Tuesday, March 5, 2013

► CONGO (KINSHASA): Air Kasaï due to take delivery of first ATR 72.

Air KasaiKinshasa-based Air Kasaï is planning to take delivery of its first, and the Democratic Republic of Congo's first, ATR72 (MSN 408 | 9Q-?) according to Skyliner.de. The delivery will mark the relaunch of the airline into the local and regional market.

Monday, March 4, 2013

► SOUTH AFRICA: Blu Crane Air looking to start PE - George, Mthatha, King William's Town if market permits.

BluCraneAir logoMarcus Van Heerden, the owner of Blu Crane Air, the Port Elizabeth based start up, says his plan for the airline is to fill "a gap in the Eastern Cape air route network," and not to compete with established carriers, though the addition of charter operations to Mozambique and Namibia in future does remain a possibility.

►► ALGERIA: Tassili Airlines to début domestic ops with Algiers - Adrar, Tamanrasset flights on 2 March.

Tassili AirlinesOn the occasion of its venture into the scheduled domestic operation scene, Algeria's Tassili Airlines (SF) has announced that its inaugural flight, with accompanying ceremony, will be held on 2 March at Algier's Houari Boumediene International Airport.

► THAILAND: Air Austral switches Chennai/Bangkok flights to night time ops from late March.

Air AustralRéunion-based carrier Air Austral (UU), from 31MAR13, is to adjust its operational schedule on its St. Denis de la Réunion – Chennai (Madras) – Bangkok service. Currently, the airline operates morning and night-time departure from St. Denis, 1 weekly each. This will be changed to a night-time departure only.

■ ETHIOPIA: Works start on new $100mln Ethiopian Airlines MRO Hangar; new Cold Storage Cargo facility to come online shortly.

Ethiopian AirlinesEthiopian Airlines' (ET) Cargo and Maintenance divisions are to take a step closer to realizing their Vision 2025 objectives in the coming weeks following the launch of construction works for a new MRO hangar facility at Bole International Airport capable of housing Boeing 777s, 787s and 747s. Also on the cards is the upcoming inauguration of a USD3.4million (ETB63million) cold storage warehouse, due for completion shortly.

► MAURITIUS: Condor to start Munich - Mombasa, Mauritius from late 2013.

CondorGerman charter carrier, Condor Flugdienst (DE), is to launch once weekly Munich - Mombasa and once weekly Munich - Mauritius flights in November and December respectively. Both destinations are currently served out of Frankfurt. 

► SOUTH AFRICA: Edelweiss Air to continue 2x weekly Cape Town ops for Winter 2013/14.

Edelweiss AirSwiss charter airline, Edelweiss Airlines (WK) is to maintain its seasonal twice weekly Zurich - Cape Town service during the Northern Winter 2013/2014 season. The Airbus A330 service operates under a code share with Swiss Airlines (LX).

► KENYA: Cargo outfit Coyne Airways expands to 30 destinations throughout Africa.

Coyne AirwaysLondon-based cargo outfit Coyne Airways (7C) has launched what it terms "customer-focused services" to over 30 destinations across Africa, routed through three of the Continent’s main hubs - Lagos, Nairobi and Johannesburg.

► MOZAMBIQUE: TAP Air Portugal outlines Maputo frequency increases for April - October.

TAP Air PortugalPortuguese carrier TAP Air Portugal (TP) has announced it will increase its Lisbon - Maputo flights effective 1 April. In addition, TAP will deploy its Airbus A330 onto the route according to demand.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

■ SOUTH AFRICA: Tough break for Denel AMG employees as just 139 out of 523 are to be retained under new SAAF deal.

DenelSouth African trade union, Solidarity, has announced that only 139 employees out of 523 will be retained on a new aircraft maintenance contract to be signed between the South African Air Force (SAAF) and defense contractor Denel Aviation/AeroManpower Group. This means that 384 employees will lose their jobs by the end of March. The union had originally pinned its hopes on 150 personnel being retained. 

■ LIBERIA: Government clarifies awarding of contract for new $11mln hotel at Roberts International Airport.

LiberiaThe Liberian Government says it has indeed awarded an USD11million contract for the construction of a 5-star hotel at Monrovia's Roberts International Airport to local tycoon, Mr. George Abi-Jaoudi, a Lebanese businessman. Liberian Minister of Transport,  Eugene Lenn Nagbe, made the statement following much speculation in the Liberian press over the nature of the award given Mr Abi-Jaoudi's relationship to the Liberian First Family.

► SOUTH AFRICA: (Pics) Antonov An-2 biplane completes epic 20'000km journey from Russia to South Africa.

ExecujetAn Antonov An-2 christened Anushka (Little Annie in Russian) (MCN 1G226-49 | RA-33390) has completed its 20'000km journey from northern Russia to South Africa, where it is to be used to carry out charitable work supporting humanitarian causes in southern Africa. Donated by Russian airline UTair (UT) with South Africa's ExecuJet set to provide the necessary support and maintenance, Anushka, a former cargo hauler, will now operate out of Lanseria Airport, Johannesburg under the "Just Love" banner.

► EGYPT: Midwest Airlines, Egypt Leisure Airlines eye Egyptair's retired 737-500 fleet for planned ops.

Egyptair's (MS) fleet of retired Boeing 737-500s have become a hot potato on the Egyptian domestic scene with two carriers, Midwest Airlines and Egypt Leisine Airlines, eyeing them for use in planned operations.

► GAMBIA: Aeolus Air set to take delivery of A320; to start weekly Dakar ops from April.

Aeolus Air logoBanjul based ACMI outfit, Aeolus Air (AAZ) is to offer a weekly scheduled Let 410 service between Banjul and the Senegalese capital, Dakar effective 7 April.

■ SENEGAL: ASECNA awarded €2.8mln contract to begin set up of Global Navigation Satellite System in Africa.

The Agency for Aerial Navigation Safety in Africa and Madagascar (L'Agence pour la Sécurité de la Navigation aérienne en Afrique et à Madagascar - ASECNA) the pan-African air navigation service provider, has been awarded a EUR2.8million contract for the implementation of Global Navigation Satellite Systems across Africa. The contracts comes under a EUR9million programme entitled "Support to the airline industry and applications of satellite services in Africa" under the joint auspices of the ACP (Africa, Caribbean and Pacific) Group of States Secretariat and the European Commission (EC).

■ GHANA: Keith Luxton appointed CEO of Starbow Airlines.

Starbow AirlinesKeith Luxton was last month appointed the CEO of Ghanaian private carrier Starbow Airlines (S9), replacing previous CEO, Dr.  Brock Friesen, who oversaw the carrier's inaugural flight in 2012.

► ETHIOPIA: Abyssinia Ballooning Co. to expand operations to Debre Zeyit, Awassa and Bahir Dar.

Abyssinia Ballooning CoAddis Ababa-based Abyssinia Ballooning, the joint venture between Netherlands based ballooning company Virgin Balloon Flights and a local Ethiopian business partner, is set to expand its market into the towns of Debre Zeyit, Awassa and Bahir Dar.

● COMOROS: Yemeni Government claims new evidence shows 2009 crash of Yemenia IY626 near Moroni may not have been an accident.

Yemenia AirwaysYemen's government has motioned to reopen investigations into the 2009 crash of Yemenia Airways flight IY626 in the Comores, claiming that new "information" has come to light, showing the crash may not have been an accident. Results are said to be due this month (March 2013).

■ CONGO (KINSHASA): New national carrier to début in June as Government moves to recertify all Congolese carriers under IATA supervision.

DRCJustin Kalunga, the Democratic Republic of Congo's Minster of Transport, says a new national airline has already been white-papered and approved by his government with a new strategic partner set to be chosen in due course. The new airline, due to take delivery of its first aircraft in June, will replace the current quasi-defunct national carrier, LAC Lignes Aériennes Congolaises (4V). The move is one of the initiatives the Congolese are undertaking to ameliorate the country's poor aviation safety record and international image.

Friday, March 1, 2013

■ TANZANIA: Fastjet to settle $2mln in debts with Tanzanian taxman, Airports Authority as deal with 1Time said to be under "reconsideration".

fastjetTanzania based fastjet (FN), has agreed to settle debts amounting to over USD2million (TAS3.14billion) owed to both the Tanzanian Revenue Authority (TRA) and the Tanzanian Airports Authority (TAA). Previously, fastjet had claimed that the debts had been incurred under predecessor Fly540's previous owner, 540 Aviation, who were therefore responsible for them.