Monday, September 23, 2013

► ALGERIA: Tassili Airlines delays international expansion 'til 2014 as subsidies for southern flights now an option.

Algerian domestic and regional carrier, Tassili Airlines (SF), has reaffirmed its plans to launch regional charter flights, albeit only in early 2014 as opposed to the previously planned deadline of late 2013.

Tassili's New Algerian Domestic Network
Tassili's domestic operations
Quoting Karim Bahard, the director of communications at TAL, who spoke during a press Q&A session in the Saharan town of Tamanrasset, Algérie Presse Service says that the new charter flights will consist of routes to Morocco, Spain, France, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates. The airline, launched its first international flights in July this year with Bejaia - Saint Etienne and Jijel - Grenoble, France charter flights.

Meanwhile, CEO Faisal Kellil, says Tassili could benefit from a state-backed subsidy fund aimed at promoting and sustaining air services in the country's remote and difficult-to-access southern regions. The country's southern-most region, Tamanghasset, along with Adrar and Illizi, have seen their tourism sectors dry up on the back of a civil war in Mali and the January In Amenas hostage crisis which involved al-Qaeda-linked terrorists affiliated with a brigade led by Mokhtar Belmokhtar taking over 800 people hostage at the Tigantourine gas facility near In Amenas, Algeria.

Mr Kellil said that his staff had now submitted an application of the Algerian state to access funding without which, his airline would have to abandon services there.

Tassili only launched scheduled domestic operations in March of this year having previously catered to the international and domestic charter markets with particular emphasis on the petroleum sector.