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.

UNWTO: Africa can become ‘a global tourism leader’

UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) secretary general Zurab Pololikashvili stated “Africa has everything to position itself as a global tourism leader”. Mr Pololikashvili added: “With a concerted approach we can expect international tourist arrivals to Africa to reach 135 million by 2030”. The UNWTO’s most recent data shows that international tourist arrivals to African destinations grew by 3% during the first six months of the year when compared with 2018. In particular, North African destinations continue to bounce back from recent difficulties, enjoying a 10% increase in arrivals for the six months.

Kenya Airways ‘competing in a very unequal situation’: CEO

Kenya Airways Group (KQ) CEO and MD Sebastian Mikosz said the airline is “competing in a very unequal situation”. Mr Mikosz commented: “There is no level playing field as we run against airlines that have completely different financial structures”. He said the airline “must change”, adding: “If we don’t, KQ will continue existing but will lose its market share because the competition is expanding extremely quickly and seizing the market share which will be extremely hard to regain”.

Ethiopian Airlines COO calls for greater cooperation between African airlines

Ethiopian Airlines COO Mesfin Tasew said African airlines must cooperate in areas including financing, maintenance, technical knowledge and developing human resources. Mr Tasew said a lack of trained aviation professionals is a “critical” problem for African airlines. He called for airlines to work together through codeshare arrangements and alliances and also recommended governments “play an active role in facilitating development of airlines in Africa”.

Air Seychelles targeting Africa, Europe and US connections with Tel Aviv service

Air Seychelles’ weekly Seychelles-Tel Aviv service, scheduled to commence on 27-Nov-2019, will be timed to enable connections to Mauritius and Johannesburg via the Seychelles. CEO Remco Althuis stated: “Flight connections from Tel Aviv provide the most direct and fastest ways to reach Europe or even the United States”.

New national carrier and local MRO facilities remain priorities for Nigerian Government: Minister

Nigeria’s Minister of State for Aviation Hadi Sirika said the establishment of a new national carrier and the development of MRO facilities in Nigeria remain priorities for the government. Mr Sirika said a new national carrier will position Nigeria to develop as a regional air transport hub. He said local MRO facilities will save costs for airlines by removing the need to send aircraft to other countries for maintenance.

Malawi Government allocates initial funds for construction of New Mzuzu International airport

Malawi’s Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Joseph Mwanamvekha presented the Malawi budget 2019/20, which allocates an initial MWK500 million (USD689,548) in funding for the construction of the New Mzuzu International airport. Mr Mwanamvekha stated the government also plans to engage external creditors for financing of Mangochi International airport and invest MWK2.5 billion (USD3.4 million) in the rehabilitation of the runway at Blantyre Chileka airport.

News Briefs

  • Zambia Airways received an operating permit and is completing certification with the Zambia Civil Aviation Authority, according to Zambia’s Ministry of Transport Permanent Secretary Misheck Lungu.
  • Ethiopian Airlines introduced Ka-band WiFi connectivity on its A350 fleet. The airline plans to extend the service across its long haul fleet. Passengers may access the service through credit/debit card payment or by redeeming ShebaMiles miles inflight or at customer service desks.
  • Cabo Verde Airlines increased the baggage allowance under ‘Promo’ fares for services departing Dakar, Lagos and Luanda, in response to “West African market requests”. The airline now offers one item of baggage for all destinations, except for Cape Verde-Dakar and Cape Verde-Luanda services which include two items of baggage for all fares.
  • Morocco Tourism Observatory reported visitor arrivals to Morocco for the six months ended Jun-2019 reached 5.4 million, up +6.6% year-on-year. The biggest source markets were France, Spain and Italy, all with growth above the average for the period.
  • has implemented Sabre’s cloud based ‘Digital Workspace’ solution for customer agents at all airports served by the airline. The system is expected to enable agents to deliver more personalised services and introduce check in workflows that improve productivity by up to 30%.
  • Bolloré Transport & Logistics inaugurated the ‘Aerohub’ multimodal logistics facility at Abidjan Felix Houphouet Boigny airport on 04-Sep-2019. The facility will handle, store and distribute frozen, cold and ambient temperature goods for the Côte d’Ivoire and regional markets.

CAPACITY SNAPSHOT: African Domestic Seats (as at 09-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

  • ATR announced Tunisair Express finalised a firm order for three ATR 72-600 aircraft. The aircraft will renew Tunisair Express’ regional fleet and be used for both domestic and international operations.
  • Airbus announced EgyptAir has received its first A220-300 aircraft. The carrier has 11 A220-300 aircraft remaining on order.
  • Tunisair says it is in the process of finalising negotiations with Airbus for the sale and lease back of five A320neo aircraft. The carrier is scheduled to receive three A320neo aircraft in early 2021 and two A320neos in early 2022.

CAPACITY SNAPSHOT: African International Seats (as at 09-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

  • Africa World Airlines plans to increase Accra-Lagos frequency from 31 to 34 times weekly, effective 28-Oct-2019. The additional frequencies depart Accra late at night and depart Lagos in the early morning. The airline also operates 11 times weekly Accra-Abuja service.
  • ASKY Airlines plans to commence three times weekly Lomé-Dakar-Praia service with Boeing 737-800 equipment on 01-Apr-2020, according to a 09-Sep-2019 GDS display. The service will be an extension of the airline’s existing Lomé-Dakar service, which will continue to operate seven times weekly overall.
  • Alitalia plans to extend Rome Fiumicino-Mauritius service to year round from winter 2019/2020. The carrier will resume the service on 25-Oct-2019, operating three times weekly with A330 equipment, according to the CAPA Route Changes Database.
  • Air Senegal plans to increase Dakar-Abidjan nonstop frequency from three to seven times weekly from 28-Oct-2019, replacing four times weekly Dakar-Bamako-Abidjan service. It will also increase Dakar-Bamako-Ouagadougou from three to four times weekly and Dakar-Conakry from five to seven times weekly, plus commence a three times weekly nonstop Dakar-Niamey service, replacing Dakar-Ouagadougou-Niamey flight.
  • Kenya Airways adjusted the schedule for four times weekly Nairobi-Malindi service for an earlier departure, effective 17-Sep-2019. The adjusted departure time is designed to enable better connectivity from Rome.
  • Air France plans to commence three times weekly Paris CDG-Seychelles service with A330-200 equipment, effective 29-Oct-2019, according to the CAPA Route Changes Database. The carrier last operated the route in May-2019, according to OAG.
  • Auric Air Services resumed 13 times weekly Dar Es Salaam-Dodoma service on 05-Sep-2019. The airline offers connections to the service from Iringa, Pemba, Tanga and Zanzibar.
  • Arik Air resumed daily Abuja-Warri and Lagos-Warri services on 06-Sep-2019. The airline suspended Warri operations earlier in 2019 due to the maintenance of one Q400 aircraft.
  • SA Airlink plans to increase Johannesburg-Pemba frequency from five to six times weekly in response to market demand, effective 24-Sep-2019. The airline operates the service with 37 seat Embraer ERJ135 equipment.