Thursday, June 7, 2012

► TANZANIA: Precision Air to restart Arusha from July; postpones Lubumbashi & Lusaka.

Precision Air With renovations to the runway at Arusha's International Airport nearing completion, Tanzanian private carrier Precision Air (PW) has announced the resumption of daily flights to Arusha with effect from July 10. For the duration of the renovation works, passengers have had to use Kilimanjaro International Airport - 50 km away. 

► MADAGASCAR: Air Madagascar announces Asia operational changes for Summer.

Air Madagascar
Air Madagascar (MD) has announced that it will introduce its Airbus A340-300 on its Asian routes for the duration of 5 July to 27 October 2012. Presently, the airline operates a Boeing 767-300ER on its Antananarivo – Bangkok – Guangzhou and Antananarivo – Bangkok routes.

Air Madagascar
Air Madagascar's A340 "F-GLZL" (Didairbus)
Antananarivo – Bangkok – Guangzhou
  • MD010 TNR1625 – 0540+1BKK0720+1 – 1110+1CAN 343 15
  • MD011 CAN1355 – 1555BKK1730 – 2205TNR 343 26
  • MD012 TNR1850 – 0805+1BKK 343 3
  • MD013 BKK2315 – 0350+1TNR 343 4

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

► MOROCCO: Lufthansa starts Berlin & Dusseldorf to Marrakech from November.

German carrier Lufthansa (LH) has announced Berlin Tegel to Marrakech, Morocco and Düsseldorf to Marrakech both of which will start from 3 November 2012.

The flights are both once weekly, and will be served with an Airbus A320.

Lufthansa A320
A Lufthansa Airbus A320 (Lasse Fuss)

Dusseldorf – Marrakech effective 3 November 2012
  • LH3476 DUS1105 – 1350RAK 320 6
  • LH3477 RAK1450 – 1940DUS 320 6

Berlin Tegel – Marrakech effective 3 November 2012
  • LH3478 TXL2105 – 0020+1RAK 320 6
  • LH3479 RAK0205 – 0715TXL 320 6
Note that from 17 March 2013, Berlin Brandenburg Airport will come on line.

Read More Here [Airline Route]

► BURKINA FASO: Air Burkina signs code-share with Air France.

Air BurkinaAir Burkina (2J), the Burkinabe regional airline, is to extend its coverage to include France, with the recent signing of a code sharing agreement with Air France.

Effective 1 June, Air France has been allocating Air Burkina an unspecified number of seats on Air France's daily flight between Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Ouagadougou that is operated by either an Airbus A330 or A340.

Air Burkina map
Air Burkina's Route Map
"Dominique Patry, Vice President International Affairs and Alliances Air France, stated “this partnership agreement fits into a long-term cooperation perspective. It offers an additional illustration of Air France’s strategy in Africa, aiming to work with local partners. Our ultimate ambition is to offer our customers new regional destinations operated by Air Burkina”. "

Currently, Air Burkina flies to 11 cities around West Africa and will provide KLM/Air France with an important foothold into the fast growing West African aviation scene and is a development which KLM/Air France hopes to implement on other routes in West and Central Africa as well as in France and Europe.

► COTE D'IVOIRE: First pics of Air Cote d'Ivoire's A319 here!

Air Cote d'IvoireThe Ivory Coast's soon-to-be national carrier, Air Cote d'Ivoire, is set to receive its first aircraft - an Airbus A319 prior to commissioning services in July, as reported earlier by The African Aviation Tribune.

► NIGERIA: Pilot & Engineer Strike affecting Air Nigeria.

Air NigeriaAir Nigeria (VK) has come clean and admitted that a 5 day old strike by members of the Nigerian Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE) is starting to impact its domestic and regional flights, though its international operation to London Gatwick has remained unaffected.

The NAAPE strike is focussed around 4 core issues namely:
  • Delayed payment of salaries to both local and foreign staff
  • Pension deductions not remitted for over seven (7) months
  • Co-operative deductions not yet remitted
  • Tax refund and tax clearance issues

International Airport, Lagos
Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos
Air Nigeria management however, has refused to budge from its own position and in a statement has labelled the strike as "blackmail" and "uncalled for" and claimed that the union did not seek recourse in order to resolve their grievances. It also alleged that the NAAPE was in cahoots with competitors jealous of Air Nigeria's progress.
"It is very unreasonable and cheap blackmail for NAAPE to embark on strike action based on non payment of May salaries at the mid night of May 31st when infact some of the staff had collected their salaries with the rest of the staff still being processed.
It is therefore illegal and criminal for NAAPE to allow itself to be used by Competitors, who are envious of the giant steps already taken by Air Nigeria and Management is already working on a policy that will put a permanent stop to this cheap blackmail

The NAAPE has been a perpetual thorn in the side of Air Nigeria's management, as in November of last year, they again moved to strike following the sacking of Air Nigeria's Head of Maintenance Department James Erigba, because of a disagreement over an aircraft's airworthiness.

► KENYA: Kenya Airways drops Rome route effective immediately.

Kenya Airways

Kenya Airways 737
A Kenya Airways B737-700 in Rome in April (Aldo Bidini)
In March, the airline temporarily suspended the service citing low passenger loads, but then resumed it using a Boeing 737-700, a downgrade capacity-wise from its original Boeing 767-300.

► TANZANIA: Air Tanzania's boss fired; 4 others suspended.

Air TanzaniaAfter much pomp and fervour over the airline's relaunch last month, the Tanzanian Government has fired Air Tanzania's (TC) acting Managing Director, Paul Chizi, and suspended four senior officials due to "irregularities in their appointments apropos the Tanzanian Public Service Act of 2002, amongst other accusations of breach of public service laws and regulations."

► KENYA: Egyptair A320 skids on landing at Nairobi; massive delays follow.

This morning, at 03.36am local time, an Egyptair Airbus A320-200 (SU-GBG), performing flight MS 849 from Cairo to Nairobi, skidded on touchdown at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, before eventually ending up in soft mud. There were 123 passengers on-board all of whom were able to safely disembark from the stranded aircraft.
Egyptair A320 Accident
Egyptair A320 SU-GBG in the mud at Nairobi. (Buggs79)
"All passengers and crew were safely evacuated to the terminal building even as  all emergencies operations at the Airport including fire and rescue were activated immediately."

The resulting closure of Nairobi's lone runway has caused numerous delays and diversions for various airlines, most notably Kenya Airways, who have had to delay many departures as well as divert many arriving aircraft to either Mombasa, Entebbe or Dar es Salaam

► NIGERIA: Civil Aviation Boss suspended; Dana Air grounded.

NCAAThe Nigerian Government has moved to suspend the Director General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Dr. Harold Demuren, for the duration of investigations into both the Dana Air 9J-997 tragedy in Lagos on Sunday, and the Nigerian-registered Allied Air Cargo Boeing 727 crash landing in Accra, Ghana the day before. 

Together, the two crashes have claimed over 170 lives, with numbers to rise, as more bodies are discovered at the Lagos crash site.

Dana Air Crash
The Dana Air MD 83's tail being removed. (Reuters)
"“The latest Dana aircraft crash is even more tragic than the previous ones with a total casualty figure of about 190 people, including 153 passengers, six crew members and about 37 people on the ground.
“This crash is a wake-up call for all relevant authorities to rise to the challenge of ensuring that no effort is spared in making the nation’s aviation industry conform with international safety standards,” he said."

The Government has also revoked the operating licence of Dana Air until further notice.
""As soon as we have concluded the recertification of the airline, if they are capable, then their license will be reinstated," said Sam Adurogboye, a spokesman for the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority."

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

► EGYPT: Egyptair Express mulls fleet renewal before expanding into Africa.

Egyptair Express
Following on from the events of last year's Arab Spring and consequently a very difficult financially 2011 whereby the airline's profits took a 75% plunge, Egyptair (MS) has decided to reorganize its fleet and route operations by offloading several of its "thinner" African routes to its subsidiary Egyptair Express (MSE).

Egyptair Express
Egyptair Express Embraer E-170LR
Possible routes to be moved to Egyptair Express are Cairo to: Khartoum, Sudan, Asmara, Eritrea and Juba, South Sudan all which are presently served by the Boeing 737-500, whose capacity appears to have come in under Egyptair's proposed policy of maintaining only 140+ seater aircraft in its main fleet. In the interests of fleet renewal and of finding suitable aircraft for these new routes, Egyptair is considering the Embraer E-190 or Bombardier CSeries.

"It has also used Embraer aircraft to increase frequencies. Following the sharp drop in passenger numbers after the Egyptian revolution in early 2011, it moved some strategic short-haul routes to the E-170LR fleet to maintain frequencies and transferred non-strategic short-haul routes to the Brazilian aircraft to preserve market presence."
Read More Here [ATW]

Presently,  EgyptAir Express operates 12 Embraer E-170LRs to destinations in Egypt, Greece, Hungary, Lebanon, Malta and Saudi Arabia.

► SOUTH AFRICA: SAA axes Cape Town - Heathrow; boosts Accra & Mumbai.

South African Airways logoSouth African Airways (SA) will drop its iconic daily Cape Town - London Heathrow service with effect from 15 August 2012. The airline cited low yields on the route as its main cause for dropping the route. In the last 3 years, the annual number of tourists using London as a final destination or as a transitory airport has declined.

► LIBYA: Afriqiyah launches Amman flights; most 8U 771 families compensated.

AfriqiyahLibyan airline, Afriqiyah (8U), has expanded its renewed network to now include flights between both Tripoli and Benghazi, Libya and Amman, Jordan using an Airbus A320.

Monday, June 4, 2012

► MOZAMBIQUE: LAM likely to restart Maputo - Harare from October 2012.

LAM Mozambique AirlinesLinhas Aéreas de Moçambique, better known as LAM Mozambique Airlines (TM), is to tentatively re-establish twice weekly flights on Wednesday and Sunday to Harare from Maputo via Beira using its DHC-8-400, with effect from 27 October 2012, though the reports are unconfirmed as yet.
LAM Mozambique Q400 (Peter Tonna)

The airline last served Harare in the early 2000s, but then dropped the service due to the downturn in the Zimbabwean economy.

LAM Mozambique Airlines: Maputo, Mozambique - Beira, Mozambique - Harare, Zimbabwe
-Effective 27 October 2012
  • TM342 MPM 0935 - 1110 BEW 1140 - 1230 HRE DH4 | 37
  • TM343 HRE 1330 - 1420 BEW 1450 - 1625 MPM DH4 | 37
Source [Amadeus]

► CONGO (BRAZZAVILLE): EC Air to start Brazzaville - Paris.

Equatorial Airlines CongoRepublic of Congo airline Equatorial Congo Airlines (LC), or more commonly EC Air, are to start 3x weekly flights between Brazzaville and Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, using its Boeing 757-200.

► CAPE VERDE ISLANDS: TACV takes two B737-800s for fleet renewal.

TACVTransportes Aéreos de Cabo Verde, TACV, the Cape Verdian flag carrier, has taken ownership of the first of its two ILFC Boeing 737-800s (N734MA & N742MA) ordered as part of its fleet renewal program.

► ZIMBABWE: Sol Air reveals planned routes as Government discord continues.

Following on from our initial report, Zimbabwean private start up Sol Air (ZS) has now revealed its plans for upcoming routes it intends to serve using a fleet of Bombardier CRJ-900s.

Sol Air Harare
A familiar sight at Harare - empty slots. (William Whaley)
No further news on how a resurrected Air Zimbabwe has been performing on domestic routes has been made available. 

Meanwhile, at a recent conference of the African Travel Association (ATA) held in Victoria Falls, Shingi Munyeza, chief executive officer of hotel and leisure group, African Sun Limited (ASL) told international delegates that there was nothing wrong with African governments regulating domestic air services in order to protect troubled national airlines.

"You need to let in (foreign) airlines but ensure you don't destroy the local airline," Munyeza told the ATA congress. "
African governments have been burnt before where they have opened the skies," said Munyeza.
Once again, this adds to the notion of total discord between official Zimbabwean Government policy and private industry with regards to the serious development of local aviation, as just recently, Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Walter Mzembi stated:
"We are over-protecting Air Zimbabwe. We all know that government is a signatory to a declaration that promotes an open sky policy. What I wonder is why we have not been able to motivate any new airlines into our airspace?"

Politicking aside, the answer, however, is simple.

As long as Zimbabwe's government is willing to live with the prospect of subsidizing an inefficient millstone of the Air Zimbabwe sort whilst strangling any potential private carriers under the guise of the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ), then it will only have itself to blame when it finds its tourism and aviation infrastructure both undeveloped and underexploited, because after all, tourism thrives on reputation, and what good to a country is an airline reputed only for late arrivals and shoddy service?

► ETHIOPIA: Airbus pitches A330 to Ethiopian.

European aircraft manufacturers, Airbus Industrie, were recently in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, showcasing their A330 in an attempt to woo potential orders from carrier, Ethiopian Airlines (ET). This follows on from a technical presentation made last year in November.

In 1998, Ethiopian placed an order for two A340s to use on its Addis Ababa - Washington DC route, both of which were never delivered, instead being replaced by the airline's present Boeing 767-300s.
Ethiopian airbus
The Ethiopian A340 that never was. (Eric Pajaud)
"Crawford Hamilton, director of the A330 programme, told The Reporter that executives of Ethiopian were evaluating the A330 aircraft.

Hamilton said last November an Airbus technical team made a technical presentation to senior officials of Ethiopian in Addis Ababa. “The A330 is a very good long-range aircraft,” says Hamilton. “Ethiopian Airlines is one of the leading airlines in Africa. It is a reliable customer. It is self-sufficient. So we are trying to sell a very good aircraft to a very good airline.”"

Though a very loyal Boeing operator (of its 48 aircraft at present, 40 of them are Boeing), Ethiopian Airlines did place an order worth some USD$3billion for 12 Airbus A350-900 XWBs at the 2009 Dubai Airshow, for use on its "Far East and the American operations" and with further strong growth forecast in the next 20 years, the airline could be doing a lot more business with Airbus in the near future.

► EGYPT: Egyptair adds 777 to summer service to Guangzhou.

Egyptian carrier Egyptair (MS) has announced operational changes to its Cairo - Guangzhou, China route for the duration of summer 2012. Initially, the airline planned to use an Airbus A340-200 exclusively on the route, but will now employ a mixture of Boeing 777s and A340s.

Egyptair Guangzhou 777
Egyptair Boeing 777 at Guangzhou, China (MSAL)

Egyptair: Cairo, Egypt - Guangzhou, China (1 June 2012 - 27 October 2012)
MS958 CAI2325 – 1515+1CAN EQV x27
MS959 CAN0005 – 0500CAI EQV x24
  • 01JUN12 – 15JUL12 Boeing 777-200ER
  • 16JUL12 – 31AUG12 Airbus A340-200
  • 01SEP12 – 14SEP12 Boeing 777-200ER
  • 15SEP12 – 27OCT12 Boeing 777-300ER

Sunday, June 3, 2012

► NIGERIA: Dana Air MD-83 slams into building in Lagos; 153 feared dead.

Dana AirA Nigerian Dana Air (9J) McDonnell Douglas MD-83 (5N-RAM) has crashed into a building in Iju neighbourhood (more specifically: near Ayinla Bus Stop, north of the airport, Iju Ishaga road, Agege), Lagos, Nigeria whilst on approach into Murtala Muhammad International Airport, en route from Abuja. 

Dana Air MD-83 "5N-RAM" Lagos
Dana Air MD-83 "5N-RAM"
There were 153 (147 passengers and 6 crew) people on-board - all of whom are feared dead - whilst there are more casualties on the ground whose numbers are yet to be established.

Conflicting media reports state that the aircraft, whilst on approach into Lagos, initially hit power-lines, before careering through a furniture shop and then into residential buildings, before bursting into flames, though this version of events still has to be verified.

Dana Air Crash Lagos
The MD-83 down in Lagos (NigerianEye)

For More images click here.

Today's disaster comes after a Nigerian registered Allied Air Cargo Boeing 727-200 freighter (5N-BJN) yesterday (Saturday 2 June 2012) overran the runway at Accra's Kotoka International Airport and killed 12 people on the ground: 11 occupants of a Benz 207 Bus and a soldier riding a bike along the road.