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.

TAAG and Infotur to launch tourist stop over programme in Angola in 2020

TAAG and Angola’s Tourism Promotion Institute (Infotur) plan to launch a stopover programme for transit passengers in 2020. The programme will enable travellers to visit locations in Luanda, Benguela, Huila, Namibe, Malanje, Zaire and Cuando Cubango as part of their trip via Angola. The programme is intended to particularly attract passengers transiting between Southern Africa and Europe.

Air Seychelles reveals new cabin crew uniform and showcases A320neo interior

Air Seychelles introduced a new cabin crew uniform, featuring a design which matches the carrier’s new A320neo cabin. The airline’s 168 seat, two class A320neo cabin was designed by LIFT Strategic Design. Business class features Collins Aerospace MiQ seats with a large storage space console and power outlets in each seat. Economy class features 18 inch wide Collins Aerospace Meridian seats with USB chargers.

Uganda Airlines ‘committed’ to profitability, but will need ‘babysitting’ for the time being

Uganda Airlines chair Godfrey Pereza Ahabwe said the airline is “committed” to breaking even and eventually delivering a profit for Uganda’s Government. He commented: “Definitely, we are a baby airline, and we expect continued babysitting, at least for the time being, from Government and our dear comrades from Parliament”.

SA Express secures additional financial support from South African Government

SA Express received extended financial support from South Africa’s Department of Public Enterprises on 30-Aug-2019, following the lifting of the suspension of services to the airline by Airports Company South Africa. SA Express stated the “necessary financial support” enables it to “resume operations in a sustainable manner”. The carrier also stated: “The extension of the financial support will thus not only ensure a reliable schedule and improved on time performance for the airline… but also provide it with the necessary liquidity to grow its fleet”. The airline added: “This will, in turn, allow SA Express to become even more competitive and to further expand its network by introducing new routes and additional frequencies on key domestic and regional routes”.

CANSO calls for collaboration and innovation to improve ATM in Africa

Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO) advocated strong regional collaboration and the acceleration of innovation to improve the performance of air traffic management (ATM) in Africa. CANSO director general Simon Hocquard stated: “As Africa continues to experience rapid growth in air traffic, it is vital that the ATM industry works together ensure consistent, high levels of service provision across the region”. Mr Hocquard added: “We need to continue to grow these collaborative initiatives and accelerate the adoption of innovative procedures and technologies if we are to achieve safe, seamless, and sustainable ATM”.

News Briefs

  • African Airlines Association (AFRAA) secretary general Abdérahmane Berthé confirmed the association plans to launch a consultancy unit. Mr Berthe said the unit’s main objectives “will be to provide utility-oriented studies to airlines and stakeholders, undertake methodological macro-econometric modelling and forecasting of the aviation industry with a view to providing value added, client-centred products and services”.
  • SITA announced it will provide its airport management solution to Algiers Houari Boumediene airport’s new terminal. The system aims to centrally manage the terminal’s operations including from passenger processing, baggage handling to the real time allocation of resources.
  • TAAG has reportedly reached an agreement with the Angola Airline Pilots’ Union (SPLA) on elements of a new labour agreement that will safeguard operations and end proposed strike action.
  • Interim Government of Eastern Libya signed an agreement with the Bank of Commerce and Development to finance and construct a terminal at Benghazi Benina International airport. The agreement covers a period of 25 years, after which the terminal will be returned to the Libyan State.

CAPACITY SNAPSHOT: African Domestic Seats (as at 02-Sep-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 CEO Jens Bjarnason noted new narrowbody aircraft, such as the A321LR, have a similar capability to serve the Americas and Europe from Cape Verde as the airline’s Boeing 757 fleet. He said: “If the hub and spoke operation in Sal proves to be successful, we will develop a fleet replacement strategy to meet our future need for new and fuel efficient aircraft”.
  • Ibom Air plans to expand its fleet from three to five aircraft and increase operations at its Uyo hub, according to Akwa Ibom State’s commissioner for information and strategy Charles Udoh. Mr Udoh said the state government is also pursuing plans to develop a second runway at Obong Victor Attah International airport.

CAPACITY SNAPSHOT: African International Seats (as at 02-Sep-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 commence seven times weekly nonstop Addis Ababa-Tokyo Haneda service by 2021. The airline currently operates five times weekly Addis Ababa-Seoul Incheon-Tokyo Narita service.
  • Cabo Verde Airlines plans to suspend weekly Praia-Boston Logan service and commence weekly Sal-Boston Logan service with Boeing 757-200 equipment, effective 09-Dec-2019, according to the CAPA Route Changes Database.
  • Silverstone Air commenced daily Nairobi Wilson-Homa Bay service with 37 seat Dash 8 equipment on 02-Sep-2019, according to the Kenya Airports Authority. The service operates in the morning and Silverstone Air COO David Ojwang said the airline is considering adding an afternoon frequency.
  • Air India plans to commence four times weekly Mumbai-Nairobi service on 27-Nov-2019. The airline will operate the service with Boeing 787-8 aircraft. Kenya Airways also operates the route, according to OAG.
  • Proflight Zambia commenced three times weekly Ndola-Johannesburg service with 50 seat CRJ equipment on 02-Sep-2019. The airline stated the service enables onward connections to Solwezi and Lusaka.
  • Thomas Cook Airlines Scandinavia will launch weekly Oslo-Hurghada service, with A321 equipment, effective 18-Oct-2019.
  • Asiana Airlines plans to launch weekly Seoul Incheon-Cairo scheduled charter service with Boeing 777-200ER aircraft, effective 06-Dec-2019. The charters will operate until 28-Feb-2020.