Tuesday, July 31, 2012

► CONGO (BRAZZAVILLE): Check out Trans Air Congo's swanky new livery! (Pic)

Trans Air CongoPointe Noire-based regional carrier Trans Air Congo (Q8) has applied a smart new livery to its Boeing 737-200 (TN-AHI). 

Monday, July 30, 2012

►► KENYA: Qatar Airways indefinitely postpones Mombasa route launch.

Qatar Airways
[Update 14 August] Inspite of the successful launch of its new Kilimanjaro, Tanzania route last week, Qatar Airways has indefinitely postponed its new Mombasa, Kenya route.

Originally meant to start from 15 August 2012, the flight would been flown with an Airbus A320 and would have gone via Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

No official announcement from Qatar Airways has been received as to when, if ever, the route will be flown though Airline Route reports that the flight on the GDS is no longer available.

Friday, July 27, 2012

► TURKEY: Turkish Airlines announces changes to Africa Network for Winter 2012.

Turkish AirlinesTurkish carrier Turkish Airlines (TK) has announced various changes to its African network effective Q4 of 2012.

Turkish Airlines Africa Network
Turkish Airlines Africa Network

Istanbul – Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
-Effective 28 October 2012 service reduces from daily to 5x weekly using 737-900ER.
  • TK603 IST1910 – 0335+1DAR 739 x13
  • TK604 DAR0435 – 1050IST 739 x24
Istanbul – Nairobi, Kenya 

-Effective 28 October 2012 Boeing 737-800 replaces -900ER, daily service
  • TK607 IST1950 – 0325+1NBO 73H 1234567
  • TK608 NBO0445 – 1020IST 73H 1234567
Istanbul – Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt
-Effective 9 October 2012 NEW 4x weekly service to its 3rd destination in Egypt. Schedule below effective 28 October 2012.

  • TK700 IST0205 – 0440SSH 737 135
  • TK701 SSH0640 – 0925IST 737 135

Istanbul – Kigali, Rwanda – Entebbe, Uganda - Istanbul
- Effective 28 October 2012 service increases from 4x to 5x weekly using a 737-900ER
  • TK606 IST1840 – 0130+1KGL0225+1 – 0420+1EBB0520+1 – 1045+1IST 739 x27
Istanbul – Kinshasa, DRC
- Effective 27 September 2012 service increases from 4x to 5x weekly. Schedule below effective 28 October 2012.
  • TK671 IST1445 – 2115FIH 739 26
  • TK672 FIH2215 – 0630+1IST 739 26
Source [Airline Route]

■ BOTSWANA: Government fires Chinese firm Sinohydro over delays to Gaborone Airport Expansion project.

Botswana Government logoFed up with continual delays and deadline setbacks, the Botswana Government has decided to fire the primary contractor on Gaborone's Sir Seretse Khama International Airport (SSKIA) Expansion Project Phase 2, Chinese state construction firm Sinohydro, with 95% of the works completed.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

● 3 Truly amazing Aviation Videos shot in Africa.

No, not 3 dopey videos some nerd sent you on Facebook or 3 videos we mooched off of Discovery Channel's Air Crash Investigations but rather 3 truly mind blowing aviation videos we found on Youtube, all shot in Africa! (And excuse the crappy dance music in the first one - we would have preferred some Kenny G but hey, you can't have it all...)

  • The Belly of the Beast - A cam was attached to the belly of a 747 on a ferry flight from Johannesburg to Maputo, Mozambique.
  • Ilyushin IL76 (Nose Cam) Landing 4 de Fevereiro International Airport, Luanda, Angola - Ever wonder what the navigator in the nose of those enormous Ilyushin 76s sees on landing? 

  • Stowaway Wheel-well View 747 flight from Lusaka, Zambia to Nairobi, Kenya - Pretty crazy video shot from the wheel well of an MK Airlines 747 Cargo flight.
Now how awesome was that huh?

► GHANA: Africa World Airlines inks deal with Hainan Airlines; aims to launch in September.

Ghana Africa World AirlinesGhanaian startup Africa World Airlines (AWA) has entered into a joint venture with Haiku based Hainan Airlines (HU) which will see the Chinese carrier taking a controlling stake in the soon-to-be launched Low Cost Carrier, the third of its type  to launch in Ghana after Starbow Airlines, fly540 Ghana and CTK CiTylinK.

Under the deal, management for AWA will be sourced from HNA Carriers, Hainan Airlines' parent company.

Africa World Airlines (AWA) publicity
An Africa World Airlines (AWA) advertisement.
Other shareholders in the joint venture in addition to Hainan Airlines will be the China-Africa Development Fund, Ghana SAS Financial Group and Ghana Social Security and National Insurance Trust of Ghana.
"The Chinese carrier said that “big market demand for air transport industry in Ghana and other parts of West Africa triggered by the backwardness of ground traffic” is the main reason it decided to launch AWA. But industry analysts also pointed out that “instability of political situation and harsh natural environment in Africa” would present some challenges for the successful operation of the new Joint Venture."

Founded by Ghana's Togbe Afede XIV, a king from eastern Ghana's Asogli state, Africa World Airlines aims to launch in September with two Embraer ERJ145LR aircraft from Tianjin Airlines, with its initial route network set to focus on its Accra, Ghana hub and domestic destinations, before expanding into the region, pending regulatory approval.  Should it be feasible, AWA's international expansion would only likely occur after five years, a sufficiently long-term date to quell any immediate concerns about 'over-reaching' - a major mistake that has been the undoing of many African carriers in the past, mostly due to its allure and prestige.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

■ KENYA: Kenya Airways releases its Operations Report for Q1 FY2012.

Kenya Airways
Kenya Airways (KQ) today released its Operations Report for the First Quarter of its 2012 Financial Year. For the layman, it is essentially a run down of how many seats are being offered on a particular route i.e capacity, and how well their product (i.e seats) are selling.

► NIGERIA: Turkish Airlines applies for Abuja & Kano; considers Enugu.

Turkish AirlinesTurkish Airlines (TK) has reportedly applied for clearance to the Nigerian Government for permission to start flights between Istanbul and Abuja, Kano and possibly Enugu according to news reports out of Nigeria.

Should the routes be granted, they would be Turkish Airlines' second, third and fourth destinations in Nigeria after Lagos, which they have served since 2006.

Chief Executive Officer and President of Turkish Airlines, Dr. Temel Kotil had this to say:
With its huge resources, Africa is the place to go. We want to expand our business in that continent.  With her huge population and resources, we want to increase our flights to Nigeria.  We want to fly into Abuja, Kano and Enugu.

Turkish Airlines Africa Network
Turkish Airlines Africa Network
Turkish Airlines has seen its African Market share rise to 3% in the last 10 years with an aggressive push into various markets, the most adventurous of which has been its service to Mogadishu, Somalia which started this year.

Currently, it serves 21 destinations, the latest being Kinshasa whose service will begin in August. Rumours are afoot that  Conakry (Guinea), Freetown (Sierra Leone) and  Douala (Cameroon) are also inline to be added, however, no official confirmation from Turkish Airlines could be obtained.

► ETHIOPIA: Plans afoot for new Addis Ababa Airport as Ethiopian outlines new routes and plans.

When upgrades to Addis Ababa's Bole International Airport were started in 1999 and completed in 2003 with the addition of a brand new terminal as well as a new runway, taxiway and various other structures, it was assumed that the Airport would only reach its maximum carrying-capacity in 2017 and that there would be more than enough time to plan for any future developments, should they be necessary.

Bole International Airport, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Overview of Bole Airport (RaimondStehman)
Well, it seems they will indeed be necessary and very soon, as reports from Ethiopia show that beating all expectations, by 2010, Bole had already hit its planned maximum projected capacity (which had been increased 12-fold to handle six to seven million passengers annually from its prior capacity of 500,000 passengers) thus forcing the Ethiopian Airports Enterprise (EAE) to either consider expanding Bole again,  or to build a brand new airport from scratch.

It appears they will do both.

Location for new Addis Airport
The possible location for the new airport.
Currently, Bole sees over 110 aircraft movements per day, but with statistics showing that passenger arrivals have been steadily growing at 20% per annum, the EAE has also considered the option of building a brand new airport outside the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa between the towns of Modjo and Meki towns on the Hawassa road; a road that will soon become an expressway.

On what would then become of Bole Airport following the new airport's completion:
"The official said the Addis Ababa Bole International Airport will be used for regional flights, VIP flights and for those who are involved in general aviation services (private airlines who provide none scheduled flights). The new airport would focus primarily on accommodating long haul international flights."

Ethiopian Airlines Routes
Ethiopians' World Network (Ethiopian)
The greatest beneficiary to all this development will obviously be Ethiopian Airlines whose own future growth plans are dependent on an efficient airport operation at Addis Ababa. With the first of their 10 Boeing 787 Dreamliners set to be delivered in August and with another Boeing 777-200LR recently ordered, the airline is gearing itself up for an aggressive international expansion which will see the following new destinations and developments:
In the long term, Ethiopian CEO Tewolde Gebremariam stated that Ethiopian will put very "heavy emphasis" on the BRICS nations - particularly Brazil, China and India - and believes these countries will drive the "huge growth" critical to Ethiopian Airlines' Vision 2025 objectives of  flying 11 million and 1.5 million international and domestic passengers annually and generating USD$7billion in annual revenue.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

► SOUTH AFRICA: SAA boosts flights to Sao Paulo, Mumbai, Nairobi from October; capacity to Mauritius from December.

SAA logoSouth African Airways (SA) will, with effect from October 2012 (September in Nairobi's case), be introducing added flights to its Johannesburg - Sao Paulo, Brazil,  Johannesburg - Mumbai, India and Johannesburg - Nairobi, Kenya services with Johannesburg - Mauritius likely to see an increase in aircraft capacity closer to the festive season in December.

► EGYPT: Egyptair announces operational changes to Johannesburg, London and Mumbai routes.

Egyptair (MS) has announced operational changes to its Cairo - Johannesburg, South Africa, Cairo - London Heathrow and Cairo - Mumbai routes.

Egyptair Boeing 777
An Egyptair Boeing 777-300ER.

Egyptair: Cairo, Egypt - Johannesburg, South Africa
- Effective October to November 2012, Egyptair is to use its Airbus A330-300. The A330-300 is to operate from 6 October 2012 to 20 October 2012, and from 28October 2012 until 16November 2012 (JNB departs next day).
- From 28 October 2012 onwards, Johannesburg will have a 5x weekly service instead of the previously planned daily flight. The following schedule is effective from 6 October 2012 to 20 October 2012.
  • MS839 CAI2300 – 0705+1JNB 333 D
  • MS840 JNB2145 – 0540+1CAI 333 D

Egyptair: Cairo, Egypt - London Heathrow, United Kingdom
- Starting 15 November 2012, Egyptair is to reduce its existing daily Boeing 777-300ER and 4x weekly A330-300 flights to a 11x weekly A330-300 service.
  • MS777 CAI0920 – 1235LHR 333 5
  • MS777 CAI0945 – 1305LHR 77W 5
  • MS779 CAI1700 – 2020LHR 333 4
  • MS779 CAI1740 – 2100LHR 333 67
  • MS779 CAI1745 – 2105LHR 333 5
  • MS778 LHR1355 – 2040CAI 333 1
  • MS778 LHR1400 – 2045CAI 333 15
  • MS778 LHR1730 – 0015+1CAI 333 5
  • MS780 LHR2230 – 0515+1CAI 333 123

Egyptair: Cairo, Egypt - Mumbai, India
- Valid from 9 July 2012 until 27 October 2012, Egyptair has cut flights to Mumbai from 4x weekly previously, to 3x weekly.
  • MS968 CAI2315 – 0840+1BOM 738 136
  • MS969 BOM0940 – 1210CAI 738 247

► MAURITIUS: Air Mauritius wants either 787s or A350s for fleet renewal; announces further Africa route changes.

Air Mauritius
Mauritian national carrier Air Mauritius (MK) has gone on record as saying it is considering finding a suitable strategic partner in the form of a larger airline "to help it" in its fleet rejuvenation plans, something akin to Air Seychelles' (HM) deal with Abu Dhabi based Etihad Airways (EY) which has already seen the struggling Seychellois carrier receiving its first A330 as part of its turnaround efforts.

Air Mauritius boss Andre Viljoen said the objective was for Air Mauritius to be rid of its A340s by 2017 at the latest, and for them to be replaced by either Boeing 787 Dreamliners or Airbus A350s.
A strategic partner may assist with our own required future fleet requirements,” he said in the presentation, adding that new twin-jet planes will be a “game-changer,” offering a saving of as much as 30 percent over the four-engine A340s."
For the recent financial year, Air Mauritius posted a €30million loss compared with a €6.3million profit a year earlier, with operating expenses rising 14 percent. Viljoen was adamant though that in order for Air Mauritius to achieve its most important short term goal of returning to profitability in 2013/2014, it would have to undergo some much needed belt tightening in the form of route cancellations and modifications amongst which Durban, South Africa.will be dropped effective October 2012.

In the meantime, Air Mauritius has announced various operational changes to its African routes effective 28 October 2012 (European Winter) 2012).

Air Mauritius' Africa Network.


● Air Mauritius Africa Operational Changes Winter 2012 ●

-Effective 28 October 2012
-Additional changes remain possible:

Mauritius – Antananarivo, Madagascar
- Service increases from 4 to 5 weekly, with operational aircraft changes. Previously the airline planned to operate 6 weekly flights
- Service until 27October 2012 operates 4x weekly with an Airbus A340-300
  • MK288 MRU1430 – 1510TNR 343 247
  • MK288 MRU1430 – 1525TNR 319 35
  • MK289 TNR1655 – 1940MRU 343 247
  • MK289 TNR1655 – 1940MRU 319 35
Mauritius – Cape Town, South Africa 
- Planned service increase from 2x to 3x weekly remains unchanged
  • MK843 MRU0900 – 1305CPT 319 246
  • MK844 CPT1355 – 2110MRU 319 246
Mauritius – Johannesburg, South Africa
- Service increases from 5x to 10x weekly. Previously the airline planned to increase flights to 14x weekly.
  • SA851 MRU0915 – 1150JNB 343 246
  • SA851 MRU0915 – 1150JNB 319 x246
  • SA847 MRU2040 – 2315JNB 319 246
  • SA848 JNB0005 – 0605MRU 319 357
  • SA852 JNB1335 – 1935MRU 343 246
  • SA852 JNB1335 – 1935MRU 319 x246
Mauritius – Durban, South Africa 
- Service ceases from 28 October 2012.

Mauritius – Nairobi, Kenya
- Planned service increase from 2 weekly to 3 weekly remains unchanged
  • MK534 MRU0855 – 1215NBO 319 246
  • MK535 NBO1305 – 1820MRU 319 246

Monday, July 23, 2012

► CONGO (BRAZZAVILLE): New regional carrier Air CEMAC eyes a January 2013 launch date.

Air CEMACFollowing a recent meeting of Civil Aviation Ministers of the Economic and Monetary Community of African States (CEMAC) consisting of Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Congo (Brazzaville), Gabon, Equatorial Guinea and Chad, a decision was reached in which Air France was chosen as the airline's new strategic and financial partner replacing South African Airways (which was terminated in February owing to "deep differences of opinion") who themselves had replaced Royal Air Maroc and Brussels Airlines.

► SOMALIA: Government 'planning' to restart Somali Airlines.

Somali Airlines
The Somali Government on Saturday outlined possible plans to resurrect defunct Somali national carrier Somali Airlines (HH), more than 20 years after it collapsed.  Since then, the vacuum left has been filled by  several private airlines, amongst which are Jubba Airways, Daallo Airlines and Puntair.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

► ZIMBABWE: Air Zimbabwe Operations & General Aviation Update.

Over the last 3 weeks or so, we have been in Zimbabwe for business and had the chance to pay Air Zimbabwe and the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) a visit to try and try get some updates on the status of Air Zimbabwe (UM) as well as other general info. After all, the interwebs has been filled with vast amounts of speculation and conflicting reports on Air Zimbabwe's status and murky dealings all of which make it very difficult to get an accurate picture of what is really going on there.

This is what we were told by our sources:
  • Air Zimbabwe is still flying domestically, albeit using its aging Boeing 737-200Adv fleet to service Harare - Victoria Falls and Harare - Bulawayo. According to our sources, loads have picked up (which is no surprise seeing as there is no other competition on the routes). Harare - Vic Falls costs USD$400 return (lol).

Air Zimbabwe 737 at Harare
An AirZim 737 awaiting its flight to Bulawayo (24 June 2012)
  • Air Zimbabwe has indeed received a second A320 as previously reported by us. The two aircraft are now awaiting CAAZ registration before entering service, though where to, is still unknown. Also, the mysterious deal for two Airbus A340-500s that never was, came up quite often. Seems the deal is somehow "still in the offing" (make of that what you will, but we will believe it when we see it) though how much of that is truth and how much is pure BS is anyone's guess.
Unknown BAe146s at Harare
Two unknown BAe146s laid up at HRE (possibly Air Zim's)
So there you have it folks. Make of it what you all will, but bear in mind that what a pencil pushing bureaucrat says and what actually happens are usually two completely different things.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

► TANZANIA: Qatar Airways announces Kilimanjaro route changes.

Qatar Airways
Qatari carrier Qatar Airways (QR) has announced routing changes to its Doha, Qatar - Kilimanjaro, Tanzania flights. The Airbus A320 operated flights will now go via Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, thereby replacing the previously announced Nairobi, Kenya stop effective 25 July 2012.

QR has not been granted fifth freedom rights on the Dar es Salaam – Kilimanjaro sector.

Qatar Airways A320
Qatar Airways A320
Qatar Airways: Doha, Qatar - Dar es Salaam, Tanzania - Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
-Effective 25 July 2012

  • QR546 DOH0220 – 0805DAR0905 – 1005JRO 320 x246
  • QR544 DOH0735 – 1320DAR1420 – 1520JRO 320 x246
  • QR547 JRO1105 – 1205DAR1305 – 1845DOH 320 x246
  • QR545 JRO1620 – 1720DAR1820 – 2345DOH 320 x246

In 2011, Qatar Airways signed an interline deal with Tanzanian carrier Precision Air Tanzania (PW) which will give passengers seamless travel options to popular holiday destinations in Tanzania and the sub region such as the Comoros Islands in the Indian Ocean, renowned for its picture-postcard beaches and beautiful landscapes, as well as the exotic island of Zanzibar.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

► NIGERIA: Arik Air announces Winter changes to New York; suffers two incidents in 3 hours.

Arik AirNigerian carrier Arik Air (W3) has announced changes to its Winter 2012 Lagos, Nigeria - New York route effective 29 October 2012. The route is presently served with an Airbus A340-500 wet leased from HiFly Air Transport.

Monday, July 16, 2012

► ETHIOPIA: Ethiopian Airlines set to receive first 787 in early August.

After incessant production line delays continuously pushed back its slated date of entry by 3 years, Ethiopian Airlines (ET) has officially announced that it will take delivery of its first Boeing 787 Dreamliner in "early August" though when exactly, is not yet known. Presently, its first Dreamliner (ET-AOQ/ MSN 34745) is said to have completed its initial flight worthiness tests and has already entered the paint shop.

Ethiopian has an order for 10 Dreamliners and is the first African airline to receive the aircraft.

Ethiopian Airlines Dreamliner 787 (ET-AOQ)
Ethiopian's first 787 (ET-AOQ) in Seattle (Puget Sound)

"Ethiopian is pleased to announce that its Boeing 787 Dreamliner is in the final stages of preparation for delivery in August 2012. The first Ethiopian Dreamliner left the Boeing assembly plant in Seattle, Washington and headed to San Antonio, Texas on Thursday, July 12, 2012 to be painted in Ethiopian livery.
The Ethiopian Dreamliner, having conducted its first test flight on Monday, July 9, 2012, will stay in San Antonio for 12 days. After being painted with Ethiopian logo, the Dreamliner will fly back to Seattle where Ethiopian will take delivery in early August.
Ethiopian is proud to be the first in Africa to fly this much awaited, state-of-the-art aircraft, and is pleased to offer its passengers the ultimate travel experience on board this aircraft"

Read More Here [Ethiopian Airlines]

Ethiopian has scheduled Johannesburg and Dubai to start 787 services effective 1 August 2012, Guangzhou from 16 August 2012, and Harare and Lusaka from 28 October 2012.

Friday, July 13, 2012

► MAURITANIA: Harbin Y12 crashes on take off; 7 dead.

A Chinese built Harbin Y12 turboprop aircraft chartered by Canadian Mining firm Kinross Gold Corporation yesterday crashed shortly after take off from Nouakchott's International Airport yesterday enroute to Tasiast, 300 kilometres north of the capital of Nouakchott.

Tasiast is the location of one of Kinross' open pit gold mines.

Tasiast Mine
Tasiast, Mauritania
""The plane crashed inside the Nouakchott airport perimeter just after taking off," said Colonel Teyib ould Brahim, a spokesman for Mauritania's armed forces. Witnesses said the plane caught fire before crashing but the cause was not clear."
Read More Here [Reuters]

In a statement on its website, Kinross Gold confirmed that "seven people were killed in the crash, including two pilots, two Mauritanian customs officials, and three contract security personnel though no Kinross personnel were on board." The seven were to go to Tasiast to collect refined gold.

The Mauritanian Air Force is reported to have operated two of the type, another of which crashed in 1996.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

► ITALY: Alitalia announces operational changes to Africa network.

AlitaliaItalian carrier Alitalia (AZ) has announced operational changes to its Africa network, effective Summer (Europe) 2012.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

► NIGERIA: British Airways considers Port Harcourt - Heathrow route.

British Airways
British Airways (BA) has reportedly shown interest in starting up a possible London Heathrow - Port Harcourt, Nigeria daily flight to add to its current Nigerian network of Lagos and Abuja. Previously Kano was also served.

The initiative was revealed by BA's CEO Keith Williams during a briefing with the Nigerian media. where by he touched upon the importance of the Nigerian market to British Airways though it appears nothing was mentioned about the airline's often strained relationship with the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) which has often held witch hunts amongst foreign carriers, accusing them of overcharging Nigerian passengers on the lucrative Nigeria - Europe routes.
Port Harcourt apron
Port Harcourt Airport's apron (KVW)
"“Nigeria clearly is a huge market for BA, having served there for 75 years. BA has a commitment to Lagos and Abuja to serve them better and would also include more routes so as to satisfy more customers,” he said.
The CEO also described Lagos and Abuja as two very important routes for British Airways, adding that Port Harcourt is a destination BA would be considering as a result of the city’s current big business area status."

At present, Port Harcourt sees international service from only Air France and Lufthansa though with its growing economic prominence, and in particular its petroleum industry, this could change quite soon.

► GERMANY: Lufthansa announces Africa schedule changes for European Winter.

German carrier Lufthansa (LH) has announced various operational and frequency changes to its Africa network for the duration of the European winter of 2012/2013.

Lufthansa's Africa Routes
Lufthansa's Africa Network

● Lufthansa Winter Africa Timetable ●

  • Frankfurt – Johannesburg, South Africa: 08 January 2013 – 30 January 2013 - Service reduces from daily to 6x weekly.
  • Frankfurt – Khartoum, Sudan – Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: Service to operate 6x weekly instead of planned daily.
  • Frankfurt – Lagos, Nigeria – Port Harcourt, Nigeria: 16 January 2013 – 06 February 2013 Service reduces from daily to 6x weekly.

Previously reported:

Monday, July 9, 2012

► UNITED KINGDOM: British Airways announces changes to Africa network from October onwards.

British Airways
British Airways (BA) has announced various changes to its African timetable effective 28 October 2012 some of which have been previously reported on here at The African Aviation Tribune.

British Airways' Africa Routes
British Airways' Africa Network

● British Airways Africa Timetable ●

-Effective 28 October 2012
-Additional changes remain possible

  • London Heathrow – Accra, Ghana: First Class service on 777-200ER is only available on Thursdays and Fridays in W12 
  • London Heathrow – Agadir, Morocco: 2x weekly service operated by BA, operating on weekends. This replaces existing BMI operation on Day 26 
  • London Gatwick – Algiers, Algeria: Service reduces from daily to 5x weekly in Winter 2012 (1x Daily in W11) 
  • London Heathrow – Cairo, Egypt: (BMI) 1x Daily A321 CANCELLED (20 July 2012)
  • London Heathrow – Cairo, Egypt: Boeing 747-400 replacing 777-200ER from 01 October 2012 
  • London Heathrow – Cape Town, South Africa: BA042 from CPT shifts from morning hours departure in NW11 back to evening departure in NW12
               -BA043 LHR1735 – 0700+1CPT 744 1234567
               -BA059 LHR1930 – 0855+1CPT 744 1234567
               -BA058 CPT2050 – 0625+1LHR 744 1234567
               -BA042 CPT2220 – 0800+1LHR 744 1234567
  • London Heathrow – Casablanca, Morocco: Service operates 4x weekly in W12 with BMI Airbus A319 aircraft, same as W11 CANCELLED (20 July 2012)
  • London Heathrow – Entebbe, Uganda: Revised operational day to Day 247 from LHR, Day 135 from EBB 
  • London Heathrow – Freetown, Sierra Leone:  2x weekly Boeing 767, replacing 3x weekly A330-200 bmi operation: 
             - BA137 LHR2230 – 0525+1FNA 767 36
             - BA136 FNA1100 – 1730LHR 767 47
  • London Heathrow – Johannesburg, South Africa: Service to continue to operate at 14x weekly. Planned 17x weekly service increase cancelled 
  • London Heathrow – Khartoum, Sudan via Beirut: (BMI) 3x weekly A321 
  • London Heathrow – Lusaka, Zambia: Operational day changes from Day 357 to Day 257 (LUN departs next day) 
  • London Heathrow – Luanda, Angola: Service continues to operate with 4-class Boeing 777-200ER twice a week. Previously 1 of 2x weekly to be operated with 3-class aircraft 
  • London Heathrow – Marrakech, Morroco: (BMI) operation reduces from 5x to 3x weekly 
  • London Gatwick – Marrakech, Morocco: Service increases from 3x weekly to daily
Read More Here [Airline Route]

►► BELGIUM: Brussels Airlines announces Africa schedule changes from October onwards.

Brussels AirlinesBelgian carrier Brussels Airlines (SN) has announced sweeping changes to its African network effective 1 October 2012.

Brussels Airlines' Africa Network.
Brussels Airlines' Africa Route Network.

● Brussels Airlines Africa Timetable ●

►Destination Summary: 

Airbus A330-200 replaces -300 on service to Abidjan (1 weekly only), Bamako, Lome, Ouagadougou from 1 October 2012.

  • Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire: Reduces from daily to 6x weekly with some operational routing change 
  • Banjul, Gambia: Reduces from 4x to 3x weekly from 01 February 2013 
  • Conakry, Guinea: Service remains 2x weekly 
  • Cotonou, Benin: Service remains 2x weekly 
  • Dakar, Senegal: Service remains 4x weekly 
  • Douala, Cameroon: Service remains 5x weekly 
  • Freetown, Sierra Leone: Reduces from 2x to 1x weekly from 01 February 2013 with A330-200 (A330-300 also operates from 01 October 2012 to 31 January 2013) 
  • Kinshasa, DRC: Service reduces from daily to 5x weekly 
  • Lome, Togo: Service operates via Ouagadougou in each direction, replacing BRU ABJ LFW BRU 
  • Monrovia, Liberia: Service remains 3x weekly 
  • Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso: Service operates nonstop in each direction, extending to Lome. This replaces BRU-BKO-OUA-BRU.
  • Yaounde, Cameroon: Service reduces from 5x to 4x weekly, via Douala.
  • Bujumbura, Burundi: Service reduces from 3x to 2x weekly
  • Entebbe, Uganda: Service reduces from 4x weekly in NS12 to 3x weekly in NW12
  • Kigali, Rwanda: Service reduces from 5 weekly in NS12 to 3 weekly in NW12 (routing via Nairobi cancelled)
  • Mombasa, Kenya: NEW 1x weekly service [CANCELLED]
  • Nairobi, Kenya: Service reduces from 4x to 3x weekly; 1 weekly service operates via Mombasa, 2 via Bujumbura (Routing via Kigali is cancelled)


►Schedules of New Routing (effective 28 October 2012):

Brussels – Bamako – Abidjan
-A330-300 replaces -200 from 17 December 2012 to 03 January 2013
-Local Traffic rights currently available for Bamako – Abidjan sector
  • SN281 BRU1125 – 1635BKO1725 – 1905ABJ 332 1
  • SN282 ABJ2015 – 2155BKO2255 – 0540+1BRU 332 1

Brussels – Banjul – Conakry – Brussels
-A330-300 replaces -200 from 14 November 2012 to 30 January 2013
  • SN215 BRU1325 – 1835BJL1950 – 2055CKY2215 – 0540+1BRU 332 3
Brussels – Ouagadougou – Lome
-A330-300 replaces -200 from 10 November 2012 to 02 February 2013
-No Local Traffic Rights on Ouagadougou – Lome sector
  • SN261 BRU1200 – 1650OUA1740 – 1910LFW 330 26
  • SN262 LFW2020 – 2150OUA2250 – 0530+1BRU 330 26

Brussels – Abidjan – Cotonou – Brussels
  • SN229 BRU1405 – 1945ABJ2055 – 2315COO0025+1 – 0655+1BRU 333 2 
Brussels – Mombasa – Nairobi – Brussels [CANCELLED]
NEW 1x weekly service to Mombasa
  • SN477 BRU1030 – 2110MBA2210 – 2310NBO0025+1 – 0710+1BRU 332 5
Brussels – Bujumbura – Nairobi – Brussels
2x weekly service
  • SN453 BRU1030 – 1955BJM2055 – 2325NBO0025+1 – 0710+1BRU 332 37
Brussels – Kigali – Entebbe – Brussels
-3x weekly flights
-Service to Kigali reduces from 5x to 3x weekly, Entebbe from 4x to 3x weekly.
  • SN465 BRU1030 – 1940KGL2055 – 2245EBB2350 – 0620+1BRU 332 246

►Operational routing summary:

  • Brussels – Abidjan – Monrovia – Brussels SN247 1x weekly service unchanged 
  • Brussels – Conakry – Banjul – Brussels SN217 1x of 2x weekly service operates as SN215 in opposite direction 
  • Brussels – Cotonou – Abidjan – Brussels SN231 1 of 2 xweekly service operates as SN229 in opposite direction 
  • Brussels – Freetown – Banjul – Brussels SN219 Service reduces from 2x to 1x weekly from  01 February 2013 
  • Brussels – Monrovia – Abidjan – Brussels SN245 2x weekly service unchanged 
  • Brussels – Douala – Kinshasa SN351/352 Day 5 southbound service, Day 6 northbound does not operate from 08 December 2012 to 10 January 2013 (However BRU-DLA sector will operate as SN371/372) 
  • Brussels – Luanda – Kinshasa – Brussels SN359 on Day 7 operates with A330-200 instead of -300 from 16 December 2012 to 06 January 2013.

► MALI: Air France announces changes to Bamako service.

Air France logoAir France has announced changes to its daily Paris - Bamako, Mali service effective from 1 August 2012 until 27 October 2012 as the Malian capital Bamako prepares to open its newly refurbished Sénou International Airport.

During this time, the route Bamako - Paris CDG outbound leg will operate with a technical stop in Casablanca, Morocco.

Bamako International Airport
Bamako Senou International Airport, Mali
Air France: Paris CDG, France - Bamako, Mali
-Effective between 1 August 2012 until 27 October 2012
  • AF3096 CDG1410 – 1750BKO A332 1234567
  • AF3093 BKO2020 – 0035+1CMN0135+1 – 0530+1CDG A332 1234567
Read More Here [Airline Route]

Sénou International Airport has been undergoing various improvements and renovations over the last few years, with the present set of upgrades costing USD$190million and financed by the US government, the World Bank and other donors, expected to be ready for use by late September.

► MALAWI: Swift Air grounded by courts as Government mulls Air Malawi's future following huge losses.

SwiftairPrivately owned Malawian airline Swift Air has been grounded by the Malawian courts and had its property in Lilongwe attached over outstanding rental fees and monies owed to Air Malawi, the Airport Development Limited (ADL), and various independent travel agents.

Reports claim that employees at the family run company had not reported for work since May and that the airline's headquarters in Lilongwe had subsequently remained shut. Despite all this it is alleged, the airline still remained operative, albeit by proxy i.e using other carriers to ferry passengers under their trade name.
"An employee who held a senior position at the company but spoke on strict condition of anonymity told Zodiak that the CEO left two months ago amid pressure from the debtors.
“When all our planes were suspended two months ago due to financial challenges, the owner decided to continue selling tickets and in turn use Air Malawi to fly the customers,” said the employee adding; “The debt with Air Malawi rose to millions and she decided again to use independent travel agents to book our customers on air Malawi flights but she has failed to pay them too.”"

Prior to its grounding Swift Air operated domestically between Lilongwe, Blantyre, Mzuzu, Karonga with a single regional flight operated to Johannesburg, South Africa whilst their fleet consisted of a South African leased McDonnell Douglas DC-9 (ZS-GAU?), an Embraer 120 (9J-RYL) and a Beechcraft 1900D. All of have either been returned to their respective owners or grounded as a result of the financial crisis at Swift Air.

Swift Air DC9 at Lilongwe
Swift Air Malawi's lone DC9 at Lilongwe (SwiftAir)

Founded in January 2011, the airline was seen as a viable alternative to the unreliable parastatal Air Malawi, whose own future has been called into doubt over heavy continuous annual losses, which for the year 2011, amounted to MWK1.1billion.  The losses have been attributed to Air Malawi's continued use of leased aircraft for operations; a reliable if very expensive way to operate.

In addition, new president Joyce Banda's financial reforms have seen the Malawian currency, the Kwacha, lose 33% of its value overall after a devaluation was effected in order to help resuscitate the then ailing Malawian economy. The loss in value of the currency means the airline has had to deal with declining hard currency revenues locally to meet its foreign debts.

"With devaluation, our traffic has gone down as less and less people are able to travel," said Air Malawi's Director of Marketing Tony Chimpukuso Wednesday.
"And we are still waiting for the new government to state their position on Air Malawi. The previous government was not interested in us. They just wanted us to close down," h e said.
Chimpukuso said lack of equipment, costs incurred to put passengers on other airlines during breakdowns and last year's 10 percent devaluation of the kwacha contributed significantly to the losses at the airline.
The Malawi Institution of Engineers (MIE) recently called on government to make a concrete stand on Air Malawi if the country's air transport sector is to be revamped.

However all is not lost for the Malawian national carrier as it seems their cargo department at London Heathrow is slowly but surely regaining its market share after years of neglect. New capable staff have been hired in attempt to woe back lost business.
"Air Malawi which in the recent years had been dogged with a surmount of difficulty in its operations seems to be crawling back to serious business with a full force as it has just revamped its cargo services department at its offices at Heathrow Airport, London in the United Kingdom (UK) with a an improved service delivery."

So, whilst a market for sending home goods from abroad does most certainly exist, all that needs to be done is to organize an efficient and well run organization to do it.

Easier said than done in Africa sadly...

Sunday, July 8, 2012

► ZIMBABWE: 1Time to start Joburg to Harare and Vic Falls?

1TimeThe aviation rumour-mill here in Zimbabwe is awash with word that South African LCC 1Time (T6) has just completed a trial Johannesburg - Harare, Zimbabwe flight and will shortly commence service, though no official confirmation has yet been given by either 1Time or the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ).

1Time Route
1Time's Route Network.
In the recent past, Kulula, 1Time and the now-defunct LCC VelvetSky had battled to no avail, enormous red tape and CAAZ protective measures to acquire rights to service the very lucrative routes of Johannesburg - Harare, and Johannesburg - Victoria Falls where the average price for a return ticket from Harare to Joburg can cost anywhere from USD$440 to USD$600 using either South African Airways or BA Comair.

Until now these routes have been dominated by South African Airways, BA Comair and even Air Zimbabwe though with Air Zimbabwe facing possible liquidation, it seems likely that the Zimbabwean authorities would want to free up the route seeing as the only competitors on it, are now exclusively South African.
As mentioned above, 1Time is also looking at starting a service to Victoria Falls which, in theory, it does already serve, albeit on the Zambian side of the Falls - Livingstone.

Watch This Space.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

► CHAD: Toumaï Air Tchad grounded by authorities after IATA audit finds serious safety shortcomings.

Toumaï Air TchadChadian state carrier Toumaï Air Tchad (9D), along with two other unspecified airlines, have been grounded indefinitely by Chadian authorities in Ndjamena following a damning safety audit of the airlines by IATA, which uncovered serious safety shortcomings.

► SEYCHELLES: Air Seychelles receives first A330 (Pics).

Air SeychellesSeychellois carrier, Air Seychelles (HM), on Thursday received the first of its ex Jet Airways Airbus A330-200s. Touching down in Mahe after a flight from Abu Dhabi and piloted by an exclusively Seychellois crew, Aldabra, as the aeroplane has been christened, features the latest in on-board comfort with flat beds in business class and individual entertainment systems for every seat in economy class.