Tuesday, February 5, 2013

► ALGERIA: Government gives Air Algérie greenlight to proceed with fleet renewal plans but remains hesitant about deregulation, Open Skies.

Air Algérie logoThe Algerian Government has given national carrier, Air Algèrie (AH), in whom it is 100% shareholder, the green light to proceed with the acquisition of 16 new aircraft in a bid to bolster the airline's long term viability and therefore, profitability. However, until such time that Air Algèrie is capable of holding its own, the Government has deferred both the liberalization of the local aviation industry and the possibility of an Open Skies treaty, without completely excluding them in the future.

Air AlgerieIn early January, Air Algèrie announced plans to forge ahead with the first stage of its previously announced renewal plan. The carrier was said to be negotiating a deal for the purchase of an undisclosed number of Boeing 787-8s, that it hopes to "make concrete very soon" with delivery of the first aircraft scheduled for 2017. In addition, the airline intends to order five Boeing 737-800NGs and three new Airbus A330-200s to aide in planned new routes to Amsterdam, Johannesburg, Lagos, New York, Sao Paulo and Shanghai.

After a meeting of the Conseil des Participations de l’Etat (Council for State Enterprises - CPE), on Sunday 3 February, Algerian Minister of Transport Amar Tou said the CPE had consented to "strengthening AH's fleet with the acquisition of 16 aircraft".

Regarding the touchy topic of deregulation and the possibility of an Open Skies treay akin to that in place in neighbouring Morocco and that currently being negotiated in Tunisia, Mr Tou was more ambivalent.
The minister said, moreover, that the opening of the skies to private airlines is not, for the moment, on the agenda, noting however that the Algerian authorities "do not definitively exclude the possibility of granting new licenses to private operators when economic conditions permit ".

Tou removed, in addition, the possibility of any forthcoming accession by Algeria to any Open Sky agreement because such an approach would, he says, "place the national airline, Air Algèrie, in difficulty". However, "when possible, we will," he said.
Source [TSAlgèrie]

Mr Tou ended by saying that a Memorandum of Understanding between Air Algèrie and Air France-KLM to offer customers new routes between France and Algeria from the end of October 2013 was "part of a gradual opening up of Algerian airspace, taking into account Algeria's interests."