Tuesday, May 28, 2013

► KENYA: Astral Aviation outlines expanded regional cargo network; to replace DC9s with MD83Fs.

Astral Aviation logoKenyan cargo operator, Astral Aviation (8V), has announced an enhanced intra-African freighter schedule which is based on a cautious expansion strategy to increase connectivity from its Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta International hub to the East African region.

Operating a dedicated fleet of two DC9s and a B727-200F, Astral’s enhanced schedule marks an increase in frequency on its Juba route from three to four weekly flights thus increasing the capacity to 60 tons per week. According to Astral’s CEO, Sanjeev Gadhia, the resumption of oil-exports by South Sudan has resulted in an increase in traffic into Juba.

Astral Aviation DC9

Astral has announced a further three new routes from its Nairobi hub into Pemba (Mozambique) and Moroni (Comoros) along with Entebbe to Juba. The Pemba route has an immense opportunity in gas-field equipment while the Moroni route will comprise of personal effects, perishables and general cargo.

Its existing routes include Mwanza, Dar-es-Salaam, Entebbe, Kigali and Mogadishu all of which remain unchanged.

New freighter schedule effective 27MAY13:
  • Juba (South Sudan): Increase in frequency from 3 to 4x weekly.
  • Moroni (Comoros): New route which will operate 1x weekly
  • Pemba (Mozambique): New route which will operate 1x weekly
  • Entebbe - Juba: New route which will operate 1x weekly
  • Mogadishu (Somalia): Change in frequency to Day 4
In September 2013, Astral will induct its first MD83 into conversion at the AEI facility in Miami which will be operational in January 2014. A further two MD83’s will be lined up for conversion in 2014 and will gradually replace the DC9s.

Astral remains optimistic on the growth of air cargo traffic on the intra-African sector as it continues its strategy to expand into new regions which are under-served and high in potential.