Rebranding Kenya Airways:What Our airline should look like

 Readers of my blog should now be familiar with Kyle Hwang,the young airline nerd from Pretoria ,South Africa and an aspiring airline livery designer with very interesting ideas.Last month,we blogged about Kyle's redesign of South African Airways livery in which he dared to reintroduce the controversial apartheid era Springbok logo.

When I saw the awesome Redesign ,I was convinced our national carrier,KQ could do with a little help from Kyle.KQ's livery isn't that bad,at least compared to the old KA livery,for once ,our flag colours are boldly displayed but the livery doesn't incorporate any cultural symbol from Kenya!An airline livery(especially for a national carrier) should accentuate the culture and history of the country.What comes to mind when you think of Kenya?Of course the Maasai and the prominent shield on our flag.At the risk of sounding politically incorrect,let me say that that shield,an idea from a brilliant founding father of the country,is "our Springbok" and it should be on our national carrier's livery.
The Kenyan Shield:A symbol of national struggle for freedom

Now Kyle has done a Kenya Airways Redesign incorporating the shield.Here is his take on the livery:

Requested by Sam from Flight Africa. When he asked me to do a KQ livery I was a bit confused. I couldn’t find anything wrong with it. But then after I did some research, I couldn’t find anything right with it either. Complaints that came up were that the brand looks cheap. It was designed by Boeing (who goes to Boeing these days for livery designs I mean c’mon!) and has a typical American cartoonized image of Africa. My attempt strongly uses the colours of the Kenyan flag with the black replaced by a more charcoal colours to give it a more upper class feeling. Gone are those ugly paint splotches at the back as they are replaced with more elegant Kenyan colours. The logo depicts the Samburu shield found on the Kenyan flag with the letter K in the middle. “The Pride of Africa” titles stay. That was at least right  Read Kyle's Blog

 East African Airways:The Airline for Kenya,Uganda and Tanzania

 The "Old" Kenya Airways

 Kenya Airways after the 2005 rebranding

 The future:Time to introduce our national symbol:The shield

What's your take on KQ's livery and the above redesign?
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Aircraft crashed in the Congo after crocodile on board escaped and sparked panic

A stowaway crocodile on a flight escaped from its carrier bag and sparked an onboard stampede that caused the flight to crash, killing 19 passengers and crew in August this year.
The croc had been hidden in a passenger’s sports bag – allegedly with plans to sell it – but it tore loose and ran amok, sparking panic.

The wreck of the Let 140 that crashed in the Congo after a crocodile caused panic onboard
A stampede of terrified passengers caused the small aircraft to lose balance and tip over in mid-air during an internal flight in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The unbalanced load caused the aircraft, on a routine flight from the capital, Kinshasa, to the regional airport at Bandundu, to go into a spin and crash into a house.

Testimony from the sole surviving passenger:
"One of the passengers had hidden the animal, which he planned to sell, in a big sports bag, from which the reptile escaped as the plane began its descent into Bandundu.
"The terrified air hostess hurried towards the cockpit, followed by the passengers."

David Learmount,Operations and Safety auditor at Flight Global concurs that the passenger action(to rush forward) was enough to destabilize the aircraft to cause it to crash.In his post That Crocodile Crash,David explains,"The answer is yes, particularly when the aircraft was so close to the ground that the pilots would have had only seconds to attempt to resolve the situation before impact."

So what should be done to prevent future accidents like this? 
David:  "...the painfully obvious solution to prevent further accidents like it is to prevent passengers bringing crocodiles - or other dangerous animals - on board. But in the DR Congo, which has had the worst aviation accident record in the world for two decades, this sort of event is, unfortunately, just 'part of life's rich tapestry'. "
The crocodile that caused the fateful crash was found and cut into pieces after the accident.

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Uganda CAA to hold hearing on air service licence applications

The long awaited and much overdue public hearing of new and renewal applications for the consideration of air service license applications. It has become practice to administratively grant or deny new applications, depending on their merit while waiting to accumulate enough applications to warrant a public hearing.

According to information availed to this correspondent,the 16 listed applicants-10 of which are ‘new’ and 6 of which are for the renewal of existing licenses-will be required to appear before the licensing committee of the Board of the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority on the 25th of November, starting at 11 a.m. prior to which the committee will have a meeting in ‘camera’.

Venue is the Imperial Royale Hotel in the heart of the city. What has already become apparent though, after the publication of application details, is the proposed use of relatively ‘old’ aircraft by applicants, such as Fokker 27 and Fokker 50, DC 9-30 series aircraft, DC 8 and DC 10 cargo aircraft, which once granted would again make Africa a ‘dumping ground’ of ageing early generation ‘sky howlers’ by companies which clearly value cheap acquisitions over environmental concerns such as carbon and noise emissions. 

Amongst those seeking license renewals are such long standing companies like Eagle Air, Mission Aviation Fellowship, DHL Aviation (Kenya) and the Uganda Air Cargo Corporation, all of which are expected to pass with flying colours considering their records. In comparison Kenya for instance holds quarterly meetings as the demand for air service licenses there leads the entire region, while other member states of the East African Community hold their regular licensing hearings as and when demand so requires.

Source :Wolfgang Thome's Blog

Air Uganda Flies with ZAP

Air Uganda has partnered with mobile phone operator Zain to use its money transfer service ZAP as a ticket payment solution for its customers.Airlines across East Africa have been adopting mobile payment as mobile commerce continues registering a strong growth in the region.last year ,Kenya Airways partnered with Safaricom to offer ticket payment via Safaricom's MPESA service.

A customer will now be able to pay for all domestic and some regional flights by ZAP by simplygoing to their phone menu.You don't have to dial the Air Uganda call centre or login to the website.Here is how it works:
Get the Phone Menu and select Zain
Select ZAP
Select "nickname"
Enter Nick-name "AIRUGANDA"
Enter Amount in Shillings
Enter Password
Enter Reference e.g Sam J. KGL
Wait for Confirmation of Successful transaction

Special IATA Report - Aircraft Financing: Risk and Reward

How to finance new aircraft is always an important decision for airlines. The shocks and stresses of the modern aviation environment make the decision critical

New aircraft are the lifeblood of a growing industry intent on delivering improvements in reliability, environmental performance and fuel efficiency.

Some 12,000 new aircraft are scheduled to be delivered through 2020. They are expensive machines that represent an investment of $1.3 trillion. For an industry that has averaged a loss of $5 billion a year over the past decade, paying for those aircraft is a considerable undertaking.

An airline looking to obtain a new aircraft has a number of options, but each one comes with its challenges. Whether buying an aircraft directly through a secured loan or using one of a variety of leasing opportunities, airlines need to find the right financing vehicle for their business model. “It is a vital decision for any airline CEO,” says Brian Pearce, IATA Chief Economist. “Airlines must get the financing right for a sustainable future.”
The current financial environment is not making life any easier. Kostya Zolotusky, Managing Director of Capital Markets Development at Boeing Capital Corporation, agrees there was a concern over liquidity in 2009, but believes the situation is gradually improving. “The cost of capital is a little more expensive than it was in the 2004-2007 timeframe but, relative to historical norms, its cost and availability are reasonable,” he notes. 

Zolotusky believes the market is generating opportunities, and new structures are enhancing financing options. For example, the adoption of the Cape Town Convention may move Enhanced Equipment Trust Certificates (EETC) beyond their US homeland. A stronger US Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank, the emergence of Chinese banking finance, and the first aircraft-secured Islamic bond transactions also offer plenty of potential. Regulatory frameworks such as Basel II—an enhanced banking agreement that determines the level of capital banks must hold—further improve prospects. Basel II basically allows banks some flexibility in the risk associated with aircraft financing, thereby encouraging deals. “Overall, there is good creativity,” says Zolotusky.
But such innovation sparks an even bigger question: is having access to these creative ideas and what is effectively subsidized finance a good thing for the industry at large? At its root, acquiring new aircraft should be a simple matter of supply and demand. But it rarely is that simple.

At the recent IATA AGM, David Bonderman, founder of the Texas Pacific Group, pointed out that even if airlines go bust, the number of aircraft in the skies doesn’t change. There is never any rationalization in the industry and over-capacity, partly made possible by easy financing, remains the biggest danger. “In most industries, losers lose and go out of business, whereas in the airline business the losers lose but don’t go out of business—they just come round with another name,” Bonderman says.

“1,340 aircraft will be delivered this year and only 500 are for replacement,” agrees Giovanni Bisignani, IATA Director General and CEO. “The discipline of chasing profits, not market share, is the only way to protect the bottom line.”

Buying Time

Aircraft cost a lot of money. But their worth is not only tied up in the nuts and bolts of a state-of the-art asset. Having aircraft on the books involves a lifetime of financial management. The question for airlines is whether taking the trouble to buy an aircraft still represents a shrewd investment?

Kostya Zolotusky, Managing Director of Capital Markets Development at Boeing Capital Corporation, says that an aircraft is an extremely valuable asset. Even if aircraft are expensive they represent good value. “It’s not necessarily the airplane price that matters most but rather how much value can we deliver through the improved efficiencies and capabilities of our products,” he concludes.

Airbus has a similar view, emphasizing that the mobility of aircraft, unlike fixed real-estate, makes it possible to use them anywhere in the world. They can be easily moved to another customer. Like Boeing, the European manufacturer helps customers find financing and is also sourcing new financing possibilities.
Max Sukkhasantikul, Consulting Analyst at the Frost & Sullivan Aerospace & Defense Practice, notes that the commercial life of an aircraft could be as much as 25-30 years if converted to serve the freighter markets. “On its completion of service life, it can be sold for recycling, where at least 50% of its materials can be recycled, which account for approximately 80% of the aircraft weight,” he adds.

Pre-delivery payments

Such value doesn’t come cheaply. Buying an aircraft requires a huge capital outlay even before it arrives. Pre-delivery payments (PDPs) are typically a percentage of list prices. Considering that a smaller aircraft from Airbus or Boeing is about $75 million on the book, airlines will typically have to pay out $15-20 million over two or three years in advance of the aircraft delivery.

It is not easy to obtain PDP financing from traditional sources in the current market, according to most financial commentators. The cost can easily go significantly above Libor (the inter-bank lending rate). Some lenders do finance 100% of PDPs, but these deals tend to be for airlines with stronger credit ratings. For all airlines, utilizing internal resources is a drag on liquidity and PDPs are a deadweight cost that does not increase airline revenue or reduce costs prior to delivery of the aircraft.

Additionally, loans mean a high level of debt and that could be fatal in recessions like the one just witnessed or one-off events such as the ash cloud that shut down European airspace in April.

Owning an aircraft also requires an airline to take residual risk. Assuming a typical depreciation policy that sees an aircraft being depreciated to 15% residual value over 25 years, a $75 million aircraft will be worth $11.25 million at the end of its useful life. Selling it on won’t be easy either.

“Traditional markets such as China, Russia and India don’t want old aircraft any more,” says Chris Tarry, Analyst at CTIARA. “And it is very difficult for African carriers to find the finance to buy them.
“At the same time, depreciation is now commonly worked out at the 16-20 year period rather than 25 years,” he continues. “So we don’t know how the mechanisms at play now will work through the system.”

Currency concerns

The risk is heightened for airlines whose functional currency for accounting purposes is not US dollars. At the time of acquisition, the cost of the aircraft will be translated into home currency at the prevailing exchange rate. As aircraft prices are denominated in US dollars and fixed assets are recorded at historical exchange rates, fluctuations in currency could have a considerable effect on the impairment analysis of the aircraft.

Despite such problems, the data does not show any significant increases in the number of aircraft retirements. So most old aircraft do find a home. For example, some US airlines are flying aircraft that have fully depreciated and are out of their accounting life. “It’s also true that an old aircraft holds its value,” says Brian Pearce, Chief Economist at IATA. “Aircraft residual values in many cases look high compared with the cash flows generated by the airlines operating the asset.”

Opportunities in Leasing

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Guest Blog:Aviation Surge for Morocco

This article is a reblog from the View from Fez.The View from Fez was formed in 2005 to promote interest and understanding of life and culture in the Medina of Fez and Morocco.

Surging passenger arrivals and new links with Europe highlight a healthy period of growth in Morocco’s aviation sector, which has been benefiting from the government’s airport expansion and open skies initiatives,
Passenger traffic for the summer months of May, June and July saw an average percentage point rise of 13% on the prior year, according to data released by Office National Des AĆ©roports, with the kingdom’s airports handling 1.59m passengers in July alone.

Casablanca remains the dominant hub, accounting for 49% of all passenger traffic for the year-to-date period. However, Tangier (37.3%) and Nador (21.8%) all witnessed double-digit passenger growth for the first seven months of 2010, with Fez seeing arrivals grow by 39.2%.

Overall, it has been a bad year for global aviation. The volcanic ash cloud from Iceland playing havoc with air travel for weeks, even forcing the closure of eight of Morocco’s airports for one day in May. The disruption, which forced the cancellation of hundreds of flights, came on top of a 3.5% decline in global passenger demand in 2009, according to the International Air Transport Association.

A Royal Air Maroc 737-500
 Morocco, however, has been an exception to the gloomy outlook, with almost uninterrupted growth in passenger numbers since 2007. A government drive to develop aviation infrastructure and boost visitor numbers has largely been credited for the positive trend.

Between 2005 and 2008 the government launched a €670m strategy to modernize and expand most of the country’s 12 airports. This included a €173m upgrade of Mohammed V Airport in Casablanca, doubling its annual capacity to 8m passengers, as well as terminal upgrades and runway extensions in Tangier, Al Hoceima, Essaouira, Errachidia, Dakhla and Marrakesh.

Office National des Aeroports is inviting firms to pre qualify by September 30 for a huge new terminal project at Marrakech International, which will double the airport’s capacity, and a €56m upgrade of Fez Saiss. Both developments are to be financed through loans from the African Development Bank.

Another significant contributor to growth has been an aviation deal signed between Morocco and the EU in 2006. The open skies agreement, which removed all capacity restrictions, was the first of its kind between the EU and a non-EU member.

The deal allows any number of airlines from the EU and Morocco unlimited rights to fly between any city-pair involving the country and EU member nations without significant restrictions on capacity, frequency or price.

As a result of the accords, a flurry of new airlines have entered the Moroccan market over the last three years. In February 2010, Ryanair, the Irish budget airline, announced a new route between Edinburgh and Marrakesh commencing in May 2010. This was followed by an announcement by the UK-based low-cost carrier EasyJet that it plans to open a new route between Fez and Paris in November 2010. The carrier already operates flights to Casablanca, Marrakesh, Tangier and Agadir. Air Arabia Maroc, a low-cost airline set up as a joint venture between various Moroccan investors and Sharjah's Air Arabia, was also launched in late 2009.

Airlines and airports are not the only beneficiaries of the government’s drive to improve its profile in the aviation sector. In recent years, Morocco has also emerged as an industrial subcontracting base for larger European space and aeronautics contractors. Today the sector employs 7000 workers at 90 companies, with an export volume of €520m.

The country has also created additional incentives to attract new aerospace firms, with total exemption from corporate tax for five years, partial responsibility for personnel technical training costs, and the development or expansion of new special aeronautic industrial areas like Nouasseur, near the Casablanca international airport.

"We want to create 15,000 additional jobs in the aviation sector and want it to generate €360 million of GDP between 2009-2015,” a government official told the Morocco Board News Service, a national news agency, in January. Earlier this year the Ministry of New Technologies and Finance signed a €12 million deal with Zodiac Aerospace Maroc to begin research and production of aeronautical equipment.

In a move likely to further boost passenger arrivals, the Caisse de Depot et de Gestion, a state-run investment fund, announced in September that it would invest €1bn in tourism projects in over the next five years. This comes on top of Morocco’s massive Plan Azur, an ambitious government-backed plan launched in 2002 to boost visitor arrivals to 10m per year.

Provided Morocco continues to invest as enthusiastically in the tourism and transport segments as it has done in recent years, the country’s defiant growth trajectory looks set to continue.

Source:View from Fez

Kenya Airways Cabin Crew Recruitment : Say Yes in just 4 days

We recently wrote a post about Kenya Airways cabin crew recruitment due to close in four days time.Some of our readers have been sending applications for cabin crew positions to us!

If you missed the ad in the newspapers,the original ad is as shown in photo above.Open the photo in a new tab and magnify the text.The text reads as follows:
Kenya Airways is looking for warm,friendly,multilingual cabin crew from across East Africa-Kenya,Tanzania,Uganda,Burundi,Rwanda.If you have experience as cabin crew on any East African Airline,just get in touch with us now and see your career take off with Africa's premier international airline.Send your CV to by 22nd October,2010...Come on,all you have to say is Yes!Oui!Ndio!
Note that they are recruiting experienced cabin crew from other East African Airlines and that the deadline is on 22nd October,2010.
Good Luck and Happy Flying!

South African Airways Website Revamp:Fancy but Slow

If you hadn't noticed,South African Airways just gave their website a brand new look.There no fancy flash introductions and displays.It's been designed with the end user in mind;to simplify the booking process and navigation.
"Lowest fares booked today"
  • It provides travelers/agencies with "list of lowest fares booked today"
  • After you enter where your departure airport,it takes about 2 minutes to calculate the list of possible routes to your destination(more convenient for end user).For example,a one way flight to NBO booked online will yield the following flight and fare options:
Possible routes to my destination in Nairobi(NBO) from Jo'burg(JNB)
  •  The website also has session timeout.meaning that if you open the website and the page is idle after a few minutes,it "times you out" prompting you to go back to the main site(refresh).No idling here guys!I think this is also a security feature to protect personal info when booking your flight.
"Your session has expired":This will be a common feature in the new look SAA website
  •  Onbiz travel:I think this is a new feature.South African Airways’ OnBiz division, is a complete online service for company travel.
  • I love the way they have utilized the bottom of their page.Instead of posting a 1001 links,they simply placed four banners displaying various offers,their environmental program,their AVIS car hire program plus more goodies.This smart use of the bottom page reminds me of the Emirates website!
Smart use of the bottom page of the revamped SAA website
I think most users will love the new look FlySAA website for its pragmatic "first things first" approach:ease of booking and ease of navigation. 
One problem is that the revamped website takes an eternity to load,it took close to 2 minutes to load on my PC and this is one of the reasons it drew ire from some social media users.I wonder how many African travelers,who typically should have low internet speeds will go about accessing SAA's revamped website.

That is why instead of kudos,we had comments like "Note to #airlines launching 'the new look' of your website, before you blast everyone via e-mail & Facebook make sure it works & loads fast"
What do you think of South African Airways revamped website?You can also join the conversion on Twitter.Use the two words #flysaa #website and join the conversation.

Amsale Gualu Endegnanew: Ethiopian Airlines First Female Captain

Ethiopian Airlines today celebrated the maiden flight of its female Captain Amsale Gualu Endegnanew. Captain Amsale proudly took off her first flight from the left hand seat of the flight deck of a Q-400 aircraft from Addis Ababa to Gondar then to Axum and finally returned back to Addis Ababa after a total of 3.6 flight hours.

Captain Amsale Gualu Endegnanew
 Captain Amsale joined Ethiopian Airlines Pilot Training School on July 10, 2000 and started her career as first officer on November 26, 2002. Since then, she has trained and worked on Fokker-50, 757 and 767 aircraft as first officer. Captain Amsale has been able to complete successfully all the necessary training requirements and passed through rigorous checks to gain her four stripes. She has a total of 4475 flight hours under her belt when she becomes the commander-in-chief of her flight.

Ato Tewolde G. Mariam, Designate Chief Executive Officer of the airline, families and friends of Captain Amsale warmly welcomed her at the Addis Ababa International Airport on her return flight from Axum. During the occasion, Ato Tewolde said, "We congratulate Captain Amsale on her outstanding achievement. Captain Amsale deserves the recognition as she has demonstrated tremendous dedication to reach the pinnacle."

In her brief statement to the audience of staff, friends and family members Captain Amsale said, "It is a great privilege to become the first female captain of the national carrier. I have been trained and passed through various ladders at Ethiopian Airlines. The company has been very supportive of my efforts to realize my vision of becoming a captain."

Congratulating Captain Amsale on the occasion, Wzo Elizabeth Getachew, A/Senior Vice President Human Resource Management and the highest ranking female executive in the airline said, "Captain Amsale’s success is a great achievement on her part and it is also an achievement for the airline. It is my hope that other females will be inspired by her success and Ethiopian will see more female candidates in the near future"
Ethiopian currently has four female pilots working as first officers.

Captain Amsale Gualu

Captain Amsale Gualu with colleagues

Ethiopian Airlines Amsale Gualu popping some champagne

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Flight Africa Blog Interview with OneJetOne CEO,Arjun Ruzaik

Kenyans should wait until the second quarter of next year for the launch of OneJetOne airlines.That is somewhere between April-June,2011.The airline has been postponing its launch date in the last two years and there had been even rumours flying around that it would never launch at all.
OneJetOne CEO Arjun Ruzai
At the request of our readers,Flight Africa blog conducted a phone interview on Thursday,October 14,2010 with OneJetOne CEO Mr.Arjun Ruzaik on the progress of the airline.Read On and we welcome your comments on the interview.

When will OneJetOne launch flights in Kenya? Any specific dates?
We will launch in the second quarter on next year (2011).
What is holding you back?
Many  factors. The fact that this is a long  process; the level of investments that’s needed for our business model;  lack of type-rated  Kenyan pilots and engineers;  getting international investors to invest in a developing country; the list goes on & on
Former Transport Minister Chirau Ali is on record saying that the tendering process that culminated in you acquiring the old Embakasi Airport was flawed. Did you receive a notification letter from the Kenya Airports Authority for the cancellation of the tender?
That was his opinion. The former Minister is entitled to his opinion on this matter. As far as I know, the tendering process was open & transparent, and we did not receive any letter.
Thousands applied to work with OneJetOne. A local  daily claimed that you received over 17,000 applications for various posts at OneJetOne. Did you recruit any staff and what is their status now?
That’s correct & yes, we have recruited a skeleton staff for the moment.  We have also shortlisted some and we will recruit the balance commencing early next year.
You are planning to charge very low fares. Do you think such low fares would be viable on routes like JNB,LHR given that other LCCs have kept to domestic routes or regional hubs?
If you look at Air Asia Malaysia, it charges very low fares over long haul sectors and is doing extremely well. I think if you follow the right business model,  then you will definitely be successful.
Talking of Air Asia, what is the relationship between OneJetOne and AirAsia?
There is no relationship at all. I was involved in launching Air Asia Sri Lanka but the government of SriLanka blocked our certification process. I was the owner of Air Asia Sri Lanka.
 Is Tony Fernandes behind the launch of OneJetOne in Kenya?
Tony Fernandes owns AirAsia Malaysia  and Air Asia is not involved with OneJetOne in any way.
What’s your assessment of the LCC market in East Africa? Is the market ready for a new airline?
Absolutely. As long as you follow the right business model, you are  very well funded,…. The market is definitely ready
Any updates on aircraft leasing? Will you go for MD-87,Bombardier CRJs or Airbus?
If you look at our website, we have clearly indicated that we will be using Airbus A320 and A330.
What role has social media-Twitter,Facebook-played in communicating your progress and reassuring your staff and future customers?
I am a firm believer in social media. You’ll  see that I use Facebook a lot to update and network and very soon we will have a profile on Twitter too. Social media is a firm part of our marketing strategy and will form part of our marketing strategy in the future. It is also very cost effective.
A blog?
Yes, we will have a blog too ,at the right time.
With your proposed low fares, what frills will be there or are you planning on being the RyanAir of Africa?
You will have to pay for meals and drinks. So yes there will be frills but you pay for them separately. We are not planning to be the RyanAir of Africa BUT the OneJetOne of Kenya !
What is Arjun Ruzaik’s favorite pastime when he is not busy working on OneJetOne?
My pastime when am not working on OneJetOne?....... OneJetOne

So, what do you think about the interview? Let’s discuss in comments, and over on Twitter
Special Thanks to Mr.Arjun Ruzaik for accepting our interview  request.

Image of the Day:747 Taking off from Amsterdam Schipol Airport

EVA Air Boeing 747-45EM taking off off from runway 36L at Amsterdam-Schipol Netherlands.The great timing and angle just makes this shot,and the size of the 747 look surreal seeing the distance to the fence was a mere 145 metres(475ft)!
I wonder if anyone computed the take off distance prior to the trip?
This is an amazing picture of a disaster that didn't happen.Weight and balance calculations are a critical part of flight safety.From the looks of this 747,the weight was within the CG envelope,but if they'd have added one more 'marshmallow' to each snack tray,this bird might not have cleared the fence!

View Image on Flickr

Courtesy Nagel Borsella

Kenya Airways Strike:KQ Welcomes the Appointment of a Conciliator

This a Press Release by Kenya Airways as posted on their Facebook Page:

Kenya Airways has welcomed the appointment of a conciliator to facilitate talks between Kenya Airways management and the Aviation &Allied Workers Union (AAWU) Kenya. Chief Industrial Relations Officer at the Ministry of Labour and Human Resource Development Mrs. Alice Tabu, has appointed Mr. S.M. Mbae from the Labour headquarters to conciliate the two parties, in accordance with section 70(1) of the Labour Relations Act 2007.
Kenya Airways CEO Dr.Titus Naikuni(R) and HR Director Pual Kasimu
Mr. Mbae has subsequently convened a conciliation meeting tomorrow, 13/10/2010, inviting both management and the union to the talks. As a result of the new developments, Kenya Airways CEO, Dr. Titus Naikuni, has moved to reassure KQ passengers, investors and general public that the airline operations will function as scheduled.

“98 flights are all scheduled to operate tomorrow and we have no reason to cancel any flight due to staff strike which has now been declared illegal by the Industrial Court,” says Dr. Naikuni. The airline has also welcomed the move by the Secretary General of Central Organization of Trade Unions (COTU), requesting its affiliate union to call off the strike and return to the negotiating table for further talks.

Reaffirming the airline’s commitment to dialogue and to following the laid down dispute resolution procedures, Dr. Naikuni said the management was always open for negotiations with the Union.  “We have diligently adhered to the process and agreements that we have signed with the Union and there is no time that we have acted in breach of this process” said Dr. Naikuni.

Meanwhile,some 600 workers are currently(2pm Nairobi time) voting on whether to push ahead with the strike from Tuesday midnight.SubSaharan Africa's third largest airline has reassured passengers of uninterrupted flight operations should the workers proceed with the strike.


Kenya Airways Strike:Airline goes on Crew Poaching

Middle Eastern pilots have always been accused of pilot poaching,enticing pilots with loads of money and tax free lifestyles.With the pending strike,Kenya Airways has taken cue from its Middle Eastern rivals and is busy poaching cabin crew from other East African carriers.

Reads an ad in a local daily:
Kenya Airways is looking for warm,friendly,multilingual cabin crew from across East Africa-Kenya,Tanzania,Uganda,Burundi,Rwanda.If you have experience as cabin crew on any East African Airline,just get in touch with us now and see your career take off with Africa's premier international airline....Come on,all you have to say is Yes!Oui!Ndio!
Kenya Airways Cabin Crew Recruitment ad(courtesy The Daily Nation)

The management of carriers like Jetlink,Air Uganda,Fly540,Rwandair should be facing a cabin crew hemorrhage in the next one month.Every cabin crew in East Africa dreams of working for Kenya Airways and the pending strike has offered them a golden opportunity to work for the Pride of Africa.

This is a sure sign that the management of KQ is planning to get tough with the Kenya AAWU union this time round;last August,the airline lost Ksh600million($8m) in just two days of a strike that left thousands of passengers stranded and momentarily paralysed the Kenyan horticulture industry that desperately depends on air transport to access markets in Amsterdam,Paris and London.The airline is busy recruiting while at the same time leaving avenues for negotiations with a union that has been described as full of "economically inept but politically well trained agitators".

The recruitment exercise is being channeled via a Flamingo Air email domain.For those with a bad memory,Flamingo Airlines was the Kenya Airways budget subsidiary from 2000-2003 which was eventually reabsorbed into KQ family in 2004.It seems the domain was been revived just in time to handle recruitment during this time of crisis.

Kenya Airways usually handles recruitment directly via its Career Site on its website.So why has KQ suddenly revived the domain and passed it off as a "Recruitment Company for Kenya Airways" just a few days ago?That is food for thought for the applicants.

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Opinion:Kenya Airways Strike,Aviation and Allied Workers Union Once Again Shows its True Face

Kenya’s Aviation and Allied Workers Union, notorious for their contemptuous behaviour just over a year ago, when it ignored a court order and went ahead with industrial action against Kenya Airways, is once more in the bad press when news emerged earlier this week of yet another breach of agreement.
                              Kenya Airways crew went on strike in 2009 demanding a 130% pay rise(photocredit

Kenya Airways last year entered into an agreement with the union under the auspices of the country’s labour ministry and the trade union umbrella body, and to the letter implemented the payment obligations including a back dated increase in allowances for their crews.

However, as if that were not enough, the union has now issued another strike threat if the backdating would not be extended by a further 15 months beyond the threshold agreed a year ago and already paid for.

Aviation observers in Kenya are jittery over the prospects of more industrial action, which could likely expand across other airlines too, being already faced with staff shortages, in particular cockpit crew, for which wages according to one source have nearly doubled over the past few years. This however was market driven as simply not enough ‘fresh’ pilots are coming on the market at present and many have succumbed to the overtures of airlines based in the middle East, where ‘greener pastures’ await them upon signing contracts and becoming ‘expatriates’.

Kenya Airways has been countering this move by offering comprehensive pilot training opportunities but then also ‘bonding’ the new graduates of their in house aviation academy, to allow at least the recovery of the substantial training cost over several years, while other airlines have been resorting to offering pilots from further abroad chances to fly, albeit at substantially increased cost.

The airline has blamed these latest developments on disputes within the union hierarchy, where indeed some of the officials who signed the deal with KQ in August 2009 have since been replaced by a new breed of apparently economically inept but politically well trained agitators, portraying union behaviour and lines of thought in the worst tradition of the British trade unions before the ‘Iron Lady’ Baroness Thatcher confronted them head on in her days as the UK”s prime minister and pulled their poison fangs.

Should the union not be reined in by their peers at COTU, the central organisation of trade unions in Kenya, undoubtedly the aviation sector would be appealing to government to look at improved legislation which would compel unions to adhere to signed agreements while still in force and make wild cat strikes less possible or even illegal, combined with a high and deterrent financial and personal cost for the promoters of such activities.

This article is a reblog from Wolfganghthome's blog and the opinions expressed herein do not reflect the opinions of the bloggers at Flight Africa Blog
Article Courtesy Wolfganghthome's Blog

Delta Airlines Snubs Kenya Once More

After the recent inaugural flight between Atlanta and Monrovia / Liberia, NOT extended as long planned to Nairobi for reasons of ‘security’, a misnomer behind which much is hidden these days, news are now emerging that the airline is planning more routes to Africa in early 2011.

It was learned from a source in Nairobi closely monitoring Delta’s African network plans, that apparently Dakar and Luanda flights will be launched in January next year, while the fate of Nairobi continues to hang in the balance as American government sources allegedly continue to have their ‘thumbs down’ on applications to commence flights to East Africa.

Said one regular source: ‘they [Delta] may only get clearance when the works at JKIA are completed. We keep hearing that the separation of arriving and departing passengers is a big issue for the Americans, but frankly if the European and big Middle East airlines can make it work, why not US airlines. We think there is more at work behind the scenes than logistical reasons or their obscure ‘security concerns’ which they have overcome in other destinations. For us as Kenyans the best way forward would be if Kenya Airways could start to fly to the US on their own to open the market but they do not have enough aircraft, guess why by the way, because Boeing has failed to deliver.’

Post Courtesy Wolfganghthome's Blog

South African Airways wants more Black Pilots

A 16-year initiative by South African Airways (SAA) to fill more of its pilot jobs with people from previously disadvantaged communities is failing, and has seen the South African Air Force (SAAF) step in to offer assistance.

One of the transformation programme's stated intentions was to train more black African pilots, but figures from last year still show that white men dominate the field. Figures from last year show that, of SAA's 789 pilots, 657 of them are white and just 37 of them are black.
Asnath Mahapa ,the first black female trainee pilot at South African Airways,is an inspiration to most young South African blacks who aspire for careers as pilots.On her role as a role model to young black women in South Africa,Asnath says,"I think it's something that could open a lot of doors for young black South Africans - and especially women. Me, achieving what I did, I hope it can give more black people flying as a career option."

Black crew only began to appear on South African Airways in the dying days apartheid.

Aviation in Angola:TAAG Moves Towards Excellence

Aviation in Angola is slowly having a fresh breath of life after decades of disasters as the African nation's economy roars full steam ahead.What do you know about Angola's flag carrier,TAAG?What does the future hold for Angola's flag carrier?

DTA,the predecessor of TAAG's airline was an institution established on September 8,1938.It is therefore considered the "Mother" of TAAG-Angola Airlines,which celebrates 72 years of existences this year.DTA started flying in 1940,2 years after its creation,with Dragon Rapid,Klemen and Leopard Moth planes beginning with domestic routes Luanda-Mocamedes Luanda-Lobito.Its first international flight was Luanda-Ponta Negra(Congo Brazzaville).

In 1948,the company bought DC-3 and Douglas Aircrafts and in 1962 it bought Fokker Friendships F-27.In 1973,the DTA became a mixed capital company designated TAAG-Angola Airlines SARL,with the majority of its capital belonging to the government of Angola,30% TAP and the rest distributed amongst private shareholders.

After independence in 1975,TAAG began flying between Luanda and Lisbon,operating with Portuguese aircraft with the initials DT from TAAG.In Angola,the jet age began in 1976,with the acquisition of the first Boeing 737-200.This also marked the introduction of the current symbol of the Giant Sable Antelope.This was followed by the Boeing 707 which provided a high growth for the company.

In two years,1977-1979,the company had a growth from 230,000 passengers in domestic flights to 795,947.In 1986,TAAG was flying one million passengers at atime when civil war meant that air transport was the only link between the provinces.TAAG,unlike other African airlines,was in fact sustained by domestic flights as war meant that roads and waterways were heavily mined as war raged on thus rendering them impassable.

The years 1993/1994 were marked by the opening of the Harare and Johannesburg routes while the reopening of the Lusaka scale occurred in 1995.In 1997,TAAG began operating with Boeing 747 in the Lisbon,Johannesburg,Paris and Rio de Janeiro routes.

 But the true renewal of TAAG's fleet happened in 2006 ,with the acquisition of two Boeing 777-208 and four 737-700 ER NG.The year 2007 was however a dark year for TAAG when the European Union included the airline in the list of airlines banned from flying in the EU,the so called blacklist.This led to new measures for the "refoundation" of the company.

In a short time,TAAG managed to adapt to new legislation and civil aviation regulations to meet the requirements for the IATA Operational Safety Audit(IOSA),hence becoming a full IATA member and returning to the European Skies.TAAG management ,marked the year 2009 as "the beginning of a new era,toward excellence".The airline has opened new routes from Luanda to Dubai,Sao Paulo,Cape Town,Central Africa and reopened the Havana scale.

The year 2010 saw the launch of a new website and orders for two B777-300 aircraft and more codeshares with other international airlines.Fans of TAAG will expect the airline to introduce a frequeny flyer program soon,perhaps by 2011.It has been said that with the entry of Ethiopian Airlines into Star Alliance,Africa has been fished dry of potential alliance partners.Could Angola's TAAG be a future alliance candidate on its match towards excellence?

A Brighter Future Ahead for African Aviation Industry

The last two weeks has exposed very bright and promising signs for African aviation.For many observers, it was a week that left us amazed at the potential and future prospects.

First, aviation history was written in the land of Mandela when South Africa’s petrochemical giant Sasol took to the skies with the world’s first fully synthetic fuel-powered flight. In earlier post, we had argued that African firms should be at the forefront of innovation in and adoption of greener technologies because Africa suffers the most from global warming to which aviation contributes 2%.

The next great news was the acceptance of Ethiopian Airlines as a future Star Alliance member. There are now three African airlines-Egypt Air(MS),South African Airways(SAA) and Ethiopian Airlines(ET) in the Star Alliance and one Sky Team Member(Kenya Airways) in three corners of Africa.
Thirdly, market studies, conducted by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) as well as by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), show that Africa is forecast to have the second highest growth rate in air traffic over the coming years.

Demand will mainly stem from economic growth made possible by increasing political stability and creating better business climate on the continent. African airlines are projected to return to profitability in 2010 for the first time since 2002 in response to the renewed economic activity and bolstered by what IATA describes as "a decade of cost-cutting, restructuring, and re-engineering." Reflecting these developments, projections for African airline profits stand at a USD100 million profit in 2010, with a breakeven result anticipated for 2011. According to the IMF, in its Jul-2010 Economic Update, growth in Sub-Sahara Africa is expected to increase by 4.5% in 2010 and 4.9% in 2011, following growth of 2.9%.

Another event that might have gone unnoticed was Air France’s celebration of 75 years of service Africa. Air France first operated flights between Toulouse and Dakar and soon after to Pointe-Noire in the Congo in 1936 and has developed a solid African route network over the years. Together with Kenya Airways and KLM,the three Sky Team members expect are bracing themselves for a bruising duel with Star Alliances’ aggressive foray onto the continent.

The only dark spot in African aviation is once again West Africa and to an extent Central Africa.There is general agreement that Africa may be “tapped out” hence availability of additional African alliance partners is getting thin once KQ,ET ,SAA and MS have been taken into the alliances.Nigeria’s Arik Air is considered a future alliance candidate to cover West Africa’s “white spot”.There is also talk that the three African carriers in the Star Alliance are mulling a joint subsidiary to cover western Africa, a reinforcement that would see Star Alliance challenge rival Sky Team, which is well positioned  in that part of Africa owing to networks operated by one of its founding members, Air France.
Finally,we just love this shot released by Boeing of  the first Boeing 747 rolled out of the factory in Everett, WA on October 1st 1968