2014:  IATA celebrates 100 years of commercial aviation

1 JANUARY, 2014, marks exactly 100 years since the birth of commercial aviation. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) invites everyone with an interest in aviation to join a year-long celebration of the 100th anniversary and take part in a conversation about what needs to happen to make the next 100 years even more momentous.

From a pioneering beginning to a global force for good

  1. On 1 January, 1914, a team of four visionaries combined efforts in the first scheduled commercial airline flight.

  2. Percival Fansler organised the funding for the St. Petersburg-Tampa Airboat Line which provided the first scheduled air service across Tampa Bay, Florida

  3. Thomas Benoist’s airboat conducted the first flight, piloted by Tony Jannus.

  4. Abram Pheil, then mayor of St. Petersburg, paid US$400 at auction for the 23-minute flight.

These pioneers could not have envisioned the transformational changes that would follow. The industry began with only one passenger on one route on 1 January, 1914. Today the global aviation industry provides unprecedented connectivity and positively impacts—directly and indirectly—people in all corners of the world. Some key statistics include:

  1. On average, every day more than 8 million people fly. In 2013 total passenger numbers were 3.1 billion—surpassing the 3 billion mark for the first time ever. That number is expected to grow to 3.3 billion in 2014 (equivalent to 44% of the world’s population).

  2. About 50 million tonnes of cargo is transported by air each year (about 140,000 tonnes daily). The annual value of these goods is some US$6.4 trillion—or 35% of the value of goods traded internationally.

  3. Aviation supports over 57 million jobs and generates US$2.2 trillion in economic activity. The industry’s direct economic contribution of around US$540 billion would, if translated into the GDP ranking of countries, place the industry in 19th position.

  4. Global airline industry turnover is expected to be US$743 billion in 2014, with an average industry net profit margin of 2.6%.

Over the last century, commercial aviation has transformed the world in ways unimaginable in 1914. The first flight provided a short-cut across Tampa Bay. Today the aviation industry re-unites loved ones, connects cultures, expands minds, opens markets, and fosters development. Aviation provides people around the globe with the freedom to make connections that can change their lives and the world,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

“Aviation is a force for good. And the potential of commercial flight to keep changing the world for the better is almost unlimited. Aviation has always been a team effort. Growing and sustainably spreading the benefits of connectivity will require the industry, governments, regulators and local communities keep true to the ‘all-in-it-together’ ethos that was the bedrock of that pioneering first flight. And we should be guided by the long-term interests of all whose lives are positively transformed by commercial aviation every day. A hundred years is something worth celebrating. And we look forward to creating an equally remarkable legacy for commercial aviation’s second century,” said Tyler.

Commemorative Activities

  1. A website ( www.flying100years.com) will be launched in 1 January 2014 to host the centennial celebration. Along with historical and economic reference materials, the website will also be an interactive information hub depicting the value that commercial aviation provides from personal, economic and other perspectives.

  2. Twitter conversations about aviation’s first century can be linked through #flying100

  3. IATA is one of the sponsors of Flight 2014 which is planning to re-enact the first commercial passenger flight using a Hoffman X-4 “Mullet Skiff” amphibious flying boat, similar in many respects to the original Benoist airboat which performed the first flight. The Hoffman will take off from St Petersburg, Florida and fly across the bay to Tampa at 10:00am US Eastern Standard Time, re-tracing the exact path taken by Jannus and Pheil 100 years ago.

– 31 December, 2013


Ethiopian secures PDP loan financing for
Boeing 777-200LR Freighters

ETHIOPIAN AIRLINES has mandated Natixis as PDP Facility Lead Arranger and Eastern and Southern African Trade and Development Bank (PTA Bank) as PDP Facility Co-Arranger to provide pre-delivery payment loan financing for its batch of four new Boeing 777-200LR Freighter aircraft, to be delivered between autumn 2014 and winter 2015.

Ethiopian Airlines, Natixis and PTA Bank have announced today that they have completed the multi-tranche PDP financing. Boeing will deliver four B777-200LRF to the airline which will be operated in the group’s expanding cargo network around the world.

Ethiopian Cargo is the largest cargo operator in Africa with a network covering 24 destinations across Asia, Europe, Africa and Middle East, using six dedicated freighters. The addition of the four B777-200LR Freighters is part of Ethiopian Cargo Vision 2025 strategic roadmap of supporting the fast growing exports of perishables from Ethiopia and enabling increased trade between Africa and the rest of the world.

“We are phasing-in the latest technology cargo aircraft with the aim of supporting Ethiopia’s exports and the booming trade between Africa and the rest of the world. The B777-200 LR Freighters have proven capabilities that are ideal for the transport of perishables. In addition to our two existing cargo hubs in Addis Ababa and Liege in Europe, we have recently established a third cargo hub in Lome, Togo, with our partner airline in West Africa, ASKY Airlines. Going forward, we plan to establish similar cargo hubs in Southern and Central Africa with the aim of facilitating trade and investment within Africa and between Africa and the rest of the world,” said Chief Executive Officer of Ethiopian Airlines, Tewolde Gebremariam.

Admassu Tadesse, President of the Eastern and Southern Africa Trade and Development Bank, remarked: “There is no doubt that Ethiopian Airlines is playing a very important role in interconnecting Africa with itself, and the rest of the world. As a regional financial institution, we are pleased to continue to support Ethiopian as it grows and serves Africa better than ever. It is certainly giving practical expression to its mantra as 'the new spirit of Africa”.

In line with its Vision 2025, Ethiopian Cargo aims to generate US$2 billion in revenue, uplift 820,000 tons of cargo and operate to 37 destinations using 18 dedicated freighters by 2025.

– 24 December, 2013


Ethiopian Airlines and RwandAir sign MRO agreement

ETHIOPIAN AIRLINES, the fastest growing and most profitable airline in Africa, is pleased to announce the signing of a technical support agreement with fellow African airline, RwandAir on 18 December, 2013, in Addis Ababa.

The technical support agreement was signed by Ethiopian Airlines Group Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Tewolde Gebremariam, and RwandAir Chief Executive Officer, Mr. John Mirenge. Per the agreement, Ethiopian will provide technical support service to RwandAir as of March, 2014, for line maintenance up to A-Check and component exchange support for B737NG and Q400 aircraft. Ethiopian MRO Services will deploy a technical team in Kigali to carry out the day to day activities on site while being supported as required from the main base in Addis Ababa.

Mr Tewolde Gebremariam (left) and Mr John Mirenge
signing the MRO agreement in Addis Ababa.

“This agreement with RwandAir is the type of co-operation that is needed to ensure the success of the African aviation industry. We are very pleased to expand our co-operation with RwandAir to the area of MRO. It is only by harnessing our resources and capabilities in Africa and establishing all-round co-operation including in the MRO, commercial and training areas that we will be able to withstand the stiff competition from foreign carriers and succeed in a highly competitive, capital intensive and skill driven industry,” said Chief Executive Officer Tewolde Gebremariam.

“RwandAir recognizes the important role Ethiopian Airlines has played as a pioneer MRO provider in Africa over the years thus it was imperative that we explore the opportunity for MRO partnership. Agreements such as the momentous one signed here today further strengthen the bond between RwandAir and Ethiopian Airlines while continuing to show the world that the African aviation industry remains a vital catalyst for African economic growth and advancement,” stated RwandAir’s CEO John Mirenge.

In line with its Vision 2025 strategic roadmap, Ethiopian MRO Services aims to become the most competitive and leading provider of commercial aircraft maintenance, repair, and overhaul in Africa by 2025.  Ethiopian MRO Services has a certified facility by both the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and the European Aviation Safety Agency and has MRO capabilities in Boeing and Bombardier aircraft.

– 20 December, 2013


Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET-815 of 18 December, 2013 - Update 1

ETHIOPIAN AIRLINES would like to refute all unfounded speculations regarding the incident of Ethiopian flight ET-815 from Addis Ababa to Kilimanjaro of 18 December, 2013. Such unfounded speculations are against international procedure and practice of incident investigation and communications.

Although Ethiopian Airlines should strictly follow the international procedures and will not make pre-judgmental statements before the incident is fully investigated by relevant and competent authorities, there was miscommunication between the control tower and the flying crew, which resulted in landing at Arusha airport. The aircraft had adequate fuel to fly to an approved alternate airport.

All passengers and crew were unharmed and have been taken to their intended destinations. The aircraft did not sustain any damage.

Ethiopian Airlines would like to apologize to its esteemed passengers for the inconveniences caused.

– 9 December, 2013


Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET-815 of 18 December, 2013

ETHIOPIAN AIRLINES Flight ET-815 of 18 December, 2013 on a scheduled service from Addis Ababa to Kilimanjaro was unable to land at Kilimanjaro Airport due to a disabled light aircraft on the runway.

While landing at Arusha Airport, its nose gear slightly went off the runway. All passengers and crew deplaned safely.

Ethiopian Airlines regrets the delay during the disembarking process and apologizes to all passengers on-board the flight for the inconveniences caused.

– 18 December, 2013


Star Alliance CEOs determine strategy for 2014

THE CHIEF Executives of Star Alliance member airlines, representing one-third of the global aviation industry, met in Vienna to discuss the strategic development of the Alliance, including the benefits offered to its most loyal customers, its membership strategy and important projects and topics for 2014.

Calin Rovinescu, Chief Executive of Air Canada and Chairman of the Alliance's Chief Executive Board (CEB), said the chief executives reaffirmed that the universal offering of the Star Alliance Gold status benefits across the network was a major attraction of the Alliance for customers and that every effort must be made to deliver these benefits consistently across the globe.

“Star Alliance's aim is to deliver our promises for our customers consistently on every trip in any part of the world,” Rovinescu said. “We continue to review the steps that have been taken to ensure this promise is carried through in every location Star Alliance serves, and will continue to make this our focus going forward.”

The attractiveness of the Gold status has been illustrated in recent weeks by the high level of participation in a Star Alliance competition offering Gold membership in one of the Star Alliance frequent flyer programmes as a prize. The competition, accessible from www.staralliance.com, has drawn over a quarter of a million interested visitors.

A further central topic in the CEOs' discussions was the Alliance's membership strategy, which focuses on having a strong global network that benefits both customers and the member airlines.

“After due consideration and analysis, the CEB agreed unanimously to extend Avianca's Star Alliance membership to include Avianca Brazil and to recommence the integration process with Air India,” Star Alliance CEO Mark Schwab said. “This will allow us to maintain our presence in Brazil following the departure of TAM Airlines and to build a presence in one of the most important aviation markets where we do still not have a member carrier – the Indian sub-continent.”

Integration of Air India was suspended in 2011 to give the airline more time to focus on the internal challenges caused by its merger with Indian Airlines. In the two years since then it has worked through these issues and also invested heavily in its fleet, laying the groundwork for a major improvement in its services to customers.

Admission of Avianca Brazil will go some way towards reinforcing the Star Alliance network in Brazil following TAM's departure in the first half of 2014, and complement the Alliance's already strong position in Latin America through its members Avianca and Copa Airlines.

The CEB reaffirmed that the Alliance model was an important component in today's competitive environment and noted that Star Alliance is not only still the largest of the three airline alliances but also has the most robust experience in growing its membership smoothly.

“Many of today's global standards in aviation have been created by Alliance experts, for instances in safety, through check-in or barcode technology,” said Lufthansa CEO Christoph Franz. “Alliances are good for the industry and will remain relevant in the future.”

Looking at the global development of aviation, Franz joined other European Airline colleagues in repeating the wake up call to the continent's political decision makers.  “We urge them to come to grips with creating a single European Sky, we urge them to understand that continued investments into sufficient infrastructure on the ground and in the air is required to keep up with the global industry development,” he said.

Other highlights of the CEB discussions included a review of top Alliance achievements in 2013, such as the integration of EVA Air from Taiwan, which completed the Alliance's network strategy for the Greater China region. In addition, a new Star Alliance Lounge was opened at Los Angeles' Tom Bradley International Terminal. Furthermore, investments in backend infrastructure were approved, with the aim of improving data flows to ensure that mileage accrual for passengers works more smoothly across the network and that loyalty status information is always kept up to date.

Looking ahead to 2014, the opening of Terminal 2: the Queen's Terminal at London Heathrow on June 4 will be a major milestone for the Alliance, offering the first opportunity for all 22 Star Alliance member airlines that operate to Heathrow to be located in the same terminal.

“With over 23% of market share at Heathrow we have a solid presence in this heavily contested market,” Schwab said. “Today we are scattered around three terminals: tomorrow we will be united under one roof, creating terrific value for our passengers who will have a more comfortable airport experience and reduced transfer times as a result.” The CEB's next meeting will be held In London to coincide with the opening of the new terminal.

The Star Alliance network was established in 1997 as the first truly global airline alliance to offer worldwide reach, recognition and seamless service to the international traveller. Its acceptance by the market has been recognized by numerous awards.

The member airlines are: Adria Airways, Aegean Airlines, Air Canada, Air China, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Austrian, Avianca, Brussels Airlines, Copa Airlines, Croatia Airlines, EGYPTAIR, Ethiopian Airlines, EVA Air, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, Shenzhen Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, SWISS, TAM Airlines, TAP Portugal, Turkish Airlines, THAI, United and US Airways. Air India has been announced as a future member airline with Avianca Brazil to join under the existing Avianca membership. Overall, the Star Alliance network offers more than 21,900 daily flights to 1,328 airports in 195 countries.

– 18 December, 2013


Air Côte d’Ivoire to acquire Bombardier Q400s

BOMBARDIER AEROSPACE today announced that its purchase agreement with Abidjan-based airline, Air Côte d’Ivoire, is now firm. The transaction, which was announced as a conditional purchase agreement on November 18 during the Dubai Airshow, covers two Q400 NextGen aircraft with options for an additional two. Air Côte d’Ivoire is the national airline of Ivory Coast.

Based on list price, the contract value for the two firm-ordered Q400 NextGen aircraft is approximately US$69 million. Should the two options be converted to firm orders, the contract value would increase to US$141 million.

During the Airshow, René Decurey, Chief Executive Officer, Air Côte d’Ivoire said: “The dual-class-configured Q400 NextGen aircraft is ideally suited for our market; it will support passengers’ requirements and integrate well into our fleet. We will capitalize on the Q400 NextGen aircraft’s outstanding performance – including its high speed and long-range cruise capability – as we look to modernize our fleet and expand our domestic and regional route network. Additionally, in West Africa, where average fuel prices are among the highest in the world and the highest on the continent, the fast, fuel-efficient Q400 NextGen turboprop airliner is the most cost-effective and flexible regional aircraft solution for our operations.”

“The Q400 NextGen aircraft is performing extremely well in Africa where we now have 14 customers and operators, and more than 50 aircraft in service or on order,” said Mike Arcamone, President, Bombardier Commercial Aircraft. “We are very encouraged by our sales performance on the continent, having captured 100% market share over the last two years in the 20- to 99-seat turboprop segment.  “We’re delighted to be contributing to Air Côte d’Ivoire’s growth strategy, and look forward to helping the airline launch service with its Q400 NextGen aircraft,” said Mr Arcamone.

Bombardier’s Dash 8/Q-Series turboprops and CRJ regional jets have made significant advances in Africa to the point where these commercial aircraft now comprise 50% share of the fleet of 37- to 120-seat aircraft on the continent, with approximately 160 aircraft in service, or on order, by more than 40 operators.

Bombardier’s customer support network for commercial aircraft in Africa includes a Regional Support Office (RSO) and spare parts depot, co-located in Johannesburg, South Africa, as well as Authorized Service Facilities in South Africa and Ethiopia. A transitional Bombardier manufacturing facility which produces simple structures including flight controls for the CRJ Series aircraft is located in Nouaceur in the Greater Casablanca region in Morocco. Construction of a 150,000 square foot (13,935 square metre) Bombardier permanent facility in Nouaceur began in September, 2013.

Including the order announced today, Bombardier has booked 480 firm orders for Q400 and Q400 NextGen turboprops.  The Q400 NextGen turboprop is the most recent development in the evolution of the Q400 aircraft and the advanced successor to Bombardier’s Dash 8/Q-Series family of aircraft. Optimized for short-haul operations, the “comfortably greener,” 70- to 86-seat Q400 NextGen aircraft is a large, fast, quiet and fuel-efficient turboprop. It provides an ideal balance of passenger comfort and operating economics with a reduced environmental footprint.

Worldwide, Q400 and Q400 NextGen aircraft have transported more than 295 million passengers and have logged over 4.7 million flight hours and more than 5 million take-offs and landings. The Q400 and Q400 NextGen aircraft program includes some 50 customers and operators in over 30 countries on five continents.

Bombardier is the world’s only manufacturer of both planes and trains.  It is headquartered in Montréal, Canada. Its shares are traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange (BBD) and are listed on the Dow Jones Sustainability World and North America Indexes. In the fiscal year ended December 31, 2012, it posted revenues of US$16.8 billion.

– 18 December, 2013


SAA extends code-share agreement with Mango

SOUTH AFRICAN Airways (SAA) announced that effective 13 December its existing code-share agreement with stablemate low cost airline Mango, will be extended to also include further coastal cities in South Africa, as well as Bloemfontein.

SAA already has a code-share agreement in place with Mango for operating flights between Cape Town and Durban, as well as on the route between Lanseria Airport and Cape Town.

The existing code-share will now be extended to include the routes between Johannesburg to Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth and George. Other routes to be included are those between Cape Town and Bloemfontein and Cape Town and Port Elizabeth.

Flights have been available for sale from 13 December, 2013.

Mango will continue to be the operating carrier with SAA placing its code “SA” on the above flights as the marketing carrier. SAA customers will therefore travel on a ticket starting with “SA” and then the flight number, while Mango customers will travel on a ticket starting with the “JE” code.

Voyager members will earn miles only if they book their flights on the SAA flight number, as is the case on the Mango flights between Durban – Cape Town and Lanseria – Cape Town.

“The new agreement represents an expansion of an existing, successful code-share partnership, in place since 2010 between Cape Town and Durban as well as from Lanseria to Cape Town. It is in line with strategic imperatives as indicated in Gaining Altitude, SAA’s Long-Term Turnaround Strategy, whereby focus is placed on intra group operational efficiency and commercial impetus,” says Kendy Phohleli, SAA General Manager Commercial (Acting). “Mango’s exceptional on-time performance record, its quality on-board product and growing domestic network provides a natural value-fit to SAA and its passengers.”

Mango Chief Executive Officer Nico Bezuidenhout welcomes the agreement. “The success of existing code-share activities between the carriers bodes well for further intra-group network growth; by adding greater network choice through collaboration, not only will SAA passengers benefit, but commercially it represents a giant leap forward for both brands.”

South African Airways (SAA), Africa’s most awarded airline, operates to 42 destinations worldwide. In its domestic market SAA has an extensive schedule operating 660 flights in total per week between Johannesburg – Cape Town, Durban, East London and Port Elizabeth, from its Johannesburg hub, as well as code-shared flights between Lanseria – Cape Town and Durban. SAA offers more frequencies than any other airline in South Africa. Regionally, SAA offers 26 destinations across the African continent including Abidjan, Accra, Blantyre, Brazzaville, Cotonou, Dakar, Dar es Salaam, Douala, Entebbe, Harare, Kinshasa, Lagos, Libreville, Lilongwe, Livingstone, Luanda, Lusaka, Maputo, Mauritius, Nairobi, Ndola, Pointe Noire, Victoria Falls and Windhoek.

SAA’s international network creates links to all major continents from South Africa through 11 direct routes and code-shares, with daily flights from Johannesburg to London (Heathrow), Frankfurt, Munich, Mumbai, Perth, Hong Kong, Beijing, New York, Washington, Sao Paulo and Buenos Aires. SAA has code-share agreements with 27 other airlines across the markets it serves. SAA’s core business is the provision of passenger airline and cargo transport services together with related services, which are provided through SAA and its four wholly-owned subsidiaries: SAA Technical; Mango its low cost carrier; Air Chefs, the catering entity of SAA and South African Travel Centre (SATC). SAA is a Star Alliance member which offers more than 21,900 daily flights to 1,328 airports in 195 countries.

– 17 December, 2013


Air Mauritius Ground Services handles Emirates A380

AFTER HAVING successfully handled the first A380 flight of Emirates for the Independence Day celebrations of 12 March this year, the Ground Services team of Air Mauritius again did it this morning.  The team went through intensive training over the past days and were all motivated to take Air Mauritius handling activities to another level with the daily handling of the Emirates Airbus A380 as from today.

André Viljoen, CEO of Air Mauritius stated: “We are delighted to have the opportunity of being the first to handle the Airbus A380 in Mauritius.  I would like to thank Emirates for their trust in our services on the ground and our team at the airport (from technical and ground handling) for stepping up services again to successfully handle the largest passenger aircraft operating to Mauritius.

– 16 December, 2013


Ethiopian starts services to Semera, the home of ‘Lucy’

ETHIOPIAN AIRLINES, the fastest growing African airline, is happy to announce the commencement of services to Semera, the capital of the Regional State of Afar located in the North Eastern part of Ethiopia, starting from December 14, 2013. The new service will be operated thrice weekly with Ethiopian Q-400 Bombardier aircraft on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

The Afar region is well known for its early hominid fossil finds including 'Lucy', an Australopithecus afarensis, discovered in 1974, who lived about 3.2 million years ago, and more recently the Grandfather of ‘Lucy' dubbed ‘Kadanuumuu,’ which means “big man” in Afar language and which dates back to 3.5 - 3.8 million years ago.

Mr. Tewolde Gebremariam, Chief Executive Officer of Ethiopian Airlines Group said: “As the national carrier of Ethiopia, we have a duty to establish an extensive domestic network and air connectivity that enables the flow of tourism, business, investment and trade to all parts of the country. Today, Ethiopian Regional Services covers 18 domestic points, the largest domestic network in Africa. Now that Semera airport is ready, we are very happy to start our flights and to support the region's economic development.”

With the region's growing mining and tourism industry, passengers from the Afar region as well as others on Ethiopian’s extensive network in five continents, especially business and leisure travelers from Toronto and Washington DC making transfer flights to Semera, will be able to enjoy the smooth and hassle-free travel experience.

Ethiopian Regional Services is one of the seven strategic businesses units of Ethiopian Airlines Group and was established per Vision 2025 strategic roadmap with a view to cater to the growing domestic and regional travel needs.

Ethiopian commands the lion share of the pan-African passenger and cargo network operating the youngest and most modern fleet to more than 78 international destinations across five continents. The Ethiopian fleet includes ultra-modern and environmentally friendly aircraft such as the Boeing 787, Boeing 777-200LR, Boeing 777-200LR Freighter and Bombardier Q-400 with double cabin. In fact, Ethiopian is the first airline in Africa to own and operate these aircraft

Ethiopian is currently implementing a 15-year strategic plan called Vision 2025 that will see it become the leading aviation group in Africa with seven business centers: Ethiopian Domestic and Regional Airline; Ethiopian International Passenger Airline; Ethiopian Cargo; Ethiopian MRO; Ethiopian Aviation Academy; Ethiopian In-flight Catering Services; and Ethiopian Ground Service. Ethiopian is a multi-award winning airline registering an average growth of 25% in the past seven years.

– 12 December, 2013


Turkish Airlines expands its African network

TURKISH AIRLINES continues to expand its African network with the addition of Kano, Nigeria, as its 242nd destination and N'djamena, Chad as the 243rd.   Already a globally recognized brand, Turkish Airlines again strengthens its presence in Africa and now has a presence at 36 destinations in 25 African countries, making it one of the leading carriers to the continent. “Europe’s Best Airline” is now a dominant presence in Africa.

The second largest city of Nigeria, Kano is its 2nd destination in Nigeria - with an existing service to Lagos - and it has added N'djamena, the capital and largest city of Chad as its first destination in that country.  Beginning from today Kano/N’djamena flights will be operated 4 times per week.

Introductory trip fares are available from Istanbul to Kano starting at 499 Euros, and to N’djamena 549 Euros (including taxes and fees).  In addition, for the first six months of service to the airline’s new destinations, Miles&Smiles members are offered a 25% reduction in the miles needed to redeem either award tickets or upgrades.

Meanwhile, Turkish Airlines recorded 705 million TRY net profit in the third quarter of 2013.  Compared to the same period of 2012, Turkish Airlines sales revenue increased 28% for the third quarter and 26% for the nine months reaching a total of 13,9 billion TRY. While operating profit stood at 864 million TRY for the third quarter, it improved by 12% to reach 1 billion 303 million TRY for the nine months. Net profit for the third quarter was 705 million, in line with last year’s results, while for the nine months it was realized as 826 million TRY decreasing by 6%.

During the first nine months of 2013, 36,2 million passengers were carried implying a 24% increase in passenger traffic. In response to the 21% increase in available seat kilometres (ASK), revenue passenger kilometres (RPK) increased by 24%, resulting in 1,8 points increase in passenger load factor which came to 79,8% system-wide. According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) the overall industry growth for the same period in terms of  ASK and RPK was  5,0% and 4,3% respectively.

Flying to more countries than any other airline in the world Turkish Airlines’ network coverage increased to 239 destinations (197 international) in 104 countries including the 16 new international and 6 new domestic routes that have been launched in 2013. Having one of the youngest fleet in Europe with an average age of 6,6 years Turkish Airlines’ fleet size as of today is 231, comprising of 182 narrow body, 40 wide body and 9 cargo aircraft.

Turkish Airlines, while maintaining its profitability will continue to improve its network and service quality to be among the world’s leading carriers and to make Istanbul an essential hub for the international aviation industry.

– 12 December, 2013


Ethiopian commences flights to Singapore

ETHIOPIAN AIRLINES, the fastest growing Airline in Africa, announced the commencement of new flight services to Singapore at the inaugural ceremony held at Bole International Airport, Ministerial Salon on December 03, 2013. The event was graced by H.E. Mr. Getachew Mengistie, State Minister of Transport of the FDRE, H.E. Mr. Tadesse Haile, State Minister of Industry, H.E Mr. Lee Yi Shan, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry of Singapore, Mr. Tewolde GebreMariam, CEO of Ethiopian Airlines and other invited guests.

Singapore is one of the major global aviation hubs and a preferred gateway to Asia and Australia. Ethiopian flights will serve the growing traffic between Africa and Singapore, and is perfectly timed to give the best possible connectivity options to passengers travelling between most points in Australia/Asia and Africa in partnership with fellow Star member, Singapore Airlines.

Left to right: The CEO Tewolde G. Mariam, H.E Getachew Mengistie, H.E Mr. Lee Yi Shan
and H.E. Tadesse Haile cutting cake marking the opening of services to Singapore.

With the start of Ethiopian flights, passengers will be able to enjoy smooth and seamless connection between destinations in Australia such as Sydney and Melbourne, and all the major cities in Africa such as Addis Ababa, Nairobi, Lagos, Accra, Luanda and Johannesburg with minimum layovers.

Mr. Tewolde Gebremariam, Chief Executive Officer of Ethiopian said: “Singapore is a major and preferred gateway to Asia and Australia. That is why we have decided to make Singapore our main strategic point of access to the Oceania market and its huge Ethiopian/African Diaspora Community by availing excellent connectivity options through our code-share agreement with fellow Star Alliance member, Singapore Airlines. Our flights to Singapore will also greatly contribute to the strengthening of trade, investment, and tourism ties between a booming Africa and a highly developed, innovative, and business-friendly Singapore.” Ethiopian will be the first East African carrier to start services to Singapore, which will become the airline’s 78th international destination.

– 5 December, 2013


Air Mauritius signs code-share with Virgin Australia

AIR MAURITIUS has signed a code-share agreement with Virgin Australia, effective 10 December, 2013, which enables it to expand its reach in Australia beyond the hub in Perth.  This free flow code-share agreement will enable Air Mauritius to sell its code on Virgin Australia flights beyond Perth to and from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide.

Air Mauritius passengers travelling to and from these Australian destinations via the Perth hub will now enjoy a seamless travel experience. The new collaboration with Virgin Australia will make connections easier. Baggage will be taken care of till the final destination. Boarding passes will also be issued for the final destination at the originating station.

“This agreement improves our coverage of Australia through our hub in Perth. The new Air Mauritius – Virgin Australia partnership will enhance customer experience and also offer better choice and flexibility for our passengers,” said Andre Viljoen CEO of Air Mauritius.

Air Mauritius is the national carrier of the Republic of Mauritius.  Created in 1967, it currently operates a fleet of four A340-300s, two A340-300Es, two A330-200s, two A319-100s and two ATR72-500s.  Air Mauritius presently flies to 20 destinations in Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa and the Indian Ocean.

– 3 December, 2013


Air Seychelles expands its international schedule

AIR SEYCHELLES, the national airline of the Republic of Seychelles, today announced, that subject to regulatory approval, it will launch flights to Paris-Orly as part of a significant expansion to its international schedule.

Plans for an optimised regional network include the introduction of several new routes in 2014.  From February 2014, Air Seychelles will operate two return services per week between Seychelles and Paris-Orly via Abu Dhabi with an Airbus A330-200 aircraft, configured with 18 flat-bed Business Class seats and 236 Economy seats.

The new Paris-Orly services complement Etihad Airways’ existing double-daily services to Paris-Charles De Gaulle, giving travellers between the French capital and Abu Dhabi a choice of more flights per week, and new convenient connections to key destinations in the Etihad Airways network such as Ho Chi Minh City, Bangkok and Chengdu, as well as the cities across the Middle East.

Joel Morgan, Seychelles’ Minister for Home Affairs & Transport and Board Chairman, said: “I am delighted to see Air Seychelles return to France, Seychelles’ top market. Travellers boarding the flight in Paris-Orly will once again enjoy a seamless Air Seychelles operated flight and experience our unique and famous Creole warmth on their entire journey to Mahé.

“Our Abu Dhabi service schedule offers one of the fastest routes for travel between Seychelles and major European destinations, and has built a solid position in this important historical market. With our new service, we will be able to provide a fresh option for overseas visitors to travel to Seychelles on our flights, and we expect further significant growth from Europe.”

Currently, the iconic island carrier code-shares on 14 flights per week to Paris-Charles De Gaulle with equity partner Etihad Airways, offering a daily service between the archipelago and the French capital. The new flights will increase the connections to 18 per week.

The airline also unveiled a new regional network plan, subject to approvals, which will see significant expansion of its operations in the Indian Ocean in Q4 2014, following the delivery of an Airbus A319.

Highlights of the plan include:

  1. The launch of regional services to Antananarivo, Reunion and Mumbai

  2. An increase in services to Abu Dhabi from seven to eleven per week, offering a double daily service with equity partner Etihad Airways

  3. A network designed to maximise connectivity through the Seychelles, with two way connectivity throughout the region with Mumbai and Abu Dhabi and beyond.

The new regional schedule will see Air Seychelles operate three return flights per week to Mauritius and Mumbai, two return flights per week to Antananarivo and Reunion, and 11 return flights per week to Abu Dhabi.

The airline will also offer three return flights per week to Hong Kong, three return flights per week to Johannesburg, and two flights per week to Paris-Orly.  Altogether, the airline will see its weekly international services nearly double from 16 to 29 flights per week.

Cramer Ball, Air Seychelles Chief Executive Officer, said: “The new schedule will see Air Seychelles spread its regional footprint and build a solid position that will establish us as the carrier of choice in the Indian Ocean. It also greatly increases options for travel to and from the Indian Ocean, and with our new flights to Paris-Orly, we will also enjoy network feed provided by our convenient schedule times over Abu Dhabi, contributing to the bottom line.”

– 2 December, 2013


Ethiopian Airlines selects Rockwell Collins avionics suite

ETHIOPIAN AIRLINES has selected Rockwell Collins to provide the full suite of avionics equipment for its new and growing fleet of Boeing 777s, which currently includes 10 aircraft. The selection includes Rockwell Collins’ MultiScan™ Threat Detection System, GLU-925 Multi-Mode Receiver (MMR), Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance System (TCAS II) and SATCOM.

“We’re pleased to have the opportunity with this fast-growing African airline to help their pilots be more aware of their surroundings and operate more efficiently using our advanced avionics,” said Steve Timm, vice president and general manager, Air Transport Systems for Rockwell Collins.

Mesfin Tasew, COO, Ethiopian Airlines said, “We are pleased to reach in agreement with Rockwell Collins on our B777 avionics, the equipment provides advanced operational experience to our pilots and provides a smooth and safe flight experience to our customers. At the same time, it helps us to reduce cost, as we have maintenance and spares commonality on all our brand new B777 fleet.”

Ethiopian Airlines is the fastest growing and the most profitable airline in Africa. Ethiopian operates the youngest and most modern fleet to its more than 76 international destinations across six continents. Ethiopian fleet includes ultramodern and environmentally friendly aircraft such as the Boeing 787, 777-200LR, 777-300ER, 777-F and Bombardier Q-400 with double cabin.

Rockwell Collins’ MultiScan Threat Detection System is a fully automatic airborne weather radar system that combines the latest weather science with advanced engineering concepts to identify and analyze thunderstorm cells, and display weather threats. The end result is fewer flight diversions, which leads to lower fuel burn, and greater passenger comfort due to minimizing unexpected turbulent encounters.

Rockwell Collins’ industry-leading GLU-925 MMR enables airlines and operators to take advantage of evolving Required Navigation Performance (RNP)/Area Navigation (RNAV) and Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) capabilities. The GLU-925 fulfills the requirements for aircraft navigation position source, Category III Instrument Landing System (ILS), Category I Global Positioning Landing System (GLS), accessing RNP/RNAV airspace (down to RNP Authorization Required 0.1), and meets the GPS position and availability requirements for ADS-B Out mandates.

The TTR-921 and -2100 TCAS II systems assist pilots by providing airborne situational awareness of surrounding traffic and with the inclusion of ADS-B In applications, airlines will experience greater situational awareness to visually identify nearby traffic, thus improving safety.

For SATCOM, Ethiopian Airlines selected Rockwell Collins’ SAT-2200 and -2100 systems, which allows airline crews to maintain communications during all phases of flight without pilot intervention. The systems are compliant with the latest industry standard for Inmarsat SATCOM capability for classic Aeronautical operation.

– 26 November, 2013


Ethiopian becomes authorised Bombardier MRO

BOMBARDIER AEROSPACE celebrated its growing support network in Africa today by welcoming one of the continent’s leading carriers, Ethiopian Airlines, as yet another Authorized Service Facility (ASF) for commercial aircraft on the continent. The airline can now perform line and heavy maintenance on Q400 and Q400 NextGen turboprop aircraft under the Bombardier ASF banner.

Ethiopian Airlines operates a fleet of modern aircraft, and performs complete aircraft, as well as engine and component overhaul and repair services from facilities at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa. The facility employs an all-Ethiopian workforce of over 750 licensed technicians and support staff.

“Ethiopian Airlines is one of Africa’s most respected airlines and a valued Bombardier customer. Their commitment to excellence both in operations and maintenance services will benefit our operator base in the region and beyond, as a part of our network,” said Éric Martel, President, Customer Services and Specialized and Amphibious Aircraft, Bombardier Aerospace. “Through sustained investment and focus, we continue to expand our support services in Africa and are looking forward to this new chapter of our relationship with Ethiopian.”

“Ethiopian Airlines’ NextGen turboprops are proving their high value by delivering excellent passenger experience, operational flexibility and economics - confirming that they are excellent aircraft for operations in Africa,” said Tewolde Gebremariam, Chief Executive Officer, Ethiopian Airlines. “As a newly appointed Authorized Service Facility for Q400 and Q400 NextGen aircraft, we welcome the opportunity to expand our relationship with Bombardier and to provide maintenance services to other carriers as an increasing number of these modern turboprops take to the skies in our geographically diverse continent.”

Established in 1945, award-winning Ethiopian Airlines is the flagship carrier of Ethiopia. In 2012, the airline received one of Bombardier’s top honours - an Airline Reliability Performance Award - for outstanding dispatch reliability on its Q400 aircraft fleet. Last September, the airline became the first to take delivery of the NextGen version of the Q400 turboprop airliners outfitted with a dual-class configuration on Bombardier’s production line. These five dual-class aircraft are currently in service with the airline and its affiliate, ASKY Airlines of Togo.

In total, the carriers operate a fleet of 13 Q400 NextGen airliners as well as the first full-flight simulator for Q400 turboprops installed in Africa. Ethiopian also recently announced a new strategic partnership with Malawian Airlines that will see the upstart airline leverage Ethiopian-sourced aircraft, including the NextGen turboprop.

This announcement follows earlier news that Bombardier established a full service Regional Support Office and Parts Depot in Johannesburg, South Africa. The additions are the latest in Bombardier’s accelerated service and support deployment throughout Africa. In 2012, Bombardier appointed its first commercial aircraft ASF on the continent, as well as another serving business aircraft operators.

More than 240 Bombardier business and commercial aircraft are based in Africa. Ethiopian Airlines will join a network of more than 60 ASF and Line Maintenance Facilities (LMF) that serve operators of Bombardier business and commercial aircraft spanning across more than 25 countries worldwide. The new Ethiopian Airlines ASF will work in close collaboration with Bombardier’s maintenance network of wholly-owned service centres and ASFs in the same time zone, as well as its network of parts hubs and depots, including the newly announced Johannesburg parts depot, which will be operational 24/7.

– 18 November, 2013


Ethiopian celebrates 40 years of service to China

ETHIOPIAN AIRLINES, the fastest growing and most profitable African airline, has colorfully celebrated its 40 years of uninterrupted services to China at a Gala dinner on 07 November, 2013 in Beijing.

The event was graced by H.E. Mr. Ai Ping Vice-Minister of the International Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, H.E. Mr. Seyoum Mesfin, Ambassador of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia to China; Mr. Han Jun, Director General of International Affairs Department of Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC). Also present were members of the diplomatic community, representatives from Boeing, fellow Star Alliance member Air China representatives, business executives, travel partners and members of the African community in China.

During the celebrations, CEO Tewolde GebreMariam of Ethiopian highlighted Ethiopian’s  reliable services to China, its efforts to make Addis Ababa the best gateway for Chinese travelers to Africa and Ethiopian expansion plans in China.

“We are very pleased with our long years of service to China. China has always been and still remains one of the most important destinations for Ethiopian. When we started our services back in 1973, we were the only African airline and the fourth globally to fly to China. Back then we operated the B720, the first African jet. Today we are flying with the most technologically advanced airplanes such as the B787 Dreamliners, the B777-200LRs and the B777-300ERs with 28 weekly flights to four Chinese destinations that are connected to 46 points in Africa,” said Mr. Tewolde.

Mr. Tewolde added, “Soon we will further expand our wings in China with services to Shanghai in the summer of 2014. I would like to express my gratitude to all our partners, especially Air China and the Civil Aviation Administration of China for their continued support. We look forward to many more decades of successful partnership thanks to the rise of Africa and the bright future of China-Africa ties.”

Ethiopian currently operates to 46 African and 76 international destinations across five continents using a fleet of 61 modern aircraft.

– 17 November, 2013


Ethiopian signs OnPoint solution agreement with GE Aviation

Ethiopian Airlines has signed a 10-year OnPoint solution agreement with GE for maintenance, repair and overhaul of its GE90 engines. Under this agreement, GE will maintain Ethiopian’s GE90 engines that power its 16 B777 aircraft, which comprises of six B777-200LR, six B777F, and four B777-300ER.

Tewolde GebreMariam, CEO, Ethiopian Airlines said, “We are pleased to have reached an agreement on the maintenance of our GE90 engines. The OnPoint solution agreement will help us in optimizing our maintenance cost and assist us in maintaining a higher Dispatch Reliability of the B777 fleet. Our MRO has also developed the full Capability to Overhaul CFM56-3/-7B engines (Powering B737 Classic and Next Generation airplanes) with the assistance and support of GE Aviation. This OnPoint solution agreement will further build our growing relationship with our long-time partner GE Aviation.”

Ethiopian Airlines is the fastest growing and the most profitable airline in Africa. Ethiopian operates the youngest and most modern fleet to its more than 76 international destinations across six continents. The Ethiopian fleet includes ultra-modern and environmentally friendly aircraft such as the Boeing 787, 777-200LR, 777-300ER, 777-F and Bombardier Q-400 with double cabin.

“Ethiopian Airlines and GE Aviation have forged a strong relationship over the last decade as the airline has revitalized its fleet with GE90- and GEnx-powered aircraft,” said Paul McElhinney, president of GE Aviation’s Services operation. “This 10-year MRO services agreement will enable Ethiopian Airlines to have OEM-quality MRO service and support to ensure optimal engine performance.

GE Aviation, an operating unit of GE, is a world-leading provider of jet, turboprop and turboshaft engines, components and integrated systems for commercial, military, business and general aviation aircraft. GE Aviation has a global service network to support these offerings.

In addition, GE provided Executive Management Leadership training to Ethiopian senior Management staffs and Flight Operations Best Practices on Engine Operation (GEnx/B787 and GE90/B777) training to Ethiopian pilots. GE also provides technical and reliability support to Ethiopian MRO on the B787 GEnx engine.

Ethiopian MRO gets the approval standards of US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Safety Agency and European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) for third party MRO service provision. Ethiopian MRO, one of the business profit centers of Ethiopian Airlines Group, provides world-class MRO services to sister airlines in Africa and the Middle East.

– 14 November, 2013


South African Airways re-aligns its African network

SOUTH AFRICAN Airways (SAA) today announced that in keeping with the Strategic Objectives of its Long-term Turnaround Strategy, Gaining Altitude, the airline remains focused on maintaining a commercially sustainable African route network.

The airline will therefore re-align available aircraft thereby strengthening some of its key African destinations.

“These plans are captured in our African Expansion Strategy where we aim to increase frequencies on routes with higher passenger volumes with the achievement and maintenance of commercial sustainability our ultimate aim,” says Kendy Phohleli, SAA General Manager: Commercial (Acting).

Frequencies which will be increased are as follows:

  1. Effective 10 December, 2013, flights between Johannesburg and Kinshasa (DRC) are to be increased from 4 to 6 per week

  2. Effective 13 December, 2013, the flights between Johannesburg and Dar Es Salaam (Tanzania) will be increased from 12 to 13 per week

  3. Effective 12 January next year flights between Johannesburg and Windhoek (Namibia) will increase from 20 to 21 per week

  4. Effective 13 January, 2014, flights between Johannesburg and Ndola (Zambia) will increase from 19 to 20 per week

  5. Effective 14 January, 2014, flights between Johannesburg and Lusaka (Zambia) will increase from 19 to 20 per week

Further to these new developments, SAA customers travelling on some regional routes into Africa, such as Mauritius and Nairobi can experience the airline’s brand new Airbus A320 aircraft. SAA has taken delivery of two new A320s, which forms part of a 20 new-aircraft order. These aircraft are configured with 24 Business Class and 114 Economy Class seats.

The Business Class section is particularly attractive and offer super comfort with ample leg room with a pitch of 39 inches. Seats are arranged with two either side of the aisle (four abreast) offering more seat width. All the seats (except for the first row) have an innovative feature: the back shell has space to stow a PC tablet, with a USB power-point to keep the tablet powered during flight, and PC power points in the centre console.

Seating in Economy Class offers a pitch of 31 inches, with shared USB and PC power points and an adjustable headrest. Customers will enjoy a greater sense of ‘living space’ that the slim-line seats offer, which have been upholstered in easy to maintain leather.  Colours used are dark beige and anthracite grey with touches of red and blue from the SAA corporate colours.

Another change to the African route network is that SAA will effective from 7 December, 2013, no longer operate its own aircraft between Johannesburg to Bujumbura and Kigali, but will service this market through its recently announced code-share partner RwandAir.

Customers already holding ticketed reservations on SAA direct services between Johannesburg, Bujumbura and Kigali from the 8th of December, 2013, onwards, will be re-accommodated via SAA’s airline partners in line with the IATA conditions of carriage.

In its domestic market SAA has an extensive schedule operating 660 flights in total per week between Johannesburg – Cape Town, Durban, East London and Port Elizabeth, from its Johannesburg hub, as well as code-shared flights between Lanseria – Cape Town and Durban. SAA offers more frequencies than any other airline in South Africa.
Regionally, SAA offers 26 destinations across the African continent including Abidjan, Accra, Blantyre, Brazzaville, Bujumbura, Cotonou, Dakar, Dar es Salaam, Douala, Entebbe, Harare, Kigali, Kinshasa, Lagos, Libreville, Lilongwe, Livingstone, Luanda, Lusaka, Maputo, Mauritius, Nairobi, Ndola, Pointe Noire, Victoria Falls and Windhoek.

SAA’s international network creates links to all major continents from South Africa through 11 direct routes and code-shares, with daily flights from Johannesburg to London (Heathrow), Frankfurt, Munich, Mumbai, Perth, Hong Kong, Beijing, New York, Washington, Sao Paulo and Buenos Aires. SAA has code-share agreements with 27 other airlines across the markets it serves. SAA’s core business is the provision of passenger airline and cargo transport services together with related services, which are provided through SAA and its four wholly owned subsidiaries: SAA Technical; Mango its low cost carrier; Air Chefs, the catering entity of SAA and South African Travel Centre (SATC).

SAA is a Star Alliance member which offers more than 21,900 daily flights to 1,328 airports in 195 countries. SAA is the winner of the 'Best Airline in Africa’ Award in the regional category for eleven consecutive years. Mango and SAA hold the number one and number two successive spots as South Africa’s most on-time airlines.

– 13 November, 2013


Ethiopian graduates MPL/CPL trained Pilots and Aviation Technicians

ETHIOPIAN AVIATION Academy graduated 39 pilots and 45 Aviation Technicians at a ceremony held at Ethiopian Airlines headquarters on Tuesday, November 12, 2013. Among the 39 Pilot graduates, 20 are the second batch of MPL trainees. This batch of graduates comprise of cadets from Yemen and South Sudan.

Ethiopian has been the first in Africa and one among the few in the world to deliver this integrated and competency-based pilot training program. The Multi-Crew Pilot License training is a new pilot training established by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in 2006 to qualify first officers for airlines.

MD, Ethiopian Aviation Academy, Samuel Assefa said, “Our Aviation Academy has, and will always remain the backbone of Ethiopian’s success. That is why Ethiopian is continuing to invest heavily in infrastructure, in addition to bringing in the latest and most advanced training technologies and methodologies such as MPL.”

CEO, Tewolde GebreMariam said, “By 2025, Ethiopian Aviation Academy will become the leading aviation-training center in Africa with annual capacity of 4,000 trainees. Our Aviation Academy will nurture the growth of the African Aviation industry by providing world-class aviation training services to sister African Airlines in the continent and in the Middle East.”

Ethiopian Aviation Academy provides training to pilots, aviation technicians, cabin crew, and marketing and other professionals. Ethiopian Aviation Academy gets the approval standards of Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority, the US Federal Aviation Administration, European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), and the IOSA.

– 12 November, 2013


Air Seychelles appoints Tara Murphy as Chief Financial Officer

AIR SEYCHELLES, the national airline of the Republic of the Seychelles, has appointed Ms Tara Murphy as its new Chief Financial Officer.  Tara, who is currently Etihad Airways’ Manager Financial Control, takes up the role on secondment from the Abu Dhabi-based national carrier.

Air Seychelles Chief Executive Officer Cramer Ball welcomed Tara to the Air Seychelles executive team.  “Tara’s experience in financial planning and management will be a great asset to Air Seychelles as it enters the next phase of its development.  “She brings valuable insight from managing cost control projects with fellow equity partner, airberlin, that will be hugely beneficial to our business.”

Tara said she was excited to take on the new role and to relocate to the Seychelles.  “I look forward to joining the Air Seychelles senior executive team and to contributing to the airline’s continuing success.”  Tara is a graduate of Dublin City University with degrees in accounting and finance. She is also a chartered accountant and chartered tax adviser, with membership of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Ireland and Irish Tax institute.

Cramer Ball paid tribute to former Chief Financial Officer Shelley Cole who will relocate to Lugarno in Switzerland on a secondment to Swiss-based Darwin Airline as the regional carrier’s new Chief Financial Officer.  Shelley has played a pivotal role in the turnaround of Air Seychelles leading many of the initiatives that delivered the airline’s US$1 million profit in only one year.”

Air Seychelles was established in 1978 and began long-haul service in 1983. The airline currently offers international flights to Abu Dhabi, Hong Kong, Johannesburg and Mauritius. Air Seychelles also offers more than 200 domestic scheduled flights a week throughout the archipelago, as well as domestic charter services. As the national airline of the Republic of Seychelles, Air Seychelles is a pillar of tourism, the island nation’s strongest and growing economic sector. The airline maintains a strategic partnership with Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates and 40% stakeholder.

– 12 November, 2013


International passengers increase by 91% at Air Seychelles

AIR SEYCHELLES today reported international passenger growth of 91% to 55,238 in the third quarter (Q3 2012: 28,847), a result of the airline’s expanded international fleet and schedule in Q2. Overall passenger numbers on the airline’s combined domestic and international services grew by 42.4% to 99,946 (Q3 2012: 70,193).

Air Seychelles’ Chief Executive Officer, Cramer Ball, said the airline was well on track for a second year of profitability.  “We have seen solid performance across our entire network in Q3 with solid growth in all our key markets and a strong and accelerating contribution from our codeshare partners,” Mr Ball said.   “With our continuing focus on containing costs, we are confident we will deliver a strong financial return to our shareholders and to our home economy,” Mr Ball said.

In its highest quarterly performance on the Mauritius route in three years, the airline carried 9,041 passengers, up 38.5% from a year ago (2012: 6,525). Traffic was boosted by extra flights in August in response to local demand during school holidays. Air Seychelles currently operates a two-cabin Airbus A320 aircraft on the route wet-leased from Etihad Airways, with 16 seats in Business Class and 120 seats in Economy Class.

Passengers have more than doubled on the airline’s Abu Dhabi route in Q3 to 22,694, up from 9,187 a year ago. Seat factor on the Abu Dhabi route surged 13.3% to 63.7%, despite a 67.7% increase in Available Seat Kilometres (ASKs), from 89.3 million to 149.8 million.

Traffic on the airline’s services to Hong Kong saw a quarter-to-quarter increase of 21.6%, up 2,451 to 13,788 (Q2 2013: 11,337), a reflection of the increasing popularity of the connections to Seychelles and to Hong Kong offered by the airline’s schedule over the Abu Dhabi hub.

Traffic on the Johannesburg route saw 11.8% year-on-year growth with a 342% quarter-to-quarter growth in revenue contribution from South African Airways.

Cargo also performed well during Q3, with a 190% year-on-year growth in tonnage (from 561,945 to 1,631,965 tonnes).

On the airline’s domestic operations, the airline saw a 19.3% increase in the number of flights in Q3 to points in the archipelago to 3,893, up from 3,263 a year ago. Passenger numbers on the Praslin route increased by 6.9% to 44,708 (Q3 2012: 41,820).

Jöel Morgan, Seychelles’ Minister for Home Affairs and Transport, and Chairman of Air Seychelles, said: “It is a pleasure to see these results which show that we are solidly on track for a second year of profitability, confirming that our business plan was soundly constructed. With continued focus, it is certain that Air Seychelles will continue to deliver strongly. Considering our convenient schedule and connections, we offer a powerful proposition to the traveling public, which will continue to contribute to the record number of tourists visiting our islands.”

Air Seychelles was established in 1978 and began long-haul service in 1983. The airline currently offers international flights to Abu Dhabi, Hong Kong, Johannesburg and Mauritius. Air Seychelles also offers more than 200 domestic scheduled flights a week throughout the archipelago, as well as domestic charter services. As the national airline of the Republic of Seychelles, Air Seychelles is a pillar of tourism, the island nation’s strongest and growing economic sector. The airline maintains a strategic partnership with Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates and 40% stakeholder.

– 8 November, 2013


SAA signs code-share agreement with RwandAir

SOUTH AFRICAN Airways (SAA), the South African flag-carrier and RwandAir, the national carrier of Rwanda, announced that they have signed a bilateral code-share agreement for operations between Johannesburg and Kigali.

RwandAir will be the operating carrier, while South African Airways will market the route. Rwandair flies seven times per week between the two cities. Under the new agreement, RwandAir will provide feeding flights between its network and that of SAA’s from its hub at O.R. Tambo International Airport (ORTIA).  In turn SAA customers will be able to travel between Johannesburg and Kigali with the convenience of travelling on a single-ticket should they connect from another destination outside Johannesburg.

Kendy Phohleli, SAA General Manager Commercial (Acting), said that RwandAir and SAA have made great strides in developing the Rwandan aviation sector. “Through the code-share agreement with RwandAir, SAA’s valued clientele will gain new travel choices to the Rwanda market via RwandAir’s increased presence in the market providing for seamless travel and status recognition through the respective frequent flyer programmes,” he said.

The CEO of RwandAir, John Mirenge, also stressed the airline’s commitment to develop Kigali as a hub. “O.R. Tambo International Airport is a well-known hub for most African and world travellers. But to date we do not have many optimal hubs within the region that support the network of multiple airlines,” he noted. “This code-share agreement helps us develop Kigali as a new hub, furthermore connecting it with other existing hubs like ORTIA and allowing the two airlines to join their respective networks.”

South African Airways (SAA), Africa’s most awarded airline, operates to 42 destinations worldwide. In its domestic market SAA has an extensive schedule operating 660 flights in total per week between Johannesburg – Cape Town, Durban, East London and Port Elizabeth, from its Johannesburg hub, as well as code-shared flights between Lanseria – Cape Town and Durban. SAA offers more frequencies than any other airline in South Africa. Regionally, SAA offers 26 destinations across the African continent including Abidjan, Accra, Blantyre, Brazzaville, Bujumbura, Cotonou, Dakar, Dar es Salaam, Douala, Entebbe, Harare, Kigali, Kinshasa, Lagos, Libreville, Lilongwe, Livingstone, Luanda, Lusaka, Maputo, Mauritius, Nairobi, Ndola, Pointe Noire, Victoria Falls and Windhoek.

SAA’s international network creates links to all major continents from South Africa through 11 direct routes and code-shares, with daily flights from Johannesburg to London (Heathrow), Frankfurt, Munich, Mumbai, Perth, Hong Kong, Beijing, New York, Washington, Sao Paulo and Buenos Aires. SAA has code-share agreements with 27 other airlines across the markets it serves. SAA’s core business is the provision of passenger airline and cargo transport services together with related services, which are provided through SAA and its four wholly-owned subsidiaries: SAA Technical; Mango its low cost carrier; Air Chefs, the catering entity of SAA and South African Travel Centre (SATC). SAA is a Star Alliance member which offers more than 21,900 daily flights to 1,328 airports in 195 countries. SAA is the winner of the 'Best Airline in Africa’ Award in the regional category for eleven consecutive years. Mango and SAA hold the number one and number two successive spots as South Africa’s most on-time airlines.

Operating from Kigali as its hub in the heart of Africa, RwandAir is one of the fastest growing airlines on the African continent. RwandAir's fleet now consists of four Boeing 737 series aircraft and one Bombardier Dash-200 series. Two brand new Bombardier CRJ-900 NextGen regional jets arrived in November, 2012, and the next acquisition is confirmed to be the Q400 that will introduce business class to domestic routes, starting in March, 2014. RwandAir serves one domestic destination and several regional cities such as Nairobi, Entebbe, Mombasa, Bujumbura, Dar es Salaam, and Kilimanjaro. The airline also serves Johannesburg, Dubai, Lagos, Accra, Libreville and Brazzaville. Juba in South Sudan was officially unveiled on October 12, 2013 and is the airline’s 15th destination.

– 5 November, 2013


Ethiopian expands Boeing wire harness production

ETHIOPIAN AIRLINES and Boeing today announced an agreement to double wire harness production at Ethiopian Airlines’ Wire Harness Facility.  The Wire Harness Facility, based in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, opened in 2009 and currently supplies seat-to-seat wire harnesses for all Boeing commercial airplane programs. Following today’s announcement Boeing and Ethiopian Airlines will place additional work at the facility, which will double its output by the end of 2014. With support from Boeing, Ethiopian will manufacture more varied and complex wire harnesses, expanding its value as an aerospace supplier.

The agreement was signed at The Corporate Council on Africa’s 9th Biennial U.S.-Africa Business Summit in Chicago, designed to develop closer business relationships between African and U.S. industries.

“Today’s agreement opens a new chapter in the 60 plus years of mutually beneficial partnership between Ethiopian and Boeing. It is also a concrete testament that Ethiopian is no longer just an airline but is transforming itself into an aviation service provider of quality products, utilizing the latest technology. In line with our Vision 2025, we have re-structured our MRO division into a strategic business unit that will develop new capabilities, enabling it to become the most competitive and leading provider of commercial aircraft MRO services in Africa,” said Tewolde Gebremariam, Chief Executive Officer of Ethiopian Airlines, who was a recipient of the African Business Leader of the Year award by the US Corporate Council on Africa in 2012.

The increased output in Addis Ababa has been made possible by the Wire Harness Facility’s ability to consistently deliver high-quality products. In 2012, Ethiopian Airlines' facility was recognized by Boeing for its outstanding performance and awarded a gold rating in Boeing’s Performance Excellence Awards – the highest rating a Boeing supplier can achieve.

“Today’s agreement is testament to the world-class competitiveness and capabilities of Ethiopian industry,” said Van Rex Gallard, vice president of Sales for Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “Boeing and Ethiopian Airlines already share a rich history based on trust, collaboration and the pursuit of excellence. The expansion of work in developing wire-harnesses is another significant chapter in the long shared history between both companies.”

Celebrating 66 years of partnership with Boeing, Ethiopian Airlines currently operates a passenger fleet dominated by Boeing airplanes, including Next-Generation 737s, 757s, 767s, 777s, and 787s and a cargo fleet that includes 757s, an MD11 and 777 Freighters.

– 10 October, 2013


Ethiopian expands its wings to Niamey

ETHIOPIAN AIRLINES, the fastest growing airline in Africa, is pleased to announce the start of four weekly services to Niamey, the Republic of Niger, as of 20 November, 2013. These new flights will operate with Ethiopian’s Boeing 757-200 aircraft with 16 seats in Ethiopian’s Cloud Nine business class and 151 seats in economy class.

This new routing further solidifies Ethiopian's presence in Africa. Niger becomes the 47th Ethiopian destination in Africa. With its partner ASKY in West Africa, Ethiopian has service to 34 countries in Africa. No airline connects Africa to the world, as does Ethiopian.

“As Africa’s flagship carrier, we are happy to expand our wings to Niamey and to contribute to the economic growth of the country. Africa is on the rise and we are here to support the continent’s growth by providing critically essential air connectivity for the increased flow of investment, trade and tourism.” said Tewolde Gebremariam, CEO of Ethiopian.

Passengers to and from Niamey will enjoy smooth connections to destinations in Ethiopian route network, including Beijing, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Bangkok, Nairobi, Dubai, Beirut, Mumbai, Muscat, Cairo, Delhi and Hangzhou.

– 2 October, 2013


Air Namibia’s brand new Airbus A330-200 aircraft

ENTRY INTO service of the brand new Airbus A330-200s, to replace the aged Airbus A340-300, will reduce costs and boost revenue, while providing flexibility, a superior and improved cabin product for Air Namibia.

The airline industry is highly competitive and is constantly exposed to many risks; among them fuel price volatility, a rigorous regulated environment and safety compliance aspects. Passenger travel preferences and buying decisions have evolved over time to such an extent that today’s traveller has become very informed and sophisticated. These factors have made fleet decisions become crucial for any airline that aspires to improve financial performance, operational efficiency and compliance with safety and other regulatory requirements.

“Air Namibia believes that the decision to acquire two Airbus A330-200s to replace the A340-300s, which entered its fleet seven years ago in 2006, is a step in that direction. This decision fits well in efforts to continually strive to improve operational efficiency, aligning the services of the airline to the needs of the market, match and even exceed competitor offerings so as to compete effectively, and to achieving acceptable financial performance within the resources that are available to it and striving towards at all times,” says Paulus Homateni Nakawa, Head of Air Namibia Corporate Communications.

The delivery of the new aircraft represents the last phase of the airline’s re-fleeting programme contained in its business plan adopted in July, 2011. Earlier re-fleeting initiatives included phasing out of the Beechcraft B1900 aircraft and replacing them with Embraer ERJ 135 Regional Jets in 2011, as well as phasing out of the aged Boeing 737 fleet and replacing them with new Airbus A319-100s.

“The new Airbus A330-200s will break the long history of Air Namibia operating quad powered aircraft (four engines) with twin-powered aircraft on its long-haul operations between Namibia and Europe. These planes come with improved operating technologies which offer way much better savings on operating costs,” says Nakawa.   “In a few weeks’ time, gone will be the days when Air Namibia was seen as an operator of old aircraft retired by other airlines, which placed us as an underdog in the market when compared to our much bigger and highly resourced competitors,” he adds.

Even though older aircraft might have lower lease rates, total operating costs are higher when one takes into account the effect of fuel burn, maintenance costs, dispatch reliability and lost revenue from passengers selecting a competitor airline due to its newer cabin and inflight entertainment plus other amenities. Fleet selection affects both revenue and cost.

Another important consideration which went into the selection of the Airbus A330-200 as opposed to other aircraft options available is the “right sized” cabin configuration element, in terms of the number of seats in relation to Air Namibia’s “demand forecasting” outcomes. The new planes come with 30 business class seats and 214 economy class seats, giving a total of 244 seats.

The soon to be phased out Airbus A340-300s have 278 seats in total, comprising 32 Business and 246 Economy Class. The current average passenger load per year on the Windhoek-Frankfurt route is 220 passengers, meaning that full value of the cost per seat is not being realised as some seats go unoccupied.

Larger aircraft have limited flexibility in the event that Air Namibia would like to deploy its long-haul aircraft on new markets and medium-range routes. While larger aircraft have a lower cost per seat, all the seats must be occupied for this low cost benefit to be realised. The A330-200s are more flexible aircraft to use on new routes/markets, while also offering modern and mature aviation technology. Being brand new, the aircraft are also a big boost to Air Namibia brand image and passenger confidence. The A340- 300s will be over 25 years old by the time their lease arrangement expires in October.

The Airbus A330-200 offers much lower operating cost compared to the A340-300, given its Lower Maximum Take Off Weight of 230,000 kg compared to 257,000 kg of the A340-300, meaning lower landing fees, navigation charges, lower fuel burn, etc. The A330 offers the lowest fuel burn and the lowest maintenance costs of all options – given its size and the fact that it comes with two engines to maintain instead of four engines, and two engines consuming fuel on the A330 compared to four engines consume fuel on the A340s.

Passenger rating of the two aircrafts published on the Airbus website shows that 67% favour the A330- 200 compared to a 33% preference for the A340-300.  Air Namibia is due to take delivery of the first of the two brand new Airbus A330-200 aircraft before the end of September, 2013. The second A330-200 is expected to enter the national air carrier’s fleet in November, 2013. The two aircraft are being leased from Intrepid Aviation for a period of 12 years.

Air Namibia operates scheduled flights and carries cargo (freights) on domestic, regional and intercontinental flights. The airline was founded in 1947 as South West Air Transport, which later changed to South West Airways. In 1992, the airline’s name was changed to Air Namibia. The mandate of Air Namibia is to be a major contributor towards the attraction and promotion of tourism to Namibia by providing air transport services between Namibia and other countries, as well as by operating flights within the boundaries of Namibia. The airline is positioned as a niche carrier serving domestic points within Namibia, the immediate regional markets of South Africa, Zimbabwe and Angola.  Points beyond (Asia, USA, Middle East and Europe) are serviced in conjunction with partner airlines via our gateways:  Frankfurt, Accra, Johannesburg and Lusak.

– 11 September, 2013


Comair announces improvement in profitability

COMAIR LIMITED, South Africa’s only private domestic airline operator, today announced a significant improvement in profitability for the 12-month period ending 30 June, 2013. Revenue grew by 29% to R5.38 billion South African Rands (2012: R4.16 billion).The airline declared a headline profit of R231 million (2012: R18 million).

Comair also reported the realisation of its strategy, implemented from the end of 2011, to address sustained higher operating costs driven mainly by the escalation of the fuel price and the exchange rate. This included a freeze on all non-critical costs, the implementation of a new enterprise system platform, and taking delivery of four more fuel efficient new Boeing 737-800 aircraft towards the end of 2012.

The new IT platform from Sabre Airline Solutions delivered substantial improvements in revenue integrity, inventory management and optimised ticket pricing, as well as improved productivity. The Group’s new-generation Boeing 737-800 aircraft delivered to expectation, with a 24% fuel saving per passenger, compared to the 737-400 aircraft they replaced.

These initiatives delivered a turnaround in earnings per share from 1.6 cents in the comparative period to 47 cents for the year under review. The increase in turnover was mostly as a result of increased ticket prices in response to exchange rate related cost inflation, as well as improved inventory management.  The exit of the last remaining privately-owned competitor airline helped to restore seat occupancy to prior year levels. Cash generated was strong and resulted in a cash balance of R778 million at year end. A gross cash dividend of 10 cents per ordinary share was declared.

Comair CEO Erik Venter said: “The escalation of the dollar oil price since 2011 was exacerbated by the rapid devaluation of the rand against the dollar, impacting on the rand fuel price as well as various hard-currency based maintenance, lease and distribution system costs. The fuel efficiency of our new 737-800 aircraft, as well as the termination of some dollar-based leases on aircraft that they replaced, helped to marginally reduce exposure to the currency and fuel price.”

Venter said kulula launched the East London route in March, 2013, providing much needed cost-efficient flights to the Eastern Cape. Comair also started BA flights from Johannesburg to Maputo in May, 2013. The airline’s affiliated businesses of flight training, travel product distribution and airport lounges continued to perform well and in line with the prior year. Food Directions, its catering operation, launched in March, 2012, has been successful in delivering substantial cost savings while improving the airline’s control over menu flexibility and quality.

Commenting on the year ahead, Venter said despite current industry challenges, Comair remained confident that recent capital investments had elevated the airline operator to a new level of efficiency.  “2014 will be the first full year of operation for the new B737-800s, and we look forward to the delivery of the next four aircraft in late 2015 as well as potential further aircraft orders for delivery post 2018.

“Our much improved infrastructure as well as our reputation and ongoing focus on safety, customer service and efficiency have built a sustainable foundation to accommodate growth opportunities and ensure that Comair continues to play a major role in the Southern African aviation and travel industry,” he concluded.

Comair Limited, SA’s only domestic airline operator listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) and proudly local, has been operating successfully for more than six decades with a safety record which is internationally recognised. Since 1996, the company has operated under the British Airways livery as the local franchise partner of British Airways. Comair also operates Africa’s first low-fare airline, kulula.com, which celebrated its 10-year anniversary in 2011. This adventurous brand has since its inception revolutionised air travel in South Africa by making flying much easier and more affordable to customers.

– 10 September, 2013


SAA’s long-term turnaround strategy

South African Airways CEO, Monwabisi Kalawe (left) and (right) Malusi Gigaba, South Africa’s Minister of Public Enterprises.

Address by South Africa’s Minister of Public Enterprises, Mr Malusi Gigaba, MP, during the briefing to the Public Enterprises Portfolio Committee on the SAA Long-Term Turnaround Strategy (LTTS) in the National Assembly, Cape Town, on 10 September, 2013.

INTRODUCTION: It is my privilege today to address this august meeting on a matter so important that you have patiently waited for so long.  I wish to thank you all for your patience while we worked on this and the day has come that we should table it before you.  I hope you all understand not only the gravity of the situation we are here to deal with, but also its sensitivity as well as its urgency.

My Department, together with the Board, the management and staff of SAA, have worked tirelessly to produce this outcome that we are honoured and proud today to present before you.  What gives me even greater pleasure is that we chose the Portfolio Committee, and therefore Parliament itself, for the platform of releasing this strategy to the public, which demonstrates both our deep respect for this institution as well as our gratitude for the persistent support we have received both from the Portfolio Committee and the two Houses of Parliament over time.

On that note, and before we get into the substances of the matter, please allow me officially to introduce the new CEO of the SAA, Mr Monwabisi Kalawe, who has been at the helm of the company for just a little over two months.  It is a job that has led him to grow a few grey hairs, we imagine.

BACKGROUND:  You will all remember that last year, the SAA AGM was postponed three times whilst we were discussing with the Minister of Finance and the National Treasury about their request for a guarantee.  As you now know, those events precipitated many things, including the resignation of the previous Board of Directors and the awarding of a stringent Government guarantee to SAA.  In a way, this Board that is here today to present this Long-Term Turnaround Strategy was appointed amidst a storm and expected to ride and tame a tiger.  This, in any possible way, was an unenviable situation, accompanied as it was, soon by the resignation of the then CEO.

As soon as they were appointed, I gave them a very clear mandate.  At the Special General Meeting of the new Board on the 15 October, 2012, I made the following remarks to them, that:  “The new Board has been appointed primarily to turn the airline around to a position of financial independence and operational efficiency. This requires a long-term vision and strategy to become a competitive and well-run airline, with clear plans and targets for the future, including on such issues as fleet procurement. It is pivotal that the airline be immediately stabilised!  In collaboration with the Government Shareholder, the SAA management and Board are to review the airline’s business model, structure and strategy, which, as we have stated above, would be included in the envisaged long-term turnaround strategy to be drafted in collaboration with all stakeholders.”

I proceeded to direct that:  “The strategy should highlight the conditions required for an improved and profitable operating model with efficiencies of scale – that is, proposed route network – as well as the strategic importance of the proposed route network to achieve the Government’s objectives. The following should be included:

a)  An aircraft optimisation model for the current fleet programme and replacement fleet programme which is in line with the route network and long-term strategy;

b)  An assessment of the of the state’s aviation assets, including SAA and SAX in relation to Airlink, and the most appropriate structure to advance the state’s objectives in the airline industry;
c)  The development of a cost-management and revenue-enhancing framework on the proposed route network plan and operations; and

d)  The incorporation of the Department of Public Enterprises’ African Aviation Strategy as part of the long-term strategy.”

Furthermore, I said to the new Board that:  “Core to the mandate of the Board would be to provide a stable platform for future growth and sustainability with a focus on reversing recent trends and challenges. The constant request for financial support has placed both the airline and Shareholder in a negative light and a view towards self-funding growth should be a prime focus. I must assure you that the Shareholder continues to be cognisant of the fact that the aviation sector is a capital-intensive industry characterised by low margins and high risks.

“However it is paramount that SAA, in the financial year ahead, be able to deliver on its mandate and strategic objectives and be driven and operated on clear and transparent financial principles that would lead to commercial sustainability.”

Accordingly, and pursuant to my directives, following a rigorous and inclusive process that included staff, management and executive leadership of the airline, the Long-Term Turnaround Strategy was finalized and presented to me on 2 April, 2013.  As I had directed, a Task Team comprising SAA, South African Express (SAX) as well as the Department of Public Enterprises (DPE) was established, under the leadership of a special SAA   Board Sub-Committee, to draft this strategy.

The process included consideration and revalidation of the work that had been commissioned by the previous SAA Boards, management and third party strategy advisors, including the work that had been commissioned by the DPE to Mott MacDonald and Spectrum Capital that had produced for us a business overview of SAA.  The Strategy sought and gained insights into best-practise learnings from leading and successful airlines around the world whilst its projected financial outcomes have been modeled with the assistance of resources provided by Price Waterhouse Cooper.

In terms of strategic posture, the LTTS focuses on the best-fit business model intended to finance the balance sheet.  Whilst it recognizes the intensifying nature of the competitive landscape, domestically, regionally and globally, it places emphasis on managing SAA’s high-cost structure and on improving yield.

The main focus will be on the most profitable areas of the network, domestic South Africa and regional Africa.  SAA and the DPE are both mindful that there is a strategic need to focus on finalising and approving of the network strategy which will invariably have a direct financial impact on SAA.  There is no luxury to fail in the implementation of this Strategy. SAA will improve operations and strengthen its balance sheet to the point that the airline is able adequately to leverage off its balance sheet without the stringent conditions imposed by lenders due to a weak financial position.

Our collective focus right now is to ensure that the strategy is fully implemented.   We have developed an action plan that clarifies roles and duties for the different components of the LTTS. We will focus, both on hardware, as well as heart-ware, to ensure successful implementation.  Beyond the development of this Strategy, its steadfast implementation is crucial and will be aligned to four corporate plans spanning over a period of 12 years with clear milestones.  The DPE will also strengthen its monitoring and oversight role to ensure the implementation of this Strategy.  The LTTS will now form part of the Shareholder’s compact.

To this end, the DPE has started negotiations for the 2014/15 Shareholder Compact on the basis of the Strategy propositions and we have also established quarterly bilateral engagements between the Director General and Chief Executive of the SAA Group to review progress regarding the implementation of the Strategy.  Whilst we recognise that the LTTS is a living document, we want to say, without any ambiguity, that the LTTS will form the bedrock against which SAA’s success will be judged for future generations and it’s a litmus test for the role of the developmental state in the economy.

SAA will not only be judged on its ability to chart a strategic way forward but will also be judged concretely, on its ability to bring programmatic and institutional expression to the LTTS.  That is how it will live beyond the words and ideas on the pages that have been conceptualised.

STRATEGIC Propositions of the Strategy: The analysis of SAA’s business and performance history explains why its business model continues to produce poor financial results and erode Shareholder value.  The LTTS proceeds from the premise that SAA has a dual mandate, to fulfil both the commercial as well as developmental mandate of this Government.

The market analysis revealed, obviously, that SAA and its subsidiaries all operate in highly competitive global markets, which are rapidly liberalising and consolidating, resulting in growing levels of competition.  This assisted SAA to identify specific opportunities involved in transitioning into a commercially sustainable model:

To instil a new collective Group Vision and Mission with the strategic focus being to support South Africa’s National Developmental Agenda, achieve and maintain commercial sustainability, and foster performance excellent. The new vision and mission seeks to guide the airline in the delivery of its Shareholder’s Mandate as South Africa’s national strategic asset which supports the country’s National Development Plan.

The role of SAA ought to be aligned to the proposed new vision of the airline. The overall contribution of the entity to the economy needs to be measured and forecasted to ascertain the total impact the entity has on the economy. The Government is required to focus and highlight its expectations of SAA. This will be done through the Shareholder’s Strategic Intent Statement.

The creation of an Integrated Airline Group (SAA Group Holdings) where SAA, Mango and SA Express (SAX) operate as part of one holding company structure in order the better and more effectively to utilise our assets and improve the overall efficiency of operations and the capital allocated to the airlines.

Implementation of a new Network, Alliance and Fleet Strategy for the deployment of:

  1. SAA as a full service world-class premium carrier

  2. Mango as Africa’s leading world-class low-cost carrier

  3. SAX as Africa’s world-class regional feeder airline. In this regard, we are soon to engage with the SAX Turnaround Strategy.

A focus on the above objectives for each respective airline will allow the Group to match current and projected future demand; the production of capacity through alliance relationships; and an integrated fleet planning methodology.  SAA has already embarked on a fleet replacement programme for its narrow-bodied fleet.

The development of a “Whole of State Aviation Framework.”  This would ensure a consolidated policy approach to aviation in South Africa. SAA’s largest and/or fastest growing competitors such as the United Arab Emirates, Ethiopia and Kenya operate their airlines under a holistic state aviation policy framework. In those states, policy around airlines, airports, visa requirements, purchase of capital assets (aircraft), traffic rights for foreign airlines and others are all co-ordinated to maximize the growth potential of their local airlines to achieve their mandates. South Africa and SAA would benefit from a similar approach.

Immediate roll-out of new human capital development interventions; and immediate and on-going implementation of new business infrastructure interventions.  We will work together with SAA’s leadership to ensure that we build the prerequisite capabilities for driving projects, whilst honouring the everyday commitments to fly ordinary South Africans.  The Department of Public Enterprises, as the Shareholder Ministry, will ensure that SAA achieves the critical milestones of the LTTS.

We make the firm commitment that SAA will achieve what it can within the ambit of its own competencies.  It will build implementation capacities.  It will move from a diagnostic paradigm to a ‘learning-by-doing’ paradigm: moving steadily towards action.  In our bid to support the LTTS, as the Shareholder Ministry, we have intervened on several occasions, as part of my shareholder prerogative, including the following:

  1. At a strategic level, we have had significant engagements with Treasury in an attempt to secure the prerequisite funding necessary to ensure the airline is a Going-Concern, which engagements are set to continue; an

  2. I have had several engagements with both the SAA Chairperson and CEO to reiterate my concerns and expectations and the need for an active approach from the Board.

The DPE will continue to facilitate a series of inter-Departmental engagements to try resolving some of the major policy concerns facing SAA currently.  The DPE has already started with research for the development of a Fly South Africa Policy / Act, as proposed by the Strategy, which is similar to the one adopted by the United States of America, that is, the Fly America Act, which compels Government officials to fly with airlines owned by their state where Government is funding the travel.

The proposed development or implementation of a Fly SA Regulatory Framework would be fruitless if SAA continues to have a bad customer service record.  This means that the airline needs to be comprehensive in terms of the market segments that the airline caters for in their product.  SAA has requested assistance in finalising its decisions on key routes such as Mumbai and Beijing as these proposals were made purely on the basis of economic principles while they may also have far-reaching diplomatic implications especially given the strategic objectives of the BRICS countries.

In deliberations with various stakeholders on the route network, it was recommended that SAA should be mindful of short-term responses to current challenges which may have long-term implications.  It has been proposed that Government should identify all strategic routes irrespective of whether they are profitable or not, and we should develop strategies to address those that are strategic but not profitable.  We will explore alternative priority initiatives in order to support these strategic interventions.

We continue to learn from what other players in other geographies are doing to respond to the dynamic market forces.  We are confident that there are best examples of players, both regionally and domestically, who have found themselves in the same situation.  We are confident that a turn-around is within our reach: it is palatable, it is plausible. It can be done.

FUNDING REQUIREMENTS:  Capitalisation requirements are being reviewed further and developed in conjunction with the National Treasury.  In the short-term, SAA needs to focus on cost containment and improvement in the company’s debt-to-equity ratio.  It should improve its operations and strengthen its balance sheet to a point where the airline is able adequately to leverage off its balance sheet without the stringent conditions imposed by lenders due to a weak financial position.   This would entail reducing the high levels of debt and building the airline’s asset base in a sustainable manner.

CONCLUSION:  The strategy has been submitted as I had requested; what is of crucial importance now is its implementation to ensure that the airline returns to profitability.  The tactics that will be applied and the agility of the business model are critical in ensuring that the airline is able to react positively to changes in its environment.  The Department will continue to track the progress of the implementation of the strategy and to provide the necessary support required in the implementation phase of the strategy.

The LTTS has since been sent to Cabinet, which gave it a boisterous support.  The Cabinet continues to show confidence in our ability, both as the Shareholder Department, working with other Departments, as well as SAA, to turn things around.  Honourable Members must note that the airline’s governance structures are stable, its management is stable and its operations solid.

Even as financial challenges persist, and we are working around the clock to contain them, this Strategy provides us a roadmap into the future.  We now know where we are going, both in the short-term as well as in the medium-to-long-term.  We understand that change takes time. We must give the LTTS the time it requires to yield the desired fruits.  However, we will continue to ask the difficult questions, to engage actively, constructively and robustly, even when the airline has turned around.   We believe that the Board has the prerequisite abilities to change the momentum.  It is incumbent upon us to implement this strategy with speed and unyielding resolve.  Failure is not an option.  I thank you.

– 10 September, 2013


SATAWU calls off the strike at SAA Technical

THE INDUSTRIAL action by South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU) at South African Airways Technical (SAAT), the maintenance subsidiary of the national carrier, South African Airways (SAA), has come to an end. The company and SATAWU yesterday signed an agreement on the terms of returning to work with effect from today, 10 September, 2013. 

“The SAA Group extends its earnest gratitude to staff members who showed their commitment to the company and made immeasurable sacrifices to ensure that the integrity of the airline’s contingency plans is not compromised and operations continued as normal as possible.  The company would like to thank the law enforcement agencies and all stakeholders for co-operation and understanding they demonstrated during this challenging period.”

South African Airways (SAA) is a leading carrier in Africa, serving 26 destinations across the continent, as well as major destinations within South Africa and internationally from its Johannesburg hub. It is a member of the largest international airline network, Star Alliance.

SAA’s core business is the provision of passenger airline and cargo transport services together with related services, which are provided through SAA and its four wholly owned subsidiaries: SAA Technical; Mango its low-cost carrier; Air Chefs, the catering entity of SAA and South African Travel Centre (SATC). SAA is the winner of the 'Best Airline in Africa’ Award in the regional category for eleven consecutive years. Mango and SAA hold the number one and number two successive spots as South Africa’s most on-time airlines.

– 10 September, 2013


Kenya Airways to receive new Boeing 777-300ER aircraft

KENYA AIRWAYS is set to receive the first of three Boeing 777-300ER aircraft in October this year to commence revenue service in November.  The new state-of-the-art aircraft B777-300ER will be the largest in the airline’s fleet to date. With a seating capacity of 400 (28 - Premier World and 372 Economy) and long-range flying capability, this new addition will also offer excellent passenger experience.

“This will be the largest aircraft in our fleet. Our current B777-200ER aircraft has a seating capacity of 322 passengers while this one has 400 seats. It  will give our business a major lift due to its enhanced product quality, excellent range and impressive cargo capacity (more than 7,000 cubic feet of cargo volume; over 20 metric tons),” says Dr Titus Naikuni, Kenya Airways Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer.   “The Boeing 777-300ER aircraft is a perfect fit for our network expansion plans as it will enable us serve our existing markets much more effectively and facilitate the opening of new long-haul routes in the near future,” Dr Naikuni added. 

The aircraft has been designed with our guests in mind and will come with exciting features to delight existing passengers and attract new ones. Our Premier World Business Class features full flat-bed seats with leather foot-rests, laptop stowage and armrests that also act as privacy dividers. Our guests will now also enjoy high quality in-flight entertainment; each seat has a 15.4 inch touch screen monitor, power socket and USB  port, and an in-flight entertainment handset.

Business Class seats in Kenya Airways’ new Boeing 777-300ER aircraft.

“The Economy Class seats are also a cut above the rest, with articulating seat bottoms for better leg-room, four-way adjustable headrests, in-flight handset seatback and large 10.6 inch touch screen monitors. Each seat also has a USB port, with power sockets strategically installed throughout the cabin.  Our guests will also experience our all-new industry-leading in-flight entertainment system with an smart user interface, with full audio and video on demand and games. Guests will also have access to interactive moving maps and information on connecting gates.  

 This acquisition is part of Kenya Airways 10-year strategic plan dubbed ‘Project Mawingu’ in which the airline targets to increase its fleet size from the current 44 to 107 aircraft by 2021 and destinations from the current  62  to 115.  The new Boeing 777-300ER will commence direct flights from Nairobi to Guangzhou from November this year.   The Boeing 777-300ER will be the fourth aircraft that Kenya Airways will receive this year, after three Embraer 190 jets delivered in January, February and August, respectively. Two more B777-300ER aircraft are expected to be delivered in mid-2014.

The airline has a fleet mix of wide-body  (twin aisle) and narrow-body (single-aisle) aircraft  comprising  four Boeing 777-200ER wide-body jets, six Boeing 767-300ER wide-body jets, 14 Boeing 737 narrow-body jets (Boeing 737-800, Boeing 737-700 and Boeing 737-300), 18 Embraer regional jets (E170 and E190) and two dedicated 737-300 freighters (converted from passenger aircraft).  The airline has also ordered nine Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft, the first of which is to be delivered in early 2014.

– 9 September, 2013


Ghana’s Starbow appoints new CEO

Mr James Eric Antwi, CEO, Starbow, Ghana.

THE BOARD of Directors and Management of Aero Surveys Limited, trading under the commercial name ‘Starbow,’ are pleased to announce the appointment of Mr James Eric Antwi as Accountable Manager and Chief Executive Officer.

James Eric Antwi was part of the pioneer team of the company in 2010 and served as the Director Safety and Quality until his new appointment.  He is a licensed Aviation Engineer with valid Flight Engineers License (DC-10) issued by the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority.  Engineer Antwi brings to the position over 35 years experience in the industry in which he has worked in such positions as Chief Flight Engineer and also Director of Engineering with various companies.

Speaking on the appointment of Eng Eric Antwi, the Board Chairman of Aero Surveys Limited said: "It is our delight to be able to have the robust skills set and competence needed to run this vibrant airline.  Engineer Antwi brings to the table not only a long awaited Ghanaian local content partnership but also the wisdom, guidance and dynamics necessary to take us forward into our third year of operation."

In the coming months Starbow will be embarking on a major organizational restructure aimed at increasing and improving customer experience, reward and recovery planning as well as simplifying processes and fostering teamwork within the company.  The entire staff and management of Starbow wishes our new Chief Executive Officer every success.

– 9 September, 2013


Comair invests in new fleet

SOUTH AFRICA’S’s privately-operated full-service carrier, British Airways (operated by Comair), is making a significant investment in Boeing Next-Generation 737-800, a major part of the aviation group’s fleet upgrade plan. This heralds a new phase for the airline which aims to replace its entire old fleet of six B737-300s and nine B737-400s.

Locally, JSE-listed aviation company, Comair Limited, has an exclusive relationship in sub-Saharan Africa with British Airways under a licence agreement reached in 1996 and proudly flies under the colours and livery of British Airways.

“British Airways Plc has a proud heritage and strong history of more than 80 years in South Africa, of which 17 years have been with Comair. We are excited about our new aircraft and are confident that this investment will help continue to deliver the great value and premium comfort synonymous with the British Airways brand,” says Iain Meaker, Commercial Distribution Executive for Comair.

The fleet upgrade forms part of Comair’s broader medium-to-long term business plan to deliver further efficiencies and product enhancements. “The R3.5-billion investment in its fleet upgrade is fundamental to Comair's business strategy of consistently improving customer service and value, while ensuring a sustainable airline,” says Meaker. 

Comair, which carries 5.1 million passengers a year, embarked on its fleet upgrade in 2012 when it purchased four new Boeing 737-800 Next Generation aircraft for its no-frills airline, kulula.com. The new fleet will be partly financed through equity (15%) as well as loans (85%).

“In its British Airways configuration the 158-seat aircraft will service the popular Johannesburg and Cape Town route. Along with the overall additional capacity, there will be 20 seats to accommodate more of our Club (Business class) customers and 138 seats for our customers in Traveller (Economy class). A second B737-800 is expected to arrive in the first quarter of 2014.”

Meaker says that globally, airlines have experienced pressure on operating costs due to the volatile fuel price and high maintenance costs. “The 737-800’s utilise 18% less fuel per seat than the aircraft we are replacing, thereby saving two million-litres of fuel per aircraft per year for the equivalent total seats. The 17 additional seats further contribute to the improved efficiency. Both are a critical component in managing the impact of high fuel prices,” says Meaker.

He adds that the new Boeing 737-800 aircraft will also require significantly less maintenance than the B737-300 and B737-400s in its existing fleet, allowing for higher utilisation and lower operating costs. All of Comair's pilots have been trained extensively on the new aircraft as Comair  invested in a new Boeing 737-800 flight training simulator in 2011 at a cost of R80 million (South African Rands).

“Comair is committed to providing world-class air travel within southern Africa, and the British Airways fleet upgrade will help to deliver just that. The aim is to make the travel experience more comfortable and convenient for our customers,” concludes Meaker.

– 9 September, 2013


Qatar Airways to join oneworld alliance

QATAR AIRWAYS, which is rapidly expanding its route network in Africa,  will become a full member of oneworld with effect from Wednesday, 30 October, 2013, adding one of the world’s fastest growing and most highly rated airlines to the global airline alliance.  One of just seven carriers worldwide rated five-star by the Skytrax airline quality agency and the organisation’s Airline of the Year 2011 and 2012 and runner-up 2013, Qatar Airways is the only one of the “Gulf Big Three” carriers (Emirates, Etihad and Qatar) slated to join any of the global airline alliances.

It received clearance to board oneworld after successfully completing a thorough review of its readiness, conducted by British Airways, which is sponsoring Qatar Airways’ entry into the alliance, with oneworld’s central team.

Qatar Airways completes its oneworld implementation programme just one year after receiving its invitation to join, announced at a press conference in the alliance’s New York home in October, 2012.  This will make its induction into oneworld one of the fastest in the alliance’s history.  Normally, it takes around 18 months for any airline to be readied to enter any alliance.

Qatar Airways’ addition to oneworld will come shortly before the airline moves into its new home base, Hamad International Airport, which has been designed to strengthen Doha’s position as a premium global hub, with an eventual capacity for 50 million passengers a year.  From its first flights on Wednesday, 30 October, Qatar Airways will offer oneworld’s full range of services and benefits.

From then, the three million members of Qatar Airways’ Privilege Club loyalty programme will enjoy frequent flyer privileges whenever they fly with any oneworld member airline, which include leading brands from each global region – airberlin, American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific Airways, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, LAN Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas, Royal Jordanian, S7 Airlines and some 30 affiliated airlines.  This includes earning and redeeming Qmiles for awards and earning Qpoints for tier status when flying with all these airlines.

Privilege Club Platinum cardholders will have Emerald status in the oneworld programme.  Privilege Club Gold will be equivalent to oneworld Sapphire and Privilege Club Silver will be oneworld Ruby.

From 30 October, Privilege Club Platinum and Gold members will  be able to access 550 airport lounges worldwide offered by oneworld member airlines when they fly with one of the alliance’s carriers.  Qatar Airways’ First and Business Class passengers will also be able to use oneworld partner airline lounges.   Also from 30 October, the 130 million members of the established oneworld airlines’ frequent flyer programmes will be able to earn and redeem awards and tier status points and receive all other oneworld benefits on Qatar Airways.

Qatar Airways is already participating in Global Explorer, the round-the-world fare offered by all oneworld  members and various airlines that are not part of the alliance.  When it becomes part of oneworld, Qatar Airways’ network – serving 130 destinations in 70 countries across the Middle East, Europe, Africa, North and South America, Asia and Australasia – will be covered by the full and extensive range of oneworld fare and sales products. 

More than 20 of its destinations and five countries – Ethiopia, Iran, Rwanda, Serbia and Tanzania – will be new to the oneworld map. More significantly, Qatar Airways will substantially strengthen the alliance’s customer offering by providing superior routing alternatives across many hundreds of city pairs.  For example, passengers flying between Asia and Southern Europe or between Asia and Africa will now have convenient one-stop connections not previously available within the oneworld network.

With Qatar Airways and the other airlines lining up to join, oneworld will: 

  1. Serve almost a thousand airports in more than 150 countries, with 14,000 daily departures.

  2. Carry 480 million passengers a year on a combined fleet of almost 3,500 aircraft.

  3. Generate US$140 billion annual revenues.

– 9 September, 2013


Bombardier sells Flexjet to investment firm

BOMBARDIER ANNOUNCED today that it has reached a definitive agreement for the sale of Flexjet’s activities to Flexjet, LLC, a newly-created company funded by a group led by Directional Aviation Capital. Total consideration is $185 million US and the completion of this transaction is subject to the approval of all required governmental and regulatory authorities and other customary closing conditions. The transaction for the sale of Flexjet’s activities is expected to close before the end of the year.

In addition, Flexjet, LLC has placed a firm order for 85 business aircraft (25 Learjet 75, 30 Learjet 85, 20 Challenger 350 and 10 Challenger 605 jets.) The agreement also includes options for an additional 160 business jets. The transaction for the firm aircraft order is valued at approximately US$1.8 billion based on 2013 list prices. If all the options are exercised, the total value of the order will be approximately US$5.2 billion, also based on 2013 list prices.

“This marks the next step in Flexjet’s evolution. With more than 18 years of experience in the fractional jet ownership services, the organization has developed into a strong, profitable business supported by operational excellence,” said Pierre Beaudoin, President and Chief Executive Officer, Bombardier Inc. “The sale of Flexjet’s activities is a unique business opportunity that will allow Bombardier to focus on its core business areas. I am confident that under it’s new ownership Flexjet will pursue its growth and diversification, continue to offer an outstanding experience to owners and customers, and will expand its brand globally.

“This order is another very important endorsement for our Learjet and Challenger business jets. We look forward to having our products participate in the growth of Flexjet, LLC’s activities and its customer base,” added Mr. Beaudoin.

Bombardier offers the largest aircraft portfolio in the business jet industry, with aircraft spanning the light, medium, and large business jet categories. The Learjet, Challenger and Global aircraft families are manufactured to exceed all expectations and to address the increasing needs of business jet travelers worldwide.

Learjet 75 aircraft: The Learjet 75 jet features the pioneering Bombardier Vision flight deck with an interior influenced from its bigger stablemate the Learjet 85 aircraft. This jet will soar above the traffic with a maximum altitude of 51,000 ft (15,545 m) and is capable of flying more than 2,000 nm (3,704 km) between New York and Houston.*

Learjet 85 aircraft: The Learjet 85 aircraft lives up to its nomenclature with its sleek Learjet lines, legendary performance, and blends the newest technology to deliver an aircraft that will redefine the midsize segment with the largest Learjet to date. With its stand-up cabin and superior design this jet is targeted to seamlessly fly approximately 3,000 nm (5,556 km) non-stop*, linking New York with Los Angeles, with speeds of up to M0.82 (470 kts 871 km/h). Its Bombardier Vision flight deck provides pilots with the most sophisticated cockpit in its class.

Challenger 350 aircraft: The Challenger 350 jet boasts class-defining performance, a true seats full, tanks full, 3,200 nm (5,926 km) range and will connect New York with Lisbon*. Building upon the legendary segment defining Challenger 300 jet, it features a state-of-the-art cabin that maximises natural light and redefines the man-machine interface, all the while maintaining the performance attributes that have become synonymous with the Challenger aircraft family.*

Challenger 605 aircraft: The revered Challenger 605 jet builds upon the legacy of productivity, quality and reliability of its predecessor, the peerless Challenger 604 jet. Leading its market share segment throughout the world, the Challenger 605 aircraft features one of the widest stand-up cabins of any large category business jet available today and can fly six passengers 4,000 nm (7,408 km) from New York to Anchorage and New York to Lima.*

*Under certain operating conditions

— 5 September, 2013 

British Airways adds more frequencies to Africa

BRITISH AIRWAYS is growing its African frequencies, improving connectivity through London Heathrow and introducing its latest products. In West Africa it will increase its daily services to Ghana by three a week from 27 October, 2013, using Boeing 767s to complement the existing Boeing 777 flights, bringing the total number of weekly services up to 10. From Summer, 2014, a larger four-cabin Boeing 747 aircraft will replace one of the current Boeing 777s currently on the route.

It will also add a fourth weekly service to Sierra Leone and Liberia. In East Africa it will add an additional frequency to Uganda to offer four weekly flights. The schedule will be amended to offer better connections to other international services though Terminal 5. North African services have been bolstered by a fourth weekly flight to Tripoli, Libya.

South African customers are already able to make bookings for the Airbus A380, the airline’s largest and most modern aircraft, which begins flying to Johannesburg on 12 February. This is only the third A380 route to be announced after Los Angeles and Hong Kong.  Services to Cape Town will double from the current daily service to a double-daily operation over the busy South African summer season. British Airways is the only airline which flies directly from Cape Town to London year round.  It is also investing in its lounges and by the end of the year the Cape Town and Johannesburg facilities will be upgraded to reflect the customer experience at in the Terraces lounges in the award-winning Terminal 5.

“We continue to consider the continent as an important growth market and the acquisition of bmi, our fleet renewal programme and Terminal 5 have enabled us to grow frequencies, introduce new products and provide more convenient connections for our African customers,” says Ian Petrie, Regional Manager, Africa.

The new Uganda schedule, effective from 30 March, 2014, will see flights departing from Heathrow Airport Terminal 5 on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays at 12:20 arriving in Entebbe at 22:50 the same day. The return flights on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays will depart Entebbe at 01:00 arriving at Terminal 5 at 07:50. This gives customers a full day in London or plenty of time to make connections to other flights.

The additional Ghana flights will depart Heathrow Terminal 5 at 22:25 on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays arriving in Accra at 05.20. The return service departs Accra at 08.10 on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays arriving at Heathrow at 15.15.

The additional Libya flight operates on Mondays departing at Heathrow at 08:50 and arriving at 13:25. The return flight departs at 15:30 arriving in London at 18:15.

– 3 September, 2013


IATA: Solid demand growth in July, 2013

THE INTERNATIONAL Air Transport Association (IATA) announced that demand for air travel recorded another solid month of growth in July this year. Overall revenue passenger kilometers (RPKs) were up 5.0% compared to July 2012. All regions were up year-on-year, with emerging markets recording the strongest increases. Capacity rose 5.5% on the previous July, ahead of demand, and industry load factor dropped 0.4 percentage points to 82.4%.  Although July’s 5.0% performance was not as strong as June’s (6.1%), this likely reflects both a market correction in line with prevailing economic conditions as well as the impact of reduced travel in markets observing the Ramadan period.

“Passenger demand continues to be strong. But the story of emerging markets driving growth as developed economies stagnate could be shifting. We are still expecting growth of 5% this year. How that growth is achieved, however, appears to be at a turning point,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO.  “The emergence of the Eurozone from an 18-month recession provided the biggest boost to traffic over recent months.

“In contrast, the deceleration of the Chinese economy has been a dampener on air travel, with weakness showing up throughout emerging Asian markets. The price of oil, a huge cost item for airlines, is tracking political tensions in the Middle East. Along with the global cost impact of this, at the regional level there is the potential for disruption for one of aviation’s strongest and most consistent growth markets.”

International Passenger Markets: July international passenger traffic climbed 5.1% compared to the year-ago period. Capacity rose slightly faster at 5.4%, causing load factor to slip 0.2 percentage points to 82.7%. Performance across all regions was positive.

  1. Asia-Pacific carriers’ July traffic was up 6.3% on a year ago. Capacity rose 6.6% and load factor dipped 0.2 points to 79.5%. The support for growth at this rate is weakening. The region’s largest economy—China—continued to decelerate in the second quarter. With trade volumes in emerging Asian markets shrinking by almost 5% over the first half of the year, the softness is not isolated to China. In particular, India’s near term growth prospects are looking bleak. For the year we would expect performance to even-out around the 4.1% growth achieved year-to-date.

  2. European carriers recorded a 3.7% increase in demand compared to July 2012, in line with year-to-date growth although a significant decline compared to June results (5.3%). The Eurozone emerged from its 18-month recession during the second quarter, giving grounds for cautious optimism for the region’s performance in the second half tempered by significant variations by country. Capacity rose 3.6% and load factor improved marginally to 85.5%.

  3. North American airlines’ international traffic rose 3.6% in July versus the same month last year, while capacity climbed 2.9%, pushing load factor up 0.6 percentage points to 87.4%, highest for any region. Latest indicators show July business confidence reaching levels not seen since March, with consumer confidence also showing improvement at the end of the second quarter.

  4. Middle East carriers experienced the highest growth rate for any region, with July traffic up 7.8% compared to a year ago. While this is a fall-off from even higher year-over-year growth in June (12.1%), part of the decline can be attributed to the timing of Ramadan, which has a dampening effect on demand.  In 2013 Ramadan spanned most of July whereas in 2012, it occurred mostly in August. Capacity growth of 10.5% sent load factors down two percentage points to 78.3%.

  5. Latin American airlines posted year-on-year demand growth of 7.3%, almost perfectly aligned with capacity growth of 7.4%. The load factor slipped 0.1 percentage points to 82.4%, slightly below the industry average. Although Brazil continues to see inflation rising and domestic demand weakening, this is being partly offset by strong expansion in Chile and Colombia.

  6. African airlines’ traffic climbed 7.5% compared to July 2012, second best among the regions, while capacity rose 5.6%, boosting load factor 1.3 percentage points to 73.6%, still the lowest among the regions. Expansion in trade is driving the healthy rise in demand for air travel on the continent.

Domestic Passenger Markets: With the exception of Brazil all domestic markets experienced demand growth in July, but rates among countries varied significantly. Total traffic climbed 4.8% but this was exceeded by a 5.8% rise in capacity and load factor slipped to 82%.

  1. China’s domestic traffic climbed 10.7% compared to July 2012. Although this was second best, it reflected a slowdown from the 14.5% year-over-year growth recorded in June and suggests China’s air travel market may be showing its first signs of weakness. Capacity rose 14.3%, and load factor fell 2.6 percentage points to 80.9%.

  2. The US domestic market was up 1.5% in July compared to a year ago, a decline on the 2.4% growth in June and below the year-to-date average of 1.9% which reflected stronger growth before the impact of government spending cuts. Capacity rose 2.2% and load factor dipped 0.6 percentage points but still led the industry at 86.6%.

  3. Japan’s domestic market had another month of strong growth, with demand up 5.7%, reflecting stronger economic performance. Capacity rose 7.1% and load factor dipped slightly to 60.3%.

  4. Brazil saw July traffic fall 0.6%, the only market to experience a decline; and with mounting inflation pressures, the outlook for consumer demand is fragile. Capacity rose 0.5% and load factor fell 0.8 percentage points to 79%.

  5. Russia experienced the strongest growth, with domestic traffic up 11.9% over July 2012, up from June year-on-year growth of 9.8%. However, July business activity indicators show a decline compared to June in both the manufacturing and services sectors that could impact demand.

  6. Indian domestic traffic was up 6.0% in July year-on-year, reversing the 2.4% decline in June. Continuing volatility over recent months has made it difficult to establish a clear growth trend. Capacity rose 4.9%, and load factor climbed 0.7 percentage points to 69.3%.

  7. Australian domestic air travel increased 4.5% in July compared to a year ago, slightly up on growth of 3.7% in June but below the 5%-plus growth rate of 2012. This slower pace is expected to continue in line with downward revisions to GDP growth owing to tepid performance of major trading partners China and India. Capacity rose 1.8%.

The Bottom Line: “Economic growth and connectivity go hand in hand. Indeed, connectivity creates jobs and supports growth. So it is for good reason that the long-term sustainability of aviation will be high on the agenda when governments meet in Montreal at the end of this month for the 38th Assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). The aviation industry is committed to addressing its climate change impact including the challenging target of carbon-neutral growth from 2020 (CNG2020). Governments set the same goal when they last met. So this Assembly is a golden opportunity to reach a global consensus by governments on how to achieve this goal efficiently,” said Tyler.

In June, IATA’s 240 member airlines supported a resolution calling on Governments to reach a global agreement on a market-based measure (MBM) as a key tool to manage aviation’s carbon footprint and achieve the industry’s carbon-neutral growth target. Industry and governments must work together firstly on key measures to maximize the impact of improved technology, operations and infrastructure on aviation’s carbon footprint. An MBM would act as a complementary measure to enable the industry to meet the CNG2020 target. Specifically, the resolution supports a single mandatory carbon offset scheme as the simplest and most efficient MBM to implement. It also sets out key principles for the fair implementation of MBMs. 

“Aviation is about growing connectivity and all the economic and social benefits it enables. Sustainability is a core part of this vision. We are doing all we can to support fully the success of governments in agreeing an aviation solution for sustainability that is global and which will underpin the future development of our important industry,” said Tyler.

  1. Domestic RPKs account for about 37% of the total market. It is most important for North American airlines as it is about 67% of their operations. In Latin America, domestic travel accounts for 47% of operations, primarily owing to the large Brazilian market. For Asia-Pacific carriers, the large markets in India, China and Japan mean that domestic travel accounts for 42% of the region’s operations. It is less important for Europe and most of Africa where domestic travel represents just 11% and 12% of operations respectively. And it is negligible for Middle Eastern carriers for whom domestic travel represents just 6% of operations.

  2. Explanation of measurement terms:

  3. RPK: Revenue Passenger Kilometers measures actual passenger traffic

  4. ASK: Available Seat Kilometers measures available passenger capacity

  5. PLF: Passenger Load Factor is % of ASKs used

  6. IATA statistics cover international and domestic scheduled air traffic for IATA member and non-member airlines.

  7. All figures are provisional and represent total reporting at time of publication plus estimates for missing data. Historic figures may be revised.

  8. Total passenger traffic market shares by region of carriers in terms of RPK are: Asia-Pacific 28.7%, North America 26.6%, Europe 28.9%, Middle East 8.1%, Latin America 5.3%, Africa 2.5%.

– 3 September, 2013


Precision Air announces financial results for 2012/2013

THE BOARD of Directors of Precision Air Services Plc, Tanzania, is pleased to announce its full year results for the year ended 31 March, 2013.  The company made a net loss of Tshs.30.4 billion (approximately US$18.84 million) against the prior year which stood at Tshs.1.2billion profit.

Overall, the Available Seat Kilometres (ASKs) grew by 10% whereas the Revenue Seat Kilometres grew by 16%. The total number of passengers uplifted over the period went up by 8.5% to 895,650 against 825,150 the previous year. The yield, however, declined by 9.4%. Total revenues grew by 8.2% to Tshs 176.4 billion largely driven by increased passenger numbers. This robust growth in passengers was attained even with increased competition in the domestic market.

Direct expenditures went up by 24% to Tshs.145 billion due to the increased cost of fuel and increased equipment related costs. Aircraft maintenance costs increased from Tshs.11.9 billion in 2011 to Tshs.23.6 billion in 2012; this was mainly due to the high costs of maintaining the Boeing 737 fleet. The gross profit margin therefore declined from 28% in the previous year to 18% (Tshs.31 billion against Tshs.46 billion the prior year).

The indirect expenditure grew by 18.6% to Tshs.42 billion, driven mainly by staff related costs that went up by 8% to Tshs.28.5 billion against Tshs.26.4 billion the previous year.  Financing costs grew by 8% due to overdrafts whereas the company accrued a loss in foreign currency exchange of Tshs.4.4 billion which is 50% more than the previous year. This is largely related to US dollar denominated borrowings for aircraft financing.

Loss on impairment of receivables grew to Tshs.8.6 billion from Tsh.0.3 billion, due to additional provisions made in relation to other carriers billing rejections that were unprocessed by year end. The net effect was a loss of Tshs.30.4 billion against a profit of Tshs.1.2 billion in the prior year.

Considering the performance, the group recognized the need to execute a turnaround. Towards that end, the Board has made changes in top management which has developed a new 5-year Strategic Plan already approved by the Board. The plan is focusing on the following areas:

  1. 1)Network Rationalization (pruning of non-profitable routes)

  2. 2)Fleet Rationalization (Termination of expensive fleet such as the Boeing 737 aircraftleases)

  3. 3)Operations & Structure:  includes Staff Retrenchment and Internal Efficiencies

  4. 4)Revenue Enhancement Opportunities:  includes Third Party Maintenance and Third Party Advertising.

So far, the actions taken have yielded positive results, says Precision Air.  The airline is chaired by its founder Mr Michael Shirima.  The Group Managing Director and CEO is Sauda Rajab, who replaced Mr Alphonse Kioko in March, 2013.

Precision Air recently reassured air travellers of its continued operations in Zanzibar following a story published in a local paper on 3 May, 2013, quoting a letter from the Zanzibar Revenue Board (ZRB) to Precision Air Services Plc threatening to “restrain departure of all flights operated by Precision Air, as well as closure of its offices,” over alleged unpaid taxes.

Speaking at Precision Air Services headquarters, MD and CEO, Ms Sauda Rajab, clarified the situation and reassured the travelling public of the continued operations in Zanzibar.   “We wish to notify our passengers and the Tanzania nation at large that your airline is still in full operation of its route to Zanzibar. Neither the Zanzibar Revenue Board (ZRB) nor the airport authorities have refused our fleet from touching on ground in the Spice Isles,” she said.

Ms Rajab confirmed that the Zanzibar Revenue Board had raised concerns which were discussed by both parties in a meeting held on Monday, 29 April, 2013, which resulted in a mutual agreement.  The airline (PW) is said to be receiving full support and co-operation from the ZRB. “This simply has been a matter of miscommunication between the parties but we are delighted that after our discussion our offices are indeed open for business and we welcome you all to continue with your travel plans. We couldn’t be in a better working relationship with the ZRB than we are today.

“Precision Air promises to continue being the safest and most competitive airline of choice in the country in providing need-based transportation services to all areas in Tanzania and beyond.”

Precision Air is the only airline in Tanzania listed on the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange (DSE) and earlier this year was listed for the first time as a ‘Superbrand’ in East Africa.  Precision Air has a larger network than any other airline in Tanzania, with operational stations in 18 destinations within and outside Tanzania.  Dar es Salaam is its hub and it is now developing Mwanza as its second hub.  Over the past year, the airline added two ATR 45-600 aircraft, bringing their fleet to 9 ATRs and two Boeings.

– 30 August, 2013


SAA and TAM to codeshare

SOUTH AFRICAN Airways (SAA) and TAM Airlines, Brazil, one of the largest carriers in South America, have implemented a codeshare agreement. SAA will place its designator code ‘SA’ on flights operated by TAM from Sao Paulo to Rio de Janeiro, Porto Alegre, Curitiba, Brasília, Salvador, Florianopolis, Iguaçu Falls, Recife, Belo Horizonte. 

Likewise, TAM will place its designator code ‘JJ’ on flights operated by SAA between Sao Paulo and Johannesburg, and to other cities within South Africa, namely, Cape Town, Durban, East London and Port Elizabeth. SAA currently has 11 flights per week between Johannesburg and Sao Paulo and has an extensive schedule from Johannesburg to these coastal South African cities.

“Alliances and partnerships of this nature form a crucial part of modern airline management, which is about providing convenient connection for customers to as many destinations as possible without necessarily using your own resources. Moreover, this codeshare provides a platform to tap into the potential that lies in both carriers’ respective markets in a manner that will significantly enhance benefits for passengers of both airlines,” said Manoj Papa, SAA’s acting General Manager: Commercial.  “The collaboration by the two airlines will not only offer leisure travellers a bouquet of holiday options, but also access to multiple business centres.”

“This codeshare operation is vital in that customers travelling to and from various parts of Africa, South America and countries in the east are able to use SAA’s Johannesburg hub as a convenient connection point to various parts of the world,” elaborated Papa.

"We are seeking partnerships like this to offer our customers flights to all over the world," explained Soledad Berrios, LATAM Airlines Group Senior Vice President Strategic Alliances. "Together with South African Airways we will make travelling between Brazil and South Africa easier, and the countries will be the gateway of the South American and African continents," said Berrios.

– 29 August, 2013


fastjet launches new route in Tanzania

FASTJET IS delighted to announce that tickets for its new domestic route, from Dar es Salaam to Mbeya in Tanzania go on sale today.  Flights to the new Songwe airport on fastjet’s Airbus A319 aircraft will commence on 1 November, 2013, and initially operate three times a week. As with its existing domestic services, demand for the route is expected to be high and fastjet therefore intends to rapidly increase frequency.  The newly-developed Songwe airport serves not only the city of Mbeya, but also the densely populated cross-border regions of northern Zambia and Malawi.

Commenting on the launch, Ed Winter, fastjet CEO said: "We have been inundated with requests from passengers for fastjet to operate a service on this route, and are extremely pleased to be launching ticket sales today, building on the success of our existing Tanzanian operation. The Government of Tanzania has invested a considerable sum to develop this brand new airport and the regeneration of its infrastructure is due to be completed in October, allowing us to commence flights on 1 November."

fastjet Chief Commercial Officer Richard Bodin added: "The launch of flights between Mbeya’s Songwe airport and Julius Nyerere airport in Dar es Salaam demonstrates that we are committed to delivering on our promise to the Tanzanian population to fly to airports that are sufficiently developed to accept our modern jets.

“We are offering fares starting at our trademark price of USD$20 (Tsh 32,000) excluding fees and taxes, and are confident that this will not only stimulate both commercial and leisure traffic but also give passengers an alternative to long and arduous journeys by road."

– 28 August, 2013


Kenya Airways and MTN Uganda form partnership

KENYA AIRWAYS and MTN Uganda have entered a new strategic partnership that allows their customers in Uganda to pay for their air tickets through the MTN Mobile Money electronic money transfer platform.  The innovative payment option that was launched by the two firms in Kampala today is an effort to tap into developments in Information and Communication Technology to improve customer experience.

Speaking during the launch, Kenya Airways’ Head of Information Systems Development, Henry Obare, noted that it will allow the airline’s customers to plan and pay for their travel wherever they are.  It follows the successful deployment of a similar payment option in neighbouring Kenya, where customers can pay for their tickets through M-PESA, a mobile money transfer system by Safaricom.  “In line with our brand promise of consistently delivering a world-class experience, Kenya Airways is striking strategic partnerships across our markets that will enable us to harness technological advances to provide an unmatched service,” Mr Obare added.

Mr Moses used MTN Mobile Money to purchase a Kenya Airways ticket to Nairobi soon after the product was launched.

With the launch of the MTN Mobile Money payment option, customers can book and pay for their tickets virtually, without having to visit Kenya Airways’ offices or travel agents. In addition to this, they can check in online.  The Chief Marketing Officer at MTN Uganda, Ernst Fonternel, said that the new partnership with Kenya Airways would afford their customers convenience and with speed.

Kenya Airways operates five times daily flights between Uganda’s Entebbe International Airport and its hub in Nairobi, and serves almost 50 African destinations. 

Kenya Airways, a member of the Sky Team Alliance, is a leading African airline flying to over 59 destinations worldwide, most of which are in Africa and carries over three million passengers annually. It continues to modernize its fleet with its 41 aircraft fleet being one of the most modern in Africa. The on-board service is renowned and the lie-flat business class seat on the wide-body aircraft is consistently voted among the world’s top 10. Kenya Airways takes pride in being in the forefront of connecting Africa to the world and the World to Africa through its hub Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi.

Launched in 1998, MTN Uganda is the leading communications operator in Uganda, offering Mobile and Fixed telecommunications, Mobile Money Services and Internet Service Provisioning. As of 30 June, 2013, MTN Uganda had recorded eight million subscribers across Uganda.

– 28 August, 2013


Kenya Airways to fly directly to China

KENYA AIRWAYS (KQ) is set to launch direct flights from its Nairobi hub to China this year on its new Boeing 777-300ER, as it leverages on the growing Sino-Africa relations. From 19 November, 2013, the airline will begin flying its new aircraft non-stop three times a week between Nairobi and Guangzhou – China’s third largest city and a key hub of the country’s southern region. The Boeing 777-300ER aircraft is expected to be delivered in mid-October and will commence revenue service in mid-November.  At the moment, Kenya Airways flies to Guangzhou via Bangkok, daily.

Kenya Airways’ Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Dr Titus Naikuni, said that the new direct flights to Guangzhou would facilitate interaction between the two regions by opening up Africa to China through its robust connections from Nairobi. The airline flies to over 40 destinations in Africa.  “China has emerged as a key trading partner for Africa. Our direct flights to Guangzhou seek to build on this relationship in order to make a contribution towards the sustainable development of Africa, which is in line with our core purpose as a company,” Dr. Naikuni added.

The direct flights will be operated on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays departing from Nairobi just after midnight while maintaining the current flights to Guangzhou via Bangkok of four times a week.  Together with codeshare partner, China Southern, whose hub is Guangzhou, Kenya Airways will be able to service most parts of China. China Southern is the biggest carrier in Asia.   

The introduction of the direct flights to Guangzhou comes only days after Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta concluded a state visit in China during which the two countries signed financing deals to the tune of about KSh425 billion.

In 2012, the value of trade between China and Africa was estimated at US$200 billion. Besides trade, the interaction between China and Africa has been mainly through foreign direct investment and infrastructural development assistance. A study conducted by the African Development Bank (AfDB) in 2011 indicated that Chinese finance will be a significant source of capital for African countries.

Meanwhile, Kenya Airways has made changes on its flights to Hong Kong. From 2 October, 2013, the airline will only fly to Hong Kong via Bangkok three times a week, discontinuing the previous service through Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. KQ will in effect maintain daily frequencies to Bangkok from mid-November.

– 28 August, 2013


Ethiopian and ASKY establish West African cargo hub

ETHIOPIAN CARGO, the largest cargo operator in Africa, is pleased to announce the opening of a second cargo hub in Africa based in Lomé, Togo, in partnership with ASKY Airlines. The new cargo hub will commence operations in September, 2013, after the phase-in of a Boeing 737-400F.

For the past three years, Ethiopian and ASKY have been successfully serving the needs of passengers travelling within, to and from West and Central Africa through the Lomé hub and enabling them to benefit from the convenient connectivity options offered by their extensive and co-ordinated passenger networks.

Ethiopian and ASKY are now partnering in the establishment of a new cargo hub in Lomé for the transportation of goods and commodities between West Africa and the rest of the world. This partnership will enable easy and convenient air transport of high value and perishable goods to and from West and Central Africa, thereby playing a critically essential role in the growth of trade and the economic development of the region.

“As Africa continues with its fast economic growth, we are expanding our cargo network to serve the continent better and make air cargo accessible to more countries and more people. Africa is a large continent in land mass, economy and population and multiple hubs with multiple African airline partnerships are critically essential to ensure global standard air transport. Over the last three years, in line with our Vision 2025 multiple hub strategy in Africa, we have successfully established a second passenger network hub in Lomé, in partnership with ASKY to better serve the West Africa community. We are now extending this successful partnership to the cargo business,” said Tewolde Gebremariam, CEO of Ethiopian.

Ethiopian Cargo is the largest cargo operator in Africa serving 25 cargo destinations globally using six dedicated freighter aircraft. Recently Ethiopian Cargo received “Long Time Partnership” Award from Asia Freight Terminal (AAT) in Hong Kong in recognition of its reliable cargo service.

Ethiopian Airlines is the fastest-growing airline in Africa. It commands the lion share of the intra-Africa passenger and cargo network operating the youngest and most modern fleet to more than 75 international destinations across five continents. Ethiopian’s fleet includes the Boeing 787, Boeing 777-200LR, Boeing 777-200LR Freighter and Bombardier Q-400.

Ethiopian is currently implementing a 15-year strategic plan called Vision 2025 that will see it become the leading aviation group in Africa with seven business centres: Ethiopian Domestic and Regional Airline; Ethiopian International Passenger Airline; Ethiopian Cargo; Ethiopian MRO; Ethiopian Aviation Academy; Ethiopian In-flight Catering Services; and Ethiopian Ground Services. Ethiopian has been a member of Star Alliance since 2011, registering an average annual growth of 25% in the past seven years.

– 21 August, 2013


Qatar adds more flights to Nairobi

KENYA’s EAST African Affairs, Commerce and Tourism Cabinet Secretary, Phyllis Kandie, has welcomed Qatar Airways’ decision to increase its frequency between Doha and Nairobi by adding four additional weekly flights to and from the capital city.  Beginning 1 September, 2013, the airline will increase its A320 aircraft flights to 18 flights per week, up from the current 14 flights. 

“The additional Qatar Airways flights is very good news for Kenya,” said Kandie. “From a business perspective, it will give increased passenger capacity which will positively contribute towards the economic growth of our country.  For visitors, the increased availability to fly to Nairobi directly from the international hub of Doha enables passengers to reach our country with more ease than ever before. All of this contributes to the economic growth of Kenya and towards the achievement of our Vision 2030 goals.”

Qatar’s Country Manager for Kenya, Clifford Christopher, noted the higher customer demand, both in passenger and cargo transport, as the business case for adding more flights. “As a travel destination, Nairobi has grown in popularity over the last few years. Tourists from all over the world are increasingly flocking to the capital city as an entry point to Kenya and a gateway to East Africa.”

Demand for transport to and from Nairobi has increased dramatically as a business and leisure hub for East and Central Africa, especially as a result of Kenya’s economic growth, up 4.8% since 2012. This is in part due to the country’s increase in exports of fresh produce, flowers and foliage, and of course, tea of which Kenya is one of the world’s largest exporters.

As Kenya focuses on growing its tourist arrivals to three million per year by 2017, Qatar Airways increased passenger capacity will help to accelerate the achievement of this goal.  Visitors from Europe, the Middle East, Far East and Asia Pacific will now have increased options and better connections than ever before.

Qatar Airways has seen rapid growth in just 16 years of operations, currently flying a modern fleet of 129 aircraft to 128 key business and leisure destinations worldwide. So far, it has launched six destinations this year – Gassim (Saudi Arabia), Najaf (Iraq), Phnom Penh (Cambodia), Chicago (USA), Salalah (Oman) and Basra (Iraq).  Over the next few months, the network will expand with the addition of further destinations – Sulaymaniyah, Iraq (20 August), Chengdu, China (3 September), Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (18 September), Clark International Airport, Philippines (27 October) and Philadelphia, USA (2 April, 2014).

Qatar Airways was presented with three honours at the annual Skytrax 2013 World Airline Awards held during the Paris Air Show at Le Bourget, France in June. The airline was awarded the World’s Best Business Class, World’s Best Business Class Lounge and, for the second consecutive year, Best Airline Staff Service in the Middle East.

The airline has also been named Best Airline in the Middle East for the seventh year in a row, and its Premium Terminal at Doha International Airport named Best Premium Service Airport for the third consecutive year in 2013. Qatar Airways has also twice been recipient of the prestigious Skytrax Airline of the Year Award in 2011 and 2012. Skytrax is the only global independent passenger survey monitoring airline standards and is considered the ultimate benchmark for excellence in the airline industry.

Qatar Airways currently has orders worth over US$50 billion for more than 250 aircraft, including Boeing 787s, 777s, Airbus A350s, A380s and A320 family of aircraft. In addition, Qatar Airways will become the first of the major Gulf carriers to join a global alliance having been invited into the oneworld group.

– 20 August, 2013


EgyptAir Training Center update

EGYPTAIR TRAINING Center has announced its capacity to conduct specialised maintenance training including electrical wiring interconnection system (EWIS) and damage assessment and reporting for aircraft maintenance engineers.

All personnel in part 145 and part M organisation who are directly involved in the inspection of ‘EWIS’ are offered this mandatory programme to increase their awareness and skills required for efficient handling of electrical wiring interconnection system.

The damage assessment course will continue to build on the students’ knowledge of aviation structures, the fundamental concepts of aircraft design and construction.

– 19 August, 2013


fastjet issues new equity

FASTJET IS pleased to announce that it has raised £1,612,000 via a draw down on its Equity Financing Facility ("EFF") with Darwin Strategic Limited ("Darwin"), a majority owned subsidiary of Henderson Global Investors Volantis Capital ("Henderson").

Under the terms of the EFF agreement the company raised gross proceeds of £1,612,000 by way of the issue of 161,200,000 shares of 1p each to Darwin (the "EFF Shares"). The new EFF Shares have been issued and rank pari passu in all respects with existing ordinary shares of 1p each in fastjet.

Application has been made to the London Stock Exchange for a total of 16,120,000 ordinary shares of 1p each to be admitted to trading on AIM based on the proposed consolidation and sub division of share capital being approved at the Extraordinary General Meeting today. It is expected that the admission will become effective and that trading in the new shares will commence on 22 August, 2013 ("Admission").

fastjet is also pleased to announce that the resolutions put to shareholders at the company’s general meeting held earlier today were duly passed.  The reorganisation of share capital will therefore become effective.  Application has been made for the New Ordinary Shares to be admitted to trading on AIM.  Dealing in the New Ordinary Shares is expected to commence at 8.00am on Tuesday, 20 August, 2013.

The General Meeting was convened pursuant to the notice of general meeting and proposed reorganisation of share capital (the “Circular”) posted to shareholders on 2 August, 2013, which is available from the company’s website, www.fastjet.com.

– 19 August, 2013


Air Uganda and RwandAir sign codeshare agreement

AIR UGANDA today signed a codeshare agreement with RwandAir. The agreement, which is effective immediately, covers the Entebbe – Kigali route and will provide travellers with an increased choice of flights between the two cities. The signing ceremony took place at Kigali International Airport between Mr Cornwell Muleya, the CEO of Air Uganda, and Mr John Mirenge, the CEO of RwandAir.

The two airlines will jointly offer at least three flights daily on the Entebbe – Kigali route and vice versa. The codeshare means that both airlines can sell tickets on either carrier with passengers being free to choose which flight to take at their convenience. The agreement also means that Air Uganda and RwandAir will work together to provide interconnections to other points in their respective networks, as well as to develop business and tourism in both countries. With the two airlines joining hands, customers have more flight options and flexibility for their travel and are not restricted to the flight schedule of one carrier.

“We are happy to sign this agreement with RwandAir, mainly because of the convenience it offers to our customers and the travelling public. With this partnership, we are confident that business and tourism will grow between our respective countries, because of the increased flight options and flexibility for travel,” commented Mr Muleya.  Apart from the convenience this partnership is offering the customers, the two airlines aim to manage operational costs for both airlines through shared services. The increased frequencies are also expected to boost performance on the route.

“RwandAir is committed to providing our customers with easy and convenient access to our destinations; this new codeshare relationship with Air Uganda affirms that commitment,” commented Mr Mirenge.  The new codeshare agreement is the beginning of a new partnership between the two carriers at a time when the whole of East Africa is uniting once again under the East African Community.

Air Uganda was founded in 2007 and operates scheduled flights from its Entebbe hub throughout East Africa. The destinations served include Bujumbura, Dar es Salaam, Juba, Kigali, Kilimanjaro, Mombasa, and Nairobi. The airline recently launched direct flights from Entebbe to Mogadishu on 8 July, 2013. Air Uganda operates a homogeneous fleet of 50-seater Bombardier CRJ 200 aircraft.

Air Uganda is the home-based carrier for Uganda and is a member of the Celestair Group, which is owned by the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED).  AKFED is an international development agency dedicated to promoting entrepreneurship and building economically sound enterprises in the developing world. AKFED focuses on building enterprises in parts of the world that lack sufficient foreign direct investment.

AKFED is in turn part of the Aga Khan Development Network, a group of development agencies with mandates that include the environment, health, education, architecture, culture, microfinance, rural development, disaster reduction, the promotion of private-sector enterprise and the revitalisation of historic cities.

RwandAir began operations on 1 December, 2002, as the new national carrier under the name Rwandair Express (passenger air transportation as the core activity) for Rwanda with a concession to carry out airport ground handling (ancillary activity) at Kigali International airport, Kanombe. In March, 2009, it registered a new trademark ‘RwandAir’ which is its current operating name.

Operating from its hub Kigali, the airline has a young fleet of two Boeing 737-800NG, two Boeing 737-700NG, and a Bombardier Dash8-200 and has pledged to provide a memorable travel experience to every single passenger on its routes.

RwandAir serves most East African Community capital cities with daily flights and fly to Johannesburg and Dubai three times a week. Recently, it introduced flights to Accra, Ghana. Its current destinations include Nairobi, Lagos, Brazzaville, Entebbe, Mombasa, Bujumbura, Dar es Salaam, Kilimanjaro, Johannesburg, Libreville, Kamembe, and Dubai. It has  codeshare agreements with SN Brussels on the Kigali-Brussels sector and Ethiopian Airlines on the Kigali-Addis Ababa sector.

Mr Cornwell Muleya said:  “I am delighted to welcome you to this cocktail reception to celebrate the re-launch of direct Air Uganda flights from Entebbe to Kilimanjaro. It was a pleasure for me to take a direct flight from Entebbe to Kilimanjaro today; it was a very convenient, fast and comfortable way to get to this beautiful city and country.  Air Uganda operated flights to Kilimanjaro in the past, which were stopped in 2008 and it is therefore a great feeling to be back here offering direct flights again.

“The number of passengers between Entebbe and Kilimanjaro has grown significantly over the past few years with the strengthening of the East African community. Arusha is now home to the headquarters of the EAC and it is only fitting that the “wings of East Africa” come here also.  Arusha also remains a big tourist destination with many natural attractions including Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru.  It is also the gateway to the largest national park in this region, the Serengeti.

“Our flights now offer direct links between these key areas and the not so publicized secrets of Entebbe and the Great lakes Region. I am talking about Lake Victoria and its upper regions of Jinja, the source of the river Nile and its associated hot springs surrounding the ring of fire and the legendary Gorilla trails. We have started these services by offering four weekly flights on Tuesdays, Wednesday, Fridays and Sundays.

“Air Uganda prides itself in offering its customers, competitive fares, on-time flights and great customer service. We are a young airline, but our reputation for high standards is growing everyday throughout East Africa. We are also an IOSA certified airline with safety, security and operating standards at par with the best in the industry.  The courteous, friendly and professional service offered by our staff and partners both on the ground and on board our aircraft is one of the key reasons why Air Uganda is steadily becoming your favourite airline. I would urge you to come and experience for yourself the world re-knowned hospitality of the people of Uganda.

“The direct flights to Kilimanjaro is only the beginning of our planned expansion, aimed at linking more city pairs in East Africa through our hub at Entebbe International Airport in support of trade and tourism. In July this year, we will add direct flights to Mogadishu.  Let me take this opportunity to share a few key developments by your favourite airline. Earlier this month we received our third 50-seater CRJ 200 aircraft. This new addition brings much needed commonality to the fleet, making operations easier and seamless. The new aircraft also allows for schedule convenience and flexibility, as well as additional frequencies to key destinations like Juba in South Sudan.

“Air Uganda has also upgraded is website platforms to allow you to find your flights and transact business with us 24/7. By accessing our website on www.air-uganda.com, you can now book online, pay online using credit cards, debit cards and 3D secured cards. This is in addition to the cash payment options which already existed on our links. You will also be pleased to know that our website platform offers on-line check-in and the ability to print your Boarding Passes for those travelling through our hub at Entebbe. These features will be rolled out to all our other stations throughout 2013. The modernization of our operating platforms and e-commerce infrastructure is one of our central objectives in building a world class airline.

“As you are fully aware, our two nations Uganda and Tanzania have had strong ties and share a common history. Our future is also inter-twined as we look forward to the benefits of closer ties within East Africa and the African Union (AU). We believe that our services will go a long way towards promoting and cementing these ties.  Let me therefore close by thanking you for the tremendous support you have given us in the past and invite you to partner with us as we develop not only this service to Kilimanjaro and Arusha, but the entire network throughout East Africa,” he said.

– 14 August, 2013


SAA and Standard Chartered in deal for 10 A320-200s

STANDARD CHARTERED Bank through its Aviation Finance team, Pembroke, has announced a 12-year sale and leaseback agreement with South Africa’s national carrier, South African Airways (SAA), for 10 Airbus A320-200 aircraft.  The aircraft will be delivered over the next two years, with the first two deliveries taking place in July this year. This is the first aviation finance deal in South Africa by Standard Chartered.

“We are delighted to be able to support SAA in this important transaction and to leverage our investment banking expertise to finance these aircraft, as well as to participate in this new sale and leaseback agreement,” said Daniel Hanna, Co-Head of Wholesale Banking, in Southern Africa.

“This year we celebrate the 150th anniversary of our first business in South Africa and this deal is further testament to our long-term commitment to the country and supporting South African clients. We look forward to using our full product suite to support SAA’s expansion and transformation.”

The airline’s newly-appointed CEO Monwabisi Kalawe said, “We are truly grateful that Standard Chartered has agreed to be the financiers for the first 10 aircraft in our fleet renewal. The deal will significantly enhance SAA’s domestic and regional growth strategy to become the carrier of choice in Africa. The Airbus A320-200 aircraft are central to SAA’s plans to provide an efficient and comprehensive regional route network.”

Kalawe added that the acquisition of the aircraft fits into SAA’s Long-Term Turnaround Strategy. “Our Long-Term Turnaround Strategy has identified some big-ticket items responsible for our high operating costs. These include high fuel costs as well as the use of fuel-inefficient aircraft. This deal provides the necessary solution by securing a new generation, fuel-efficient fleet for us,” explained Kalawe.

Kieran Corr, the Chief Executive Officer for Pembroke and Global Head of Aviation Finance for Standard Chartered, said: “We have long-standing relationships with our clients and meeting their needs is our top priority. We are thrilled to support Africa’s largest carrier, SAA, as it expands its fleet across one of the world’s fastest growing regions.

“This transaction showcases the capabilities of Standard Chartered to provide tailored solutions to African carriers as they develop their fleets to meet the growing air traffic demand in Africa. This deal should contribute to intra-African trade, which was also an attractive feature of the underlying transaction.” Pembroke is wholly-owned by Standard Chartered PLC and owns and manages a diverse portfolio of more than 90 aircraft.

This deal builds on the significant investment Standard Chartered has made in South Africa and across the continent. In the last two months, Standard Chartered announced its intention to acquire the South African custody and trustee business of Absa Bank and the opening of two new wholesale banking corporate offices in Cape Town and Durban.

– 13 August, 2013


JetCraft acquires ExecuJet Aircraft Trading

JETCRAFT CORPORATION, an international leader in new and pre-owned business aircraft sales, acquisitions and trades, today announced the acquisition of the aircraft brokerage activities of ExecuJet Aircraft Trading (EAT), the business aircraft sales division of ExecuJet Aviation Group, of Zurich, Switzerland.  The coming together of two of the industry’s best sales teams will immediately benefit Jetcraft and ExecuJet clients by offering the largest selection of quality new and pre-owned business aircraft from around the globe.

The newly combined Jetcraft sales force includes 20 senior sales executives, and another 20 sales, technical and marketing support staff, located in offices worldwide. Chad Anderson will remain President of Jetcraft and Andrew Hoy, formerly Managing Director, EAT, will oversee sales in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. The rest of each company’s sales team will remain in-place to create an unmatched sales network, serving clients globally. Aircraft sales listings of both companies will be immediately co-marketed, with full administrative integration to be completed within six months.

“We are proud to announce that EAT is joining Jetcraft, which now makes us the largest business aviation brokerage company in the world,” says Chad Anderson, President, Jetcraft Corporation. “With our new and bigger sales force, expanded global reach, and collective wealth of experience, we will be able to serve an even greater number of clients while still offering unmatched transaction creativity and capabilities globally. This expansion is a natural evolution for us. These two successful companies fit together exceptionally well due, in large part, to our shared corporate cultures focused on customer service, integrity and teamwork. By uniting our teams into a single non-affiliated sales organization, we will approximately double the marketing power that we offer our clients.

“On behalf of ExecuJet, I would like to thank Andrew Hoy and his sales team for their dedicated years of service and sales success,” continues Niall Olver, CEO, ExecuJet Aviation Group. “This deal is win-win for all involved, most importantly – the client. ExecuJet’s roots are in aircraft sales and our experience told us that this was a unique fit of exceptional sales professionals. The new team will offer unprecedented service to business aircraft buyers and sellers worldwide. ExecuJet now looks positively forward to concentrating on being the world leader in offering aircraft owners and operators a diverse range of value-added services including: FBO, MRO, completions and aircraft management.

“We are pleased to be joining forces with the Jetcraft team,” adds Andrew Hoy, former Managing Director, EAT. “We both share long and successful industry track records and, more importantly, we are united by the core values of customer service, a team approach to sales, and a complete commitment to integrity. Together, we will be able to offer a truly unique level of service to all existing and prospective clients with greater resources and access to a considerably larger inventory of business aircraft. Our current clients will immediately benefit from integration with Jetcraft and we will ensure the transition is seamless.

Jetcraft Corporation is an international leader in new and pre-owned business aircraft sales, acquisitions and trades. Headquartered in Raleigh, NC, Jetcraft has sales offices/representation in Minneapolis, St. Louis, Teterboro, Basel, Zurich, Geneva, Dubai, Moscow, Hong Kong, Montreal, London, Paris, and Johannesburg. The company’s 50-year-plus track record in aircraft transactions has earned it a world class customer base and one of the strongest global networks in the industry. Jetcraft Avionics LLC, a subsidiary of Jetcraft Corporation based in Atlanta, provides distribution of enhanced flight vision systems (EFVS) for aftermarket business aircraft using Kollsman’s state-of-the-art EVS-II and AT-HUD.

The ExecuJet Aviation Group is a leading global business aviation organisation offering a diverse range of services including aircraft management for private and commercial registered aircraft, aircraft charter, aircraft maintenance, aircraft completions management and fixed base operations. ExecuJet manages 150 business jets worldwide under the most stringent safety standards. Its commercial fleet is operated under the regulatory umbrella of seven regional civil aviation issued air operating certificates (AOCs). Headquartered in Zürich, Switzerland, ExecuJet has operations in six regions – Africa, Asia, Australasia, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East, embracing a workforce of over 800 experienced staff.

– 8 August, 2013


IATA’s enhanced IOSA programme

THE INTERNATIONAL Air Transport Association (IATA) has introduced an enhanced IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) to improve global air safety.

Enhanced IOSA introduces the following:

  1. Airlines will assume responsibility for ensuring continued conformity with the 900+ IOSA standards and recommended practices through internal auditing throughout the 24 months registration period.

  2. Before each Enhanced IOSA renewal audit, airlines will need to submit a conformance report to their Audit Organization as a record of their internal audit activities.

  3. The new audit process includes an in-depth evaluation of the airline’s quality assurance program and a greater focus on the implementation of the IOSA standards through standardized auditing techniques.

  4. Audit Organizations will continue to conduct the on-site renewal audit every 24 months.

“We congratulate Air Transat for becoming the first airline to complete the rigorous standards of the Enhanced IOSA audit process. Their commitment to support implementation of Enhanced IOSA is commendable and paves the way for other airlines to follow suit,” said Guenther Matschnigg, IATA’s Senior Vice President, Safety and Flight Operations.  

In June, 2013, the IATA Board of Governors mandated the implementation of Enhanced IOSA for all IOSA renewal audits as of September 2015. Until then, airlines can opt to undergo their renewal audits under the Enhanced IOSA audit process on a voluntary basis.   “Enhanced IOSA adds an important dimension that focuses on the airline’s self-auditing and quality assurance programs. IATA will work with all airlines to ensure implementation of Enhanced IOSA by the set deadline,” said Matschnigg.  In 2013, IATA will conduct three Enhanced IOSA regional workshops – Beijing, Montreal and Bucharest – for IOSA registered airlines. Further workshops will be held in other regions in 2014. 

IATA represents some 240 airlines comprising 84% of global air traffic. The IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) program is an internationally recognized and accepted evaluation system designed to assess the operational management and control systems of an airline. All IATA members are IOSA registered and must remain registered to maintain IATA membership  IOSA has a positive impact on aviation safety. In 2012, airlines on the IOSA registry had an all accident rate 77% better than non-IOSA registered airlines.

– 8 August, 2013


mercator’s Avantik wins new customers

AVANTIK, MERCATOR’S reservation and sales distribution system for regional and low cost airlines, has gone live in record time with two more airlines - Antrak Air in Ghana and Alsie Express in Denmark. Alsie Express took just 29 days to go-live after project kick-off as mercator effectively reduced the implementations time by 25%.   Avantik’s integrated platform of passenger services will help both airlines manage web-enabled reservation sales and inventory operations for internet, call centre, sales office and airport departure and control functionality whilst benefiting from yield management tools, revenue accounting and planning applications. 

"Antrak Air has a business-growing strategy that requires a scalable system. Increasing our passenger bookings and sales while reducing cost and saving time for our customers is of utmost priority, which is why we selected Avantik,” said Conrad Clifford, Antrak Air Director. “The mercator team has gone above and beyond to make this cutover possible and we are thankful and delighted to partner with such a dedicated supplier,” he added.   Avantik will not only offer the airlines a unified architecture, open connectivity with IATA and a flexible way of handling passenger sales, but also an efficient, market-oriented system that helps reduce cost and complexity. 

“The key factor of any successful airline lies in its dynamic technical support, where time and quality are utilised in the most efficient manner. With such a partner, we look forward to increase our frequencies and enhance our fleet, while improving our customers’ overall experience,” said Henning Taestensen, Alsie Express CFO. 

“We are proud to welcome two new airline partners in Africa and Europe to our growing customer base. We understand our customers and help them stay one step ahead. With Avantik’s highly competitive functionality and flexibility, we help our partners to modernise their distribution infrastructure and improve the efficiency of their resources and business processes,” said Roland Heller, CEO, mercator Asia.

– 7 August, 2013


SACAA grounds Comair and SAA Boeing 737 classics

THE SOUTH African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) has regretfully come to a decision to ground 13 Boeing 737 classic aircraft operated by Comair and SAA in terms of Section 115 of the Civil Aviation Act, 2009 (Act 13 of 2009).  The reason for grounding the aircraft is that the SACAA has come to learn that these oeprators failed to comply fully with Airworthiness Directive (AD) 201-15-10 which was issued on 27 July, 2010, by the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).  The directive was effective as at 31 August, 2010.  The decision to ground the fleet is effective immediately.

The FAA Airworthiness Directive was prompted by reports of fractures that resulted from stress corrosion and pitting along the length of the spindle and spindle diameter, and additional reports of corrosion on the outboard flap carriage spindles.  This AD was issued in order to detect and correct cracked, corroded, or fractured carriage spindles, and to prevent severe flap asymmetry, which could result in reduced control or loss of controllability of the airplane.

The compliance period for this directive was 24 months and came to an end on 30 August, 2012.  The affected fleet per operator are 11 for Comair and two for SAA, which are used for passengers and cargo respectively.  The affected fleet involve the Boeing 737 classic series.

The operator has reported that they successfully checked for cracked /fractured flap carriage spindles (four per aircraft) as required with no negative findings.  However, they omitted to overhaul the spindles before the 24 months expired which fell on 31 August, 2012, or prior to reaching 12,000 flight cycles (if these are known).

The above non-compliance poses imminent danger to the aviation industry and the general public and has serious implications on aviation safety as the affected aircraft are currently un-airworthy.

The talks between the SACAA and SAA Technical, the Aircraft Maintenance Organisation that maintains this fleet, are that the operators need to conduct the outstanding maintenance on the fleet and submit proof of compliance to the Regulator before the aircraft can be released for operation again. The Maintenance Organisation has committed to the Regulator that this state of compliance will be met by Thursday, 8 August, 2013.

“The SACAA values the relationship we have with the industry. However the value of the lives of our flying community will always supercede maintaining cordial relations with any member of the industry. We have been reassured and we trust that the affected operators will address the safety compliance concerns speedily.”

Airworthiness Directives are issued by manufacturers or the state of certification to warn all operators of pending dangers, defects or hazards which may compromise the safety of the flying community. The directives are normally prescriptive with regards to the time in which the directive should be complied with and failure to adhere to these prescriptions may render the aircraft un-airworthy.

The SACAA introduced administrative penalties in 2010 with the intention of exploring various measures of enforcing civil aviation regulations. It is therefore highly regrettable when we are left with no choice but to ground aircraft. This decision is always considered with the seriousness it deserves to avoid unnecessarily inconveniencing the flying community. It should therefore be understood that when such a decision is reached is it based on the belief that any lesser penalty is simply not commensurate with the related repercussions that may result if ignored.

The SACAA would like to assure members of the public that it regards its statutory mandate of ensuring aviation safety and security to be of paramount importance. South Africa boasts a zero per cent (0%) accident rate on South African soil in the large aircraft sector and we are determined to maintain this impeccable record.

The SACAA remains confident that the aviation safety and security records in the country exceed the minimum standards and in fact compare favourably in terms of the best international standards and practice. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and US FAA subject the SACAA to comprehensive audits of its safety oversight system on an on-going basis. The results of these audits continuously reveal that aviation safety and security in South Africa is rated amongst the best in the world.

The South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) is a juristic body established under the Civil Aviation Act, 2009 (Act No. 13 of 2009).  SACAA is governed and controlled by the Civil Aviation Authority Board.  In terms of mandate, the SACAA is tasked with promoting and maintaining a safe, secure and sustainable civil aviation environment, by regulating and overseeing the functioning and development of the industry in an efficient, cost-effective and customer-friendly manner according to international standards.

– 5 August, 2013


fastjet passenger statistics for July, 2013

FASTJET, THE low-cost carrier, is pleased to announce a 40% increase in its overall passenger numbers in July, 2013, compared with July, 2012. Passengers on the combined Fly540 and fastjet fleets totaled 84,362, surpassing expectations for this time of the year.  In Tanzania, the company saw a 14% increase in the number of fastjet passengers, compared to the previous month.

Commenting on the figures, Ed Winter, Chief Executive Officer of fastjet said:  "As reported in last week's Operational Update, fastjet's passenger numbers continue to grow at an impressive rate. Given the expected reduction in passengers due to Ramadan, we are delighted with 40% growth year on year.

“Particularly pleasing is the load factor of 79% across our Tanzanian routes. We reintroduced the Kilimanjaro to Zanzibar route in July, expecting a slow buildup in load factor.  We recorded a load factor of 65% on this route which demonstrates the support we have been receiving from travel agents and tour operators that need a reliable airline to fly tourist passengers from safaris to the stunning beaches of Zanzibar."

On 31 July, fastjet launched ticket sales for the long-anticipated international route between Dar es Salaam and Johannesburg. Sales at this very early stage are encouraging.  fastjet expects  to announce a number of additional international routes soon.

1)  "All operations" includes statistics for fastjet Tanzania, Fly540 Kenya, Fly540 Ghana and Fly540 Angola.

2)  "Passengers" for Fly540 operations are flown passengers and for fastjet operations are sold seats flown, in both cases excluding infants.  fastjet bookings are generally non-refundable whereas Fly540 bookings are in some circumstances refundable.

3)  "Load Factor" is the number of 'passengers" as a percentage of the number of available seats flown.
4)  “fastjet operations" includes only statistics for Fastjet Tanzania operations which commenced on 29 November, 2012.

In the year to March, 2013, fastjet and its subsidiaries carried almost 800,000 passengers, 50% more than a year previously, and 99.2% of its flights left on time with no cancellations. The results of a recent customer satisfaction survey showed that 100% of customers were likely to recommend fastjet to a friend.  In developing its strong brand and identity, fastjet has won and been nominated for a number of awards, including winning three Transform awards for the rebrand and launch of fastjet and the award for "Brand Strategy of the Year."

– 5 August, 2013


Air Seychelles and Airberlin expand codeshare

AIR SEYCHELLES, the national airline of the Republic of Seychelles, has expanded its codeshare network with airberlin, Europe’s seventh largest carrier, to cover Praslin and two new destinations in Europe: Stockholm and Copenhagen.

The new deal will see Air Seychelles place its ‘HM’ code on six airberlin flights per week between Berlin and Stockholm, and seven airberlin flights per week between Berlin and Copenhagen. airberlin will place its ‘AB’ code on eight Air Seychelles flights per week between Mahé and Praslin.

Cramer Ball, Air Seychelles’ Chief Executive Officer, said: "Our codeshare partnership with airberlin has been a commercial success, with a record surge in arrivals from Germany contributing to our bottom line. With the addition of Stockholm and Copenhagen, we will bolster our position in Scandinavia, one of the fastest growing source markets to Seychelles, and we are confident we will be able to leverage our presence to drive more high-income traffic to our archipelago.”

Jöel Morgan, Minister for Home Affairs and Transport, and Chairman of Air Seychelles’ Board, said: "I’m thrilled to see the partnership between Air Seychelles and airberlin flourishing. With this expansion, both airlines will benefit: guests throughout airberlin’s global network can now enjoy seamless travel on one ticket to the exquisite island of Praslin, home of the mystical Coco de Mer and Black Parrot, as well as some of the world’s finest beaches, while Air Seychelles will extend its reach into Europe, smartly targeting an economically vibrant geographical region whose residents are discovering Seychelles at an accelerating pace. Arrivals from the region are up 29% this year.”

Air Seychelles was established in 1978 and began long-haul service in 1983. The airline currently offers international flights to Abu Dhabi, Hong Kong, Johannesburg and Mauritius. Air Seychelles also offers more than 200 domestic scheduled flights a week throughout the archipelago, as well as domestic charter services.

As the national airline, Air Seychelles is a pillar of tourism, the island nation’s strongest and growing economic sector. The airline maintains a strategic partnership with Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates and 40% stakeholder.

– 2 August, 2013


fastjet operational results

AHEAD OF the release of its monthly passenger statistics, low-cost carier fastjet is delighted to report a strong trading month for July, 2013, in Tanzania, continuing the trend of month-on-month revenue increases.  Passenger revenue for July, 2013, was over US$2.5 million, which represents a revenue increase of over 10% against the previous month and a US$700,000 increase since May, 2013.

The figures can be attributed to a jump in passenger volumes on existing routes, the successful reintroduction of the Kilimanjaro to Zanzibar route and a 17% increase in ancillary revenues (revenue from non-ticket sources). “We are particularly pleased with these results given the fact that Ramadan, a period when travel and business activity traditionally reduces, fell over the last 21 days of the month,” it says.

On 31 July this year, fastjet launched ticket sales for the long-awaited international route between Dar es Salaam and Johannesburg. Initially, flights on the route will operate three times a week and the first flight is scheduled for 27 September. However, as demand for seats on fastjet's signature Airbus A319s is expected to be high, the company intends to increase the frequency of flights in line with market demand. This is expected to be the first of a number of international routes that fastjet has applied for.

Ed Winter, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of fastjet, said: "These are excellent figures. They show the strength of our brand and the support we are receiving from the Tanzanian population. We expected the drop in travel over the religious period to be challenging, but our figures suggest that the fastjet proposition is gaining popularity.  This only bodes well for the future.

"The introduction of international flights is critical for our future and we are delighted to have now launched ticket sales for the route to Johannesburg. We are confident that we will be adding more international routes to our flying programme in the near future."

fastjet plc is the holding company for the African airline Fly540, which operates in Tanzania, Kenya, Ghana and Angola. Flights under the fastjet brand commenced in Tanzania in November, 2012. The airline has introduced Airbus A319s into its fleet and by adhering to international standards of safety, quality, security and reliability, fastjet says it has brought a new flying experience to the African market at unprecedented low prices. fastjet is implementing the low-cost model across Africa and its long-term strategy is to become the continent's first low-cost, pan-African airline.

– 1 August, 2013


fastjet tickets for South Africa route to go on sale

ED WINTER, CEO of fastjet, said the availability of tickets for flights between Tanzania and South Africa marked a milestone in the company’s history. Tickets for its route between Tanzania and South Africa go on sale this week. The route is fastjet’s first international one and marks the airline’s initial step on the way to becoming a pan-African carrier.

fastjet said tickets will be on sale from July 31 and basic fares, excluding Government taxes and charges, for flights between Dar es Salaam and Johannesburg will cost as little as US$100.

Richard Bodin, Chief Commercial Officer of fastjet, said: “For some time the Dar es Salaam to Johannesburg route has only been operated by one airline and the lack of competition has created inflated fares. fastjet will substantially reduce the average fare and in doing so will encourage more leisure and business traffic between Tanzania and South Africa.”

Initially, flights on the route will operate three times a week, with the first flight scheduled for 27 September. The airline is expecting strong demand on this route and will increase the frequency of flights in line with market demand. The airline expects to add further international destinations including Lusaka, Zambia, to its flying programme in the near future.

“Despite a number of challenges, fastjet is now able to respond to huge consumer demand and provide an alternative and affordable link between Dar es Salaam and Johannesburg, having secured all required permissions to do so. For far too long it has been difficult and prohibitively expensive to fly between these two extraordinary cities. We expect our lower fares to stimulate a huge increase in the numbers of passengers travelling on this route, as has been the case on our domestic routes in Tanzania,” Winter said.

“Overwhelming public support for fastjet’s low-cost model has been a contributing factor to us launching this route. We hope that the obvious desire for a change in the competitive landscape will result in fastjet soon being awarded licences in more African countries, bringing consumers the benefits of choice and lower prices on many more international routes.”

– 30 July, 2013


fastjet welcomes Sir Stelios's increased stake

FASTJET HAS a brand licence agreement with easyGroup Holdings Limited regarding the use of the fastjet brand. fastjet’s Chief Executive Officer Ed Winter said Sir Stelios’s decision to increase his holding in the company was “a testament to his confidence in fastjet's success and faith in the low-cost airline model he pioneered.”

"fastjet values its relationship with Stelios as a shareholder and brand licensor, and also for the unparalleled low-cost airline experience he brings as a consultant to the company," Winter said.

Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou said: "When we signed the original agreement a year ago, the company had very little other than a vision to start operating a proper low-cost airline in Africa. Today, some nine months after the first Airbus 319 flight in Tanzania, fastjet has demonstrated that travellers in Africa will react in exactly the same way as consumers elsewhere to the availability of low-cost fares.

"The roll-out of this embryonic operation from Tanzania to the rest of Africa will clearly take both time and more investment. I have faith that the extensive airline experience of Ed Winter and his management team will take the company to the next level.

"There is only one continent on earth where low air fares are not widely available yet. I believe fastjet is now well placed to capture this final frontier. I will be watching their progress with great interest."

– 26 July, 2013


Ethiopian becomes first international carrier to fly to Enugu

ETHIOPIAN AIRLINES is pleased to announce the commencement of new services to Enugu, Nigeria as of 24 August, 2013, becoming the first international carrier to fly to the city. Ethiopian will also increase its five weekly flights to Abuja to a daily service.

Ethiopian will operate four times a week to Enugu, its 76th destination. Ethiopian, an indigenous and truly Pan-African airline, is one of the oldest carriers flying to Nigeria and has been serving the country since 1960 strengthening trade, cultural and tourism ties between Nigeria and the rest of the world.

Passengers from Enugu will have direct flight connections to many destinations in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, South America and Europe with the youngest and most modern fleet in the continent, enjoying the usual Ethiopian hospitality.

"Our flight to Enugu is another exciting step towards enhancing our commitment to the needs of our travelling publics. Nigeria has always been and continues to be one of our important destinations in West Africa. We are continually improving our products and services to meet our customers’ expectations. We thank the people and the Government of Nigeria for their continued support in making this new service to Enugu possible," said Tewolde Gebremariam, CEO of Ethiopian.

Passengers from our three gateways in Nigeria – Lagos, Abuja and Enugu – now have the opportunity to fly to destinations throughout the Ethiopian network, including Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Hong Kong, Seoul, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, London, Toronto, Beijing, Beirut, Dubai, Mumbai, and Nairobi.

– 26 July, 2013


Air Mauritius highlights improved performance

AIR MAURITIUS held its Annual Meeting of shareholders at the Grand Baie International Conference Centre on 25 July, 2013, under the chairmanship of Mr Appalsamy (Dass) Thomas.  In his address, Mr Thomas focused on the future of Air Mauritius. He highlighted the measures being taken to ensure long-term sustainability of the business, saying that the real game-changer would be the timely re-fleeting with new generation aircraft. Mr Thomas also stressed on the alignment of all stakeholders to the objectives of Air Mauritius, which he said was crucial to enabling change.

The CEO of Air Mauritius, Mr Andre Viljoen, gave a presentation to the shareholders in which he explained the financial situation of the company. He elaborated on the EUR 25.6m improvement in the financial performance for year 2012-2013, which he explained was the direct result of the 7-Step Plan, designed to bring recovery within two years. The effects of this Programme were felt as from the 2nd quarter of financial year 2012-2013 and the improvements that followed were directly attributable to the measures initiated.

Mr Viljoen added that the company was targeting a return to profitability by the end of the current financial year – in March, 2014. During the meeting, the shareholders were provided with an opportunity to discuss and comment on the management of the affairs of the company.

Air Mauritius is the national carrier of the Republic of Mauritius.  Created in 1967, it currently operates a fleet of four Airbus A340-300, two A340-300E, two A330-200, two A319-100 and two ATR72-500.  Air Mauritius presently flies to 19 destinations in Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa and the Indian Ocean.

– 25 July, 2013


Naikuni feted for ‘contribution to air transport business’

KENYA AIRWAYS’ Chief Executive Officer, Dr Titus Naikuni, has been recognized in the prestigious Airline Strategy Awards 2013. Dr Naikuni received the ‘Airline Business Award’, which recognizes an individual who has made a lasting strategic contribution to the air transport business, during this year’s edition of the awards that were held in London at the weekend.    

In the citation, the judging panel, which comprises highly-respected industry professionals including analysts and former chief executives, noted:  “During his 10 years at the helm, Dr Naikuni has steered Kenya Airways on to a profitable and stable growth path and established it as one of Africa’s leading airlines.

 “During the course of his tenure, revenue has more than trebled to US$1.2 billion, passenger numbers have jumped to 3.6 million and the airline’s fleet has doubled to 42.  Kenya Airways has totally revamped its fleet and become the first carrier in the region to join a global alliance, as well as a leading beacon of private enterprise in a region where state ownership remains the norm,” the judges added in part.

Speaking after receiving news of the recognition, Dr Naikuni said that it was a great honour to be feted by colleagues in the aviation industry from across the world. “I would like to acknowledge colleagues at Kenya Airways and our customers, whose support has contributed to this recognition,” the Kenya Airways CEO added.

Among past winners of the ‘Airline Business Award’ are: Akbar Al Baker, the CEO of Qatar Airways (2012) and Tim Clark, the CEO of Emirates Airline (2011).

Other individuals recognized in this year’s Airline Strategy Awards included: James Hogan, CEO of Etihad Airways in the Executive Leadership category; Carolyn McCall, CEO of Easyjet in the Low-Cost Leadership category and Tewolde Gebremariam, CEO of Ethiopian Airlines in the Regional Leadership Award category. Ryanair, Turkish Airlines, Lufthansa and KLM were also awarded in the Finance, Marketing, Technology and Environment categories.

– 16 July, 2013


First African airline CEO to receive Airline Strategy Award

ETHIOPIAN AIRLINES is pleased to announce that its CEO, Tewolde Gebremariam, won the 2013 Airline Strategy Award for Regional Leadership on Sunday, 14 July, 2013, in London. The Ethiopian CEO is the first African airline CEO to receive the Regional Leadership Award in the award’s 12-year history which is annually given out by Airline Business Magazine, a publication of FlightGlobal, UK.

The Airline Strategy Awards for Regional Leadership is given for a management team that has demonstrated excellence in leading a carrier which provides strong transport links in its geographical region. A key criterion for this award is the successful utilization of regional markets with high operational integrity as well as the ability to produce good growth rates while keeping a tight grip on costs.

The independent panel of judges comprised of highly respected industry professionals including analysts and former chief executives gave Tewolde Gebremariam the award for delivering consistent profits while developing Ethiopian Airlines’ fleet, network and business infrastructure and, in doing so, for showing leadership in the continent.

The judges also recognized that Ethiopian’s success is in one of the most difficult regional markets, where airline liquidations are all too frequent, with one saying that Ethiopian is operating in a “difficult region”, and its achievement is "very impressive".

After receiving the award, Tewolde Gebremariam, Ethiopian CEO said, "I am pleased to receive this prestigious strategy award which is recognition of the hard work and special dedication of the 8,000 employees of Ethiopian Airlines. It is also a confirmation that our Vision 2025 strategic road-map of fast, profitable and sustainable growth is right and a sound one. As a truly indigenous pan-African airline, successful execution of our strategy is enabling the airline to serve 75 international destinations in five continents with the aim of bringing Africa together and closer to the world. I would like to thank the Airline Business Magazine management and the panel of judges for selecting us for this award."

The Ethiopian CEO was also recognized for Ethiopian multiple hubs strategy in Africa with its partner ASKY airline, which operates to 22 West African destinations on top of Ethiopian’s extensive network in Africa consisting of 45 destinations.

Ethiopian recently finalized a deal signing 49% shareholding agreement to form the new Malawi Airlines, through which it will develop a third hub to serve southern Africa.

Ethiopian has just successfully completed its third year of its 15-year strategic road-map, Vision 2025. By 2025, the airline aims to become the leading aviation group in Africa with seven business units generating US$10 billion in revenue annually.

– 15 July, 2013


Qatar Airways launches services to Addis Ababa

QATAR AIRWAYS, the national airline of the State of Qatar, is set to begin three-flights-a-week to Ethiopia’s capital and largest city, Addis Ababa, on September 18, 2013.  The new service from Doha to Addis Ababa will be operated with an Airbus A320 in a two-class configuration of 132 seats in Economy and 12 in Business Class.

“Ethiopia is fast emerging as a growing economic centre, forming strong trade links with Europe, USA and Asia Pacific,” said Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer, Akbar Al Baker. “As a route, the country has great potential when linked up with key markets in Europe, Americas and other parts of the world.  We are pleased to be reinforcing our presence in Africa with the addition of scheduled flights to Addis Ababa, allowing us to further expand our business on the African continent.”

Addis Ababa joins a rapidly growing African network that Qatar Airways serves, amongst 19 other routes in North, East, West and Sub-Saharan Africa. In the last 24 months the airline has added the following African destinations to its global route network: Benghazi (Libya); Entebbe (Uganda); Kigali (Rwanda); Tripoli (Libya) – re-launched; Kilimanjaro (Tanzania); and Maputo (Mozambique).

“Ethiopia is known for its thriving industries including coffee production, agricultural commodity exports and livestock production,” continued Al Baker. “There is clearly demand and huge potential to and from Ethiopia, one of the many underserved markets across Africa. As a global network carrier we are able to fulfil the needs of the travelling public from such markets and for those wanting to travel there from destinations that we serve around the world.”          

Passengers can now book tickets through travel agents and Qatar Airways’ website www.qatarairways.com to take advantage of seamless connections to popular destinations including London, Frankfurt, Paris, Montreal, New York, Chicago and Washington via the airline’s Doha hub.

Qatar Airways has seen rapid growth in just 16 years of operation, currently flying a modern fleet of 127 aircraft to 128 key business and leisure destinations worldwide. The Doha-Addis Ababa schedule takes effect from  September 18 with flights on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. The flights depart Doha  (QR530) at 2215 hrs and  arrive in Addis Ababa at 0140 hrs the next day. The flights depart Addis Ababa  (QR531) at 0250 hrs and arrive in Doha at 0615 hrs.

– 15 July,  2013


Ethiopian becomes strategic partner in new Malawi Airlines

ETHIOPIAN AIRLINES is pleased to announce that it has become the strategic partner of the new Malawi Airlines with a 49% equity shareholding. The remaining 51% of the shares will be held by the Malawian Government and Malawian private investors.

The shareholder agreement for Malawi Airlines was signed between HE Dr Cornelius Mwalwanda, Deputy Minister of Finance of the Government of the Republic of Malawi, and Ato Tewolde Gebremariam, Chief Executive Officer of Ethiopian, in Lilongwe on Thursday, 11 July, 2013.

This new partnership with Malawi Airlines is part of Ethiopian’s Vision 2025 strategic roadmap of setting up multiple hubs in Africa. Through this strategic partnership with Malawian Air, Lilongwe will become Ethiopian’s third hub on the continent after its main hub in Addis Ababa and its West Africa hub based in Lomé, Togo.

"This new agreement we have just signed with the Government of Malawi is a model for the type of African co-operation that is needed in the 21st century. It is a win-win partnership aimed at enabling the success of African aviation in a capital intensive, skill-driven and highly competitive industry.

“Today, Africa is booming and with the economic growth of our continent demand for air travel is also growing at a much faster pace than the global average. This growing demand and the uneven competition from foreign carriers, which currently dominate the African market, cannot be overcome by one single African airline. For indigenous African airlines to succeed and get their fair share of the market, partnerships between African airlines are a must. Ethiopian Airlines is first and foremost a Pan-African airline, which has been serving Africa in good and bad times for close to seven decades bringing Africa together and closer to the world. It is with a win-win and Pan-African spirit that we have entered into a strategic partnership with Malawi Airlines.

“Through this strategic partnership, Ethiopian and the newly-formed Malawi Airlines will harmonize their flight schedules so as to provide seamless and best connectivity options for travellers within, to and from the southern Africa region.

“The establishment of multiple hubs in Africa is an overarching strategy of our Vision 2025. We have participated in the establishment of a regional airline in West Africa, ASKY, which has been quite successful. I am confident that our new partnership with Malawi Airlines will also be successful and will greatly benefit the travelling public in the southern Africa region," said Tewolde Gebremariam, CEO of Ethiopian.

As per its Vision 2025 multiple hubs strategy in Africa, Ethiopian Airlines aims to set up hubs in all regions of the continent and to become the leading aviation group in Africa generating US$10 billion in annual revenue by 2025.

– 13 July, 2013


Air Seychelles and Etihad expand codeshare to Kuwait

AIR SEYCHELLES, the national airline of the Republic of Seychelles, today announced an expansion of its codeshare partnership with Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), for travel to Kuwait over Abu Dhabi.

The newly added codeshare destination will see Air Seychelles and Etihad Airways offer 10 seamless return flights per week from Kuwait to the Seychelles, including a daily service. The agreement will see Air Seychelles place its ‘HM’ code on Etihad Airways flights between Kuwait and Abu Dhabi.

Cramer Ball, Air Seychelles Chief Executive Officer, said: "We are thrilled to offer Kuwait to the traveling public, thanks to our equity partner Etihad Airways. Kuwait is one of the richest per capita countries in the world and home to a growing and developing outbound leisure market. Guests can now purchase flights to Kuwait on one ticket, making for a simpler and more seamless journey.

“Visitor arrivals from the Gulf are up 23% from last year, so it is natural we should target the region for expansion. We are confident these new flights, with sub-two hour connectivity over Abu Dhabi, will stimulate further growth from the region, providing a new source of revenue for the airline as well as the local tourist economy,” said Mr Ball.

Jöel Morgan, Minister for Home Affairs and Transport and Chairman of Air Seychelles Board, said: "I am pleased the State of Kuwait has granted approval to this venture, coming soon after the liberalisation of the air services agreement between our two States.  “With this latest addition, Air Seychelles now offers codeshare flights to Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Bahrain and Oman for a collective 55 return services per week to the Gulf Region, bolstering the visibility of both our national carrier and the Seychelles in one of the fastest growing markets to our archipelago.”

– 13 July, 2013


fastjet uses facility to raise £790,000

FASTJET HAS made use of its equity financing facility to draw down £790,000.  The bank issued 79 million shares at 1p each to the facility's provider, Darwin Strategic, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Henderson Global Investors Volantis Capital. Shares closed at 0.98p each the day before the announcement of the draw-down. Following the issue of stock, Fastjet will have 2,876 million shares in issue.

– 10 July, 2013


Ethiopian graduates more pilots, technicians and cabin crew

ETHIOPIAN AIRLINES Aviation Academy graduated 29 Pilots, 49 Aviation Technicians and 43 Cabin Crew at a ceremony held at Ethiopian Airlines headquarters on Tuesday, 9 July, 2013.

As always, this round of graduates included trainees from other African countries. Among the graduates are five female pilots from Mozambique and two aviation technicians from Namibia.

"Pan-Africanism has always been in the DNA of Ethiopian Airlines. As one of our seven strategic business units, the Ethiopian Aviation Academy has always been the symbol of African integration and Pan-African co-operation. Today, I am pleased to see five Mozambique women pilots and two Namibian aircraft technicians standing together with their Ethiopian brothers and sisters in the graduation ceremony, in a year when the African Union is celebrating its 50th anniversary. In line with our Vision 2025, we are currently investing heavily on the Academy and upgrading its in-take capacity so as to cater for the growing needs of the African aviation industry", said Tewolde Gebremariam, CEO of Ethiopian, handing wings and diplomas to the graduates during the ceremony.

As outlined in its Vision 2025, Ethiopian Aviation Academy is being transformed into a profit centre and aims to become the leading aviation training centre in Africa by multiplying four-fold its current annual in-take capacity to 4,000 trainees.

– 9 July, 2013


SAA codeshares with Etihad Airways

SOUTH AFRICAN Airways (SAA) has commenced codeshare services with Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, following regulatory approval, which enables both carriers to offer codeshare and interline services to key destinations on each other’s route networks.

Effective immediately, and under the first phase of the codeshare agreement, SAA customers can now access SAA-marketed flights on Etihad Airways scheduled service from Johannesburg to its hub in Abu Dhabi, and onwards across the airline’s fast-growing global network to Bahrain, Kuwait, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur. Other major destinations currently pending local regulatory approval include Shanghai, Singapore and Jeddah.

In return, Etihad Airways passengers can now travel on Etihad Airways’ marketed flights from Johannesburg to four major destinations on the SAA network including: Cape Town, Durban, East London and Port Elizabeth. Codesharing on scheduled services to other key destinations, including Livingston, Lusaka, Ndola, Harare, and Victoria Falls, is currently pending subject to Government approval.

Manoj Papa, SAA’s acting General Manager - Commercial, said: “We are confident that the new codeshare partnership will prove extremely popular with business and leisure travellers who can now take advantage of the greater choice and seamless connectivity across our combined networks and markets.”

Kevin Knight, Etihad Airways’ Chief Strategy and Planning Officer, added: “Increasing our reach into Southern Africa is critical in meeting the demand from growing numbers of leisure and business passengers travelling between Africa and the major emerging markets in the Middle East, Asia, the Indian subcontinent and Australia.

“The partnership agreement with South African Airways reflects our strategy of forming alliances with airlines around the world to enhance the global reach of our network,” he said.

Phase two of the wide-ranging Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in May, 2013,  makes provision for the airlines to explore areas of further commercial co-operation that provide cost savings and operational efficiencies, which can be achieved through synergies and collaboration across a number of areas, including reciprocal Frequent Flyer Programme participation,  ground handling, procurement and training.

Etihad Airways launched its service between the UAE and South Africa in 2005. SAA serves 26 destinations across the continent, as well as major destinations within South Africa and internationally from its Johannesburg hub. It is a member of the largest international airline network, Star Alliance.

SAA’s core business is the provision of passenger airline and cargo transport services together with related services, which are provided through SAA and its four wholly-owned subsidiaries: SAA Technical; Mango, its low-cost carrier; Air Chefs, the catering entity of SAA and South African Travel Centre (SATC).

Etihad Airways began operations in 2003, and in 2012 carried 10.3 million passengers. From its hub at Abu Dhabi International Airport, Etihad Airways serves 94 passenger and cargo destinations in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Asia, Australia and the Americas, with a fleet of 78 Airbus and Boeing aircraft, and over 80 aircraft on firm order, including 41 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners and 10 Airbus A380s, the world’s largest passenger aircraft.

Etihad Airways holds equity investments in airberlin, Air Seychelles, Virgin Australia, Aer Lingus and, subject to regulatory approval, will acquire 24% of India’s Jet Airways.

– 9 July, 2013


Air Mauritius flies to Beijing

AIR MAURITIUS first direct flight to Beijing MK 686 will leave Mauritius tomorrow Saturday, 6 July, at 12h55. The flight is expected to land at Capital International Airport early Sunday morning. The once weekly flight will be operated by an Airbus A340E with 24 lie-flat seats in business class and 266 seats in economy class.

Air Mauritius will have the privilege to welcome Her Excellency, the Vice President of the Republic of Mauritius, Mrs Monique Ohsan-Bellepeau, amongst other distinguished guests, on this inaugural flight to Beijing. With this new service, Air Mauritius now offers nine weekly flights to destinations in China.

Andre Viljoen, the airline’s CEO stated: ‘We are pleased to note the consistent double-digit growth figures in tourist arrivals from China since we started operations to Shanghai in 2011. The Chinese market also delivered on its promise as we started twice weekly direct operations to Shanghai in January this year. The growth rate has been around 70% for the first five months of the year. With this flight to Beijing, the heart of authentic China, we are not only opening a gateway for the further development of trade and travel but also for the strengthening of political and social ties between our two countries. The prospects for the future are looking good.’

– 5 July, 2013


Ethiopian adds South America to its network

ETHIOPIAN AIRLINES is pleased to announce that it has added South America, the fifth continent in its route network, with the launching of new services to Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil as of today, 1 July, 2013.

The inaugural flight to these destinations is operated using Ethiopian Boeing 787s. The  Dreamliner is the most technologically advanced commercial aircraft offering unparalleled on-board comfort to passengers with a high ceiling, the biggest windows in the sky, greatly reduced noise, unique lighting system and a higher level of humidity.

Ethiopian’s flight to Brazil is operated through its second hub in Lomé, Togo, three times a week. The addition of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro will bring the number of its international destinations across five continents to 75. The flights will be the only connections between West Africa and Brazil.

Ethiopian and its partner airline in West Africa, ASKY, will co-ordinate their schedules to give short, seamless and convenient connections to West Africa passengers travelling to and from Brazil.

Brazil has one of the fastest growing economies and the fifth largest in the world. Sao Paulo is the biggest city in the country and the southern hemisphere. It is the economic and financial hub of the country, hosting the headquarters of numerous major corporations.

Rio de Janeiro, its second largest city, is the most visited city in the southern hemisphere and is known for its natural beauty, beaches and carnivals. It is also home to the famous statue of Christ the Redeemer, which is listed as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.

"We are very pleased to announce to our customers that Ethiopian is spreading its wings to South America. The China-India-Africa-Brazil trade lane is the fastest growing in the world. Our new Brazil flights will provide efficient connections with 28 weekly flights to four destinations in China, 14 weekly flights to the two major cities in India, daily flights to Lebanon, five weekly flights to Tel Aviv and almost daily flights to 45 cities across Africa.

“The various communities throughout the world with strong ties to Brazil will be able to enjoy smooth and convenient connections. Our customers on this new route will also enjoy the unique cabin products and features of the global technology leader aircraft, the 787 Dreamliner." said CEO Tewolde Gebremariam.

– 1 July, 2013


Emirates to link Conakry to its Dakar service

EMIRATES, ONE of the world’s fastest growing airlines, today announced a linked service to Conakry, the capital city of Guinea, from 27 October, 2013.  The linking of Conakry to the four times weekly Dubai to Dakar service will provide new opportunities for business and leisure travellers in Guinea to seamlessly connect to Emirates worldwide network through its Dubai hub, particularly destinations in China, the Middle East, India, Far East and Australia.  

Conakry is the largest city of Guinea in West Africa. It is situated on the Atlantic Ocean and serves as the economic, financial and cultural centre of the country with an estimated population of 1.5 million people.  

“The linking of Conakry takes the number of Emirates destinations in Africa to 24, which is a firm demonstration of our commitment to Africa and helping unlock its enormous potential as one of the fastest growing economic regions of the world,” said Hubert Frach, Divisional Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations West.

“Guinea is a developing economy and has a strong mining sector, and by linking Conakry to the Dakar route, it will help to support business, international trade and passenger travel to and from the country.” he added.

The Dubai to Dakar route was serviced by an A330-200 aircraft, but since 31 March, 2013 a slightly larger A340-300 was introduced onto the route, ahead of the 27 October launch of the Conakry link.  The aircraft has 267 seats in a three–class configuration offering 12 luxurious First Class seats, 42 seats in Business Class and generous space for 213 passengers in Economy Class.  

All classes of the aircraft are equipped with Emirates’ award winning Ice Entertainment System with hundreds of channels of on-demand entertainment, and gourmet cuisine served by Emirates Cabin Crew from over 120 nationalities. 

In addition to passenger services, Emirates SkyCargo will offer about 13 tonnes of cargo capacity per flight, supporting Guinea’s key exports of perishables, such as fresh fish and pineapples, rock and oil samples and general cargo, and imports of textiles, mobile phones and electronics, mining equipment and machinery.  

Emirates flight EK795 leaves Dubai on a Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. It will depart at 07:20hrs arriving in Conakry at 14:00hrs. The flight will then depart Conakry at 15:25hrs arriving in Dakar at 17:05hrs, and then depart Dakar at 18:35hrs and arrive in Dubai at 07:40 the next day.

– 30 June, 2013


Ethiopian Wins SkyTrax World Airline Award

ETHIOPIAN AIRLINES is pleased to announce that it has won the SkyTrax World Airline Award for Best Airline Staff Service in Africa for its outstanding customer service, on 18 June, 2013, in Paris at Le Salon du Bourget Air Show.

With its uniquely Ethiopian flavoured African hospitality, Ethiopian Airlines is availing high standard products and services to meet the expectations of its customers.

"As a customer service organization, we clearly understand the value of high quality service delivery and accordingly we have been investing heavily in training and development of our staff on the one hand and state of the art information and communication technology and fleet on the other hand. The award is a testimony of the hard work of our employees. We thank our customers for their strong vote of confidence.

“I would like to thank the more than 7,000 strong Ethiopian Airlines family who are working hard day and night to provide the best possible travel experience to our customers. It is their customer friendly and superior service delivery that is making Ethiopian an airline of customer choice in Africa," said Tewolde Gebremariam, CEO of Ethiopian, when receiving the award on 18 June, 2013, at the Paris Air Show.

He added, "We are proud that our first-class service delivery is being recognized by the most reputed customer-service tracking organization in the airline industry. We thank SkyTrax for this recognition and make the pledge to our customers to work even harder to meet their high expectations.”

– 18 June, 2013


Ethiopian B787 clad in OAU-AU 50th Anniversary Logo

ETHIOPIAN AIRLINES, the official carrier of the 50th anniversary celebrations of the African Union (formerly called the Organization of African Unity), is proud to announce that one of its Boeing 787 Dreamliners has been clad with the golden jubilee logo of the OAU-AU.  Ethiopian was selected as the official carrier of the golden jubilee celebrations in May, 2013. The official logo of the OAU-AU 50th anniversary will now fly proudly in the sky on an Ethiopian 787 Dreamliner.

"We are first and foremost a Pan-African airline, which has been serving the travel needs of Africa both in good and bad times for close to seven decades. For five decades, we have been working hand in hand with our continental organization in bringing Africa together and closer to the world. Putting the OAU-AU 50th anniversary logo on an Ethiopian 787 aircraft is a fitting symbol of the renaissance of our great continent, which is leading the way in aviation technology by operating the most advanced commercial aircraft ahead of other regions in the world," said Ato Tewolde Gebremariam, CEO of Ethiopian.

– 18 June, 2013


Kenya Airways issues audited results

KENYA AIRWAYS reports that its financial year 2012-2013 was characterised by harsh economic and geopolitical conditions that adversely impacted on the performance of the airline. Commercial aviation worldwide was negatively affected by the sustained under-performance of the European economy as well as volatility in fuel prices.

Although the larger African markets remained buoyant, Kenya witnessed constricted passenger traffic.  The causal factor for this lull was the advisories issued against travel to the country by key market sources in the West due to fears of retaliatory attacks from the Al-Shabbab terror group, together with the unpredictable electioneering process.

In spite of the adversities mentioned above, Kenya Airways expanded its footprint into Delhi and Kilimanjaro during the first half of the year, and later re-opened Eldoret in October. However, in a bid to minimise losses the airline cut back capacity offered to Europe and suspended operations into Muscat, Jeddah and N’Djamena.

The group achieved a turnover of KShs 98.9 billion, down from KShs 107.9 billion realized last year. This decline is largely attributed to constrained passenger traffic together with immense pressure exerted on yields. This resulted in KShs 7.9 billion loss after tax compared to a 2011-2012 profit of KShs 1.6 billion.

Passenger Revenue: The capacity put in the market place at 13,937 million Available Seat Kilometres (ASK) was flat compared to prior year. Passenger traffic declined by 3.6% to 9.57 million Revenue Passenger Kilometres (RPK) on account of reduced passengers particularly those originating from Europe. Unprecedented competitive pressures drove passenger yields down, with the network average declining by 1.3% against last year.

Passenger revenues at KShs 85.1 billion declined from KShs 95.2 billion achieved last year primarily due to depressed passenger loads, network-wide pressure on yields and stronger Kenya Shilling in the year.

The passenger traffic growth trends in the Middle East and Asia, Far East and Africa regions remained positive due to increased capacity made possible by either offering additional frequencies or operating larger aircraft. Additional uplifts to and from the Middle East and Asia was stimulated by the introduction of Delhi in India together with three additional weekly frequencies into both Mumbai and Dubai. The Far East destinations benefited from the operations of the larger Boeing 777 aircraft compared to the B767, which has 33% less capacity, operated in the previous year.

Traffic within Africa grew due to increased capacity. Additional frequencies were introduced to Juba; more widebody aircraft were flown into Kinshasa; and two extra weekly flights were scheduled to Dakar via Abidjan. The capacity offered into Europe was reduced by 22% compared to last year in order to minimise losses occasioned by low seat occupancy levels.

Passengers transported within Kenya remained at last year’s levels despite the loss of traffic from major feeder markets in Europe. This is mainly attributable to increased point-to-point travel within Kenya.

Cargo: Total cargo tonnage grew by 17.8% compared to last year on account of the introduction of Boeing 747 freighter operations between China and Nigeria. Further growth within the network was driven by increased belly capacity offered by additional widebody services. The achieved yields however were reduced by 2.6% against last year due to a shift in the sales focus to market the extra aircraft capacity availed.

Exchange rate: The Kenya Shilling strengthened against the US Dollar with the average exchange rate for the year closing at KShs 85.02 per US Dollar against a prior year average of KShs 88.58 per US Dollar. This shrunk the turnover reported in Kenya Shilling terms by KShs 4 billion given that a larger portion of revenues are US Dollar denominated. However, major operating cost elements denominated in US dollars took some reprieve because of the strengthened Kenya Shilling.

Costs: Direct Operating Costs - Direct operating costs at KShs 77.2 billion remained largely unchanged compared to prior year. Fuel cost at 38.5% of total operating costs remains our largest operating component compared to 38.2% last year.  The average cost of jet fuel per gallon in US cents went up by 5% compared to last year.

Overheads: Overheads at KShs 19.5 billion were at par with the prior year, despite the inclusion of a KShs 826 million staff rationalization cost. Management has undertaken stringent cost containment measures that have also seen non-employee related costs reduced by 5% in the year.

Prospects: IATA’s latest forecasts indicate that global aviation industry is expected to achieve net profits of US$10.6 billion in 2013, albeit with a lot of caution on the performance of Europe. Further, our focus markets of Africa, Asia and Pacific all indicate positive trends compared to the previous year.

Dividend: The Directors do not recommend payment of a dividend.

Annual General Meeting:  The audited financial statements will be presented to the shareholders at the Annual General Meeting to be held on Thursday, 26 September, 2013, at the Bomas of Kenya, off Langata Road, Nairobi.

The Board and management of Kenya Airways have taken solid steps to address the losses made in the year. The second half results, though still negative, are much better than those of the first six months. The Board takes this opportunity to thank all its customers, staff, management and suppliers for their dedicated contribution to the growth of the airline.

– 13 June, 2013


Qatar Airways suspends flights to the Seychelles

QATAR AIRWAYS has announced its scheduled flights to and from the Seychelles will be suspended effective 1 September, 2013, until further notice due to commercial reasons. The last of the daily services operating between the airline's Doha hub and Seychelles International Airport on Mahe Island, will be on 31 August. The decision was taken after careful consideration by the airline's management team.

Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said: "I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Government of the Republic of Seychelles, the local business and tourism industry, our travel trade partners in the Seychelles and countries around the world for supporting what was a hugely popular destination for Qatar Airways since we launched the route back in 2004.

“Unfortunately we have taken the decision to suspend the route due to commercial reasons which is regretted. We have built up a strong relationship with our partners over the years and will continue to work with them and the relevant authorities to ensure a smooth discontinuation of the route. At Qatar Airways, we always remain optimistic and look forward to the day when we can resume operations to these idyllic islands.

"Qatar Airways has informed the travel trade of the decision and all efforts are being made to ensure travel agents, tour operators and individual travellers who have made bookings on the affected route, are re-protected on other airlines or given a full refund.

– 11 June, 2013


Air Seychelles Board meets trainees at Etihad

THE CHAIRMAN of Air Seychelles and Seychelles Minister for Transport and Home Affairs, Mr Joël Morgan, has met Seychellois in training at Etihad Airways Head Office in Abu Dhabi.  The seven engineers, two cadet pilots and five members of the Graduate Management Development Programme (GMDP) are currently enrolled in career development programmes.  The Training Engineer Development Programme includes two years of classroom training in Al Ain and two years of service training in Abu Dhabi.

The cadet pilots complete 750 hours of classroom sessions and 205 hours flight training in single and multi-engine aircraft. Cadets must also pass the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority’s theoretical knowledge and flying exams.  The GMDP is a 21-month course, which involves nine months of workplace orientation across key Etihad Airways departments, followed by a six-month placement with a specific team of interest. The final six months are allotted for a business-based project.  Upon successful completion of the training programmes, all graduates return to the Seychelles and resume working with Air Seychelles.

Minister Morgan said: “The training of our Seychellois nationals at Etihad Airways is another example of the ‘win-win’ partnership between the two airlines, not only in terms of operations and fleet management but also staff development. Etihad Airways is providing an experience through its state-of-the-art training facilities, global management business approach and best practice, enabling Air Seychelles to build a team of world class airline professionals. I urge our Seychellois students to make the most of this wonderful opportunity.”

Elsie Hurst, an Air Seychelles employee in her tenth month of the GMDP, said: “By working with the different business functions and departments, I now have an understanding of the dynamics needed to operate a successful airline. I am continually impressed by Etihad Airways’ guest-focused approach and the experience I have gained here is invaluable. I now know what I need to do to ensure we satisfy passenger demands, regardless of the department I work in at Air Seychelles.”

Cramer Ball, Air Seychelles’ Chief Executive Officer, said: “The most valuable asset of any organisation is its people and that’s why staff development is such a big focus for us. As the national airline of the Seychelles, we are committed to supporting a highly-skilled national workforce. I am delighted to see how well the Seychellois trainees have developed and are making the most of this opportunity to receive world class training and experience.”

– 11 June, 2013


Ethiopian to fly to Seoul with first African 787 Dreamliner

ETHIOPIAN AIRLINES is pleased to announce that it will become the first African carrier to operate scheduled flights to Seoul, the Republic of South Korea, effective 18 June, 2013, using the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

Ethiopian will fly four weekly services to Incheon International Airport in Seoul and its inaugural flight will coincide with the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Ethiopia and South Korea.

Various ministers, ambassadors, high level officials, members of the business community and an Ethiopian cultural troupe will be on-board the inaugural flight. Joint high profile events such as government, business, trade, tourism, cultural and academic forums highlighting the great potential of the relations between the two countries are scheduled to take place in Seoul from 19 to 21 June, 2013.

"With the economic boom of Africa in general and Ethiopia in particular and the growing ties with South Korea, we are pleased to provide the critically essential air connectivity using the first African B787 to Seoul," said CEO Tewolde Gebremariam of Ethiopian Airlines.

With the new flights to Seoul, Ethiopian will be able to offer easy and convenient connections through its main hub in Addis Ababa to passengers travelling either for business or leisure between Africa and South Korea. As of 18 June, 2013, Seoul will be connected to dozens of cities in Africa via Ethiopian’s main hub in Addis Ababa, such as Johannesburg, Nairobi, Lagos, Accra and Dar-es-Salaam.

Seoul will be Ethiopian’s 73rd international destination. The inclusion of Seoul into the Ethiopian network is part of Ethiopian’s Vision 2025 of connecting Africa with the major world economic and financial hubs.

– 10 June, 2013


Ethiopian Wins Bombardiers reliability Award

ETHIOPIAN AIRLINES is pleased to announce that it has won the 2013 Airline Reliability Performance Award from Bombardier Aerospace, Canada. This is the third time Ethiopian has won the award in a row.

The award was given to Ethiopian for achieving an average dispatch reliability rate of 99% or better on revenue passenger flights in 2012 during which it came first in the overall Q-400 product category for the Middle East and Africa region.

“We are pleased to receive the award for the third year in a row. This is a testament of our dedication for excellent customer service which is in continuous improvement every day,” said Tewolde Gebremariam, CEO of Ethiopian.

Ethiopian currently operates 13 Q-400 Next Gen aircraft, which has the quietest engine in its category. The Q-400 is an ideal aircraft for domestic and regional flights with a speed closer to narrow-body jet airplanes and with reduced fuel consumption and emissions. Ethiopian Q-400s are used for its extensive regional and domestic network serving the ever increasing tourism and business travel needs of its customers.

On top of its 17 domestic destinations, the airline operates the Q-400 on regional routes such as Djibouti, Mombasa, Nairobi, Kilimanjaro, Dar-es-Salam, Zanzibar, Entebbe, Kigali, Juba, Khartoum and Berbera.

Continuing its dedication to enhance its services, Ethiopian became the only airline in the world in September, 2012, to receive re-configured Bombardier Q-400 aircraft. The new aircraft contains numerous innovations that greatly enhance passenger comfort. Whereas the previous Q-400s were all economy, the new aircraft has seven business class and 60 economy class seats. The new configuration also has a second lavatory which gives exclusive access to business class passengers, reclining seats in economy class cabin and a hot galley enabling the service of hot meals on regional flights. The new airplanes also have more luggage capacity and extra overhead bin space and leg-room.

– 6 June, 2013


Ethiopian graduates first MPL Pilots in Africa

ETHIOPIAN AIRLINES Aviation Academy is pleased to announce that it has graduated 26 pilots trained with Multi-Crew Pilot License (MPL) -  is a first in Africa - on June 6, 2013.

Leading the way, Ethiopian Aviation Academy was the first in Africa and among the few in the world to start the ICAO-certified training in July, 2011.

The MPL training was kicked off in partnership with Flight Path International. The MPL training is a response to the ever-changing and technology-driven aviation industry. Ethiopian Aviation Academy is now one of the few in the world and the only one in Africa providing this type of training. In addition to the 26 MPL pilots, Ethiopian also graduated 68 cabin crew trainees on the same day.

"Ethiopian’s investment in the Aviation Academy has always been the back-bone of the success of Ethiopian Airlines creating the necessary skilled and dedicated aviation personnel. Today's graduation of the first 26 MPL cadets in the continent is part of the continued milestones of Ethiopian fuelling the fast, profitable and sustainable growth of our Vision 2025," said Tewolde Gebremariam, CEO of Ethiopian.

Ethiopian Aviation Academy is well on its way to become one of the seven profit centres of Ethiopian as outlined in its Vision 2025 to become the leading aviation training centre in Africa. Historically, the Academy has opened a third of its capacity to trainees from other African countries contributing to the growth of the aviation industry in the continent.

– 6 June, 2013


SAA Cargo receives Boeing 737-400 freighter

SOUTH AFRICAN Airways Cargo (SAA Cargo) has taken delivery of its Boeing 737-400 freighter aircraft.  This follows months of planning to ensure that SAA Cargo’s freighter fleet is upgraded with bigger and fuel efficient aircraft for its domestic and regional markets.  A further aircraft, the Boeing 737-300, will replace the current Boeing 737-200 and is expected to be delivered in July. SAA Cargo will have a fleet comprised of three Boeing 737-300Fs and one Boeing 737-400F.

Tleli Makhetha, SAA Cargo’s General Manager, indicated that these freighters will be replacing the ageing fleet and that they will bring additional stability to SAA Cargo’s schedule.  “This can only mean good news for our customers as the bigger aircraft will provide them with extra capacity on key routes,” he said. The B737- 400 freighter can take between 20-22 tons on 10 pallet positions.

Makhetha added: “We are proud to show our commitment to growing the business in Africa.” New African routes will be introduced with this delivery.  The aircraft schedule will support SAA’s Regional Africa flights, including the domestic night-time Johannesburg to Cape Town route. 

SAA Cargo has over the years strengthened its presence in Africa in response to the growing demand for air freight services. “We are excited about the business opportunities and will continue to ensure that we provide our customers with reliable connectivity to all key markets in the region,” said Makhetha.

SAA Cargo is a division of South African Airways focusing on airfreight movement worldwide. It uses dedicated cargo aircraft as well as belly space on SAA’s passenger flights for cargo carriage. SAA Cargo prides itself in providing effective and time-sensitive airfreight solutions for its varied customers. In addition to offering an ad hoc charter service for more urgent deliveries, SAA Cargo reliably transports, among others, general cargo, perishables, mail, livestock, vulnerable and valuable cargo across the world.

– 6 June, 2013


Air Seychelles appoints new General Manager Commercial

AIR SEYCHELLES today announced the appointment of Justin Gosling to the position of General Manager Commercial.  Mr Gosling joins Air Seychelles from Canada where he served for four years as Etihad Airways’ Country Manager overseeing strong route performance and sales results.  He brings more than 20 years of airline and travel management experience to Air Seychelles, having worked previously at Lufthansa in the UK, HRG Travel in North America and Jet Airways in Canada.

Cramer Ball, Air Seychelles’ Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are delighted to welcome Justin on board. He is a proven leader and his breadth of knowledge of the evolving aviation industry will serve us well in our drive to achieve sustainable profitability.”

In his role, Mr Gosling will lead the Commercial team in driving new sales and marketing opportunities. He will oversee sales, e-commerce, retail, marketing, cargo, revenue management and guest experience. He speaks English, French, Dutch and German.

“I am proud to take on the role of General Manager Commercial for Air Seychelles and look forward to contributing to the airline’s mission to be a high-quality, profitable carrier. I will work closely with the Seychelles Tourism Board to develop innovative plans for promoting Seychelles tourism and boosting visitor numbers from both historic and emerging markets," Mr Gosling said.

– 5 June, 2013


Air Seychelles and Czech Airlines announce partnership

AIR SEYCHELLES, the national airline of the Republic of Seychelles, and Czech Airlines, the flag-carrier of the Czech Republic, today signed a codeshare agreement to link Prague and the Seychelles.  The partnership between Air Seychelles and Czech Airlines allows passengers of the two airlines to book and travel between Prague and the Seychelles on one ticket, connecting in Abu Dhabi.

Initially, the agreement will see Air Seychelles place its ‘HM’ code on three of Czech Airlines’ flights per week between Prague and Abu Dhabi. Czech Airlines will similarly place its ‘OK’ code on three of Air Seychelles’ flights per week between the Seychelles and Abu Dhabi.

The arrangement gives European travellers immediate access to two flights a week from Prague to Seychelles via Abu Dhabi, and to one flight a week from Seychelles to Prague via Abu Dhabi.

Cramer Ball, Air Seychelles’ Chief Executive Officer, said: “The Seychelles has seen a surge in arrivals from Central and Eastern Europe in recent years and I'm delighted to forge a partnership with Czech Airlines, an important player in the region.

“With this new agreement, the Seychelles has access to the city of Prague and attractive destinations beyond in Central and Eastern Europe operated by Czech Airlines, such as Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and Scandinavia.

“We are confident the schedule will appeal to travellers throughout Central and Eastern Europe, thereby providing a source of revenue that will contribute to the future of Air Seychelles, Seychelles tourism and our home economy.

“It is also thrilling to note that we have connected three UNESCO world heritage sites: the Seychelles, with its two natural wonders, Aldabra and the Vallée de Mai, and Prague, a cultural wonder, known for its beauty and historical significance.”

Philippe Moreels, Czech Airlines’ President, said: "The partnership with Air Seychelles brings to Czech Airlines’ clients a new, smoother way to travel to the Seychelles, a destination with increasing demand in Central Europe. And vice versa, Prague becomes closer and more easily accessible from the Seychelles.

“Thanks to perfect connectivity in Abu Dhabi, the two companies are able to offer attractive regular service, with a plan to increase the frequency of flights in future. This goes hand-in-hand with our intention to further develop Czech Airlines’ route between Prague and Abu Dhabi.  Subject to regulatory approval, the airlines plan to expand the scope of the agreement to include more destinations in their respective networks.

– 4 June, 2013


Ethiopian ready to start services to Brazil

ETHIOPIAN AIRLINES is pleased to announce that it has finalized all the ground work to add South America, the fifth continent in its route network, with the launching of new services to Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, as of July 1, 2013.

Ethiopian flights to Brazil will be operated through its second hub in Lomé, Togo, three times a week. The addition of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro will bring the number of its international destinations across five continents to 74. The flights will be the only connection between West Africa and Brazil.

Ethiopian and its partner airline in West Africa, ASKY, will be coordinating their schedules to give short, seamless and convenient connections to West Africa passengers travelling to and from Brazil.

Brazil has one of the fastest growing economies and the fifth largest in the world. Sao Paulo is the biggest city in the country and the southern hernisphere. It is the economic and financial hub of the country, hosting the headquarters of numerous major corporations.

Rio de Janeiro, its second largest city, is the most visited city in the southern hemisphere and is known for its natural beauty, beaches and carnivals. It is also home to the famous statue of Christ the Redeemer, which is listed as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.

"We are very pleased to announce to our customers that Ethiopian will soon spread its wings to South America. The China-India-Africa-Brazil trade lane is the fastest growing in the world. Our new Brazil flights will provide efficient connections with 28 weekly flights to four destinations in China, 14 weekly flights to the two major cities in India, daily flights to Lebanon, five weekly flights to Tel Aviv and almost daily flights to 45 cities across Africa. Our customers on this new route will also enjoy the unique cabin products and features of the global technology leader aircraft, the 787 Dreamliner." said CEO Tewolde Gebremariam.

"The start of our operations will greatly facilitate people-to-people interactions between Brazil and the rest of the world. The various communities throughout the world with strong ties to Brazil will be able to enjoy smooth and convenient connections", added Gebremariam.

Passengers to and from Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro will be able to get convenient connections to destinations in Ethiopian’s wide route network such as Lomé, Kinshasa, Kigali, Maputo, Abidjan, Nairobi, Lagos, Tanzania, Dar es Salaam, Cairo, Beirut, Tel Aviv, Beijing, Hong Kong, Hangzhou, Guangzhou, Mumbai and Delhi.

– 23 May, 2013


SAA network’s downstream economic benefits

SOUTH AFRICAN Airways expects the downstream economic benefits of its Group operations to total close on R1 trillion (South African Rands) over the next 20 years, Acting Chairperson Ms Dudu Myeni said today. The estimate is based on direct and indirect growth in direct and downstream employment creation with a forecast of 88,000 South African jobs on aggregate through all sectors including tourism, foreign direct investments, goods and services. SAA, as host of the IATA Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Cape Town 2-4 June, 2013, plans to highlight the growing importance of aviation within the developmental state milieu.

“The outlook for growth in continental aviation is pegged at just over 6% for the next 12 months,” said Ms Myeni and, with Africa’s GDP forecast at 5% growth, she indicated that a robust aviation sector will drive growth substantially. “With growing world interest in Africa’s rich mineral and agricultural resources as well as increased stability in the region, the stage is set for a giant leap forward in development and upliftment of the continent. Aviation will play an integral role as a socio-economic enabler during this process.”

Led by the Shareholder Minister, Malusi Gigaba and supported by SAA’s Acting CEO, Nico Bezuidenhout, the SAA delegation at the IATA AGM will lead a conversation on the continental airlift and the Yamoussoukro declaration. “South African Airways next year celebrates 80 years in aviation, is a member of the large global aviation grouping Star Alliance and as recently as last week signed a significant commercial partnership with the UAE’s (United Arab Emirates) national airline, Etihad Airways.

According to an ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation) model, the multiplier effect or catalytic demand of commercial aviation output triggers additional economic demand of $325 and 610 jobs in other industries for every $100 of output produced and every 100 jobs generated within aviation.  “Imagine the potential Africa holds and the immense impact of growing network alliances and commercial partnerships between airlines,” said Ms Myeni.

She added that SAA, inspired by its current strategic direction, plans to up the ante on its asset utilisation while simultaneously growing its non-asset based code-share partnerships. “Notwithstanding any fleet re-equipment decisions the airline still enjoys substantial latitude in terms of expanding its network offering to both travellers and business through strategic partnerships. It is our intention to take greater advantage of our Star Alliance membership whilst also seeking out non-aligned strategic partners.” Therefore, interim growth will not require additional investment beyond already planned own-metal growth.

“Clearly, socio-economic transformation, education and skills development to facilitate the anticipated growth is equally as important,” said Myeni. “We are an airline Group for all South Africans and for us meaningful interaction with tomorrow’s leaders, as illustrated in the aviation career day we hosted at Swartkops this past weekend, provides the opportunity to positively contribute to the future of both the aviation industry and our country.  On behalf of the Board of SAA and all its employees, we would like to once again raise our National flag, and wish all the participants a productive AGM. SAA will host the IATA AGM between 2-4 June this year in Cape Town.”

– 15 May, 2013


Kenya Airways Pride Centre granted new IATA certification

KENYA AIRWAYS Pride Centre, a training facility run by the national carrier, has been granted a new global certification by the International Air Transport Association. The new certification from the association designates the centre as an IATA Approved Training School, allowing it to deliver IATA-endorsed training programmes in the field of Dangerous Goods Regulations to shippers, freight forwarders, airlines and Governments.

This is the third certification that the KQ Pride Centre has received from IATA, making it the only centre globally to have attained all three IATA certifications.

Kenya Airways Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Dr Titus Naikuni, said that the conferment of the certification was an important recognition of the centre’s overall ability to provide quality training that meets strict criteria as set out by IATA, leading industry experts and   member airlines.

“This is a huge endorsement of our efforts to deliver quality training that meets international aviation standards, as well as and recognition of KQ Pride Centre as a global training facility of excellence. We welcome individuals, organizations, airlines and Governments to take advantage of our expertise to build their own competencies,” added Naikuni. 

In 2011, the institution was certified by IATA as an Approved Training Centre to offer IATA Training Programmes in the fields of aviation, travel and tourism, cargo and dangerous goods regulations. The centre also holds the Regional Training Partners certification that allows it to offer a selection of IATA classroom courses and diploma programmes delivered by IATA instructors with IATA course material, allowing participants to enjoy a similar learning experience to that of any IATA Training Centre in the world.

Congratulating the KQ Pride Centre, the Head of Global Partnership and Learning Innovation at IATA, Mr. Ismail Albaidhani, said: “We are very proud that Kenya Airways is IATA’s first and only global training partner to embark on all three partnership programmes with IATA (ATC, RTP and now ATS). This truly is an indicator of KQ’s commitment to developing the people of our industry in all the related segments and it gives us true pleasure to work with you closely on the three partnership programmes.”

The KQ Pride Centre specializes in offering aviation and travel training solutions to individuals and companies in the airline industry. It offers various courses in the areas of cabin crew, passenger handling, cargo training and airline ticketing among others.  

– 15 May, 2013


Ethiopian selected official carrier for AU’s 50th Anniversary

ETHIOPIAN AIRLINES is proud to announce that it has been selected as an ‘Official Carrier of the 50th anniversary celebration of the Organization of the African Unity-African Union.’ The celebration started in April, 2013, and will last for one year. The Memorandum of Understanding designating Ethiopian as Official Carrier of the Golden Jubilee Celebrations was signed between Mr Erastus Mwencha, Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission and Mr Esayas Woldemariam, Acting Chief Commercial Officer and Senior Vice-President of Global Sales of Ethiopian, at the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa on Tuesday, 7 May, 2013.

"We are very proud to be selected as an official carrier for the historic Golden Jubilee celebration of the Organization of African Unity-African Union. Our main hub, Addis Ababa, is the political and diplomatic capital of Africa and Pan-Africanism is part and parcel of our corporate DNA. For close to seven decades, we have been manifesting our Pan-Africanist creed by serving as a presidential airline for newly independent African countries in the early 1960s; by bringing Africa together and closer to the world in good and bad times; by promoting Africa throughout the world; by always being an aviation technology leader in the continent; and by providing training and aviation services to sisterly African airlines.

“Ethiopian and the African Union have been working together, for five decades, towards the shared objective of an integrated, peaceful and prosperous Africa that takes its rightful place on the global stage. Today, thanks to the work of the African Union and indigenous African airlines like Ethiopian, the African Renaissance is here," said Ato Tewolde Gebremariam, CEO of Ethiopian.

As an official carrier, Ethiopian will support and promote the many activities planned throughout the continent in connection with the milestone anniversary of the establishment of the Organization of African Unity-African Union, under the theme of "Pan-Africanism and African Renaissance."

– 7 May, 2013


Ethiopian to start flights to Seoul

ETHIOPIAN AIRLINES, the fastest growing airline in Africa, is pleased to announce that it will commence scheduled four weekly flights to Incheon International Airport in Seoul, the Republic of South Korea, effective 18 June, 2013.

Seoul is the fourth largest metropolitan economy in the world, after Tokyo, New York and Los Angeles. It is home to four UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Changdeok Palace, Hwaseong Fortress, Tongmyo Shrine and the Royal Tombs of Joseon Dynasty. The city is also known for a number of modern landmarks including Lotte World, the world’s largest indoor theme park, Moonlight Rainbow Fountain and many more attractions.

Mr Tewolde Gebremariam, Chief Executive Officer of Ethiopian said: "With Africa’s economic boom and its growing trade, investment, business and tourism ties with Asia in general and South Korea in particular, Ethiopian is pleased to provide the essential air connectivity that will serve as the engine for the continued growth of these relations. With our Seoul flights, we will be able to offer easy and convenient connections thru our main hub in Addis Ababa to passengers travelling either for business or leisure between Africa and South Korea. As the national carrier of Ethiopia, we are also very happy to start these flights at a historical moment when Ethiopia and South Korea are celebrating the 50th year of the establishment of their diplomatic relations."

With this new flight, Seoul will be connected to dozens of cities in Africa via Ethiopian’s main hub in Addis Ababa. Convenient connections will be available to and from major African cities such as Johannesburg, Nairobi, Lagos, Accra and Dar-es-Salaam. Seoul will be Ethiopian’s 73rd international destination. The inclusion of Seoul into the Ethiopian network is part of Ethiopian’s Vision 2025 of connecting Africa with the major world economic and financial hubs.

– 7 May, 2013


Ethiopian 787 Dreamliner first in world to resume service

ETHIOPIAN AIRLINES is pleased to announce that it will resume Boeing 787 Dreamliner services on Saturday, 27 April, 2013, with a flight from Addis Ababa to Nairobi, Kenya. Ethiopian Airlines CEO, Tewolde Gebremariam, and Randy Tinseth, Boeing Vice President of Marketing, will be on board this flight which will be the first 787 commercial flight in the world since the grounding of all Dreamliners.

Ethiopian grounded its four Dreamliners on 17 January, 2013, following the directive issued by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority due to incidents related to battery issues on 787s operated by Japanese carriers.

Last week, the US FAA certified the solutions proposed by Boeing to the battery issues allowing Ethiopian and other operators to retrofit the new and additional systems and resume flights with the Dreamliners. Boeing and Ethiopian engineers are implementing solutions certified by the US FAA. Following the successful completion of the retrofitting work on the airplane and the smooth test flight by Ethiopian pilots, the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority approved the resumption of commercial flights by Ethiopian Dreamliner. The Boeing technical solutions will be done on all four of the Ethiopian Dreamliners one after the other.

"We are excited to resume our service with the Dreamliners. The Dreamliner is the most advanced commercial aircraft, which has enabled passengers travelling with Ethiopian to enjoy the ultimate on-board comfort. During the five months our four Dreamliners were in service, we were very pleased with their performance and the feedback from our passengers has been overwhelmingly positive. I look forward to being on-board the first passenger flight on Saturday, 27 April." said Tewolde Gebremariam, CEO of Ethiopian.

“We would like to thank Ethiopian Airlines for the patience, support and leadership shown throughout the period that the 787 Dreamliner has been grounded. We congratulate the airline on the return to commercial service of their 787 fleet. Ethiopian is a leading airline in Africa and we take pride in their achievement,” said Ray Conner, President and CEO, Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

Ethiopian is the first African and the third airline in the world to own and operate the Dreamliner. Since entry into service in August, 2013, Ethiopian Dreamliners have been bringing the ultimate travel experience to passengers on Ethiopian flights.

– 27 April, 2013


Ethiopian leases two Boeing 777- 300ERs from ALC

ETHIOPIAN HAS signed a lease agreement with Air Lease Corporation for two new Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, both on lease for 12 years. The aircraft are scheduled for delivery in May and June, 2015.

"We are very happy to finalize this deal with our strong partner, Air Lease Corporation. These two new Boeing 777-300ERs are critical for our rapidly expanding non-stop, long-haul routes. Today, our network of 72 international destinations covers four continents through our main hub in Addis Ababa, offering the most convenient connections to passengers traveling between Africa and the rest of the world. The introduction of these two new Boeing 777s into our young and modern fleet is part of our continuing commitment to afford our customers the best possible on-board long haul experience," said Tewolde Gebremariam, CEO of Ethiopian Airlines.

"We are proud to expand our relationship with Ethiopian Airlines by placing two brand new 777 -300ERs into their long-haul fleet. These aircraft will enhance their intercontinental operations with leading fuel efficiency and a premier passenger experience," said Kishore Korde, Air Lease Corporation’s Senior Vice President.

– 22 April, 2013


SAA appoints Monwabisi Kalawe as new CEO

SOUTH AFRICAN Airways (SAA) today announced Mr Monwabisi Kalawe as its Chief Executive Officer (CEO) designate. This comes after the Department of Public Enterprise (DPE) Minister’s challenge to the SAA Board of Directors to continue to focus on improving SAA’s governance.

“The Board worked tirelessly to find a suitable leader who will lead by example and stabilise the internal environment whilst working towards ensuring good corporate governance within the airline,” said Ms Dudu Myeni, acting Chairperson of the SAA Board of Directors. “Mr Kalawe will also lead SAA, as a strategic national asset, towards contributing to the socio-economic development of the country and the continent.”

Mr Kalawe began his career at state-owned company Eskom before joining Nestle South Africa for a few years and then returning to Eskom for three years. No stranger to the aviation industry, Mr Kalawe also worked at Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) for six years before leading Total Facilities Management Company (TFMC) as Chief Operating Officer and Denel as Chief Executive Officer.

After concluding his role as Country Managing Director of Compass Group for five years and more recently as Executive Chairperson, Mr Kalawe will join SAA in the next few weeks.  Ms Myeni also thanked Mr Nico Bezuidenhout for accepting the role of the acting CEO of SAA over the last few months. “We are also sincerely grateful for the incredible work that Mr. Bezuidenhout has done towards the development and timely submission of the airline's first-ever, long-term turnaround strategy,” Myeni added.

– 19 April, 2013


Ethiopian graduates 202 technicians and cabin crew

ETHIOPIAN AVIATION Academy graduated 135 aviation maintenance technicians and 67 cabin crew at a ceremony held at Ethiopian Airlines headquarters on Thursday, 18 April, 2013. At the graduation ceremony, Ethiopian CEO, Ato Tewolde Gebremariam, said, "Ethiopian Aviation Academy has grown from an annual intake capacity of just 200 students to 1,000 at present. In the last couple of years, we have invested US$50 million into the expansion of the Academy.

“The expanded capacity of the Academy is in line with our Vision 2025 to enable it to accommodate 4,000 trainees per year. The Academy is working hard to train enough skilled aviation personnel to cater not just for our fast growing needs but also those of the aviation industry in Africa and the Gulf. I take this opportunity to thank the Ethiopian Air Force for their continued support in the training programme of the graduates."

– 18 April, 2013


Ethiopian MRO develops overhaul capability for CFM engines

ETHIOPIAN MRO Services is pleased to announce that it has developed shop overhaul capability for the CFM56-3 and CFM56-7 engines. Ethiopian MRO was granted approval for such capabilities from the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority (ECAA) and the USA Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Ethiopian has invested about US$21 million to develop this engine overhaul capacity. The project includes expansion of the existing Engine Maintenance shop, procurement of the required machineries, equipment and tools, personnel training, and upgrading the existing Test Cell, etc. The new capability development took almost three years to complete with the assistance of General Electric (GE) Aviation.

“We would like to extend our appreciation and thanks to GE Aviation and Snecma/CFMI who genuinely helped Ethiopian Airlines in making this project successful,” said Mr Zemene Nega, SVP, Ethiopian MRO. “Ethiopian has an Engine Overhaul Support Agreement (EOSA) with CFMI, manufacturer of both engines for the continued support of the engine overhaul activities in the Ethiopian Engine Shop,” he added.

The CFM56-3 and CFM56-7 engines are the sole engine models that power the Boeing 737 Classics and the Boeing 737 New Generation (NG) airplanes. Both the 737 Classics and the 737 NGs are widely used in Africa and the Middle East. Ethiopian MRO already has full airframe maintenance capability for both aircraft models. The addition of the CFM56-3 and CFM56-7 engines to Ethiopian MRO’s capability will provide airline operators a convenient one-stop shop for their Boeing 737 fleet maintenance requirements.

Ethiopian, per its strategic roadmap of Vision 2025, is transforming its MRO facility to become the leading and the most competitive MRO service provider in Africa to support the growth of the air transport service in the region.

Today, it has full airframe maintenance capabilities on Boeing 777, 767, 757, 737NGs, 737 Classic, Q400 and MD-11 model of airplanes. Moreover, it is making substantial investments to expand its capabilities on other engines and components.

– 27 February, 2013


Ethiopian MRO gets approval for full airframe maintenance of Dash 8s

ETHIOPIAN AIRLINES is pleased to announce the development of full airframe maintenance capability for Bombardier’s Q100, Q200 and Q300 turboprop airplanes in addition to its existing Q400 aircraft capability. The Ethiopian MRO facility was granted the approval from the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority (ECAA) and the American Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in January, 2013.

Ethiopian’s huge investment in facility expansion, equipment, training of personnel, and approved maintenance data has enabled the airline to acquire this new capability. Ethiopian is also working with Bombardier to continue expanding on this MRO co-operation.

“The approval of the airframe maintenance capability for the full range of Bombardier’s Dash8/Q-Series airplanes, the construction of our two new maintenance hangars, the expansion of our engine maintenance facilities and our training programme for a large number of aircraft technicians and engineers will reposition Ethiopian MRO Services as a major and leading player in Africa.

“In line with our Vision 2025 strategic roadmap, Ethiopian MRO Services will be one of the seven Strategic Business Units of the Ethiopian Aviation group, along with International Passengers Services, Domestic and Regional Passenger Services, Ethiopian Cargo, Ethiopian Aviation Academy, Ethiopian Ground Services and Ethiopian Flight Catering. With these new approvals of the maintenance capability, Ethiopian MRO Services will now confidently market its services to sister airlines in the region,” said Tewolde GebreMariam, CEO of Ethiopian Airlines.

The Q100, Q200 and Q300 turboprops are popular in Africa and are widely used by regional operators in the continent. With this capability, Ethiopian MRO provides efficient and affordable maintenance services to operators of the Dash8/Q-Series family of aircraft in Africa and the Middle East.

Presently, Ethiopian MRO has full airframe maintenance capacity on Boeing 777, 767, 757, 737NGs, 737 Classic, Bombardier Q400 and MD-11 model aircraft. Moreover, it is making significant investment to expand its capabilities on engines and components.

– 26 February, 2013


Comair launches legal challenge to SAA aid

JOHANNESBURG STOCK Exchange (JSE) listed, Comair Limited today announced the launch of a High Court legal challenge to the R5 billion (South African Rands)  Government guarantee to South African Airways (SAA). Official Government policy and legislation are in place which governs the operation of SAA as a state-owned entity and its competitive relationship with the rest of the aviation industry. Comair states that the current and previous bailouts, which now amount to over R11 billion, do not comply with either the Domestic Aviation Transport Policy or the law (the Constitution, the SAA Act, the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act and the Public Finances Management Act).

“We regret that we have had to resort to legal action to achieve compliance and have not done so lightly. However, we have no other recourse,” says Comair CEO, Erik Venter.  According to Venter this action taken by Comair, is not a challenge to stop all funding of SAA; nor a proposal to privatise, nor challenge the shareholding of SAA; nor an attempt to shut down SAA. It is an action to ensure that the Government will provide funding to SAA only after consultation with all affected stakeholders (as per the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act) and that any funding is in accordance with Government’s Domestic Aviation Transport Policy.

Venter says, “Comair’s sole objective is to attain a level playing field in the domestic aviation market to ensure that all airlines face the same risks and the same requirements to operate on sound commercial principles. By receiving Government bailouts SAA avoids this commercial reality and this negatively impacts on all current and potential airline operators.”

According to economist and aviation expert, Joachim Vermooten, the R5 billion guarantee enables SAA to artificially increase its scope of operations and sustain losses as a result of not operating on a commercial basis, as is required by existing National Government policy. “Government subsidies and interventions distort any market; the results in the domestic airline sector have been catastrophic with the demise of 10 out of 11 independent, private airlines since deregulation in 1991, with the latest casualty in November, 2012. Fair competition is essential to achieve market-related ticket prices, product innovation and consumer choice,” explains Vermooten.

“Comair is the last remaining independent, privately-owned domestic scheduled airline operator in South Africa and has a responsibility to its employees, customers and shareholders to secure a level playing field in which to conduct its business,” says Venter.

“Comair appreciates last week’s announcement of a SAA turnaround strategy, however has concern that there have already been eight prior plans, and that this one has a 20-year time horizon. This is unacceptable in an industry where private capital competes with a state-owned enterprise. Comair cannot afford to see this plan unfold over another 20 years. A 20-year plan would furthermore absolve anyone of ultimate responsibility to deliver the entire plan,” says Venter.  This high court action is separate from previous legal challenges by Comair and other competitors some of which are still active.

Comair Limited is SA’s only domestic airline listed on the JSE.  It has been operating successfully in South Africa for more than six decades with a safety record which is internationally recognised. Since 1996, the company has been the local franchise partner of British Airways Plc operating under British Airways livery in southern Africa. Comair also operates Africa’s first low-fare airline, kulula.com, which celebrated its 10-year anniversary in 2011.

– 26 February, 2013


Comair's turnaround strategy pays off

JOHANNESBURG STOCK Exchange (JSE)-listed Comair Limited's strong focus on re-engineering its operations to deliver improved revenue, operating efficiency and customer service ensured continued profitability for the country's only private domestic airline operator.

During the interim period leading up to December, 2012, its revenue grew by 20% to R2,41-billion (2011: R2,05-billion) due to the fuel surcharge on British Airways tickets and improved pricing capability for kulula which was made possible by its new inventory management system. In addition its four new, larger Boeing 737-800s introduced during the period contributed to increased revenue per flight, while at the same time improving fuel efficiency and accommodating an oil price above US$110 per barrel.  The increased overall revenue was achieved despite a 6% decline in the total domestic passenger market.

A strong focus on managing its cost structure, with initiatives such as its new aircraft and in-house catering facilities, contributed to containing the increase in operating expenses to 9% over the comparative period. This ensured a substantial increase in profit before interest, dividends and taxation to R124 million, compared to a loss of R40 million in the corresponding period. It declared a profit for the six months of R79 million (2011 first half: a loss of R34 million).

CEO of Comair, Erik Venter commented that its re-engineering initiatives, which already delivered results in the second half of the 2012 financial year, continued to pay off, but more importantly its new state-of-the-art reservations and logistics system ensured improved revenue through enhanced inventory management practices. "We are particularly proud of the fact that the improvement in profitability was achieved without the retrenchment of any staff, largely as a result of their own commitment towards implementing the changes required to turn the business around."

Headline earnings per share grew to 16.4 cents (prior period headline loss per share of 4.9 cents), while its cash generation was solid as result of the tax allowances on its new fleet, as well as robust advance ticket sales during the December holiday period. Cash generated from its operations remained strong at R262-million (2011: R161-million) resulting in a cash balance of R529 million at 31 December, 2012.  An interim gross dividend of 5 cents per share was declared.

Commenting on the next six months, Venter says the company does not expect an increase in local consumer spending and market volumes will be flat. Ticket prices will remain at current levels so as to recover the escalating costs brought about by the devalued Rand which impacts on the fuel price as well as on US dollar-based technical services.

"We are attentively optimistic of further improvements to profitability and cash generation in the second half of the 2013 financial year, particularly as kulula flights from Johannesburg (O.R. Tambo) to East London will commence from 1 March, and British Airways flights from Johannesburg (O.R. Tambo) to Maputo from May onwards. There are also further growth opportunities for our travel business, flight training facility, catering business and airport lounges in the year ahead," he concluded.

– 12 February, 2013


Comair performance review

THE TURNAROUND in profitability at Comair, South Africa, that commenced in the second half of the 2012 financial year has continued into the six months to December, 2012, and has resulted in a profit after tax of R79 million for the period, a significant improvement on the results of the comparative period. While it took time to adequately address the effect of higher operating costs, brought on predominantly by the rapid escalation of the fuel price in 2011, we are now accommodating an oil price of over US$110 per barrel and do not anticipate a reduction in this price in the near future, it says.

Revenue grew by 20%, mainly attributable to the fuel surcharge on British Airways tickets and kulula’s improved pricing capability and revenue integrity processes emanating from its new inventory management system. The four new Boeing 737-800s, introduced during the period, further contributed to increased revenue per flight, while at the same time improving fuel efficiency. Our in-house catering facility and other cost saving initiatives continued to deliver meaningful results.

Earnings per share and headline earnings per share grew to 16.4 cents (prior period loss of 7.1 cents and headline loss of 4.9 cents) and cash generation was particularly strong due to the tax allowances on the new aircraft, as well as abnormally good advance ticket sales in December, resulting in a cash balance of R529 million at 31 December, 2012.  The four new aircraft were brought onto the statement of financial position during the period, funded with US Export-Import Bank-backed loans, which ensured excellent financing rates.  We are particularly proud of the fact that the turnaround in profitability was achieved without the retrenchment of any staff, largely as a result of their own commitment towards implementing the changes required to turn the business around.

Prospects: The total domestic passenger market has shown year-on-year shrinkage since February, 2012, with the half year volumes for the market 6% lower than for the comparative period. The continued devaluation of the Rand has driven the Rand price of fuel and Dollar-based technical services to record levels, and therefore we do not foresee early growth in market volumes as ticket prices will remain at the levels necessary to recover such escalating costs. We also do not anticipate any near term recovery in global or local consumer spending.

However, our new enterprise-wide IT platform and the new fleet, which were only in operation for a portion of the reporting period, offer further opportunities for improved revenue and operating efficiency that will be fully optimised over the next few years.

Flights from Johannesburg (ORTIA) to East London on the kulula brand will commence on 1 March, 2013, and flights from Johannesburg to Maputo on the British Airways brand from May, 2013. There are also good growth opportunities for our travel business, flight training facility, catering business and airport lounges.  We are therefore cautiously optimistic for further improvements to profitability and cash generation in the second half of the 2013 financial year.  The above outlook has not been reviewed and reported on by Comair’s external auditors and does not constitute an earnings forecast.

Dividend: Contrary to past practice and in light of the company’s improved trading results, notice is hereby given that a gross interim cash dividend of 5.0 cents per ordinary share has been declared payable to shareholders. The dividend has been declared out of income reserves.  STC Credits of R5 640 412 (equating to 1.15304 cents per share) are available to be utilised as part of this declaration. The gross dividend will be subject to a local dividend tax rate of 15% but the effective rate is brought down to 11.54% once STC Credits have been applied resulting in a net dividend of 4.42296 cents per ordinary share, unless the shareholder is exempt from paying dividend tax or is entitled to a reduced rate in terms of the applicable double tax agreement. The company’s tax reference number is 9281/874/1/0 and the number of ordinary shares in issue at the date of this declaration is 489,176,471.

In accordance with the provisions of Strate, the electronic settlement and custody system used by the JSE Limited, the relevant dates for the dividend are as follows:  Share certificates may not be dematerialised or rematerialised between Monday, 11 March, 2013 and Friday, 15 March, 2013, both days inclusive.

Directors’ resignations and appointments:  Derek Henry Borer was appointed as an Alternate Director to Rodney Cyril Sacks, an Independent Non-executive Director, on 17 October, 2012.  Alan Buchanan, a Non-executive Director, having left the employ of British Airways, resigned as a Board Member on 27 November, 2012.

Basis of preparation: In terms of the Listings Requirements of the JSE Limited, the Group has prepared its consolidated interim results in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards, including IAS 34 Interim Financial Reporting, the SAICA Financial Reporting Guides as issued by the Accounting Practices Committee and the requirements of the Companies Act, Act No. 71 of 2008. The accounting policies used in the preparation of these results are consistent in all material aspects with those used for the previous Annual Financial Statements.  These Unaudited Interim Group Results were prepared by R Yasas Sri-Chandana, Financial Director, Comair Limited.

– 11 February, 2013


Ethiopian to commence new flights to Ndola

ETHIOPIAN AIRLINES is proud to announce that it will commence thrice weekly flights to Ndola, Zambia, effective 31 March, 2013. Ndola, the third largest city in Zambia, is the industrial and commercial centre in the copper belt province of the country. Ndola will be Ethiopian’s 45th African and the 72nd international destination. It will also be its second destination in Zambia next to Lusaka.

“We are proud to add Ndola to the Ethiopian route network. It is a continuation of our efforts to achieve the goal of connecting Africa to the world, by adding multiple points in Africa and serving the air connectivity needs of the continent,” said Tewolde Gebremariam, CEO of Ethiopian.

With the new service, passengers to and from Ndola will find convenient connections to destinations in Ethiopian’s route network, such as Mumbai, Dubai, London, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Cairo and Peking.

– 30 January, 2013


Ethiopian to start new services to Blantyre

ETHIOPIAN AIRLINES, the fastest growing airline in Africa, is pleased to announce that it will commence three weekly flights to Blantyre starting March 31, 2013. Blantyre is the commercial and industrial capital of Malawi. It will be Ethiopian 44th destination in Africa and the second in Malawi next to Lilongwe.

“Ethiopian, as a flagship carrier of Africa, is pleased to add Blantyre to its wide route network and to offer passengers to and from the city the best possible connectivity through its Addis Ababa hub,” said Tewolde Gebremariam, CEO of Ethiopian. Passengers to and from Blantyre will enjoy smooth and hassle free connections to destinations in Ethiopian’s route network, such as London, Hong Kong, Dubai, Washington DC and Toronto.

– 23 January, 2013


Ethiopian temporarily pulls the 787 out of service

FOLLOWING THE directive of the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Ethiopian has decided to temporarily pull its Boeing 787 Dreamliners out of service for precautionary inspection on Thursday, January 17, 2013. The US FAA issued a directive on January 16, 2013, that mandates operators to perform special inspection requirements on the Dreamliner airplane battery system in accordance with a method approved by it. This directive was issued following recent incidents that occurred on Dreamliner airplanes operated by two other airlines.

Ethiopian Dreamliners have not encountered the type of problems such as those experienced by the other operators. However, as an extra precautionary safety measure and in line with its commitment of putting safety above all else, Ethiopian has decided to pull out its four Dreamliners from operation and perform the special inspection requirements mandated by the US FAA.

The airline has been operating the Dreamliner since mid-August last year. Ethiopian Dreamliners have been performing well in the five months service logging a record length of non-stop flights and a record high daily aircraft utilization in the industry. Since it first received the Dreamliner, Ethiopian has logged 5,560 flight hours with an average daily aircraft utilization of 14 hours.

Ethiopian is working closely with Boeing to comply with the US FAA approved special inspection procedure on the battery system and perform the maintenance as per the directive.  The airline aims to return the Dreamliners to service as soon as possible, after full compliance with the new procedure.

Ethiopian would like to apologize to its esteemed passengers for any inconvenience this may cause in their travel experience.

– 17 January, 2013


Ethiopian Dreamliners clock 5,560 flight hours

ETHIOPIAN AIRLINES is pleased to announce that it has successfully integrated its four 787 Dreamliner aircraft into its fleet with record length of non-stop flights and record high daily aircraft utilization in the industry. Since its first delivery in mid-August of last year, Ethiopian has logged 5,560 flight hours with average daily 787 aircraft utilization of 14 hours.

Ethiopian is the first African and the third airline in the world to own and operate the Dreamliner. Since their entry into service, Ethiopian Dreamliners have been performing well bringing the ultimate travel experience to its passengers.

Currently, the four Ethiopian Dreamliners are deployed on regularly scheduled flights to Johannesburg, Washington DC, Toronto, Frankfurt, Beijing, Lusaka and Harare, alternating with its B777-200LRs. In fact, Ethiopian Airlines is the only carrier in the world which has reached the design range capabilities of the Dreamliners by flying the aircraft from Washington DC to Addis Ababa (11,500 km), which is the longest non-stop commercial service in record for the fleet.

"We are pleased with the performance of our Dreamliners. The Dreamliner is a highly capable and safe aircraft, which has enabled Ethiopian to enhance its service. The feedback from our passengers has been overwhelmingly positive and in some instances contributed to higher than expected passenger load factors on the routes it has been deployed," said Tewolde Gebremariam, CEO of Ethiopian. "However, like any new technology aircraft entering into service, it is normal to encounter some minor bugs here and there which are causing some technical delays in departures as extra time is needed to correct them", he added.

Ethiopian will receive its 5th Dreamliner in March, 2013. The remaining five Ethiopian Dreamliners will be phased-in in 2014.

– 14 January, 2013


Comair launches new route into Africa

COMAIR LIMITED, the franchise operator of British Airways in southern Africa, will commence with scheduled services between Maputo International Airport, Mozambique, and Johannesburg, O.R Tambo International Airport in May next year.  The flight schedule comprising daily return flights with a double daily service on Tuesdays and Saturdays is conveniently timed to enable ease of connectivity for international travellers transferring through O.R. Tambo International Airport to Maputo.  

Mozambique is a country blessed with a wide variety of natural resources, from hydroelectric power to coal and is a focus for many foreign companies that are currently active in the region undertaking various mining initiatives including coal, oil and gas.

Shaun Pozyn, Marketing Manager for British Airways, says, “We are excited to introduce our new service as it allows us to continue to grow our footprint in Africa. In addition to the large volumes of business travellers we anticipate will make use of our new service, Mozambique is fast becoming known as a world-class tourist destination. The country has a warm climate, 2,700 km of tropical and sub-tropical coastline, world-class conservation areas, exotic cities, and a rich Arabic, African and Portuguese heritage.”

– 6 December, 2012


Qatar Airways celebrates launch of Maputo flights

WITHIN A month of starting operations to Mozambique, Qatar Airways celebrated the launch of its 19th African destination with a VIP dinner in Maputo. Guests from the diplomatic community, Government quarters, businesses and corporates attended the event held at the Polana Serena hotel in Mozambique’s capital city.

The dinner was hosted by Qatar Airways Chief Commercial Officer Marwan Koleilat, who extended a warm welcome to guests to mark the new air bridge between the Republic of Mozambique and the State of Qatar.

Qatar Airways launched thrice-weekly scheduled flights between its hub in Doha and Maputo on 31 October, 2012, with its flagship Boeing 777 long-haul aircraft offering 335 seats in a two-class configuration of 42 in Business and 293 in Economy. The Boeing 777 features the airline's award-winning fully interactive seat back audio and video Oryx entertainment system with more than 1,000 programmes for all passengers to choose from across both classes of travel.

“We are very happy to see the route performing well and that we can now offer business and leisure passengers from Mozambique a variety of travel options via Doha to a wide range of destinations across Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and the Americas,” said Koleilat. “Mozambique is one of the fastest growing economies in Africa, yet underserved in terms of air services, so we are extremely delighted to have moved into this market to help fill a void. With the country known for its historic ties with southern Europe, we have actually opened up an appealing air corridor for friends, families and businesses via our online points in Europe to and from Maputo.”

Key connecting points for passengers to and from Mozambique on Qatar Airways include London, Paris, New York, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Bangkok and Dubai. One of the world’s fastest growing airlines, Qatar Airways has seen rapid growth in just 15 years of operations, currently flying a modern fleet of 114 aircraft to 121 key business and leisure destinations across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, North America and South America.

Across Africa, the airline currently flies to 19 cities – Alexandria, Algiers, Benghazi, Cairo, Dar es Salaam, Entebbe, Luxor, Casablanca, Cape Town, Johannesburg, Khartoum, Kilimanjaro, Kigali, Lagos, Maputo, Nairobi, the Seychelles, Tripoli and Tunis.

Since the beginning of 2012, Qatar Airways has launched flights to 11 new destinations – Baku (Azerbaijan); Tbilisi (Georgia); Kigali (Rwanda); Zagreb (Croatia), Erbil (Iraq), Baghdad (Iraq), Perth (Australia), Kilimanjaro (Tanzania); Yangon (Myanmar), Maputo (Mozambique) and Belgrade (Serbia).

Over the next few weeks and months, Qatar Airways will launch services to a diverse portfolio of new routes, including Warsaw, Poland (5 December), Gassim, Saudi Arabia (7 January, 2013); Najaf, Iraq (23 January); Phnom Penh, Cambodia (20 February); Chicago, USA (10 April); and Salalah, Oman (22 May).

– 2 December, 2012


Comair challenges Mango to release results

AGAINST THE background of the recent filing for liquidation by South Africa’s 1Time airline and the debate that has ensued over the role of state-subsidised Mango airline, Comair Limited has highlighted that Mango, as a separate legal entity from SAA and a state-owned enterprise, is legally required to publish its financial statements which has not been done since Mango’s inception six years ago.

Comair, which operates kulula.com and British Airways in the local market, is committed to establishing a level playing field in the domestic aviation sector and believes that the funding of Mango with taxpayers money partly contributed to the failure of 1Time.  However, Mango’s CEO Nico Bezuidenhout stated yesterday that his state-subsidised airline will only reveal its financials, if kulula does so first.

CEO of Comair, Erik Venter responded that Comair, as a listed company on the JSE, releases detailed financial results every six months in accordance with the Companies Act, the rules of the JSE and based on International Financial Reporting Standards.  “Comair has an obligation to reveal its results as a listed company. kulula.com is merely a brand of Comair Limited and is not a separate company from Comair. Although Mango is a subsidiary of SAA, it is a separate company and needs to report as such.

“Mango is legally obliged, as a National Public Entity listed under Schedule 2 of the Public Finance Management Act (PMFA), to publish its financials and submit these to the Government and the general public.  This points to a bigger question. Who is taking responsibility to ensure that SAA, SAX and Mango comply with their legal requirements in terms of the Public Finance Management Act?” says Venter.

– 6 November, 2012


Comair responds to 1Time liquidation

COMAIR LIMITED, South Africa’s leading aviation company listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, regrets the news that 1Time filed for liquidation today.  Ten out of the 11 independent, private airlines launched in South Africa since deregulation in 1991 have now failed leaving only kulula.com and British Airways (both operated by Comair) remaining  in our skies.  

Erik Venter, CEO of Comair says, “Due to the less efficient fleet it operated, the ultimate closure of 1Time was inevitable. However, we are certain that in the absence of state-subsidised Mango, 1Time would have made adequate profits to upgrade its fleet and be sustainable over the long term. Based on the previously released financial statements of SAA, and recent parliamentary comments, Mango made a loss of half a billion rand since its 2006 launch, due to undercutting the viability of the private low-cost carriers.”

He added that this again brings to question the role of Mango in the South African market, its failure to disclose its financial statements - as required of all state-owned enterprises by the Public Finances Management Act and the Government’s breach of its own Aviation Transport Policy, in which it committed to a level playing field in the domestic aviation sector.

“Unfortunately the closure of 1Time occurred on a Friday afternoon at the end of the month, when most of the other airline seats have already been sold. There is therefore very little that Comair can do to assist stranded 1Time passengers.  It is also sad to see that around 1,000 1Time staff have lost their jobs at a time when job creation is a national imperative,” says Venter.

During the past year, Comair focused strongly on reengineering its operations to ensure a return to profitability by June, 2012. Along with a cost-saving programme which included a salary freeze for all of its employees, it upgraded its fleet to new Boeing 737-800s. Comair will also be taking delivery of a further three new aircraft by December, 2012, resulting in kulula having the most fuel-efficient fleet in the industry.

“We are confident that Comair will continue with its aviation record of 67 consecutive years of operating profit.  While we will obviously put up resistance to the unfair competition from SAA and Mango this is not new to us. We have been dealing with this for most of our history,” says Venter.

– 2 November, 2012


Qatar Airways launches services to Maputo

QATAR AIRWAYS today launched scheduled flights to Mozambique, its latest foray on the African continent and 10th new route of the year. The Doha-based carrier inaugurated the first of three weekly services to the country’s capital city of Maputo, gateway to Mozambique’s rich natural resources and a source for strong business.

The launch is further testament to Qatar Airways’ strategy to operate to underserved markets that have huge potential for scheduled international flights. Qatar Airways is the first and only airline from the Middle East flying to Mozambique, which becomes its 19th gateway across the African continent.

Flight QR584 arrived in Maputo this morning to a water salute and a welcome by traditional dancers followed by an airport ceremony attended by more than 80 local dignitaries and media.

Guests on the inaugural flight to the former Portuguese colony included His Excellency Cristiano dos Santos, Consul General of the Republic of Mozambique to UAE, responsible for Qatar; and His Excellency Salem Abdullah Sultan Al-Jaber, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the State of Qatar’s Embassy in South Africa with responsibility for Mozambique.

The arrival ceremony at Maputo International Airport was attended by a number of distinguished guests, including Mozambique’s Honourable Minister of Transportation and Communication, Mr. Paulo Zucula; CEO of Mozambique Airports Authority, Mr. Manuel Veterano; and CEO of Mozambique Civil Aviation, Mr. Afonso Sande Cuinhane.

Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker added: “With the discovery of large reserves of natural gas, Mozambique is today emerging to be one of the fastest growing economies in the region. With this in mind, Qatar Airways always looks to open up air travel markets which are underserved – and Mozambique is an example of this. Mozambique has historic links with Europe, being a former Portuguese colony, so we look forward to flying passengers with family or business ties to and from Lisbon through our online points in southern Europe.

“Over the past 18 months, we have opened up a number of routes across Africa, including Entebbe in Uganda, Benghazi in Libya, Kigali in Rwanda and Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, demonstrating our commitment to serving the African continent with an extensive route network,” added Al Baker. Qatar Airways Senior Manager, Africa, Rashid Mordiffi, who led a delegation on the inaugural flight, added: “Launching these new flights to Maputo shows our confidence and commitment to this vibrant economy. Being an important port in Mozambique, Maputo is a vital economic supply corridor to neighbouring landlocked countries in Southern Africa and strategically well positioned.

“We have been serving neighbouring Johannesburg and Cape Town since January, 2005, two South African routes which have been very successful, so we are extremely pleased to be offering our passengers even more choice with the launch of services to Maputo.

“Qatar Airways will now connect Maputo to key markets across Europe, Far East, Middle East, Asia and the Americas. With our new services, we offer travellers from Maputo with great connections via our Doha hub to such diverse cities as Beijing, Singapore, Hong Kong, Bangkok Madrid, Barcelona, London, Paris, Mumbai, New York, Washington and Montreal. Similarly, we are opening up Maputo to business and leisure travellers making it accessible from many of our key destinations from around the world,” he said, addressing guests at the arrival ceremony.

Qatar Airways is flying its flagship long-haul Boeing 777 aircraft on the Maputo route, featuring 335 seats in a two-class configuration of 42 Business Class seats and 293 in Economy. The aircraft also features the airline’s award-winning entertainment system offering a fully interactive audio and video system of more than 1,000 programmes.

Across Africa, the airline flies to 19 cities – Alexandria, Algiers, Benghazi, Cairo, Dar es Salaam, Entebbe, Luxor, Casablanca, Cape Town, Johannesburg, Khartoum, Kilimanjaro, Kigali, Lagos, Maputo, Nairobi, Seychelles, Tripoli and Tunis.

Qatar Airways has seen rapid growth in just 15 years of operations, currently flying a modern fleet of 111 aircraft to 120 key business and leisure destinations across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, North America and South America. Since the beginning of 2012, Qatar Airways has launched flights to Baku (Azerbaijan); Tbilisi (Georgia); Kigali (Rwanda); Zagreb (Croatia), Erbil (Iraq), Baghdad (Iraq), Perth (Australia), Kilimanjaro (Tanzania) and Yangon (Myanmar).

Over the next few months, Qatar Airways will launch services to a diverse portfolio of new routes, including Belgrade, Serbia (20 November); Warsaw, Poland (5 December), Gassim, Saudi Arabia (7 January, 2013); Najaf, Iraq (23 January); Phnom Penh, Cambodia (20 February); and Chicago, USA (10 April).

Qatar Airways currently has orders worth over US$50 billion for more than 250 aircraft, including Boeing 787s, 777s, Airbus A350s, A380s and A320 Family of aircraft. In addition to winning Skytrax’s prestigious Airline of the Year 2011 and 2012, Qatar Airways was named Best Airline in the Middle East for the seventh year in a row, and its Premium Terminal at Doha International Airport was named Best Premium Service Airport for the second consecutive year in 2012.

– 31 October, 2012


Precision Air posts record results

PRECISION AIR Services today held its first Annual General Meeting (AGM) since being listed on the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange (DSE) in December, 2011.  The airline, which is headquartered in Dar es Salaam, posted a pretax profit of TShs 1.84 billion for the year ended 31 March, 2012, an increase of 18.3% over the previous year. Total revenues soared to Tsh163 billion from TShs 114 billion over the same period. Net profit for the year was TShs 634 million.

Precision Air is the first Tanzanian airline to be listed on the bourse. 7,056 new investors joined the Precision Air family in the December, 2011, Initial Public Offering (IPO), from which the airline raised Tshs12 billion.  The airline has achieved a 233% increase in passenger numbers from 249,000 in 2004 to 825,000 in 2012, the fastest growth of any regional airline. The company has expanded by covering a record 14 destinations in Tanzania and Sub-Saharan region with the widest network in the country. The airline has one of Africa’s most modern and youngest fleets.

According to the Chairman of the Board, Michael Shirima, Precision Air is committed to delivering on shareholder value. “We will remain steadfastly focused on our vision of being the airline of choice. We welcome our new shareholders and believe that together we remain confident in our long-term objective of realizing returns to our shareholders.”

Precision Air has exhibited consistent growth in both operations and financial performance.  Alfonse Kioko, Precision Air Group Managing Director and CEO, explains that while the global aviation industry has been facing strong headwinds, Precision has been one of the “best of breed” in a tough industry. “Revenue Passenger per Kilometer (RPK) was 424 million, up from 318 million seat kilometers, a growth of 33% over the previous year. We are proud that our key headline numbers have shown consistent improvement over the previous year.”

Mr Kioko added that 2012 marked another milestone for the company with the opening of its ultra-modern aircraft hangar at the Julius Nyerere Airport, adding significant operational support at Precision Air’s hub.

Precision Air continues to successfully provide self-handling at its key Tanzanian destinations. The airline uplifts an average of almost 70,000 passengers a month. The airline’s frequent flyer programme, Paa Royal, now in its second year, has generated a strong loyalty following among frequent flyers.

Precision is the country’s designated second national carrier under the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and is the only Tanzanian carrier certified under the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA), the recognized airline industry standard for operational safety. Precision’s safety record is one of the best in Africa.

According to Mr Kioko, Precision is poised for further growth. “We are dynamically focused on leveraging our key technical and operational competences, particularly on developing and investing in well-trained operating crew, focusing on profitable routes, carefully managing exogenous factors, such as fuel prices and the use of more efficient technologies, to achieve even stronger results and to deliver on shareholder value,” concludes Kioko.

– 3 October, 2012


Comair comments on Government funding of SAA

COMAIR LIMITED, South Africa’s leading aviation company listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, is challenging the application of the latest R5 billion South African Rands Government guarantee for SAA, says Comair CEO, Erik Venter.  In 1992, on deregulation of the domestic airline industry, the Government developed an Aviation Transport Policy that was intended to govern the behaviour and funding of SAA in a competitive domestic environment.  This included the provisions that SAA was not allowed to cross-subsidise domestic with international operations, and that it could not receive Government funding or guarantees as long as private competitors were required to rely on commercial funding.

“We understand that SAA has to rely on its shareholder to the extent that it is required to deliver a public service, in this case servicing routes that are not commercially viable for private airlines. However, this does not apply in the domestic market or even on many routes into Africa where South African-based airlines are attempting to compete against SAA.  The losses incurred by SAA and Mango in the domestic market could not be sustained by a private airline and have been incurred to protect SAA’s market share at the expense of its competitors and the taxpayer.  We do not see any controls in place that will prevent this from happening again,” says Venter.

The only way to achieve a level playing field in the domestic market would be to separate SAA’s domestic operations, including Mango and SA Express, into an independent legal entity with its own leadership and transparent financial reporting. The domestic operation would then have to operate on sound commercial principles and without any Government support or indirect cross subsidy from SAA international.

“The aviation industry is capital intensive and it is therefore necessary for airlines to behave in such a way as to make adequate profits and cash flow for reinvestment in aircraft.  SAA's latest request for Government funding for new planes is largely a result of SAA and Mango fighting their domestic competitors for market share at the expense of generating sufficient profits for sustainability,” says Venter.

Venter explains, “SAA, at least in the domestic market, is not like Transnet in that there is a tax paying, private industry willing to fulfill the southern African air transport requirements.  However, if the Government fails to ensure the achievement of a level playing field, then we might return to a state monopoly for domestic air travel, which is exactly what the Aviation Transport Policy was designed to avoid.”

As a matter of industry survival and maintaining competition in the market for domestic air travel, Comair has an obligation to challenge further Government support that will benefit SAA’s domestic operation. SAA's accumulated losses of R17 billion since deregulation, and the failure of nine of the 11 private airlines that have attempted to compete with SAA over the same period, is a clear indication of the impact of SAA’s assurance of state support.

– 3 October, 2012


Emirates boosts services to Zambia and Zimbabwe

EMIRATES, ONE of the world’s fastest growing airlines, today underlined its commitment to Zambia and Zimbabwe by announcing that its Dubai-Lusaka-Harare route would become a daily service from 1st October, 2012.  The linked service, which currently operates five times a week, has performed strongly since its launch on 1st February this year. To date, Emirates has carried over 43,000 passengers on the route.  

“This latest boost to Emirates’ African network is testament to the continuous upward growth in demand for our flights to and from the continent,” said Jean Luc Grillet, Senior Vice President of Commercial Operations for Africa. “A daily service to Lusaka and Harare will mean greater choice for customers, while an increased cargo capacity of 40% will facilitate more export business opportunities for both countries, forging greater trade links and increasing access to key trading partners in Asia and the Middle East.”  

A weekly cargo capacity of 224 tonnes and access to Emirates’ network of more than 120 destinations worldwide is already supporting a range of exports from both Zambia and Zimbabwe.  Key commodities being shipped from Lusaka and Harare include fresh flowers, fruit, vegetables and copper mining industry by-products. 

Tourism is another key beneficiary, with Emirates’ Lusaka service supporting the Zambia Tourism Board’s target for increasing visitor arrivals by 22.5 per cent to one million visitors in 2012. It is also expected that Emirates’ flights to Harare will support the Tourism Ministry’s projections that the sector will contribute over US$5 billion to the Zimbabwean economy by 2015.

The Dubai-Lusaka-Harare service is operated by an A330-200 aircraft in a three-class configuration, offering 12 luxurious First Class seats, 42 seats in Business Class and generous space for 183 passengers in Economy Class.

EK 713 departs Dubai at 0925hrs, arriving in Lusaka 1435hrs. The service departs Lusaka at 1620hrs, arriving in Harare at 1720. The return flight will leave Harare at 1850hrs, arriving Lusaka at 1950hrs. It departs Lusaka at 2125hrs and lands in Dubai at 0640hrs the next day.

With a fleet of 175 aircraft and already the largest  Airbus A380 and Boeing 777 operator in the world, Emirates currently flies to 123 destinations in 73 countries. With an order for 50 new Boeing 777-300ER aircraft placed at the Dubai Air Show, Emirates now has 228 aircraft on order worth over US$84 billion at list prices.

Emirates currently serves 21 passenger and cargo destinations across the African continent. Over the next three months, the airline will launch a further four destinations: Barcelona, Lisbon, Erbil and Washington, DC.  

– 26 July, 2012


Qatar Airways adds Kigali to its Africa network

QATAR AIRWAYS has further expanded operations in Africa with the launch of its 17th destination on the continent – daily scheduled flights to Rwanda. Its inaugural flight from Doha to Kigali arrived in the Rwandan capital to a traditional water salute welcome.  The arrival of flight QR 536 to Kigali takes the airline’s African capacity up to 132 passenger flights each week across a diverse network of cities.

Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker received a colourful welcome by traditional Rwandan dancers at an airport ceremony attended by over 150 guests, including Rwanda’s Honourable Minister of Infrastructure, Albert Nsengiyumva.

With a strong focus on operating to underserved markets worldwide, Kigali is one destination which clearly fitted the bill for Qatar Airways, said Al Baker during an arrival speech at the city’s international airport.  “We have extended our reach to yet another underserved market with today’s launch of flights to Kigali,” he said.

“I would like to thank the Rwandan Government, the local airport authority and the people of Rwanda for supporting Qatar Airways’ entry to this beautiful country.  The direct daily air link between my home city of Doha and Kigali is further testament to Qatar Airways’ commitment to expanding our presence in Africa and East Africa in particular, a dynamic region to where we already fly twice daily to both Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, and daily to Entebbe.

“Our newest route connects the mineral rich Rwandan landscape with the energy rich nation of Qatar, neighbouring Gulf states and cities around the world,” added Al Baker, stressing that Africa continued to be a focus of growth for Qatar Airways this year as it plans further expansion across the Continent.”

Minister of Infrastructure Nsengiyumva, in his welcome address, said the arrival of a young and dynamic airline from the Middle East was a great boost for the aviation sector in Rwanda. “The coming of Qatar Airways signals mutual development which will have a positive impact on the economic growth of both Rwanda and Qatar,” he said, adding that the CEO’s leadership of the award-winning airline was “highly commendable.”

In recent months, Qatar Airways has launched new African services to Benghazi in Libya and the Ugandan city of Entebbe, with a further three route start-ups planned over the next few months – Mombasa in Kenya, and Kilimanjaro and Zanzibar in Tanzania.

Rwanda is fast emerging as a growing economic centre, forming strong trade links with Europe and the Far East, thanks largely to its rich mineral resources. The country’s economy is largely based on agriculture but has thriving mineral and tourism industries.

Home to the mountain gorilla, Rwanda attracts tourists from around the world fascinated by the country’s wildlife and natural beauty. For passengers travelling on Qatar Airways, they will have convenient access to Rwanda via the airline’s strategically positioned Doha hub, and expansive global route network. Key travel markets to and from Rwanda include the Middle East, Europe, Asia, Australia and North America.

The Kigali flights are operated via Entebbe in Uganda. Passengers can purchase tickets between Kigali and Entebbe, allowing them to travel on business or leisure between the two cities. The addition of daily flights to Kigali takes Qatar Airways’ East African coverage, including Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, up to 42 flights every week.

Other destinations currently served across Africa from Doha are Johannesburg, Cape Town, Lagos, Khartoum, Seychelles, Cairo, Luxor, Alexandria, Benghazi, Tripoli, Algiers, Tunis and Casablanca.

Qatar Airways currently operates a modern fleet of 106 aircraft to 113 key business and leisure destinations across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, North America and South America. During 2012, the airline’s expansion will also include new routes from Doha to Perth (Australia), Zagreb (Croatia), Gassim (Saudi Arabia), Helsinki (Finland), Belgrade (Serbia), Erbil (Iraq), Baghdad (Iraq) and Yangon (Myanmar). Apart from Kigali, the carrier last month launched flights to the Azerbaijan capital Baku and Georgia’s capital city of Tbilisi.

Qatar Airways’ Kigali flights are operated with an Airbus A320 in a two-class configuration of 12 seats in Business Class and 132 in Economy, offering passengers throughout both cabins with a personal seatback entertainment system with over 800 interactive audio and video on demand options to choose from. The aircraft is also equipped with a special On Air service allowing passengers to use their mobile phones on board for SMS, MMS messaging and emails.

– 24 March, 2012


SAA financing is for growth and fleet modernisation

SOUTH AFRICAN Airways (SAA) is in discussion with the South African Government on financing its bold new growth strategy, which includes growing the number of its long-haul aircraft in the next five years while the short-haul fleet is comprehensively renewed.

SAA CEO Siza Mzimela announced the airline’s expansion and modernisation plans on Friday in Johannesburg. The Aircraft Renewal Programme is aimed at equipping SAA with the latest, most fuel efficient aircraft able to serve the airline’s specific routes and needs and deliver on its mandate and strategic objectives for South Africa.

“Like all airlines globally, we face increasing margin pressure and greater competition. That means that we need the best equipment to do the job in an environment where oil costs are well beyond US$100 per barrel, and our rivals are increasingly and aggressively cherry-picking on many of our routes,” said Mzimela.

“SAA remains determined to serve the South African economy with excellent international, African, and local passenger and cargo air connections”, said SAA’s CEO.  SAA is committed to continue investing in its future, as a contribution to securing the transport infrastructure the whole of the South African economy requires to continue growing, said Mzimela. This includes providing an even stronger network of services to the many African, Asian, and Latin American destinations which are of growing importance to South African business and to the tourism industry.

SAA plans to take its current long-haul fleet of 24 aircraft to up to 31 in the next five years. In the same period, the airline says it will renew its short-haul fleet entirely, replacing the current Boeing 737-800 aircraft with more fuel-efficient Airbus A320 aircraft.  

SAA will derive additional savings and efficiencies as the A320s share common cockpits, a high degree of parts, and operational and maintenance procedures with SAA’s existing A319 and A340 fleet. This translates directly into streamlined training and increased productivity across SAA’s pilots, cabin crew and technical and engineering staff.

The fleet renewal will also give SAA the ability to make massive fuel savings, while providing better and often more frequent connections to key destinations. More modern aircraft will allow SAA to be much more efficient and to ensure an ability to grow as it gets stronger.

SAA’s current board and management have scored major successes, since taking over two years ago, in ensuring the profitability of the airline as it serves its markets better. A programme aimed at boldly growing the business, while achieving significant further efficiencies, is in place and will show even stronger returns during 2012.

“We have introduced a number of new flights to cities, which are of importance to the South African economy such as Beijing, Ndola on the Zambian copperbelt, Bujumbura, Kigali, and Pointe Noire, a hub of the West African oil industry,” said Mzimela. SAA has recently optimised its New York route with new non-stop services and increased frequencies to Accra, Dar-es-Salaam, Entebbe, Harare, Mauritius and Lusaka.  Additional cargo frequencies to a number of sub-saharan African destinations also support South Africa’s trade development objectives”

A 2011 Oxford Economics study indicated the significant contribution of SAA to the entire South African economy. The study measured aviation’s contribution to South African GDP at 2.1% or R50.9 billion, including 227,000 direct and indirect jobs. Even before implementation of the airline’s bold growth strategy, SAA accounts for approximately 50% of international and domestic passengers to and within South Africa. 

SAA’s discussion with the Government on financing its bold growth strategy includes an in-depth exploration of the option of a capital injection aimed at securing the airline’s ability to thoroughly modernise its operating fleet. Exact figures are still under discussion, but this re-capitalisation could involve the deployment of between R4 billion and R6 billion over five years by the shareholder.

“Across the globe, airlines are turning to their shareholders for support as they respond to the massive pressures in the industry by seeking greater efficiencies through fleet and systems modernisation,” said Mzimela. “Like other airlines which are in very good shape and have a key role in their national economies, SAA is seeking to keep ahead of the game through these measures aimed at growth and efficiency.”

– 16 February, 2012


Emirates expands to Lusaka and Harare

EMIRATES HAS extended its reach into Africa with the launch of a new linked service to Lusaka and Harare. Now flying to 22 points within Africa, Emirates will connect Zambia and Zimbabwe to key markets across Europe, the Far East, Australasia and the Indian Subcontinent. The Dubai-Lusaka-Harare service operates every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday using an A330-200 aircraft in a three class configuration.

EK 713 departs Dubai at 0925hrs, arriving in Lusaka at 1450hrs. The onward connection to Harare departs Lusaka at 1620hrs, reaching the Zimbabwean capital at 1720hrs. The return flight leaves Harare at 1920hrs, arriving Lusaka at 2020hrs. It departs Lusaka at 2150hrs, landing in Dubai at 0710hrs the next day.

“Zambia and Zimbabwe are both important emerging business and industrial centres with economies that are projected to grow by over 5% annually during the coming years,” said Nabil Sultan, Divisional Senior Vice President, Revenue Optimisation and Distribution. “Emirates’ new service will play a significant role in supporting this growth by connecting Lusaka and Harare to our worldwide network, opening new conduits for trade, investment and tourism.”

On board today’s flight were Nabil Sultan, Divisional Senior Vice President, Revenue Optimisation and Distribution; Jean Luc Grillet, Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations Africa; Muhammed Riza, Manager, Commercial Business Development; Duncan Watson, Emirates Regional Manager, Cargo Commercial;  The Honourable Given Lubinda, Zambian Minister of Foreign Affairs; The Honourable Yamfwa Mukanga, Zambian Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communications; The Honourable Fackson Shamenda, Zambian Minister of Tourism; the Honourable Nicholas Goche, Zimbabwean Minister of Transport; Marah Hativagone, Chairperson, Zimbabwean Tourism  Council (ZTC); Rueben K. Walobele, Special Assistant to the Zambian Minister of Foreign Affairs; Chitalu Kabalika, Aid to the Zambian Minister of Transport; Agnes Chaila, Business Development Manager, National Airport Corporation Ltd. (NACL) and Cleophas Mathabire, Aid to the Zimbabwean Minister of Transport.

Upon arrival at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport in Lusaka, Emirates’ inaugural Flight 713 was greeted by a traditional water cannon salute. "Emirates’ decision to operate to Lusaka represents new economic doors being opened to our country. The fact that this airline, which is successful on all continents, is entering markets like ours as part of its expansion plans is clear evidence of excellent future prospects for Zambia and Zambians,” said Given Lubinda, the Zambian Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Emirates’ services to Lusaka will be a huge boost to its tourism industry, helping to support the Zambia Tourism Board’s target for increasing visitor arrivals by 22.5% to one million visitors in 2012.

The onward connection to Harare, operated by Zimbabwean Captain Ca Busiso Ndlovu, also received a warm welcome at Harare International Airport. Later that evening, leading figures from the travel trade, local businesses and the Government attended a gala dinner event which featured performances by local stars Victor Kunonga, Dudu Manhenga and Oliver Tuku.

"The arrival of Emirates to Zimbabwe is a very significant development for the market. We welcome the entrance of a truly global airline with an extensive network, large fleet and great reputation for quality service which will greatly improve choice and connectivity for Zimbabwean travellers," said Nicholas Goche, Zimbabwean Minister of Transport, Communications and Infrastructural Development. "Emirates will bring greater capacity and fare competitiveness which will certainly lead to traffic growth to and from Zimbabwe." 

It is expected that Emirates’ services to Harare will support the Tourism Ministry’s projections that the sector will contribute over US$5 billion to the Zimbabwean economy by 2015. To support the linked service, Emirates will promote Zambia and Zimbabwe’s tourism attractions, including Victoria Falls, the Zambezi River, game reserves and safaris, in advertising campaigns executed across the airline’s global network. Emirates Holidays will also feature eight pages on Zimbabwe and Zambia in its 2012 World of Choice brochure.

With a fleet of 169 aircraft, Emirates is the world's largest Airbus A380 and Boeing 777 operator.  The airline placed an order for 50 new Boeing 777-300ER aircraft at the Dubai Air Show in November, bringing its total order book to 236 aircraft, worth over US$84 billion at list prices. Following the launch of Lusaka and Harare, Emirates will start services to Dallas, Texas on 2 February and Seattle on 1 March, Ho Chi Minh City on 4 June and Barcelona on 3 July.

– 1 February, 2012


Emirates strengthens East Africa services

EMIRATES, ONE of the world’s fastest growing airlines, will soon offer customers a quicker and more convenient link to Uganda with the introduction of a direct service.   “As demand for our Entebbe service continues to grow, customers can now enjoy the convenience of a non-stop air link with Dubai. Our new direct service will offer seamless connections to key destinations in the Middle East, Indian Sub-continent, Asia and the Far East, together with the award-winning in-flight service for which Emirates is renowned," said Jean Luc Grillet, Senior Vice President of Commercial Operations for Africa.

Starting 25 March, EK 729 will depart Dubai at 0825hrs each day, arriving in Entebbe at 12:35hrs. The return leg, EK 730, will leave the Ugandan city at 1540hrs and get into Dubai at 2155hrs.

“At Emirates, we continually look for new ways to improve the service we provide to our customers. Entebbe is an important market for Emirates in the East African region and we are dedicated to ensuring our customers have access to the highest service standards both in the air and on the ground,” added Jean Luc.

Emirates will operate an Airbus A330-200 on its Entebbe routes in a three-class configuration, featuring 12 luxurious First Class seats, 42 seats in Business Class and generous space for 183 passengers in Economy Class. On board, passengers can enjoy delicacies from an exclusive menu served to them by Emirates’ cabin crew representing over 120 nations.

With a fleet of 168 aircraft and the largest A380 and Boeing 777 operator in the world, Emirates currently serves 20 destinations in the African continent, with new services to Zambia and Zimbabwe starting from February 2012.

Passengers on all Emirates’ flights also have the added bonus of extra baggage allowance with 30 kilogrammes permitted for those travelling in Economy Class, 40 kilogrammes for Business Class and 50 kilogrammes for First Class passengers. To date, Emirates’ Entebbe route has been operated as a linked service with Addis Adaba.

– 17 January, 2012


Emirates goes daily to Khartoum

EMIRATES HAS increased its commitment to Sudan with the introduction of one additional flight per week, providing a daily, non-stop service between Dubai and Khartoum Civil Airport from 5 December, 2011.  Emirates will continue to use an Airbus 330-200 on the route offering 12 luxurious First Class seats, 42 seats in Business Class and generous space for 183 passengers in Economy Class, and 18 tonnes of belly-hold cargo.

“By providing an extra flight, we are responding to strong demand from our customers for our Khartoum-Dubai services. This additional flight will offer customers greater flexibility in choosing their travel times as well as help support further business and tourism opportunities in Sudan,” said  Jean Luc Grillet, Emirates’ Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations, Africa.

From 5 December, EK 0733 will depart Dubai every day at 1500hrs, touching down at Khartoum Civil Airport at 1825hrs the same day. The return flight, EK 0734, departs Khartoum at 1955hrs and arrives in Dubai at 0045hrs the following day. The service connects seamlessly with flights from Dubai to the ever increasing number of destinations across the Emirates network.

While flying to Dubai, passengers in all classes can enjoy meals prepared by gourmet chefs, award-winning service from the airline’s international cabin crew recruited from over 120 countries, as well as the airline’s award-winning ice (information, communication, entertainment) system that offers over 600 channels of on-demand entertainment and the facility to send and receive emails and text messages.

Emirates launched services to Khartoum in 2002. With a fleet of 162 aircraft and already the largest A380 operator in the world, Emirates currently serves 20 destinations in the African continent, with new services to Zambia and Zimbabwe starting from February, 2012. Over the next six months, Emirates will launch a further seven destinations including; Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, Dublin, Lusaka, Harare, Seattle and Dallas.

– 1 November, 2011


Emirates starts services to Zambia and Zimbabwe

EMIRATES’ EXTENSIVE African network is to be boosted again with the launch of two new destinations – Lusaka, the capital of Zambia, and Harare, the capital city of Zimbabwe.  Zambia and Zimbabwe which share a border with the Victoria Falls, one of the natural wonders of the world, will now be linked with a five times weekly flight from Dubai, starting from 1 February, 2012.

Victoria Falls can be reached from both Zambia and Zimbabwe.

“Emirates has long understood the enormous potential of Africa, which today is one of the fastest-expanding economic regions of the world, benefitting from a combined market of over one billion people, rising consumer demand and an abundance of natural resources,” said His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates Airline Group.

“Zambia and Zimbabwe will be our 20th and 21st African destinations and their addition to our global network will enable us to provide new flexibility and choice for customers, help to grow trade routes and create important new inbound and outbound markets for tourism,” added His Highness.

“The arrival of an airline of Emirates’ stature will be very significant for Zimbabwe, increasing capacity, connectivity and choice as the country strives to consolidate its economic recovery through attracting new trade, tourism and investment,” said Mr. David Chawota, Chief Executive Officer, Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe. “We are extremely proud of the facilities we have at Harare International Airport and look forward to providing the very best service to Emirates customers from around the world. We really appreciate the support of our Government in facilitating this development.”

The Dubai-Lusaka-Harare service will be operated by an A330-200 aircraft in a three-class configuration that offers 12 luxurious First Class seats, 42 seats in Business Class and generous space for 183 passengers in Economy Class.

Customers in all cabins will enjoy meals prepared by gourmet chefs, award-winning service from the airline’s international cabin crew recruited from over 120 countries, as well as hundreds of channels of entertainment and the facility to send and receive emails and text messages.

Passengers flying Emirates from Lusaka and Harare will be able to connect seamlessly to points across the Far and Middle East, Indian sub-continent, Europe and Australasia via the airline’s hub in Dubai. 

A must-see for any visitor to Zambia or Zimbabwe is the Victoria Falls, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The 1.7 km wide natural wonder cascades for over 100 metres, making the Falls the largest curtain of water in the world.  Both countries also boast a wealth of other breath-taking sights, including world-class national safari parks.

A belly-hold capacity of 16 tonnes will support the import and export of a diverse range of commodities, such as machinery, clothing, computer parts, and pharmaceuticals. These goods will arrive from markets like the United Arab Emirates, South East Asia, the Indian Subcontinent and Europe. Fresh flowers, fruit and vegetables will be exported – heading to destinations including Europe, China, Saudi Arabia and South Korea.

Africa was one of only two continents to record economic growth during the recent global downturn and its growth rate is likely to exceed 5% this year, according to the Harvard Business Review.

With a collective Gross Domestic Product now roughly equal to that of Brazil or Russia, Relative Market Growth Index forecasts indicate that Africa’s combined revenue could grow by approximately US$1 trillion by 2020. The number of households with discretionary income is projected to rise by 50% over the next 10 years.

Starting 1 February, 2012, EK 713 will depart Dubai on every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday at 0925hrs, arriving in Lusaka at 1450hrs. The service will depart Lusaka at 1620hrs, arriving in Harare at 1720. The return flight leaves Harare at 1920, arriving Lusaka at 2020. It departs Lusaka at 2150 and lands in Dubai at 0710hrs the next day.

With a fleet of 157 aircraft and already the largest A380 operator in the world, Emirates currently flies to 114 destinations in 67 countries. Services to Basra, Geneva and Copenhagen have already started this year. Flights to St Petersburg begin on 1 November with Baghdad following suit as of 13 November. Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires become new links into South America from 3 January, 2012. Emirates currently serves 19 passenger and cargo destinations across the African continent.

– 21 September, 2011


Emirates and Arik Air sign interline agreement

EMIRATES, ONE of the world’s fastest growing airlines, has signed an interline agreement with leading Nigerian carrier Arik Air making it easy for customers to access a wide range of points across Nigeria and West Africa. Under the new agreement, customers will be able to purchase joint Emirates-Arik Air itineraries, enabling them to connect seamlessly from Emirates’ double daily services to Lagos on to cities including Abuja, Kano, Kaduna, Port Harcourt and Enugu.

Customers will also enjoy a range of added benefits, including special fares and an extra 10kg baggage allowance for Economy Class passengers connecting to points across Nigeria and beyond on Arik Air.

“Our new partnership with Arik Air opens up a wide range of West African destinations for Emirates customers, making travel more easy and convenient than ever before,” said Jean Luc Grillet, Senior Vice President of Commercial Operations for Africa. “What's more, customers will enjoy even better value for money when they purchase their Emirates and Arik Air flights together.”

“Emirates is one of the industry’s leading airlines with an extensive global network. This agreement will undoubtedly provide new travel opportunities for our customer base as well as further developing Arik Air into a truly global airline,” said Kevin Steele, Vice President Commercial at Arik Air.

Customers can purchase joint Emirates-Arik Air itineraries by calling their local reservations office, travel agent or booking through www.emirates.com. Customers will be issued with a single combined ticket for Emirates and Arik Air-operated flights and enjoy one-stop check-in and baggage transfer between the airlines.

Started in 1985 with just two aircraft, award-winning Emirates is now one of the fastest growing and most profitable airlines in the world.  The airline’s global network now spans 113 destinations in 66 countries across six continents; servicing these destinations with a fleet of 153 wide-bodied aircraft, which includes 15 A380s, the world’s largest passenger aircraft.

Emirates, which launched its 26th European destination Geneva on 1 June, will start new services to Copenhagen, Denmark on 1 August, St Petersburg, Russia on 1 November, and a linked service to Rio De Janeiro, Brazil and Buenos Aires, Argentina on 3 January, 2012.

Arik Air is Nigeria’s largest domestic airline and operates a fleet of 23 state-of-the-art regional, medium-haul and long-haul aircraft. The airline currently serves 30 airports across Nigeria as well as Accra (Ghana), Banjul (Gambia), Cotonou (Benin), Dakar (Senegal), Freetown (Sierra Leone), Monrovia (Liberia), London Heathrow (UK), Johannesburg (South Africa) and New York JFK (USA).   

– 13 July, 2011


Emirates increases flights to Sudan

EMIRATES IS responding to strong passenger demand in Sudan by launching an extra weekly flight to Khartoum, boosting its frequencies to four each week from 4 August, 2011.  Operated by A330-200 aircraft in a three-class configuration that includes 12 First Class seats, 42 seats in Business Class and generous space for 183 passengers in Economy Class, the additional flight will add over  950  seats per month in each direction, and contribute significantly to economic and tourism growth in Sudan.

“This additional service will offer customers greater flexibility in choosing their travel times as well as help support further business and tourism opportunities in Sudan,” said Jean Luc Grillet, Senior Vice President of Commercial Operations for Africa.

The additional weekly flight, EK733, will depart Dubai every Thursday at 14:35 hours, arriving in Khartoum at 17:40 hours. The return journey, flight EK 734, will depart Khartoum at 19:15, arriving in Dubai at 00:15 hours.

Customers in all cabins will enjoy meals prepared by gourmet chefs, award-winning service from the airline’s international cabin crew recruited from over 120 countries, as well as the airline’s award-winning ice (information, communication, entertainment) system that offers over 600 channels of on-demand entertainment and the facility to send and receive emails and text messages. Emirates airline operates a fleet of 153 wide-body Airbus and Boeing aircraft to 113 destinations in 66 countries and has placed orders for an additional  199  aircraft, worth more than US$66 billion.

– 6 July, 2011


Emirates to launch Airbus A380 service to Johannesburg

EMIRATES, ONE of the fastest growing airlines in the world, announced today that Johannesburg, the industrial and economic capital of South Africa, will be the next destination slated for its flagship A380 aircraft. The daily A380 service will start on 1 October, 2011. The announcement of Emirates’ first scheduled A380 service to Africa comes as the airline unveiled its full year financial results for 2010-11. These revealed a surge in the number of South African travellers flying with Emirates – with total passenger growth up 12% over the previous financial year. Overall revenue from the South African market also rose sharply, up 34% from 2009-10.

The year that saw South Africa host the highly successful 2010 FIFA World Cup also saw Emirates record a huge rise in inbound traffic to South Africa – with passenger volumes up 20% in the calendar year 2010. As an official FIFA Partner, Emirates helped to bring the world to South Africa by flying in football fans from across its network of six continents.

“We have enjoyed a successful partnership with South Africa since launching services in 1995, and now connect our Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban gateways to our vast global network through 42 non-stop flights each week to Dubai," said Tim Clark, President of Emirates Airline. "The very positive trends we have witnessed over the last 12 months will only be boosted by the arrival of our flagship A380 aircraft which has set a new benchmark for air travel.

“Our A380 demonstrates the future of aviation - both in terms of passenger experience and environmental sensitivity," he added. "By launching the aircraft to Johannesburg we are further underlining our commitment to serving South Africa and we anticipate very strong demand from leisure and business travellers keen to experience its unique features and unparalleled levels of comfort in the air.”

The 489-seat Emirates A380 offers 14 Private First Class Suites, 76 lie-flat beds in Business Class and 399 seats in Economy Class. First Class passengers have access to two On board Shower Spas, while all premium passengers on the upper deck can socialise at 40,000 feet in the On board Lounge. Beverages and bar snacks are served once the aircraft reaches cruising altitude - all the way until descent.

The A380 service will operate daily as EK 761, departing Dubai at 0440hrs (local time) and arriving at O. R. Tambo International Airport at 1050hrs (local). The return flight, EK762, departs Johannesburg at 1410hrs (local) and arrives in Dubai at 0010hrs (local) the following day.

The arrival time of the A380 in Dubai will offer passengers from South Africa convenient connections to an extensive range of destinations within Europe, which following the 1 June launch of Geneva and the Copenhagen launch on 1 August, will stand at 27. Passengers will also be able to connect seamlessly to a wide range of points within the Middle and Far East.

Customers wishing to break their journey in Dubai will discover a huge variety of things to see and do in what is often billed as the world’s ultimate stopover city. Attractions range from world-class golf courses to indoor skiing, fine dining, to desert safaris and shopping options spanning from gold, diamond and spice souks to chic designer boutiques; not to mention the chance to get a true birds-eye view of the gleaming cityscape from the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building.

Johannesburg is the most populous city in South Africa and capital of the Gauteng province, the country’s wealthiest province and home to approximately nine million residents. The city, which is located on the mineral-rich Witwatersrand range of hills, is also a thriving centre for the gold and diamond trade.

The new A380 service will help to support the thriving trade relationship between South Africa and the UAE which has enjoyed an average year-on-year growth of 8% since 2007. Total trade volumes rose from US$1,379,000 in 2007 to US$1,749,000 in 2010.

Emirates currently operates a three times daily service to Johannesburg, a double-daily service to Cape Town and a daily service to Durban; while the airline’s fleet of 15 A380s operate on services from Dubai to London Heathrow (double-daily), Manchester, Paris Charles de Gaulle, Toronto, Seoul, Bangkok, Beijing, Shanghai, Jeddah, New York, Hong Kong, Sydney and Auckland. Emirates currently serves 19 passenger and cargo destinations across the African continent.

– 11 May, 2011


Emirates strengthens commitment to Tunis

IN A move to support the Tunisian tourism industry and to provide passengers with more flexible travel options, Emirates has launched an additional weekly flight between Dubai and Tunis. Emirates, one of the fastest growing airlines in the world, will now operate four flights per week to Tunis from its hub in Dubai.

"Emirates is committed to offering its customers the best travel experience on the market and now customers in Tunisia have even more convenient access to our network of over 110 global destinations," said Jean Luc Grillet, Senior Vice President of Commercial Operations for Africa. Currently, Emirates’ flights to Tunis are served by an Airbus A330- 200 aircraft offering 237 seats in a three class configuration: 12 First Class Suites, 42 Business Class and 183 Economy Class seats.

Flight EK 747 departs Dubai at 0935 hrs (local time) and arrives in Tunis at 1255hrs (local) every Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. The return flight, EK 748, departs Tunis at 1510hrs (local) and arrives in Dubai at 2355hrs (local).

Currently, Emirates operates 15 A380s on the following routes: London Heathrow, Manchester, New York, Paris, Sydney, Auckland, Toronto, Bangkok, Seoul, Jeddah, Hong Kong and Beijing and Shanghai. Emirates airline operates a fleet of 152 wide-body Airbus and Boeing aircraft to 111 destinations in 66 countries and has placed orders for an additional 200 aircraft worth more than USD$68 billion.

– 5 May, 2011