Event Highlights:Kenya Airways to hold AGM on 24 September

Kenya Airways will hold this year's AGM on 24 September for the financial year ended 31 March 2010
Amongst the highlights of this year's AGM include:

  • The airline carried 2.92million passengers compared to 2.82million  in the previous year
  • Capacity increased by 6.7% as a result of new destinations
  • Increase in earnings per share of 149% over the prior year
  • The airline will appoint PriceWaterHouse Coopers as auditors of the company in place of Deloitte and Touche who retire from office at the conclusion of AGM 
Read Kenya Airways Annual Reports 2010
"Kenya Airways remains focused on its strategic plan of launching new destinations and efficiently expanding city pair connections with particular emphasis on Africa."CEO Titus Naikuni

Lions on the Move:Brighter Prospects for African Aviation as Airlines start lining up for Africa take-off

The football World Cup is over, the vuvuzelas have been consigned to the dustbin and fans have turned their attention from Africa to Brazil, host of the 2014 contest. But for one group at least, the continent remains in sharp focus: international airlines.

According to the International Air Transport Association, airlines increased the amount of flying capacity to and from Africa by 8.6 per cent over the year to the end of June compared to 2009, more than any other region except for the Middle East.

Over the next three years IATA forecasts that the number of passengers travelling to and from Africa will rise at a compound annual rate of 6.5 per cent, making it one of the fastest growing regions in the world.
While US and European airlines have been cautiously adding capacity to Africa for years, the drive has picked up in intensity in recent months, leading industry executives to talk of a new "scramble for Africa" as airlines position themselves for the future.

Executives point to high growth levels that suggest an increasing need, and ability to pay, for travel by air. Africa's real gross domestic product was $1,600bn in 2008, having grown 4.9 per cent per year since 2000 - more than twice as fast as in the 1980s and 1990s.

Much of that can be put down to Africa's large mineral reserves - which have become a focus of fast-growing Asian economies. Traffic between Asia-Pacific and Africa is forecast to grow at 9 per cent per year over the next decade according to some estimates.

US and European airlines are also boosting their connections to resource-rich regions. In June, Delta Air Lines started a service between Atlanta and Accra and aims to add services to Liberia, Angola, Equatorial Guinea, and Kenya in the near future.

Lufthansa , Europe's biggest airline group and a key provider to Africa, has ramped up its connections, adding two new services in west and central Africa and expanding several more since 2008. The group now has 222 flights a week to 33 destinations in Africa.

A recent report by McKinsey Global Institute, entitled Lions On The Move, suggests that the economic foundations of Africa's recent success are broader and therefore will have more "staying power".
Natural resources accounted directly for only a quarter of Africa's GDP growth over the decade while "the rest came from other sectors, including wholesale and retail, trade and transportation, telecoms and manufacturing".

Indeed, Airbus , the European aircraft maker, predicts the recent aviation ramp-up will be sustained. Over the next 20 years the amount of filled capacity on flights between Africa and other parts of the world will grow at 5.6 per cent each year, albeit from a low base.

"There is a lot of money in Africa right now," says Glen Hauenstein, head of network planning at Delta Air Lines, the world's largest airline by revenues. "GDP is small in absolute terms but it is rapidly expanding as political stability spreads."

In this newly competitive environment, US airlines are playing catch-up. While European carriers have offered direct services for decades, non-stop flights from North America to Africa have traditionally been limited, and slumped after the industry recession following the September 2001 terrorist attacks.

Mr Hauenstein says Delta began experimenting with flights to Africa in 2006 with a connection between its hub in Atlanta, Georgia, and the tourist destination of Johannesburg in South Africa, via Dakar, Senegal.
The success of that route has led Delta to try others, with an emphasis on west and sub-Saharan Africa where avoiding European connections can save US travellers time.

Part of the problem was aircraft technology, says Greg Hart, vice-president of network strategy at Continental .

Until the Boeing  777 was developed in the mid-1990s, many destinations in Africa were too far from the US for direct connections, and even then the 777 was too big to make some routes profitable. With the arrival of Boeing's much delayed 787, due around the turn of the year, Mr Hart says that many airlines will for the first time have the right aircraft for the job. Continental plans to connect the energy capitals of Houston and Lagos with a service starting in November 2011. Still, considerable obstacles must be overcome.

According to a 2009 World Bank report on Africa's aviation infrastructure, while the continent is fairly well served by airports, lack of taxi-ways and terminal facilities and "inadequate" air traffic control systems are limiting capacity growth.

Safety is another concern. Last year, Africa had the worst record of any region, according to IATA statistics. While most problems relate to aircraft operated by local airlines, several reports have blamed Africa's weak regulatory oversight, which raises wider issues.

In response, airlines have worked closely with government authorities and spent time and money to upgrade local infrastructure for their new services. Continental will help to upgrade the electrical facilities in Lagos airport to receive the Boeing 787.

In spite of those hurdles the airlines remain confident that the efforts will pay off. "The 787 is going to be the pride of our fleet and we are going to put it into Africa. That speaks volumes of our level of interest," says Continental's Mr Hart.

Mugabe keeps Air Zimbabwe plane parked in Namibia for three days

An Air Zimbabwe Boeing 767 long haul was parked for three days at Windhoek’s Hosea Kutako International Airport waiting for President Robert Mugabe who was attending the 30th SADC heads of States and government meeting that ended Tuesday.
Mugabe flew into Namibia at the weekend from China where he attended the Zimbabwe Day at the Shanghai Fair and later took time to go on a shopping spree in Hong Kong. The Air Zimbabwe plane which normally flies to London was expected to fly back home Tuesday evening at the end of the summit which was celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.

The plane was parked on a section of the airport allocated to presidential jets of regional leaders. Next to the Zimbabwean big bird was South African President, Jacob Zuma’s plane which is operated by the South African Airforce and a jet belonging to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) president Joseph Kabila.

President Mugabe has been accused in the past of commandeering scheduled Air Zimbabwe planes for private and state visits, in and out of the country. However Air Zimbabwe Officials have always maintained that whenever the president travels he charters the aircraft.

Ethiopian Airlines Chooses Beijing as its East Asian Hub

The Lion is dancing with the tiger and Beijing, the capital of China, is scheduled to become the East Asian aviation hub for Ethiopian Airlines, due to the fast development in economy and trade between China and Africa.
 The carrier has said that it hopes to build a bridge linking China and Africa and it already considers Beijing as its aviation hub in East Asia as tourists from surrounding regions are able to transfer onto flights from Beijing.

In peak season, the airlines' passenger load factor often exceeds 90% on flights between Africa and China. The airline is finding it hard to keep up with the demand from China as more and more Chinese people want to travel to Africa.
 "60% of Chinese Passengers are Technicians"
A stark indication of China's economic and technical cooperation with Africa is illustrated by the fact currently about 60% of the Chinese passengers are technicians and 25% are individual tourists.
The company said it will team up with Chinese travel agencies to bring more Chinese tourists to Ethiopia and this will be one of the company's key strategies in the future.

Ethiopian Airlines hopes to launch services to Shanghai or Hangzhou in the near future. It currently operates the Beijing to Addis Ababa route with 245-seat Boeing 767 aircraft. It plans to use the 348-seat Boeing 777 aircraft instead at the end of 2010.

courtesy China Hospitality News

Kenya Airways Flies to Angola tomorrow,to codeshare with TAAG

A TAAG Promotional for its Havana route 

 Kenya Airways flies to Angola tomorrow,17th August 2010 with Kenyan foreign minister and Angolan ambassador to Kenya amongst the dignitaries expected aboard as the Pride of Africa spreads its wings to Sub Saharan Africa's third largest economy.

The inaugural flight will see the start of a codeshare agreement between KQ and TAAG.TAAG Angola’s “DT” code will be placed on Kenya Airways’ new Nairobi – Luanda service.TAAG flies to some fantastic destinations in the Portuguese speaking world rarely serviced by major legacy African carriers including Brazil and Portugal.The Angolan carrier also services Havana once a month.

Booking a flight? Visit Facebook

Booking a flight just got more social.

Delta Air Lines unveiled a new feature on their Facebook page Thursday that allows fliers to book air travel entirely through Facebook.Delta is the first airline to launch a tool that let’s its Facebook fans book without ever leaving the site."We’re the First! Now You Can Book Travel on Facebook.",screamed Delta on its blog.

Dubbed the "Ticket Window," the new tool comes just days after the company gave its homepage a thorough redesign as part of what Delta says is a larger plan to improve the online experience for customers.
Passengers in certain hub cities will be able to use the app as a boarding pass -- a feature already available on their mobile site.

" We are ready to unlock the full power of social media and mobile apps as we step to future technologies that will provide innovative travel tools and greater convenience in your mobile world.",the airline stated on its blog Under the Wing .

Sahelian Airlines:A New Airline to light up Central and West Africa?

A multinational start-up carrier,Sahelian Air is seeking to raise funds from investors and individuals in order to commence operations in the Central and West African region within 5 years.
Sahelian Air
The Sahelian Air Project,headquartered in Atlanta,USA, is the culmination of the vision and dreams of Senegalese entrepreneur Mr.Chams-Eddine NDIAYE to build a Pan African airline in order to "facilitate air transport in Africa by offering passengers new choices in terms of network,quality of service,price,safety".

Sahelian Air Presentation in French

If you were to draw an aviation heat map of Africa,Central Africa is the undisputed aviation black hole in Africa.There is no major international legacy airline in this whole region that some analysts refer to as the "problem child of Africa".While regions like East Africa and Southern Africa boast quality airlines like Kenya Airways,Ethiopian Airlines,Fly540,Air Uganda,Precision Air SAA,TAAG,Kulula,Mango,Air Botswana and Air Zimbabwe ,Central Africa has no airline of repute!

Perhaps due to years of strife and underdevelopment,Central Africa  has always been known for its cheap mostly Soviet era flying coffins,with their latest victims being an entire board of an Australian mining company.

"Sahelian Air revolves around the creation of a group of local airlines which are developing domestic air routes,regional and international departure of the main capitals of West and Central Africa"the start-up states in its strategic plan.
The Sahelian Air group has already formed technical partnerships with Airbus,ATR and Sabre Aiurline Solutions.The airline will involve 'international private partners' for its initiation and development that is expected to cover 35% of Sahelian Group's capital.The group will enlist the assistance of private and public institutional donors in its next 5 years growth in a financing model it calls a 'double financial partnership'.

The main objective of the airline is to develop a fluid network in the Cental and West African subregions covering Accra,Abidjan,Bamako,Ouagadougou,Lome , Cotonou,Doula and Brazzaville in the initial phase.The next phase is expected will include Kinshasa,Ndjamena,Addis Ababa,Bangui,Tripoli,Niamey and Luanda.In terms of market share,Sahelian Airlines expects to carry 35% of Africa's annual air traffic of 20 million,with 2.35million passengers flying the future airline on international routes and 4.65 million on interlines.
What do you think of Mr.Chams-Eddine NDIAYE's dream to change the equation on African skies by introducing a new legacy carrier for West and Central Africa?Kindly let us know.

Sahelian Presentation in English

On Time Airlines:The Most Punctual Airlines in Africa

Which are Africa's Most Punctual Airlines?
If you have idled at the various African Airports,then you have a pretty good idea of what we are talking about:Punctuality or to use airlinespeak,On-Time Performance(OTP).Airlines have had a notoriety for being late but some airlines do take passengers across the vast continent on time.

Ground crew across the continent wake up every morning fired up and determined to get passengers moving on time."Team,2 delays expected.Let's make it 70% today" is a common rallying cry across airports but the record is still dismal for Africa!

There are a thousand reasons why flights delay from those beyond our control like weather to those within our control;(read When a Flight Delay or Cancellation is caused by an airline).
When faced with infuriating delays, many passengers prefer to blame incompetent management, lazy ground crews or pilots who step out for smoking breaks. The more likely culprits are outdated software, increased security, understaffed carriers and replacement crew delays that contribute to the nightmare of commercial flying.

We at Flight Africa Blog have analysed punctuality records of 18 major African Airlines based on available data from FlightStats and have come up with most comprehensive list that you will never find anywhere else!We will tell you the most punctual airlines and the airlines like Sudan Airways that you should avoid like hell because the probability that your flight will be extremely late or cancelled is 67%!!Here is our list based on FlightStats Historical On Time Performance from May15 to July15 2010:
On-Time Performance Amongst Major Airlines in Africa:
  1. Kenya Airways                    On Time Performance of 86%
  2. South African Airways         On Time Performance of 86%
  3. EgyptAir                               On Time Performance of 77%
  4. Air Mauritius                         On Time Performance of 76%
  5. TAAG Angola                      On Time Performance of 73%
  6. Arik Air                                On Time Performance of 66%
  7. Ethiopian Airlines                  On Time Performance of 65%
  8. Atlas Blue                             On Time Performance of 63%
  9. Air Zimbabwe                       On Time Performance of 62%
  10. Air Burkina                           On Time Performance of 61%
  11. Air Seychelles                       On Time Performance of 58%
  12. Air Zambezi                          On Time Performance of 58%
  13. Royal Air Maroc                   On Time Performance of 57%
  14. Air Namibia                          On Time Performance of 50%
  15. TunisAir                                On Time Performance of 46% 
  16. Air Algerie                            On Time Performance of 45%
  17. Afriqiyah                               On time Performance of 44%
  18. Sudan Airways                      On Time Performance of 27%
These on-time performance reports for African carriers and airports are generated from FlightStats Analytics. Flightstats track the performance of over 150,000 flights per day worldwide, archive the data for
analysis and publication, and provide real time flight status to millions of travelers world wide each day. For more information about Flightstats, please visit www.flightstats.com (http://www.flightstats.com/).