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.

Kenya expects 10% tourist arrival growth for 2019, despite slight drop in 1H2019

Kenya forecasts international tourist arrivals to the country to increase +10% year-on-year to 2.2 million for the full year 2019. International visitor numbers decreased 0.7% to 921,090 in 1H2019, but cabinet secretary for tourism Najib Balala highlights a +9.4% increase in arrivals from the US and growth from markets including China, France and Uganda. He says: “The American market is still growing. That is our key market. We are also putting emphasis in the Chinese market where have a strategy for the market”.

Air Senegal to adjust Dakar-Paris schedule to improve connection options

Air Senegal plans to adjust Dakar-Paris CDG service to operate overnight rather than during the day, effective 27-Oct-2019. The change is designed to support the development of Dakar Blaise Diagne International airport as an international hub by enabling connections between Paris and destinations including Abidjan, Bamako, Bissau, Conakry, Nouakchott, Ouagadougou and Ziguinchor.

Africa World Airlines enters interline partnership with ASKY and Ethiopian

Ghanaian carrier Africa World Airlines has launched a partnership with ASKY Airlines and Ethiopian Airlines to offer “seamless connections”. The interline agreement will enable connections from the regional destinations of Kumasi, Tamale and Takoradi to more than 140 destinations in Africa, Europe, the Middle East and North America, via Accra’s Kotoka International airport.

Nigeria’s Government closes Enugu Airport to refurbish runways

Nigeria’s Government plans to close Enugu Akanu Ibiam International airport indefinitely following major repairs to its runway. The airport will cease operations from 24-Aug-2019 at 00:00. Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria general manager of corporate affairs Henrietta Yakubu said: “A date to reopen the runway will be communicated in due course”.

New Air Service Agreement puts Brazil on RwandAir’s radar

The signing of an air services agreement by the governments of Rwanda and Brazil has opened RwandAir’s thought process on the launch of flights linking Kigali to the South American country. The airline’s CEO Yvonne Manzi Makolo says: “If there is one country we would like to start with entering South America, it is definitely Brazil…we can now concretely put Brazil in our plan for future expansion.”

News Briefs

  • Air Mauritius reported improved financial results with a net loss of EUR4.1 million in Q1FY2019/2020, ending 30-Jun-2019, compared to a net loss of EUR14.9 million in Q1FY2018/2019. Load factor increased from 78% to 80.2%, revenues decreased -2.3% year-on-year and costs decreased -7.3%. The airline noted the first quarter of the financial year coincides with the low tourism season. The carrier is finalising a new business model based on an improved network and fleet.
  • Ghana’s President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo inaugurated the USD70 million second phase of Tamale airport‘s construction project. The second phase consists of the construction of a terminal building, a multi-purpose Hajj facility, and other ancillary facilities expected to be completed in 30 months. The project aims to increase economic and trading activities.
  • Executive aviation specialist Jetex is witnessing a growing demand in North Africa. CEO Adel Mardini says “an increase in the number of private jets in Morocco has seen an increased demand for exclusive FBO terminals and private flight support services” as “previously these services were contracted to commercial airlines”.
  • Angola’s Government plans to sell its whole or partial stakes in 195 companies between 2019 and 2022 under a privatisation programme. Companies to be privatised include airlines TAAG, Sonair and a new airport management company that will replace the Empresa Nacional de Exploração de Aeroportos e Navegação Aérea (ENANA).
  • Indonesian airport operator Angkasa Pura II says it has identified seven potential African investment opportunities to expand airport capacity in South Africa, Egypt, Ethiopia, Morocco and Algeria. Additionally, it identified nine potential airport construction projects in Egypt, Ethiopia, Angola, Tanzania, Sudan, South Africa, Rwanda, Burkina Faso and Zambia. The news follows the Indonesia-Africa Infrastructure Dialogue forum which took place in Bali on 20/21-Aug-2019.

CAPACITY SNAPSHOT: African Domestic Seats (as at 19-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

  • Air Austral plans to complete discussions on the future of its medium haul fleet in the coming months and conclude medium haul fleet development by the end of 2020, reports ATW Online. The airline’s fleet comprises one ATR 72-500, two Boeing 737-800s, two 787-8s and three 777-300ERs, according to the CAPA Fleet Database.
  • EgyptAir received one Boeing 787-9 (SU-GEW, MSN 65093), as recorded by the CAPA Fleet Database. The airline now operates six aircraft of this type.

CAPACITY SNAPSHOT: African International Seats (as at 19-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

  • CEIBA Intercontinental reportedly plans to commence Niamey service within three months, marking its first route to Niger. The airline currently serves nine international destinations in Africa, according to OAG.
  • South African Airways plans to delay the launch of Johannesburg-Guangzhou service from 18-Sep-2019 to 12-Jan-2020. The service will operate with A340-300 aircraft.
  • Cabo Verde Airlines plans to commence five times weekly Sal-Lagos service on 09-Dec-2019. The airline will operate the service with Boeing 757 equipment configured with 22 premium and 161 economy class seats.
  • Kenya Airways plans to increase Nairobi-Cape Town frequency from five to seven times weekly, effective 27-Oct-2019. The airline operates the service with Boeing 737-800 equipment. The carrier also operates Nairobi-Livingstone-Cape Town and Nairobi-Victoria Falls-Cape Town services, according to OAG.
  • Air France-KLM-Martinair Cargo plans to commence weekly Amsterdam-Johannesburg-Lusaka-Harare-Nairobi-Amsterdam service with Boeing 747F equipment on 03-Sep-2019, marking the reintroduction of Lusaka to the carrier’s schedule after a three year absence.
  • Silverstone Air plans to launch Nairobi-Homa Bay service, effective 02-Sep-2019.