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.

Recovery of South African Airways requires ‘very tough decisions’

South Africa’s Deputy Minister of Public Enterprises Phumulo Masualle said the “recovery” of South African Airways (SAA) “can be achieved within the parameters of the fiscal support already on the table”. Mr Masualle added: “This requires that we act together and it is true that very tough decisions in the immediate [future] need to be made”.

South Africa Department of Home Affairs trials e-Visa for Kenya passport holders

South Africa’s Department of Home Affairs (DHA) launched e-Visa trials for Kenya passport holders. Once rolled out, the e-Visa programme will allow visitors to apply for online visas to lesson administrative processes. DHA is planning to launch pilot e-Visa programmes in early 2020 for China, India and Nigeria, which are scheduled to run until Mar-2020.

Further growth in East Africa on cards for Jambojet as is awaits rights to expand regional network

Jambojet MD and CEO Allan Kilavuka said the airline considering new destinations in East Africa, but is awaiting the rights to commence services. Mr Kilavuka said securing operating rights is a “challenge” and is “the main thing that hinders us”. Mr Kilavuka noted that South Sudan is “the first place we are thinking of” and the carrier has applied for rights to serve the country. The airline has already secured rights for Goma and Somalia but is yet to launch services. The carrier remains in negotiations for slots in Mogadishu and is “planning for Goma”. The airline is examining how Goma “can complement our flights to Kigali,” says Mr Kilavuka. The Jambojet fleet has the range to serve destinations such as Blantyre, Khartoum, Kilimanjaro, Mwanza, Zanzibar and the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Development of aviation to contribute ‘immensely’ to Botswana’s economy, says President

Botswana’s President Mokgweetsi Masisi, in his 2019 State Of The Nation Address, stated the development of facilities and improvement of business for the aviation industry is expected to contribute “immensely” to the growth of tourism, mining and various business and trade opportunities. The government will continue to develop transport infrastructure in order to attract investors and tourists.

Nationalisation of Kenya Airways needs be completed ‘speedily’

Kenya Airways Group CEO and MD Sebastian Mikosz said it is important for Kenya’s Government to complete the process of acquiring full ownership of the airline “speedily”. Mr Mikosz said completing the process quickly is necessary to provide “an answer about what the future of the airline is in terms of its structure in the next five years”.

Air Seychelles sees demand exceeding expectations on new Seychelles-Tel Aviv service

Air Seychelles commenced a weekly Seychelles-Tel Aviv service with A320neo on 28-Nov-2019. The schedule is timed to enable connections to Johannesburg and Mauritius. CEO Remco Althuis reported 100% load factor of 120 passengers on the inaugural service and said the airline achieved “extremely strong bookings” with more than 90% load factor expected for the next two months. Mr Althuis said demand for the service “has definitely surpassed our expectations” and feedback from the Israeli market “has been very positive”.

Fly Angola seeks own AOC to ‘gain operational control’

Fly Angola GM Belarnicio Muangala said the carrier intends to acquire its own air operator’s certificate (AOC) to “gain operational control,” reports trade publication African Aerospace. The airline also plans to dry lease one Embraer EMB120 turboprop and acquire a second ERJ145. Mr Muangala commented: “We think financially it makes more sense to add aircraft under our own AOC”. Fly Angola operates one ERJ145 registered with AOC holder AeroJet.

Success for airlines depends on price, reliability, efficiency and productivity

Mango CEO Nico Bezuidenhout said success for airlines “is all about price and reliability”. Mr Bezuidenhout added: “Carriers that deliver on that will win at the end of the day”. He also commented: “It is all about efficiency and productivity of an airline’s assets, people and supply chain. If an airline is more reliable, innovate and communicate well with its passenger base, it has the ingredients for a sustainable business”.

News Briefs

  • Egyptian Holding Company for Airports and Air Navigation reported a +14.4% year-on-year rise in passengers during Oct-2019. This was driven by growth at the country’s three largest airports: Cairo International Airport, +19.1%; Sharm el-Sheikh International, +20.3%; and Hurghada International, +5.9%.
  • Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB) has signed a two year MoU with National Air Services (NAS) to promote tourism within and outside Tanzania. NAS plans to avail its lounges and other platforms to TTB for purposes such as displaying tourism advertising and documentaries on lounge TV screens.
  • Libya’s deputy Minister of Transportation Hisham Bushakiwat has reported that Tripoli Mitiga airport is planned to resume operations on 12-Dec-2019, following repair works and security preparation.

CAPACITY SNAPSHOT: African Domestic Seats (as at 02-Dec-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

  • Afriqiyah Airways is in discussions with Airbus for the purchase of 20 aircraft that will double the size of its operational fleet. Its chairman Mustafa Maatug stated the order will likely replace an outstanding order for 10 A350-900s and said the carrier is interested in A321neo aircraft.
  • South African Airways (SAA) received one new A350-900 (ZS-SDF, MSN 3), as recorded by the CAPA Fleet Database. The aircraft was delivered to Air Mauritius and leased to SAA.
  • Avmax Group and Viking Air have announced the delivery of two new Series 400 Twin Otter aircraft bearing (MSN 978 and 981). These new aircraft will be used for CNPC International (Chad) Co Ltd (CNPCIC), handling flights for personnel between N’Djamena and their bases in the south of Chad.
  • Air France plans to replace Airbus A380 with Boeing 777-300ER equipment on daily Paris CDG-Johannesburg service during winter 2020/2021 season, effective 25-Oct-2020, reports Routes Online.

CAPACITY SNAPSHOT: African International Seats (as at 02-Dec-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

  • Tarco Air plans to launch three times weekly Khartoum-Doha service, operating with Boeing 737-400 equipment.
  • Transavia France will launch 14 new routes from its new base in Montpellier in spring 2020, including African links to Marrakech, Agadir, Oujda, Tunis and Djerba.
  • fastjet Zimbabwe CEO João Oliveira e Sousa has revealed that the airline is considering commencing services to Beira, Kruger and Maputo.
  • Mack Air has been licensed by the Civil Aviation Authority of Botswana to operate Maun-Windhoek and Kasane-Victoria Falls services. Operations are expected to commence in Q4FY2020.
  • TUI Airlines Belgium plans to commence weekly Casablanca-Barcelona service with Boeing 737-800 equipment, effective 10-Apr-2020, according to the CAPA Route Changes Database. The route will be operated on behalf of TUIfly Maroc.
  • Cabo Verde Airlines plans to increase Sal-Lisbon frequency from seven to 10 times weekly in Dec-2019. The airline also plans to increase overall frequency to Brazil to 13 times weekly, expanding its offering of Lisbon-Brazil connections with stop overs in Cape Verde of up to seven days.
  • Tour operator Amara Tour plans to launch weekly Sibiu-Monastir seasonal service from 10-Jun-2020 to 23-Sep-2020.
  • Turkish Airlines plans to increase Istanbul-Marrakech frequency from five to seven times weekly, effective 16-Dec-2019.
  • TUI UK announced plans to launch weekly Sharm el Sheikh service from Bristol, Cardiff, East Midlands. Newcastle, effective Nov-2020. The leisure carrier will also reintroduce package holidays and hotel bookings for Sharm el-Sheikh for the winter 2020/2021 and summer 2021 seasons.