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.

  • Ghana’s President to inaugurate new terminal at Accra Kotoka Airport in early Oct-2018
  • Sharp rise in South African visitors helps boost Mauritius tourism arrivals
  • FlySafair introduces ‘Express Check-In’ service
  • Ghana’s new national carrier set to be listed on stock exchange
  • Air Mauritius to introduce chat bot to handle customer enquiries
  • TUIfly increases winter capacity Germany to Egypt
  • ROUTE UPDATE: latest route launches and announcements
  • DATA SNAPSHOT: African domestic system seat capacity (data: w/c 10-Sep-2018)

Ghana’s President to inaugurate new terminal at Accra Kotoka Airport in early Oct-2018
Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo is scheduled to inaugurate the new terminal 3 at Accra Kotoka International Airport on 05-Oct-2018. Almost USD120 million has been invested in the terminal, with capacity to handle five million passengers p/a. Significant testing has already been completed on the facility.


Sharp rise in South African visitors helps boost Mauritius tourism arrivals
Visitor arrivals to Mauritius were up +9.3% year-on-year in Aug-2018, supported by a significant growth in numbers from South Africa, its fourth largest international source market. Arrivals from South Africa rose +20.3% to 10,371, helping boost global numbers to 109,471. Its largest visitor markets of France, UK and Reunion recorded a -0.7% decline, a modest +0.2% growth and a -0.9% decline, respectively. Other strong performing source markets in Aug-2018 were India (+18.2%), Australia (+16.8%), Italy (+16.6%), Switzerland (+12.8%), China (+10.7%) and Germany (+10.5%).


FlySafair introduces ‘Express Check-In’ service
FlySafair has launched ‘Express Check-In’ at all airports from which it operates, enabling staff to check in and issue boarding passes to passengers without checked in luggage before they reach the check in counter. The technology was developed in conjunction with Blue Market Retail Solutions, which also partnered with FlySafair to offer card transactions onboard all services. BlueMarket director of business development Theron Uys says: “This solution will play a major role in helping to reduce queuing times, especially at airports like George where wait times can be problematic”.


Ghana’s new national carrier set to be listed on stock exchange
Ghana’s Minister of Aviation Kofi Adda has revealed the government intends to list shares in the new national carrier on the Ghana Stock Exchange. The government is considering listing 10% to 15% of shares in the airline, with the remainder to be held by strategic investors. Mr Adda confirmed potential partners include Air Mauritius and Ethiopian Airlines.


Air Mauritius to introduce chat bot to handle customer enquiries
Air Mauritius e-sales and product manager (e-commerce commercial) Youvraj Seeam has said the airline plans to introduce a chat bot to handle customer enquiries and has considered solutions from Caravelo, IBM and Microsoft, according to a report. The system will initially handle frequently asked questions before expanding to including bookings and payment.


TUIfly increases winter capacity Germany to Egypt
European leisure carrier TUIfly plans to increase capacity from Germany to Egypt from “shortly before the beginning” of winter 2018/19. Overall, TUIfly will increase capacity by more than 20% year-on-year by the end of Apr-2019, offering 27 weekly services. Hurghada remains the top destination with up to 19 weekly frequencies, while Marsa Alam will also see increased frequencies. The carrier will commence service to Luxor for the first time from Nov-2018. TUIfly’s winter 2018/19 Egypt timetable includes services from Berlin Tegel, Duesseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Hanover, Munich and Stuttgart.


Route Updates

  • Qatar Airways plans to launch four times weekly Doha-Mombasa service with Airbus A320 aircraft from 11-Dec-2018, marking its second destination in Kenya. The airline sees Kenya as an “important” market for its passengers. Qatar Airways will be the sole operator on the route, according to OAG.
  • Fly-SAX commenced twice daily Nairobi Wilson-Eldoret service on 07-Sep-2018. The airline operates the service with 37 seat Bombardier Dash 8-100 equipment
  • Ethiopian Airlines has delayed the launch of three times weekly Addis Ababa-Istanbul Atatürk-Moscow Sheremetyevo service from 15-Nov-2018 to 06-Dec-2018, according to the CAPA – Centre for Aviation Route Changes Database.
  • Iberia plans to offer premium economy class on its services to Johannesburg in summer 2019, operated with Airbus A330-300 aircraft. Iberia’s A330-300s operate with 29 business class, 21 premium economy and 242 economy seats.
  • LATAM Airlines Brazil plans to increase Sao Paulo Guarulhos-Johannesburg frequency from five to seven times weekly, effective 01-Feb-2019, almost two months earlier than first planned.
  • Finnair plans to operate a weekly Helsinki-Hurghada charter service with Airbus A321 equipment, effective 18-Dec-2018.

  • DATA SNAPSHOT: African domestic system seat capacity (data: w/c 10-Sep-2018)Source: CAPA – Centre for Aviation and OAG