with no definite date as of now” and “the signing of the Air Services Agreement has opened a new beginning that is greatly expected to strengthen the process”.

News Briefs

  • Royal Air Maroc signed has signed a codeshare agreement with Royal Jordanian, which will see the Middle East carrier’s code added to its Casablanca-Amman service.
  • Nigeria’s Air Peace is considering establishing an operational base at Asaba International airport and its chairman and CEO Allen Onyema has called for the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria to “quickly” grant approval for the airport to handle Boeing 777 aircraft.
  • Turkish Airlines has transferred its Dar Es Salaam operations to the newly opened terminal 3 at Julius Nyerere International airport, effective 04-Aug-2019.

CAPACITY SNAPSHOT: African Domestic Seats (as at 05-Aug-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

  • Bestfly received the first of two ATR 72-600 aircraft in Toulouse on 02-Aug-2019. The aircraft was ferried to Luanda, with the second expected to arrive by 10-Aug-2019. Both aircraft are leased from ACIA Aero Capital and are the first ATR -600 series aircraft to operate in Angola.
  • Royal Air Maroc has adjusted operational equipment for its Rotterdam services, effective 28-Oct-2019. According to Routes Online it will use Boeing 737-700s on its twice weekly services from Nador and Tangier, replacing older 737-400 aircraft.
  • Air Botswana has appointed Aircraft Leasing and Management as the exclusive remarketing agent for the sale of one ATR 42-500 turboprop (A2-ABN, MSN 507). The aircraft is available for immediate sale with delivery in Gaborone.

CAPACITY SNAPSHOT: African International Seats (as at 05-Aug-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

  • Camair-Co plans to resume three times weekly Douala-Cotonou service on 13-Aug-2019. The airline reportedly suspended the service in early May-2019 due to aircraft availability issues.
  • Ethiopian Airlines increased Addis Ababa-Asmara frequency from 14 to 18 times weekly, effective 07-Aug-2019, according to the CAPA Route Changes Database. The airline resumed the service in Jul-2018 following a 20 year suspension of operations between Ethiopia and Eritrea.
  • TAAG plans to suspend twice weekly Luanda-Rio de Janeiro Galeão service, effective 24-Oct-2019. The airline is currently scheduled to resume the service weekly from 02-Apr-2020.
  • Cabo Verde Airlines plans to commence inter island services from 13-Aug-2019 with ATR 42-300 equipment in partnership with lessor Lease Fly and tour operator Newtour. It will operate Praia to São Vicente (seven times weekly); Praia to São Filipe (four times weekly); São Vicente to Praia (five times weekly); São Vicente to Sal (five times weekly);S al to Praia (seven times weekly); and Sal to São Vicente (three times weekly).