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 key aviation and travel news stories from across Africa.

  • Kenya Tourism Secretary: ‘Quite a number of airports in Africa are not up to standard’
  • Air Seychelles cites competition and seasonality as reasons for end to long-haul flying
  • Chad’s new national carrier set to fly under Tchadia Airlines brand
  • Kenya Airways attributes improved results in 1H2018 to traffic growth
  • Zimbabwe holds ‘positive discussions’ on clearing airline ticket debts
  • Cameroon CAA carries out rehabilitation work at Bafoussam, Bertoua airports
  • Launch of Nigeria Air in 2018 remains feasible: NCAA director general
  • ROUTE UPDATE: latest route launches and announcements
  • DATA SNAPSHOT: Largest airports by cargo payload to/from Africa (w/c 03-Sep-2018)

Kenya Tourism Secretary: ‘Quite a number of airports in Africa are not up to standard’
Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Tourism Najib Balala has said the quality of services at African airports has an impact on tourism and repeat visits by travellers. He said: “Quite a number of airports in Africa are not up to standard. The frustrations of every client coming through our airport might make them not come back again”.


Air Seychelles cites competition and seasonality as reasons for end to long-haul flying
Air Seychelles CEO Remco Althuis confirmed the airline suspended long haul operations and sub leased its two A330 aircraft to Fiji Airways in response to greater competition and excess capacity, in an article in trade journal African Aerospace. Regarding the launch of Paris-Seychelles service by Air France in May-2018, Mr Althuis said: “The announcement that they wanted to get back on to the Seychelles pushed us over the edge. It’s not a direct cause and effect but it clearly didn’t help”. He commented: “The big paradox is that, given the seasonality of our business, we can’t operate long haul profitably. But, clearly, with more competition coming into the island, it’s a larger market to feed our domestic flights”.


Chad’s new national carrier set to fly under Tchadia Airlines brand
Chad’s Civil Aviation Authority director general Mahamat Adjam reportedly said the new national carrier, to be launched through a partnership between Chad’s Government and Ethiopian Airlines, will be named Tchadia Airlines. Mr Adjam said the airline will initially operate two Bombardier Q400 aircraft and “will serve the four main cities in Chad and traffic to neighbouring countries”. As previously reported by CAPA, the airline is expected to commence operations on 01-Oct-2018.


Kenya Airways attributes improved results in 1H2018 to traffic growth
Kenya Airways has attributed a 30.8% year-on-year improvement in its pre-tax loss in 1H2018 to 6.6% growth in passenger numbers. Revenue increased 3.1% due to increased passenger traffic and overall yield improvement. Direct operating costs increased 13.9% due to “increased pressure on global fuel prices”. Fleet costs decreased 2.2% due to fleet rationalisation, which was completed in Nov-2017. Chairman Michael Joseph said: “The business has remained resilient and is focused on delivering solid results. We continue to optimise the network to create more connections through our hub in Nairobi and in turn increase efficiency in order to reduce overall costs and return to profitability”.


Zimbabwe holds ‘positive discussions’ on clearing airline ticket debts
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor John Mangudya commented on issues regarding the remittance of ticket revenue to foreign airlines, stating: “We owe IATA around USD80 million in air tickets purchased in Zimbabwe”. He added: “We are putting in place measures to ensure that the country’s arrears to IATA are paid… We have been in constant touch and positive discussion with IATA and its member airlines on the matter”.


Cameroon CAA carries out rehabilitation work at Bafoussam, Bertoua airports
Cameroon Civil Aviation Authority (CCAA) has advised that rehabilitation work was carried out at Bafoussam Airport and Bertoua Airport in Aug-2018, including the installation and commissioning of “certain basic equipment”. The equipment will help ensure safe operations and better ATM control, as well as a “smooth flow” of services. Once Ngaoundere Airport is similarly equipped in the coming days, the CCAA plans to then focus on strengthening human resources at each of the three secondary airports.


Launch of Nigeria Air in 2018 remains feasible: NCAA director general
Nigeria Air is expected to receive an air transport licence and air operator’s certificate from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) within 90 days from 04-Sep-2018, reports Nigerian media. NCAA director general Muhtar Usman said the proposed launch of the airline in Dec-2018 remains feasible.


Route Updates

  • SA Airlink plans to introduce the Embraer 170 aircraft on three weekly Johannesburg-Richards Bay frequencies from 17-Sep-2018. The airline will continue to operate other frequencies with 29 seat Jetstream 41 equipment and will increase E170 frequency on the route from 01-Oct-2018.
  • Fly Tristar Services plans to launch four times weekly Nairobi Wilson-Lamu service, effective 07-Sep-2018, operating via Mombasa. According to OAG, Safarilink, AirKenya and Fly-SAX also operate on the route, while Fly540 operates Lamu-Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta.
  • Air Peace has adjusted services from Lagos to Accra, Banjul and Dakar to operate at night, effective 02-Sep-2018.
  • British Airways leased an A340-300 from Air Belgium to operate London Heathrow-Cairo service from 03-Sep-2018 to 05-Sep-2018, substituting for Boeing 787 aircraft.
  • Precision Air plans to increase Seronera frequency from four to five times weekly and Kilimanjaro-Nairobi frequency from three to five times daily, effective Oct-2018.

  • DATA SNAPSHOT: Largest airports by cargo payload to/from Africa (w/c 03-Sep-2018)Source: CAPA – Centre for Aviation and OAG