Given the strong growth seen by private airline Air Uganda in recent months, and with tourism fast becoming a major cog in the Ugandan economic wheel, would now be the most economically opportune time for Kampala to resurrect defunct national carrier Uganda Airlines?
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Proflight Zambia (P0), the domestic Zambian carrier with aspirations to start regional services to both Harare and Lubumbashi, has welcomed efforts by the Zambian government to help remove the airline from the European Union's Banned Operators List, a move that will help the airline shake off the stigma of being 'unsafe', a label that has damaged the airline's image amongst foreign tourists in particular.
Ugandan national carrier, Air Uganda (U7), has announced an increase in flight frequencies between Kigali-Entebbe-Kigali to twice daily every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The other days will remain at once daily service according to their Facebook page. Bujumbura has moved from three flights to four times a week.
Entebbe-Mombasa-Entebbe will also see an increase in frequency to five times weekly from Tuesday to Friday and Sunday to cater for the growing demand on the route. Figures released show a substantial growth of 39% in passenger numbers on the route in the last quarter of this year, attributed to increased trade between Kenya and Uganda, with the Mombasa port being a key entry point for goods within the East Africa region.
Also in the pipeline is service to Kisumu, Kenya, which is still under consideration by the Kenyan authorities.
With the slow demise of Air Zimbabwe, a vast gap has been left in the Zimbabwean domestic market. Aside from South Africa's Solenta Aviation, and a few charter companies flying between Harare and the main tourist/safari areas (Bumi Hills, Hwange Park, Kariba and Victoria Falls) there has not been a regular large-scale service between Zimbabwe's two main cities - Harare and Bulawayo - for quite some time.
However, it was announced recently by Managing Director, Nkosilathi Sibanda, that local start up "Sol Air" has obtained an IATA code (ZS) in addition to an operating licence from the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ), awarded in February of this year.
According to it's licence mandate, Sol Air has been designated the Bulawayo-Francistown-Gaborone, Harare-Bulawayo, Bulawayo-Victoria Falls and the Harare-Masvingo-Buffalo Range routes, which Sibanda said, would likely be serviced with a leased Bombardier CRJ 900.
Claiming international financial backing to the tune of USD$3.5 million, Mr Sibanda was also quoted as saying the airline was "in talks with two companies in Dubai and South Africa to lease us three 70-seater aircrafts and the talks will be concluded with a month" (sic).
The question many people want to know is the answer to though, is will this airline survive where so many others have failed? In a market renowned for much talk and little substance, the Zimbabwean domestic airline scene is littered with the corpses of failed airlines like Zimbabwean Express Airlines, flyKumba, Vic-Falls Airways, Expedition Airways, Zambezi Airways and Mid Airlines, all of whom were unable to break the Air Zimbabwe monopoly.
Sunday, April 29, 2012
Proflight Zambia (P0), until recently, an exclusively domestic Zambian carrier, has announced plans to start Lusaka - Harare and Lusaka - Lubumbashi "sometime in June", in its first foray into the regional market that has since been left vacant by the demise of Air Zimbabwe and Zambezi Airlines, though the absolute confirmation is still dependent on completion of bureaucratic formalities.
Air Tanzania (TC), the Tanzanian national carrier, has reportedly shown interest in acquiring a Boeing 737-500 and several DHC-8-400s in what is seen as a likely first step into regional markets.
Friday, April 27, 2012
South African Airways (SA) has renewed leases for some of their B738 fleet for between 5 and 10 years, whilst considering both the 777 and 787 for future fleet renewal, for which SAA has requested nearly USD $750 million from the South African government.
► TANZANIA: Precision Air adds Lilongwe and Lubumbashi from May 2012; Harare and Lusaka from July 2012.
Tanzania's Precision Air (PW) will with effect from May 2012 expand its route network to include 4 new sub-Saharan destinations - Harare, Lusaka, Lilongwe and Lubumbashi using its B733. UPDATE: Dar es Salaam - Lubumbashi - Lusaka will commence on 18 May 2012, whilst Dar es Salaam -Lilongwe - Harare will commence on 3 July 2012.
Equatorial Congo Airlines (LC) has a new B752 bird sporting their exotic green based livery, though don't count on seeing it anywhere in Europe anytime soon, as they are unfortunately on the EU's Banned Carriers List.
At present, the only route flown is intra-national - between Brazzaville and Pointe-Noire - so hopefully the arrival of this new equipment brings hope for better things to come.
Thursday, April 26, 2012
Despite news reports that Air Zimbabwe had effectively been grounded, the airline today issued a statement that it would be providing flights between Harare and Bulawayo for the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair.
Given UM's poor track record with respect to late cancellations, delayed departures and general sloppy customer care, i would honestly be surprised if anyone actually took up this offer.
"Air Zimbabwe says it will provide flights between Harare and Bulawayo to facilitate travel during the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) this week.
The national airliner said on Wednesday a plane will depart Harare at 0700 and arrive in Bulawayo at 0745.
In the evening it will depart Bulawayo at 1800 and arrive in Harare at 1845."...