Monday, March 11, 2013

► ALGERIA: Air Algérie to retain Beijing flights following improvement in load factors; to add Conakry, Ndjamena, Lagos in Winter 2013/14.

Air Algérie logoAlgerian national carrier, Air Algérie (AH), is planning new routes to Ndjamena (Chad), Lagos, and Conakry (Guinea) during Winter'13/14 according to the airline's President and Director-General, Mohamed Saleh Bolatif.

Air Algérie
Air Algérie
In an extensive interview with Arabic paper, Echourouk, Mr Bolatif said the new routes would be part of Air Algérie's short term expansion plan to turn Algiers into an international hub, with further expansion into southern and east Africa to come in the medium term.

To cater for the planned new African routes, the airline will dedicate eight 150-seater aircraft out of the 16 it plans to buy which will include eight Boeing 787-8s due for delivery in 2017, five Boeing 737-800NGs and three new Airbus A330-200s.

Contrary to previous reports which stated that AH's direct Algiers - Beijing route was to be closed owing to stiff competition from Gulf carriers, Bolatif said that since Air Algérie had switched to a new agent in Beijing, the route's profitability, both in terms of pax and cargo loads, had increased. He attributed the improvement to a renewed marketing drive aimed at Korea and Korean tourists.

Regarding the launch of Algiers - New York flights, Bolatif said that negotiations with the United States still had to be concluded through the finalization of a new Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA), but that once flights commence, good passenger and cargo load factors are expected given the large Algerian population living in the US.