Friday, August 31, 2012

► MAURITIUS: Emirates to go 14x weekly as Air Mauritius, Air Austral & Air Madagascar band together to survive.

EmiratesBucking the ongoing trend amongst European carriers of reducing their frequencies to the Indian Ocean island, Dubai based mega-carrier, Emirates (EK), has announced an increase in its weekly frequencies from 11x weekly to 12x weekly from 28 October 2012, with the route going 14x weekly from 28 November 2012.

Emirates: Dubai, UAE - Port Louis, Mauritius
- EK3705/3706 operate Day 23456 from 28 October 2012 until 27 November 2012
  • EK701 DXB 0310 – 0940 MRU 773 | 2457
  • EK3703 DXB 0310 – 0940 MRU 773 | 136
  • EK3705 DXB 1000 – 1645 MRU 773 | 1234567
  • EK3706 MRU 1820 – 0110+1 DXB 773 | 1234567
  • EK702 MRU 2320 – 0555+1 DXB 773 | 2457
  • EK3704 MRU 2320 – 0555+1 DXB 773 | 136

► KENYA: Air Berlin to quit Mombasa from April 2013.

Air Berlin Germany's second largest airline, Air Berlin (AB) will, from 7 April, cease its twice weekly Airbus A330 flight from Munich, Germany to Mombasa, Kenya, adding yet another airline to the growing list of carriers pulling out of the Kenyan port city route, as the Eurozone crisis continues to hurt the pockets of Europeans, with African tourism experiencing a knock on effect.

Air Berlin: Munich, Germany - Mombasa, Kenya
  • AB7362 MUC 2105 - 0615+1 MBA 332 | 37 (ENDS 7 APRIL 2012)

► CONGO (BRAZZAVILLE): EC Air Congo to start Douala, Cotonou, Ollombo following last week's Paris service launch.

Equatorial Airlines CongoAs previously reported by The African Aviation Tribune, Congolese private carrier Equatorial Congo Airlines, better known as EC Air Congo (LC), last week Friday 24 August, inaugurated its first international route: a 3x weekly Brazzaville, Congo - Paris (Charles de Gaulle) service using a Boeing 757-200 leased from Switzerland's PrivatAir.

► SIERRA LEONE: Fly540 Ghana to launch Freetown, Abidjan flights from early September; Monrovia, Lagos to follow.

Fly540 GhanaAccording to Amadeus, Fly540 Ghana (5G) is to venture further into the regional field when it launches flights from its Accra, Ghana hub to Sierra Leone, Cote d'Ivoire, Liberia and Nigeria all in quick succession

Mention is also made of a potential flight to Lomé, Togo in the future.

First to be launched will be Accra, Ghana - Freetown, Sierra Leone and Accra, Ghana - Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire on 3 September 2012,  with Accra, Ghana - Monrovia, Liberia on 18 September 2012 and finally

► GHANA: Egyptair to acquire majority stake in CTK CiTylinK?

Citylink Ghana Unconfirmed reports out of Ghana claim that Egyptian carrier, Egyptair (MS), having allegedly considered "other options" on the Ghanaian scene, are "in talks" to acquire "about a 50% stake" in the struggling Ghanaian domestic operator CTK CiTylinK Airlines (CTQ).

Of late, CiTylinK Airlines has been going through a very rough patch, having first suspended operations in early August before losing its leased Fokker 100 over unpaid leasing charges shortly after.
"Egypt Air will control 50 percent stake in the airline while majority shareholder, Tei Azu and other local investors will own the rest of the shares. Citi Business News also

Thursday, August 30, 2012

► SOUTH AFRICA: Emirates cancels intended A380 service return to Johannesburg.

As a result of the introduction of a new A380 service to Singapore on a regular basis, the planned A380 service resumption on Dubai – Johannesburg EK761/762 from 01 December 2012, is cancelled. Consequently, Dubai - Johannesburg's service will remain unchanged henceforth (see below).

Emirates A380
Emirates Airbus A380 (Emirates)

Emirates: Dubai, UAE - Johannesburg, South Africa
- Effective 28 October 2012 and onwards until further notice

► MAURITIUS: Air Mauritius confirms Viljoen as CEO; appoints new Chairman.

Air MauritiusFollowing a meeting of the board of directors of Air Mauritius (MK), Appalsamy Thomas, the current Chairman of Mauritius Telecom, and Andre Viljoen were elected Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Air Mauritius respectively.

Andre Viljoen
Andre Viljoen (FM)
Viljoen was previously CEO of South African Airways from 2001 until 2004, before taking up the positionof Officer-in-Charge, Chief Finance Officer and Chief Information Officer at Air Mauritius. He joined the

► TANZANIA: LAM Mozambique to increase Maputo - Dar Es Salaam flights from November.

LAM Mozambique AirlinesMozambican national carrier Linhas Aéreas de Moçambique, better known as LAM Mozambique Airlines (TM), has, via the Agência de Informação de Moçambique (the official Mozambique News Agency), announced it is to increase the frequency of its Embraer 190 operated flights between Maputo, Mozambique and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania from 2x weekly, to 3x weekly.

At present the reservation system does not reflect the update, but when it does, we will update this post

► GHANA: (Pics) Africa World Airlines first Embraer ERJ145 finally arrives in Accra.

Ghana Africa World AirlinesAfter a long delivery flight that was routed Tianjin - Changsha - Kunming - Kolkata - Ahmedabad - Abu Dhabi - Djibouti - Entebbe before finally arriving at Accra's Kotoka International Airport at 11.22am today, Ghana's Africa World Airlines (AW) new Embraer ERJ145 (c/n 14500996 | 9G-AET) was greeted with a traditional water cannon salute by the airport's fire department.

► CONGO (KINSHASA): Korongo to expand network to Mbuji-Mayi, Kolwezi, Goma, Kisangani with more regional routes to follow.

Korongo AirlinesWith a second Bae146-200 (aka AvroRJ 85) (MSN E2196 | OO-DJJ) having joined its fleet on Tuesday 28 August, George Forrest, the Belgian businessman and chairman of Korongo Airlines (ZC), the Lubumbashi based joint venture between Brussels Airlines (40.40%), Forrest Group (39.60%) and local DRC investors (20%), has announced that its next intended destinations within Congo are to be: Mbuji-Mayi (Eastern Kasai), Kolwezi (Katanga), followed by Goma (North Kivu) and Kisangani (Eastern Province).

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

■ ST HELENA: Tender for flights to Cape Town to be issued "soon".

St HelenaPress reports out of Cape Town, South Africa state that tenders will soon be issued for flights to the British Overseas Territory of Saint Helena, part of a group of islands in the Mid/South Atlantic Ocean that includes Ascension Island and the islands of Tristan da Cunha, with the contract being awarded "next year."

Currently the island's only link to mainland anywhere is via a Royal Mail ship which sails from Cape Town twice monthly.
"The island will have open skies but it’s planned to start its own St Helena airline to provide regular scheduled services. Flights from Cape Town are expected to take three and a half hours. Tenders will be called for soon and a contract awarded early next year."

Before flights can start however, an airport will have to be constructed. 

St Helena's remote location in the Atlantic
St Helena's remote location in the Atlantic.
After various delays, a contract was finally awarded to Italian construction firm Impregilo in 2008 with  construction expected to last 3 years (2012 - 2015) and costing USD319million.

Originally planned to accommodate either Airbus A319s, Boeing 737-800s or Boeing 757-200s, a decision taken to shorten the runways length will invariably limit the airport to servicing Boeing 737-700s, which in turn will limit the variety of destinations served from St Helena to either Angola or Namibia with a full payload, or Cape Town and Johannesburg with a reduced payload.

► SOUTH AFRICA: SAA looking at Ghana for a potential West Africa hub as biting economic times push Mango to go regional.

SAA logoIn a Q&A session before the South African Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises on Tuesday 28 August 2012, South African Airways (SA) CEO Siza Mzimela gave an overview of SAA's current financial state and outlook in addition to future route developments, critical to the carrier's long term viability.

►► SOUTH AFRICA: "Business Rescue Specialist" appointed to 1Time earning workforce a reprieve but some routes to face the axe.

1TimeFollowing on from our report last week that South African firm 1Time Holdings had declared its two subsidiaries, LCC 1Time (T6) and maintenance arm JetWorx, to be in financial distress, the South African Companies Intellectual Properties Commission (CIPC), has approved a Nominated Business Practitioner (NBP) to oversee 1Time's business plan reform process over the coming next three months - Gerhard Holtzhauzen, CEO of Strategic Turnaround Solutions, has been appointed.
Holtzhauzen was positive about the company's potential: "We have a head-start because a turnaround strategy for 1time has been contemplated by a proactive management team."

During "Business Rescue", a distressed company is given a 3 month long protection period from creditors while the business is (hopefully) turned around - more or less equivalent to filing Chapter 11 in the US. The company will continue to operate normally though there will obviously be a review of the airline's operations and current routes in order to cut away the deadwood and retain the most profitable ones.

Meanwhile, the news given some breathing room to both companies, in particular to Jetworx whose trade union Solidarity, was last week warned the division faced job cuts of up to 25%. The appointment of NBP Gerhard Holtzhauzen has meant the job cuts will be deferred, though not necessarily abandoned.
"During yesterday’s consultation, we were informed that the process had been put off for the time being owing to the appointment of a business rescue specialist. The specialist must draw up a refinancing and restructuring plan for the company. The company will also be given the opportunity to develop and to implement a business rescue plan and to carry on its operations at the same time. 1time Holdings, Jetworx and the business rescue specialist will be requested in a letter to involve Solidarity in the process.” Solidarity spokesperson Marius Croucamp said.
Blacky Komani - 1Time CEO
Blacky Komani - 1Time CEO (CP)
In addition, unprofitable routes may also go, with the first rumoured to be 1Time's service to Mombasa, Kenya, though the reason for dropping the route may have more to do with soaring costs and charges in Kenya, than 1Times own internal woes.
"If this is true [1Time's withdrawal from Mombasa], other airlines might follow if charges keep going up. Authorities at times in the past just raised fees with little notice and until fares are adjusted the carriers have to absorb that added cost. Proposals in the new VAT bill spell doom for aviation in Kenya, like moving from an exempt status to a double digit tax figure. Those who drafted the bill are either totally uninformed or else agents of doom for the airline industry in Kenya."

The next three months are going to be most interesting for 1Time and Jetworx as various painful measures are implemented in order to see the two companies remain afloat.

►[UPDATE 29 AUGUST 2012] 1Time officially cuts Mombasa route as of 17 September 2012.

► MAURITIUS: Air Mauritius resumes direct Durban flights over Christmas period.

Air MauritiusMauritian carrier Air Mauritius (MK) will, between 21 December 2012 and 13 January 2013, operate a twice weekly Durban night flight on a Friday & Sunday. No mention as yet has been made as to what equipment they will operate on the route, though it is likely to be an Airbus A319. 

Air Mauritius Tweet Durban Christmas 2012 Flights
Whilst currently operating directly to Durban, Air Mauritius will axe the route from 23 October 2012.

Air Mauritius: Port Louis, Mauritius - Durban, South Africa
- Effective 21 December 2012 until 13 January 2012
  • MK8845 MRU 2045 - 2305 DUR A319 | 57
  • MK8846 DUR 2355 - 0545+1 MRU A319 | 57
Source [Amadeus]

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

► ZIMBABWE: Wilderness Safaris applies for a commercial airline licence.

Wilderness SafarisYet another player is attempting to enter the Zimbabwean airline market, this time its regional safari operators Wilderness Safaris whose Zimbabwean arm has applied for a commercial airline licence to service domestic, regional and international routes.

Established in 1983, Wilderness Safaris is a conservation organisation and ecotourism company dedicated to providing responsible tourism in the areas in which it operates camps and safaris namely: Botswana, Congo, Kenya, Namibia, Malawi, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe and the Seychelles.

Wilderness' pending entry into the Zimbabwean aviation scene along side Sol Air, Fresh Air, Phoenix Air, Bumi Air and Anjin Investments, comes as some players in the troubled country's tourism industry have had to take matters into their own hands and provide their own air services - case in point "Bumi Air", a recently established air service operating between Harare, Bumi Hills Safari Lodge (near Kariba) and Victoria Falls - a route that used to be plied by Air Zimbabwe.

Bumi Air at Charles Prince Airport, Harare, Zimbabwe
Bumi Air in Harare (Luck Brown)
In July, controversial diamond mining firm, Anjin Investments, a 50/50 joint venture between the government-owned Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) and Anhui Foreign Economic Construction Company Ltd of China, also applied for a commercial airline licence to service domestic, regional and international routes, having acquired a new 12-seater corporate-commuter aircraft shortly thereafter.

Prospects for an established national carrier akin to the now quasi-defunct Air Zimbabwe appear to be bleak to non existent. Having asked rival South African Airways in early August to be the official carrier for the United Nations World Tourism Organisation General Assembly (UNWTO) set for next year in Victoria Falls, it appears that not even the Zimbabwean Government is banking on Air Zimbabwe (UM) returning to viable and reliable service any time soon, though with 2 Airbus A320s already painted in UM colours, Air Zimbabwe may just have the last laugh.

Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) chief executive officer Karikoga Kaseke said:
"Even if Air Zimbabwe was flying, what we are looking at is access to destinations,” Kaseke said. “We look at an airline that has got the most connection from all destinations. “So South African Airways is well connected because it flies to far many more destinations than any other airlines. “So it’s not about Air Zimbabwe’s woes that we are talking about here. “Even if Air Zimbabwe was not having any problems, I think the first reasonable decision would be to say South African Airways is the preferred airline.”"

1Time at Harare Airport, Zimbabwe
1Time/FreshAir in Harare (Luck Brown)
In recent weeks, the stakes have been upped - South African LCC 1Time recently announced its entry into a joint venture with local outfit Nu-Aero, to be called "Fresh Air" with scheduled flights to start flights in September,  Emirates (EK), 1 year on from its inaugural Harare flight, is to next year increase capacity on the route to a Boeing 777-300ER whilst LAM Mozambique (TM) and Dutch carrier KLM are both set to return from late October. With more and more international carriers expressing interest in serving Harare, local players are going to find it harder and harder to create and maintain a viable niche for themselves should they choose the regional and international route.

► ANGOLA: TAP Portugal and TAAG considering flights to Catumbela?

TAP Air Portugal
Built by Brazilian contractors Oderbrecht International with finishing touches applied by Portuguese firm, Somague at a total cost of US$250 million and consisting of a new passenger terminal capable of handling 900 passengers/hour, 16 check-in counters, 18 immigration booths, two boarding bridges that can handle four aircraft simultaneously, a 3'500 metre long runway and an apron that can hold four Boeing 777-300 or Boeing 767 aircraft or 22 small/medium sized aircraft at the same time, Angola's new Catumbela Airport, in Benguela Province was on Monday, officially opened by Angolan President José Eduardo dos Santos.

■ KENYA: Kenya Airways gets licence for LCC JamboJet; set to seal a USD80million loan, but will Government bungling be its undoing?

Kenya AirwaysAfter a hefty 57% drop in annual profits coupled with the nasty storm kicked up by its planned workforce layoffs earlier this month, Kenya Airways' (KQ) has at last announced some positive news to the effect that it has been granted an operator's licence for its planned Low Cost Carrier (LCC), Jambo Jet, by the Kenyan Civil Aviation Authority. Additionally, the airline is about to seal a loan for roughly USD80million (KSh7billion) with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), part of a larger financing deal worth KSh34billion ($400 million), necessary to finance the carrier's pre-delivery payments for a fleet of nine Boeing 787-800 Dreamliners, the first of which is expected in 2014.

The loan is yet to be signed, though the terms have been agreed to, which is no surprise given that the IFC has a 9.56% shareholding in the Kenyan carrier.
'Negotiations for the loan are already at an advanced stage, the outgoing IFC director for eastern and southern Africa Jean Philippe Prosper, said in an interview.
We have agreed with Kenya Airways on the terms of the loan, but we have not signed it yet. We will do the signing in the next few months,” said Mr Prosper.'
Source [BusinessDaily Africa]

Prosper noted that the deal was a part of a larger USD$400million loan that would be used to help finance Kenya Airways fleet renewal program involving the purchase of nine (9) new Boeing 787-800s (Dreamliners) (B787s), one (1) Boeing 777-300ER (B777-300ER), and ten (10) Embraer EMB190 aircraft (E-190s).

Kenya Airways latest E190 in Brazil
Kenya Airways latest E190 in Brazil
Notable too is that Tanzania's Precision Air, in whom Kenya Airways has a 41% shareholding, will receive a tranche of  "between USD4 million to USD6 million" from the IFC loan. Why notable? Because Precision Air will be a direct competitor to Jambo Jet, Kenya Airways' first  venture into the LCC market after an 8 year hiatus following its previous attempt - Flamingo Airlines - which fizzled out when the subsidiary was quietly absorbed into KQ. Jambo Jet's operating licence will permit it to operate air services, for both passengers and cargo, within Kenya and to other African countries using Boeing 737s and Embraer Jets, of which a new one is due this week.

JamboJet will in the long term, take over its parent's short-haul domestic and regional flights, leaving Kenya Airways to focus on growing its connections between Africa and international markets.

According to The Nation newspaper, its first destinations in Kenya are slated to be:
  • Wajir
  • Eldoret
  • Kisumu
  • Mombasa
  • Lamu
  • Malindi

While its regional routes will start with:
  • Dar-es-salaam, Mwanza, Zanzibar, Pemba and Kilimanjaro (Tanzania)
  • Entebbe (Uganda)
  • Addis Ababa (Ethiopia)
  • Antananarivo (Madagascar)
  • Bujumbura (Burundi)
  • Kigali (Rwanda)
  • Hargeisa (Somaliland)
  • Juba (South Sudan)
  • Goma and Kisangani (Democratic Republic of Congo)
  • Moroni and Dzaoudzi (Comoros Island)
 Source [The Nation, Kenya]

Frustratingly, Kenya Airways hasn't been getting all its own way on the aviation infrastructure scene; after all an efficient Jomo Kenyatta International Airport is critical to Kenya Airways' long term success.

Whilst rivals Ethiopia, Tanzania, Rwanda and even South Sudan are all pushing ahead with new airports and new expansion projects, the Kenyan national carrier is finding itself trapped in a massive quagmire of uncertainty, as revelations of favouritism and now bribery threaten to derail Nairobi's Jomo Kenyatta International Airport's (JKIA) new Greenfield Terminal (also known as Terminal 4) and a second runway expansion plan.

What should have started in 2005 has taken 7 years to get off the ground as a result of insufficient funding, and now revelations of bribery and corruption have reared their ugly head.

Nairobi Airport's Terminal 4 Expansion Plan
 Jomo Kenyatta International Airport's Terminal 4 Expansion Plan
The Kenya Airports Authority Board recently sent its Managing Director Stephen Gichuki on compulsory leave over Nairobi's JKIA expansion tender saga, to allow for further investigations following Transport minister Amos Kimunya's halting of the USD660million project after he suspected corrupt dealings in the awarding of the tender, won by Anhui Construction Engineering Group of China. The board has, however, backed the minister’s step to revoke the tender given to a Chinese firm, saying that Kenyans could have lost money. At the time of writing this article, there appears to be no short term solution to the impasse.

In a statement on the matter, KQ's Boss Titus Naikuni said that persistent delays would ultimately end up hurting Kenya Airways' expansion plans:
“The significance of this project to our continued profitability as an airline cannot be under-estimated. Kenya Airways and its partners in the SkyTeam alliance will contribute 70-80 per cent of the traffic to the new terminal. The cost of constructing the new terminal will be borne by the passengers that we will put through the new terminal. It is therefore logical that we must be listened to and be seen to be heard,” said Naikuni.
Source [StandardMedia]

Kenya Airways' ordeal with the slow turning wheels of Government decision making highlight a problem few countries in Africa truly take into consideration - that regardless of ambition, a private company is only as efficient as its operating environment allows it to be. With its regional neighbours taking their game up a notch, Kenya, and consequently Kenya Airways, will invariably be forced into playing a game of "Catch Up", as opposed to "Follow the Leader", if it is unable to proceed with infrastructure projects in a transparent manner.

► RUSSIA: Ethiopian Airlines Cargo resumes services to Moscow after 22 year hiatus.

Ethiopian AirlinesAfter a 22 year hiatus, brought about by the collapse of the Soviet Union and along with it, the Derg Regime of Ethiopian strongman Mengistu Haile Mariam, Ethiopian Airlines Cargo, on 15 August, reintroduced a twice weekly direct Addis Ababa - Moscow, Domodedovo flight using a Boeing 757-200PCF.

Ethiopian Airlines Cargo Boeing 757-200PCF in Moscow
Ethiopian Airlines Cargo Boeing 757-200PCF in Moscow (Alexey Viper)
"For the first time in 22 years a direct flight will be performed from Ethiopia to Moscow. Ethiopian Airlines will operate its first cargo flight from Addis Abeba to the capital of Russia. It will be loaded with the beautiful and fragrant cargo – flowers, that are intended to be demonstrated during the “Week of Ethiopian Flowers” exhibition which will be held from 17th to 19th of August at All-Russia Exhibition Center. Starting from August 2012 Ethiopian Airlines will operate regular cargo flights to Domodedovo twice a week. The main cargo goods transported from Ethiopia to Russia include flowers, coffee, olives and beans, gold, leather and spices."
Source [Domodedovo Airport]

In addition to the utilization of the belly space inside Ethiopian Airlines' passenger fleet - B787, B767-300, B757-200, B777-200 LR, B737-700 and B737-800 aircraft - Ethiopian cargo services operates dedicated freighter aircraft namely two Boeing 747-200F, two Boeing 757-200PCF, two McDonnell Douglas MD-11Fs with six Boeing 777F on order - on a charter and scheduled basis. Currently Ethiopian operates over 40 cargo destinations spread across Africa, Europe, Asia and the Middle East via its hub – Addis Ababa, and another cargo hub at Liege in Belgium.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

► CHINA: See (teasing) pics of Ghana's Africa World Airlines first Embraer ERJ145 fresh out the paint shop.

Ghana Africa World Airlines
On track for its much anticipated September launch, Ghana's Africa World Airlines (AW) has released a photo of its first Embraer ERJ145; one of two ex-Tianjin Airlines (GS) Embraer ERJ-145s (c/n 14500996 and c/n 14500992) to enter service from Accra to Kumasi, Takoradi and Tamale.

Ghana's Africa World Airlines' Embraer ERJ145 9G-AET
Ghana's Africa World Airlines' Embraer ERJ145 '9G-AET' in Xi'an, China.
According to Africa World, the Embraer ERJ-145 aircraft is now ready and is awaiting its delivery flight to Ghana next week from  Xi'an Xian Yang International Airport, China. In July, the Ghanaians entered into a joint venture with Haiku (China) based Hainan Airlines (HU) which sees the Chinese carrier having a controlling stake in the fledgling African carrier.

► ZIMBABWE: Emirates switches to Boeing 777 on Harare/Lusaka flights from February 2013.

EmiratesDubai based carrier Emirates (EK) will, from 1 February 2013, switch from an Airbus A330-200 to a Boeing 777-300ER on its daily Dubai - Lusaka - Harare route. The date is iconic in that it will be the 1 year anniversary of the route's introduction.

Economy Class cabin on-board an Emirates 777-300ER
Economy Class cabin on-board an Emirates 777-300ER (moaksey)
Emirates: Dubai - Lusaka, Zambia - Harare, Zimbabwe
- Effective 01 February 2013
  • EK713 DXB 0925 - 1450 LUN 1620 - 1720 HRE 77W 1234567
  • EK714 HRE 1850 - 1950 LUN 2120 - 0640+1 DXB 77W 1234567
Source [Amadeus]

It was expected that the Emirati carrier would decouple the two African destinations from one another at some stage, though this has apparently changed.

► RWANDA: RwandAir announces CRJ900 routes; introduces other additional frequencies.

RwandAirWith the first of its two new Bombardier CRJ900NGs (MSN# 15286| 9XR-WH) due in by the middle of October 2012 and the second due in mid November, so Rwandan national carrier RwandAir (WB) has outlined the future routes they will be used on, in addition to various new frequencies to come into effect from 31 October 2012.

RwandAir CRJ900 '9XR-WH'
RwandAir CRJ900 '9XR-WH'

RwandAir CRJ900NG Routes

RwandAir: Kigali, Rwanda – Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
-Effective 31 October 2012
  • WB440 KGL1730 – 2030DAR CR9 | 1234567
  • WB441 DAR2100 – 2200KGL CR9 | 1234567
Kigali, Rwanda – Entebbe, Uganda
-Effective 31 October 2012
  • WB422 KGL1440 – 1625EBB CR9 | 1234567
  • WB423 EBB1655 – 1640KGL CR9 | 1234567
Kigali, Rwanda – Nairobi, Kenya
-Effective 31 October 2012
  • WB404 KGL0155 – 0410NBO CR9 | 1234567
  • WB406 KGL1455 – 1710NBO CR9 | 1357
  • WB402 KGL1455 – 1710NBO CR9 | 246
  • WB405 NBO1155 – 1210KGL CR9 | 1234567
  • WB407 NBO2125 – 2140KGL CR9 | 1357
  • WB407 NBO2125 – 2140KGL CR9 | 246

Additionally, various new frequencies have been announced:
  • Entebbe, Uganda: from 17x to 33x weekly flights.
  • Brazzaville, Congo & Libreville, Gabon: 3x to 5x weekly flights.
  • Dubai, UAE : from 6x to 13x weekly flights.
  • Lagos, Nigeria: from 3x to 7x weekly flights.
  • Johannesburg, South Africa : from 8x to 10x weekly flights.

Kigali, Rwanda – Dubai
-Planned service increase from 6x weekly to daily. The daily service operates nonstop in both directions, replacing 3x weekly nonstop and 1-stop service via Mombasa, Kenya.
  • WB300 KGL0045 – 0830DXB 738 | 1234567
  • WB301 DXB0950 – 1335KGL 738 | 2467
  • WB301 DXB1010 – 1335KGL 738 | 2467
Kigali, Rwanda – Johannesburg, South Africa
-Planned service increase from 8 to 10 weekly
  • WB100 KGL0100 – 0500JNB 738 | 123567
  • WB100 KGL0100 – 0500JNB 735 | 4
  • WB102 KGL1445 – 1845JNB 738 | 356
  • WB101 JNB0800 – 1200KGL 738 | 123567
  • WB101 JNB0800 – 1200KGL 735 | 4
  • WB103 JNB1930 – 2330KGL 738 | 356
Kigali – Lagos, Nigeria
-Planned service increase from 3x weekly to daily
  • WB200 KGL1435 – 1745LOS 738 | 1234567
  • WB201 LOS1830 – 2340KGL 738 | 1234567
Source [Airline Route]

Friday, August 24, 2012

► GHANA: More woes for CTK CiTylinK as it loses its leased Fokker 100 over unpaid bills.

Citylink Ghana In a sign that times are getting even tougher for Ghanaian domestic carrier CTK CiTylinK Airlines (CTQ), it has emerged that its Fokker 100 (MSN: 11407 | 9A-BTD), wet leased only recently in May of this year, has been returned to its owner, Croatia's Trade Air, as a result of the airline's inability to pay its leasing fees.

The airline suspended operations nearly 2 weeks ago.

CTK Citylink Airlines Fokker 100 in happier times.
CTK's now ex-Fokker 100 in happier times.
Switzerland's CH-Aviation reports that the aircraft has already been ferried from Accra to Europe where it is currently operating a short term ACMI contract on behalf of a Slovak client.

As competition on Ghana's domestic and regional routes heats up,  and with fares being slashed to as low as GH₵50 (USD25) for a one way flight from Accra to Kumasi - a flight that usually costs GH₵100 (USD50) - it seems increasingly likely that CTK CiTylinK will be the first casualty in the price war.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

► SOUTH SUDAN: Government looks for partners in new national airline as China helps build new terminal at Juba International.

South SudanReuters Newswire is reporting that the South Sudanese Government is looking for an "international company" to enter into a potential private/public joint venture for the running of a new South Sudanese national carrier. The government plans to retain a minority 20% stake in the airline, and will sell 31% to the domestic South Sudanese private sector with the remaining  49% being sold to international investors.

► COTE D'IVOIRE: Mali crisis, delayed delivery of aircraft blamed for Air Cote d'Ivoire's late debut.

Air Cote d'IvoireOriginally scheduled to be airborne by late July, the joint venture known as Air Cote d'Ivoire - 65% owned by the State of Ivory Coast, and the remaining 35% by the Strategic Partner made up of Air France Finance (20%) and Aérienne de Participation-Côte d’Ivoire (15%) - is now expected to take to the skies by the latest end of October, according to reports from Abidjan.

► INDIA: Kenya Airways revises planned changes to Delhi route.

Kenya AirwaysContrary to the reported increase in June, Kenya Airways is to retain its current 3x weekly Nairobi - Delhi, India service. Its planned 4x weekly increase is henceforth rescinded.

The flight is currently operated using a Boeing 767-300ER.

Kenya Airways B767-300ER arriving in Nairobi
Kenya Airways B767-300ER arriving in Nairobi from Delhi
Kenya Airways: Nairobi, Kenya - Delhi, India
-Effective before and after 22 October 2012.

  • KQ220 NBO1350 – 2320DEL 763 x246
  • KQ221 DEL0050 – 0530NBO 763 x357
Source [Airline Route]

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

► SOUTH AFRICA: Financial vultures gather around a defiant 1Time as USD40million debt millstone takes its toll.

Financial news-wires were today abuzz with reports that following an urgent board meeting, 1Time Holdings, parent company to South African LCC 1Time (T6) and Jetworx Aircraft Services, had filed for "Business Rescue" for the two companies (essentially a 3 month long protection period from creditors that may want to file for liquidation while you are turning the business around, more or less equivalent to filing Chapter 11 in the US) as revelations came out that the company has nearly USD40million worth of short term debt to settle with creditors by 31 August, amongst whom are the South African Air Traffic and Navigation Services and various fuel suppliers. Unsurprisingly, by the end of trading today on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, 1Time shares had plunged by 50%.

Under South African Law, 1Time should now pass into the hands of The South African Companies Intellectual Properties Commission (CIPC) who are responsible for approving a Nominated Business Practitioner who in turn will oversee 1Time's business plan reform process over the coming next three months.  How this will impact the airline's Zimbabwean LCC venture - Fresh Air - only recently launched, is uncertain.

An announcement by the CIPC on whether or not 1Time is eligible for "Business Rescue" will be made on Thursday 23 August.

1Time at Harare Airport, Zimbabwe
1Time in Zimbabwe. (Luck Brown)
The filing for "Business Rescue" comes after a very tumultuous first 6 months of the year for the South African carrier in which its previous CEO (Rod James) resigned following a disastrous record USD$18million loss for 2011 blamed on "high fuel prices, fierce competition, weak demand and steep spikes in airport and navigation taxes." In recent weeks, the airlines image has also been damaged as two of its McDonnell Douglas MD83s suffered engine shut downs inflight.

However, despite the bleak outlook, 1Time has managed to retain some prestige as the most punctual airline in South Africa for June and July. CEO Blacky Komani, too, has remained resolute stating:
"It is business as usual and passengers have nothing to fear."

This storm of events and their resultant dire consequences for 1Time are in stark contrast to that of Government run SAExpress (SAX), whose inability to produce audited financial results for their 2010/2011 Financial Year and a subsequent USD120million accounting hole, simply resulted in the dismissal of the board with no apparent legal action brought against anyone. Ah, such is life in the world of parastatals.

We here at The Tribune wish 1Time all the best, as this year so far has proven to be lethal for the South African aviation scene in general: LCC VelvetSky bit the dust in February after only 12 months in the air, whilst traditionally strong Comair Holdings (Kulula and BA Comair's parent company) also took heavy losses, and with global fuel prices set to remain above USD100 per barrel it seems we could be in for an even more interesting Q3 and Q4 for 2012.

Lets just hope that the path to financial solvency is conquered with spirit and innovation, not government handouts and mediocrity.

► TANZANIA: Precision Air increases capacity to Arusha and Mwanza; suspends Johannesburg, Kigoma and Mwanza.

Precision Air Very strong growth in the Tanzanian domestic market has forced Tanzanian carrier Precision Air (PW) to mix, match and in some cases scratch destinations served as demand for aircraft available and profitability on certain routes has stretched the airline to capacity.

► KENYA: Mombasa Air Safari Let410 crashes on take off killing 4 and critically injuring 3.

Mombasa Air Safari logoAnother sad day today in African aviation as a Kenyan registered LET 410 (unconfirmed 5Y-UVP) belonging to Mombasa Air Safari (RRV) crashed on take off from Ngerende Airstrip in the Masai Mara Game Reserve, Kenya bound for Mombasa, killing the two pilots and two German tourists on-board with another three were critically injured. The other four passengers received injuries of varying degrees, though are in a stable condition.

►► SUDAN: Numerous Sudanese government officials killed as Alfa Air Antonov 26 crash claims 32 lives.

Sudan flag
What should have been a day of celebration to mark the end of Ramadan instead turned into a day of national mourning as an Alfa Air Sudan Antonov 26 (MSN: 47302606 | ST-ARL) crashed into a slope in the Nuba mountains south of Talodi, at about 08h00 local time, en route from Khartoum to Talodi, South Kordofan State, killing all 32 (26 passengers and 6 crew) passengers on board.

Alfa Air Sudan An26 Antonov in Khartoum
Alfa Air Sudan An26 (ST-ARL) (UR-SDV)
The Aviation Herald reports that: 
"Local Television reported the aircraft went around on its first attempt to land in Talodi due to weather but did not manage to climb above the terrain during the go-around. Sudan's Civil Aviation Authority reported at the time of the crash, visibility was substantially reduced due to a dust and dirt storm in the area. "
Source [The Aviation Herald]

The Antonov was chartered to take the various officials to Talodi to "congratulate the town's citizens on Eid Al-Fitr."

Wreckage from the Antonov 26 "ST-ARL" Sudan Plane Crash
Wreckage from the An26 "ST-ARL" (Al Shorouk)

Amongst the dead are:
  1. Engineer Ghazi Al-Saddiq - the federal Minister of Guidance and Endowments.
  2. Mahjoub Abdul-Rahim Tutu - the State Minister at the Ministry of Youth and Sports. 
  3. Eissa Daifalla - the State Minister at the Ministry of Tourism, Antiquities and Wildlife. 
  4. Ali Al-Jailani - the Minister of Education of Khartoum State. 
  5. Mekki Ali Balayel - Leader of the Justice Party. 
  6. Mohamed Hassan Al-Jaafari - Commissioner at Headquarters of Khartoum State. 
  7. Tariq Mubarak - Commissioner of Khartoum North. 
  8. Maj. Gen. Salah Ismail - the Air Forces. 
  9. Maj. Gen. Ahmed Musa Ahmed - the Police Forces. 
  10. Maj. Gen. Ahmed Al-Tayeb Abu-Guroon, the Security and Intelligence Organ. 
  11. Brigadier Lugman Omer - Second Commander of the People's Defence Forces. 
  12. Hamid Al-Aghbash - the National Assembly. 
  13. Dr. Mohamed Al-Bakhit Al-Bashir - the Islamic Figih Council. 
  14. Al-Saddiq Abdul-Majid Al-Makkawi - the People's Defence Forces. 
  15. Awadal-Karim Siral-Khatim - Deputy Coordinator of the People's Defence Forces. 
  16. Waeez Salaha Omer - Headquarters of the People's Defence Forces. 
  17. Omer Mahjoub Ahmed - Deputy Coordinator of the People's Defence Forces. 
  18. Salah-Eddin Mustafa - the People's Defence Forces - Jabal Aulia Locality. 
  19. Abdul-Azim Hamza - the National Congress - Khartoum State. 
  20. Abdul-Atti Ahmed - Correspondent of the National Television. 
  21. Al-Sheikh Abdul-Rahim - the media mission. 
  22. Bashir Fadl Al-Sid - Khartoum State Media. 
  23. Abdul-Hai Al-Rabie - the media mission. 
  24. Ismail Abdul-Karim - the media mission. 
  25. Captain Saif-Eddin - Director of Office of Maj. Gen. Abu-Guroon. 
  26. Al-Sayer Mohamed Al-Sayer - the Ministry of Guidance and Endowments. 
27 /28/ 29/ 30/ 31/ 32 - the crew of the plane.

In recent years, Sudan has had numerous aviation accidents and incidents that have severely damaged the country's aviation image. Khartoum has frequently complained that its poor record in air safety is largely due to lack of spare parts for its aircraft caused by US Sanctions.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

►► EQUATORIAL GUINEA: CEIBA Intercontinental waves Adios to its 777.

CEIBA Intercontinental
The Boeing 777-200LR (3C-LLS) of Equatorial Guinean carrier CEIBA Intercontinental (C2) (with what had to be one of the coolest liveries ever on a Boeing 777) today left Malabo, Equatorial Guinea for Lisbon, Portugal to be re-registered under White Airways (WI), a Portuguese leisure and charter flight operator out of Lisbon, becoming CS-TQX on the Portuguese registry.

CEIBA Intercontinental Boeing 777
(ex) CEIBA Intercontinental Boeing 777-200LR (sabian404)
It is unclear, however, what purpose the 777 served whilst under the CEIBA name, as the Equato-guinean flag-carrier is on the European Union's Banned Operator's List. In all honesty, it wouldn't be a massive surprise if it turned out that the aircraft had originally been bought for exclusive Presidential/VIP usage given Equatorial-Guinean President Teodoro Obiang's family's penchant for the high life and luxury which of late, has come under increasing scrutiny from the international media.

With the departure of the 777, CEIBA is now left with a fleet of two ATR 72-500s, one ATR 42 - 500, one ATR 42-320 and three Boeing 737-800 on order whilst its network consists of Malabo (Equatorial Guinea), Bata (Equatorial Guinea), Cotonou, Douala, Accra, Abidjan, Lomé, Libreville, Pointe Noire and Brazzaville.

[UPDATE]: SkyLinerAviation informs us that the 777 has now been re-registered as CS-TQX and is to be ferried back to Malabo, Equatorial Guinea as of 21 August 2012. Hopefully the plane will now return to operation for CEIBA and we'll see it in possible international service in the near future. Watch this space for further details!

► CANADA: See Pics of RwandAir's first Bombardier CRJ-900NG Jet just out of the paint shop!

RwandAirThe first pictures out of Montreal's Mirabel Airport, Canada have emerged of Rwandan flag carrier RwandAir's (WB) first of two Bombardier Canadair Regional Jet (CRJ) 900NGs (MSN# 15286| 9XR-WH), due for delivery in October of this year. The value of the two CRJ 900s together is USD$185million.

Said RwandAir CEO John Mirenge on signing the contract in March:
"Based on our experience with the CRJ200 aircraft, the dual-class 75-seat CRJ900 NextGen aircraft was the logical upgrade. CRJ900 NextGen aircraft also provide exceptional reliability and have much in common with other CRJ aircraft. These aircraft will be configured with seven business class seats and 68 economy class seats."
Source [Bombardier]

RwandAir CRJ900 '9XR-WH'
RwandAir CRJ900 '9XR-WH' in the paintshop.
RwandAir CRJ900 '9XR-WH'
All done. (RwandAir)
The jets will play a pivotal role in freeing up Rwandair's larger Boeing 737-800s as the carrier seeks to increase its regional footprint in coming months, with much speculation surrounding possible new routes to Lusaka (Zambia), Cape Town (South Africa), and Juba (South Sudan).