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.

IATA: Kenya’s aviation market projected to double over next 20 years

IATA reported over 4.7 million passengers travelled to Kenya in 2017, with aviation and tourism representing USD3.2 million in GDP. This accounted for 4.6% of Kenya’s GDP and supports 410,000 jobs. IATA projected the Kenyan market will double in size over the next 20 years, resulting in an additional 11.3 million passenger journeys, over 449,000 more jobs and a USD11.3 billion boost to GDP by 2037. IATA regional VP for the Middle East & Africa Muhammad Ali Albakri stated “air transport has been a major driver in Kenya’s economy” and in order for Kenya to “unlock the full social and economic benefits that aviation brings” it must “improve its infrastructure, open its skies, remain vigilant and firm on safety” and take “advantage of new technologies to improve efficiency and the passenger experience”.

Guinea Minister of Transport: ‘Good chance’ Guinea Airlines will launch operations in 2019

Guinea Minister of Transport Aboubacar Sylla stated “there is a good chance” Guinea Airlines will commence operations in 2019. According to Mr Sylla, the Guinean State has already paid its share of the capital of the company and is waiting for the contribution of other shareholders to make the airline operational.

Tanzania Government signs agreements for Air Tanzania to operate to 13 SADC destinations

Tanzania Works, Transport and Communications Minister Isaac Kamwelwe said the Tanzanian government has signed agreements for Air Tanzania and other airlines to operate to 13 destinations within the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC). Countries included in the agreements are South Africa, Mauritius, Angola, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Madagascar, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Seychelles, Mozambique and the Comoros. Mr Kamwelwe stated the aim of the agreements is to enable airlines to “provide aviation services inside and outside the region without obstacles”.

African airlines ‘have to cooperate on financial front’ to succeed

Ethiopian Airlines COO Mesfin Tasew said African airlines “have to cooperate on financial front, on maintenance, technical know-how and developing human resources among others” to succeed. Mr Tasew noted approximately 80% of African traffic is operated by foreign carriers. Mr Tasew said if carriers “cannot develop long term strategy, you cannot succeed. So, we have to help each other and government has to play an active role in facilitating development of airlines in Africa”.

News Briefs

  • Ethiopian Airlines has expanded its partnership with CellPoint Digital to offer WeChat Pay and KNET payment methods to passengers.
  • Swissport has won a seven-year licence renewal from the Office National Des Aéroports (ONDA) for provision of ground handling services at 15 airports in Morocco, effective 01-Oct-2019. The contract covers Agadir, Al Hoceima, Casablanca, Dakhla, Errachidia, Essaouira, Fès, Laayoune, Marrakech, Nador, Ouarzazate, Oujda, Rabat, Tangier and Tetouan airports.
  • Casablanca Mohammed V airport has opened a new passport control area to serve passengers with Moroccan passports in the airports arrival terminal. This new zone covers 1,200 square metres and features 20 counters including two dedicated to diplomats and two to fast track passengers.
  • Africa World Airlines and COMAC, China-Africa Development signed an MoU on joint promotion of China-Africa regional aviation cooperation. The parties will promote domestic China made aircraft to the African market, jointly develop African aviation market and develop a China made aircraft service guarantee system in Africa.

CAPACITY SNAPSHOT: African Domestic Seats (as at 16-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

  • Asky Airlines sales manager Nowel Ngala reported the airline plans to have a Boeing 737 only fleet. Mr Ngala said the airline will remove one Bombardier Q400 and acquire two additional Boeing 737s. This will bring the fleet to 10 aircraft by the end of the 1Q2020.
  • Turkish Airlines reportedly plans to deploy Boeing 787-9 aircraft on Istanbul-Cape Town service from 10-Mar-2020, instead of from 29-Mar-2020 as initially planned. The service operates five times weekly with A330-300 aircraft, according to OAG. The carrier’s fleet includes six 787-9s, according to the CAPA Fleet Database.
  • Jambojet took delivery of one Bombardier DHC8-400 (5Y-JXH, MSN 4604) aircraft on 12-Sep-2019, as recorded by the CAPA Fleet Database.
  • Ethiopian Airlines reversed planned Boeing 787-8 operations on Addis Ababa-Johannesburg route. The carrier will continue to operate the route once daily with A350 and twice daily 737-800 equipment.
  • Air Sinai plans to operate Cairo-Tel Aviv service with A220-300 equipment replacing Embraer E170, commencing 01-Mar-2020.
  • Dana Air received one Boeing 737-300 (5N-DNA, MSN 28400), as recorded by the CAPA Fleet Database. The aircraft is the first 737-300 for Dana Air and was previously in service with Southwest Airlines.
  • Zimbabwe’s Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development Joel Biggie Matiza stated Air Zimbabwe is finalising regulatory requirements to commence operating its Embraer ERJ145 aircraft, which was delivered in Apr-2019.

CAPACITY SNAPSHOT: African International Seats (as at 016-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

  • Royal Air Maroc plans to launch three times weekly Casablanca-Beijing Daxing service, effective 16-Jan-2020. The carrier plans to operate the route with Boeing 787-9 equipment.
  • Aero Contractors commenced a four times weekly Lagos-Benin service, effective 16-Sep-2019.
  • airBaltic announced plans to launch weekly Riga-Hurghada charter service from 26-Oct-2019 and weekly Riga-Sharm el Sheikh charter service from 27-Oct-2019. The services will operate with A220-300 aircraft, in cooperation with Tez Tour Latvija. The services will be suspended from 26-Apr-2020.
  • Ethiopian Airlines plans to commence twice weekly Addis Ababa-Jijiga-Mogadishu service on 16-Sep-2019, according to the CAPA Route Changes Database. The airline also operates nonstop Addis Ababa-Jijiga and Addis Ababa-Mogadishu services.