Senegal Airlines announces new services to Central Africa

The new Senegalese airlines company, Senegal Airlines, on Tuesday announced the opening of new services to Cotonou (Benin), Libreville (Gabon) and Douala (Cameroon) from Dakar, with a technical stopover in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire.

A communiqué issued by Senegal Airlines said the opening of new stopovers is made possible by the arrival of a third Airbus A320, which will go into operation early July.

According to the communiqué, the new flight schedule of the company is characterized by the reinforcement of the Dakar-Abidjan service, adding that the airline will propose 14 weekly non-stop flights between both capitals, with schedules adapted to the needs of the business clientele (daily departures from Dakar)

The opening of new direct services to depart Abidjan to Bamako and Cotonou: three times per week (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday); to Libreville: two times per week (Wednesday, Sunday); to Douala: two times per week (Monday, Friday), it also announced.

Non-stop flights between Dakar and Ouagadougou: two times per week on Thursdays and Saturdays was also announced, in replacement of the flights operated hitherto via Bamako and non-stop flights between Dakar and Praia (Cape Verde): two times per week, on Fridays and Sundays.

Senegal Airlines will serve all these destinations with the assistance of its strategic partner, Emirates, for the transportation of the passengers to Dubai and beyond towards the Asian continent.

Nigeria grounds US$51m presidential jet over safety issue

Nigeria's aviation authorities have grounded a presidential jet which was recently acquired at a cost of US$51 million, following an Emergency Airworthiness Directive (EAD) from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).
 EASA has stopped the Falcon 7X plane, acquired from Dassault Aviation of France, from flying globally, over a recent safety development.

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) subsequently grounded the plane, in compliance with the EAD on the Falcon 7X type of planes.

''It is pertinent to point out that this EAD affected all Falcon 7X worldwide and the owner of the affected aircraft type in Nigeria has already grounded the one in its fleet,'' NCAA said in a statement.

“There is therefore no cause for alarm as the authority is on top of it and is not relenting in its efforts to ensure that air travel is saver in Nigeria."

About 70 days after the new N7 billion presidential jet, Falcon 7X, touched down at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, from the manufacturer’s factory in France, Dassault Aviation, France, European authorities have banned the jet from flying in Europe and other parts of the world over safety issues.

The ban, an Emergency Airworthiness Directive, which was issued on Thursday by the European Aviation Safety Agency, the agency that regulates Dassault as well as the European aviation industry, took immediate effect, from May 27, 2011.

The EASA’s grounding of the worldwide fleet of Dassault’s Falcon 7X executive jets came hours after one of the aircraft encountered an in-flight anomaly that could have caused the pilots to lose control.

The EASA directive, which was published on Thursday, said that the jet “experienced an uncontrolled pitch trim runaway during descent. The crew succeeded in recovering a stable situation and performed an uneventful landing.”

An analysis of the plane’s Digital Flight Data Recorder and Fault History Database confirmed the event, EASA said, but the cause of the pitch trim runaway couldn’t be explained.

“This condition, if it occurs again, could lead to the loss of control of the aeroplane,” the EASA notice said.

However, the Cologne, Germany-based safety agency said in its Emergency Airworthiness Directive that the decision to halt all flight operations of Dassault’s flagship jet came at the request of the Paris-based company.
The Falcon 7X is one of the three brand new planes ordered for the presidential fleet last year. The others are another Falcon 7X and a G550 aircraft. Only one of the planes has been delivered.

The flagship of the presidential fleet, tagged Nigerian Air Force One, is a Boeing Business Jet (BBJ).

The Africa Aviation ICT Forum Kicks Off in Johannesburg

A notable event will kick off in Johannesburg South Africa in a few hours’ time at the Protea Hotel Balalaika Sandton: The Africa Aviation ICT Forum that will bring together aviation ICT professionals from across the continent to discuss very interesting issues on aviation and information technology in Africa. If you work in an airline Information Services Department, this is definitely a conference for you! The conference is intended for CIOs and IT managers in the aviation industry.

The event will be hosted by the African Airlines Association, SITA and the Airports Council International (ACI) so expect the who’s who’s of African aviation at this meeting. This leading pan-industry event provides a unique opportunity to identify and understand the trends that will shape the airline business, focusing on the transformational role that technology can play.

Top level industry speakers will discuss such key issues as: Passenger management, Airline business transformation, Airport management and infrastructure Air traffic management and transportation security
IT managers will learn how new technologies and lifestyle changes make customer service requirements increasingly sophisticated, demanding the industry to constantly re-evaluate strategies and be prepared to evolve. Delegates will brainstorm:

·    Why airlines need to maximize revenue in a fast-changing and increasingly commoditized environment?
·    Is the Airport a real Hub of the Aviation?
·    Why industry and governments want to see greater systems efficiencies while maintaining the same high levels of passenger security or better?
·    How can intense market pressures characterised by increasing flights, passengers and baggage demand services be delivered quicker, more efficiently and at a lower cost?

Delegates and my blog readers will benefit from:
·    Being updated on the latest trends and expert analysis of the Aviation industry
·    Hearing from recognised and respected industry speakers
·    Networking opportunities with peers
·    Having 1 to 1 sessions with industry experts

While I will be far away from Sandton, I will be sipping coffee from my favorite Nairobi Café, I intend to aggregrate all the conversation from the speakers and regularly update our readers on the going ons down South. That’s the power of social media folks, you can attend meetings without attending. Follow our Tweets @FlyEU for regular updates. You can use the hashtag #AAvICTF on Twitter since the organizers did not mind to create a neither Twitter profile for the event nor a Twitter hashtag to track the conversation.

See you later!

Wayne Rooney-the new Star of Turkish Airlines!

Manchester United may have fallen in the European Cup Final to the mighty Barcelona, arguably the greatest club team in football history, but its sponsor Turkish Airlines remains firmly Europe’s top airline.

Passengers onboard Turkish Airlines will be shown an inflight safety video with a difference – featuring the Manchester United players – in another display of why its incredible service led to Turkish Airlines winning “Europe’s Leading Airline”.

 The video features Wayne Rooney, Darren Fletcher, Chris Smalling, Nani, Rafael and Fabio da Silva recreating scenes a little different from the standard safety video, in a bid to make safety and inflight comfort information more engaging for their passengers.

The team mates feature in comedic sketches that play on the descriptions given in the official voiceover of the correct safety procedures to be followed in the event of an emergency.

Turkish Airlines are hoping that this unique approach will encourage passengers to pay close attention to the video and highlight the importance of inflight safety.

The video will be screened in cabins on all Turkish Airlines flights from June 2011.
Wayne Rooney, who scored United’s only goal in the final, said: “It’s always good fun to work with your team mates away from the pitch and today’s filming has been great. Hopefully our involvement with the video will make people more safety aware when travelling with Turkish Airlines. ”

Turkish Airlines Senior Vice President-Media Relations, Dr. Ali Genc: “We’re very proud to once again be collaborating with Manchester United. The club is an incredibly strong brand and we hope that our customers benefit from the relationship that has been developed between Turkish Airlines and Manchester United. Manchester United is one team that we’re always happy to work with!”

To watch the video click here
Turkish Airlines provides passengers with connections to over 77 destinations covering North America and Europe.

The airline has played a pivotal role in Istanbul’s emergence as a business and cultural hub. This was reflected at the 2010 World Travel Awards when the national carrier was voted “Europe’s Leading Airline Business Class”, following a year in which it grew market share and continued to upgrade its fleet despite a backdrop of one of the harshest downturns in aviation history.

Last year Turkish Airlines added a new class on its flights, in addition to the economy and business offerings, and opening doors for new privileges in the sky.

Passengers are now able to experience comfort in “Comfort Class” at inexpensive rates. The new class is situated between the Economy Class and Business Class. Its purpose is to combine the convenience of Business Class with the reasonable purchasing rates of Economy Class.

Turkish Airlines introduced the “Comfort Class” on trunk routes to Beijing, Shanghai, Narita, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Sao Paulo and Toronto on its the new B777 aircraft.

And as the airline’s new B777s join the fleet the Comfort Class is being rolled out on the flights to New York, Chicago, Washington D.C. and Los Angeles as well.

Libyan Aviation Industry a major casualty of the UN No-Fly Zone Resolution and the long drawn civil war

As Libya continues to suffer from almost daily damaging air strikes from planes and missiles of NATO, as it claims to enforce a no fly-zone over the north African country under a UN Security Council resolution, air transport has emerged as one of the most serious casualties of the bombings.

The no-fly-zone over Libya, which includes civil aviation, is seriously threatening the country’s air transport sector which had just begun to recover from the embargo imposed from 1990 to 2003 by the United Nations to pressure Libya into handing over two men suspected of involvement in the Lockerbie bombing.

Libya had worked hard and tirelessly and at huge costs to catch up after falling behind following the air embargo which grounded its planes, making the sector suffer huge losses at the technical, material and human levels.
Afriqiyah Airlines was a symbol of Libya's pan African ambitions following the lifting of crippling sanctions against Libya
 Libya adopted a liberalization policy to open the country to the market in which the aviation sector occupied a predominant place with the setting up of several private and state-owned companies including Libyan Arab airlines, Afriqiyah Airways, Al-Buraq and several local private airlines.

This policy, for example, pushed Afriqiyah Airways, with an African vocation, to the rank of a world company, linking the African continent to the rest of the world.

Afriqiyah specialized in linking African and European capitals and, in this respect, flies to 72 destinations across the world via Tripoli.

Africans countries served by the airline are South Africa, Chad, Burkina Faso, Benin, DR Congo, Central African Republic, Cameroon, Egypt, Ghana, Sudan, Ivory Coast, Mali, Togo, Niger and Senegal.

In Europe and in the world, Afriqiyah serves France, Belgium, Germany, Italy, UK, Denmark, United Arab Emirates, China and Bangladesh.

Set up in the wake of the collapse of Air Afrique in 2002, Afriqiyah Airways, which chose 9-9-99 as logo to commemorate the date for the launch of the African Union (AU) in the Gulf of Sirte, Libya had the objective of a strategic vision to serve as an African integration tool at a competitive fare.

Within the framework of the modernization of its fleet, Afriqiyah Airways in late 2010 signed an agreement to purchase 23 planes of various types from Airbus, the European air plane manufacturer.

The European Union decided to freeze the assets of Afriqiyah following  the recent sanctions against the Libyan regime because it is a subsidiary of Libyan African Investment Portfolio.

But this does nothing but worsens the Libyan air transport sector which records delay at both the level of technological progress and vocational training and the huge material damage due to the loss of markets.

If fares for urban and inter-urban transport have increased by 5-10 times in Libyan cities, the imposition of a no-fly zone has led, inevitably, to an air embargo that has grounded planes.

Many citizens are complaining about the new situation imposed by the air embargo which limits their freedom of movement.

For Hadj Mohamed Al-Hadi, a Libyan businessman who is used to going abroad very often, "to go, for example, to Cairo, Egypt, it takes between eight and fifteen days, although it takes a maximum of three hours by plane".

Actually, he said, “to travel to Cairo presently, one must leave Tripoli for Tunis by car (a day of travel at least), be at the airline counters of Tunis Air or Egypt Air the following day while not being sure to find a seat for the next flight. For, the only possibility that presents itself is a booking in 15 days, at least, to be sure to have a seat”.

Ahmed Abdelmalek, a student in Egypt, laments the fact that one must "be physically present and pay cash for the ticket, not taking into consideration the hotel and cost of meals, taxi fares and other transport costs”.

On enduring all that ordeal, it is legitimate for Libyan citizens to wonder if the UN resolutions are motivated by the concern to protect civilian populations or to stifle Libyan civilian population.

That reality should hit the UN, the Security Council, NATO and the international community to be aware of the impact of the resolutions on civilian populations and to act to revise them.

This would be in a bid to avoid taking hostage civilians whom they want to protect by realizing rather belatedly, unfortunately, that the said resolutions have been made to implement political programmes.

Mali to expand Bamako-Senou International Airport runway

The runway at the Bamako-Senou International Airport will be lengthened by 500 metres, according to an agreement signed by the CEO of the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA-Mali), Ms. Nene Traoré, and the representative of the Razel-SOGEA-SATOM company, Jacques Tijoli.
The project is part of the modernization and expansion of the airport, which includes, the reinforcement and expansion of aircraft movement areas.The project cost is estimated at 21 billion CFA francs, financed by the US government through the Millennium Challenge Corporation.

Completion is expected in September 2012.

2 die in Nigeria plane crash

A beech aircraft with registration number N364UZ on Tuesday crashed at Barkalahu, a village in Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State, killing the two crew members.
 The pilot said to be a British pilot and a Nigerian Engineer with the maintenance company died when the plane crashed into a farm and busted into flame after a delayed arrival of rescue operation.

It was gathered that the plane crashed at about 12 noon and exploded about 12.30pm, while rescue team which include fire fighters, the Police, Airforce and other security agents arrived the place about 12.52pm.

The aircraft belonging to Shoreline International, a local oil servicing firm was said to be on a test flight after undergoing routine maintenance at DANA Nigeria Limited, an aircraft maintenance company.

The plane which must have developed fault midair almost crashed into one of the buildings within the premises of the National Open University of Nigeria after hovering in the air for a while.

Director General of the National Emergency Management Agency, Alhaji Mohammed Sani Sidi who was at the scene of the crash describe the accident as very sad and unfortunate.


Jetlink, one of Kenya’s privately owned airlines, has reportedly halted operations between Nairobi and Hargeisa, the capital of the self-proclaimed region of Somaliland, in the face of low passenger numbers and for added ‘operational reasons’. Last year East African Safari Air Express also withdrew from the same route, eventually halting all traffic, before being taken over by Fly 540 Aviation.
 The withdrawal of Jetlink is now leaving Fly 540 as the only scheduled airline to serve the route, which has according to a source in Nairobi caused an angry reaction by the government of Somaliland.

The ministry overseeing air transport in Somaliland has served the Kenyan airline with notice now that their traffic rights had been cancelled as a result of stopping flights causing an additional spat between the parties over allegations from Hargeisa that suggested ‘lies had been peddled’ – something which could not be independently verified however other than confirming that Jetlink was definitely off that route.

Fly 540 Aviation Offers Juba fare via Nairobi

At a cost of US Dollars 398, terms and conditions apply, for a return flight has Fly 540 now gone into direct competition with Air Uganda for passengers to South Sudan’s capital Juba. Initial feedback has it that a number of passengers are ready to fly the slightly longer distance via Nairobi, as it permits them to catch two flies in a stroke, combining a business or private visit in Nairobi with their final destination of Juba.

Fly 540 is using their CRJ aircraft on both sectors while Air Uganda, which flies nonstop from Entebbe, uses both their CRJ and as demand increases their remaining MD87.

Special fares on the route are now expected to counter this latest competitive twist in the East African skies, where in particular Kenya Airways has made headway in carving out greater market shares on the Kenya domestic but also the regional market.

The current tourist low season has not yet seen any significant reduction in capacity for instance between Nairobi and Mombasa / Malindi leaving aviation observers wondering when a major realignment of capacity and prices will be sprung on the market.

Nigerian airlines lose $48 million to aviation fuel scarcity

Nigerian airlines have lost $48 million($1=150 naira) to the scarcity of aviation fuel, known as Jet-A1, in the past two weeks, the local Business day newspaper reported Monday .

It said the scarcity, which has pushed up the price of the fuel from 98 naira to 160 naira per litre, has forced many domestic airlines to cut scheduled flights or cancelled them altogether.

Worst hit by the scarcity is Arik Air, the country's largest airline which has reduced its daily flights from 120 to 80, as well as the second largest, Aero, which has cut flights from 80 daily to between 40 and 45.

The third largest, Air Nigeria, as well as IRS Airlines have also scaled down their operations.

Because of the high cost of Jet-A1 in Nigeria, both local and international airlines now prefer to refuel their aircraft in neighbouring countries like Ghana, Togo and elsewhere.

The Director-General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Harold Demuren, said while marketers had raised the price of their product over time, the carriers had only marginally increased air fares.

“The price of aviation fuel in Nigeria is ridiculously too high. We need to knock this down. We are working on it and I believe we will be able to do this. We can’t continue this way,'' the paper quoted him as saying.

The marketers have attributed the cost of the product to high cost of import.

Nigeria, which is Africa's top oil producer, imports most of the refined petroleum needed for domestic consumption as local refineries operate far below installed capacity.

Emirates to launch A380 service to Munich from Jan 2012

Just received the breaking news via Twitter. Emirates is on the grand match towards global conquest. The airline will launch the A380 service on Dubai – Munich EK049/050 service, replacing current Boeing 777-300 flight from Jan 12. Earlier in the month, the airline launched the A380 on Rome and Johannesburg routes.


Events: Africa Aviation ICT Forum

Region: Africa
Location: Johannesburg
Start: 31 May 2011
End: 2 June 2011
 ACI Africa, AFRAA and SITA will host the 4th annual Africa Aviation ICT Forum, at the Protea Hotel Balalaika Sandton in Johannesburg.

This leading pan-industry event provides a unique opportunity to identify and understand the trends that will shape your business, focusing on the transformational role that technology can play.
Top level industry speakers will discuss such key issues as:
  • Passenger management
  • Airline business transformation
  • Airport management and infrastructure
  • Air traffic management and transportation security

South African Airways will target Asia's leisure, meetings and conventions market

South African Airways will target Asia's leisure and meetings and conventions market to offset a downturn in passenger volumes caused by the winding down of mainland-backed construction projects in Africa. The move coincides with the planned launch later this year of direct flights between Beijing and  Johannesburg that will augment the carrier's existing daily service  between Hong Kong and Johannesburg.

 Jeff Naylor, the carrier's regional general manager for North Asia, said the number of mainland workers travelling to Africa had "dropped back a bit" from the peak at the end of 2009. But there was still "a significant amount" which justified the launch of the three-times-a-week Beijing- Johannesburg service.

 No start date for the launch of the Beijing flights had been finalised, but South African Airways will use the Airbus A340-600, which can carry up to 317 passengers and is the same aircraft type used to serve Hong Kong. "A lot of the southern Africa traffic is from southern China rather than Hong Kong," Naylor said.

 China's huge investments in Africa, particularly in Angola, since the end of 2008 led to an influx of mainland workers and staff to build roads, industrial plants and associated  infrastructure. About 90-95 per cent of passengers on the Hong Kong- Johannesburg route were foreign workers, with about 25 per cent of the passengers using the carrier's regional and international network to fly  beyond South Africa, Naylor said.

He said that while Chinese investments and development projects now covered most of Africa, there was a recognition the high volume of mainland worker traffic would not last forever.
As a result the airline was trying to develop the leisure and `MICE' markets - or meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions markets, Naylor said.

New itineraries offering travel packages to places such as Namibia and the Victoria Falls as well as  increases in the number of countries served were now being introduced, and the airline would start flying to Madagascar from South Africa at the end of this year.

Overall, the carrier, which has  53 aircraft, flew 6.4 million passengers last year, with better-than-expected passenger numbers from Japan as a result of the World Cup which South Africa hosted last year. 

Kenya Airways Documentary for May :The Pride of Africa takes you to Ghana

One of the reasons I love Kenya Airways is the sense of innovation that runs in the airline. Kenya Airways was the first African airline to successfully deploy the use of social media in reaching out to its clients in a more personal way and communicating important information to travellers via channels like Twitter, Facebook and Youtube. It was also the first airline in Sub Saharan Africa to receive IATA's IOSA((IATA Operational Safety Audit) ) registration; the first African airline to incorporate IATA's carbon offset program amongst other firsts.

 Yours truly worked for the airline in 2009 with  a great team of techies and is proud to see the fruits of the efforts in the form a superb social media presence! How many African airlines will produce documentaries/magazines and stream it on Youtube hence giving passengers and fans such an inside look into the various airline operations and destinations? Only KQ of course. I am happy to share this month's edition of KQ's documentary Msafiri(The Traveler) which takes you to Ghana. Enjoy!

A great day for aviation in Angola: The first B777-300ER for TAAG Angola Airlines

Aircraft manufacturer, Boeing, will deliver a new 777-300ER airplane to
Angola Airlines (TAAG) on 14 June, the Angolan News Agency (ANGOP) learnt here Thursday.

ANGOP said the deal was disclosed to it by a source close to Boeing which indicated that the manufacturing company is completing delivery arrangements in Everett, Washington DC.

According to the source, the preparations included painting and testing of the equipment and systems.The airplane is the first of its model being purchased by TAAG, which will also purchase a second aircraft a month later.

Meanwhile, TAAG is making arrangements to purchase another two Boeing 777-300 aircraft.Currently, TAAG has three Boeing 777-200ER airplanes in its fleet for the Lisbon, Beijing, Dubai, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and Johannesburg routes, while four Boeing 737-700 cover domestic and regional destinations.

IATA Report on Africa: Safety in Africa,a United Approach

Safety in Africa is a concern. Coordinating the various programs in place could be the key to improving the continent’s safety record

Air travel is essential to the African economies but, to exploit aviation’s full potential, it must be safe for everybody. Many African carriers have exemplary safety records and those that have completed the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) have safety records 46% better than non-IOSA members. Nevertheless, the region as a whole has been at the bottom of the safety statistics for too long. 
Figures did improve in 2010. Africa had an accident rate of 7.41 Western-built jet hull losses per million sectors flown, an improvement of 25% compared with 2009. But this was still more than 12 times the world average. Such statistics are doubtless hurting the African carriers and, by extension, the African economy at large. Passenger numbers fall after an accident, particularly in the high-yield international sector, insurance premiums soar higher, and codeshare agreements grow in complexity and fall in number.

Raising the bar

There is no single solution to the African safety issue because there is no single problem. “The poor safety record results from a combination of factors,” explains Guenther Matschnigg, IATA Senior Vice President, Safety Operations and Infrastructure. “It is about the safety culture, a lack of resources, the need for skilled personnel, poor infrastructure, and inadequate safety oversight.
“Some carriers do have modern aircraft and there are experienced pilots,” he continues. “But this is not the whole story. To buy a good aircraft you just need a friendly bank manager. To run a safe, reliable operation is something else again, and requires all of the factors mentioned above to be beyond reproach.”
A closer look at the data provides clues about potential safety improvements. For example, runway excursions are particularly high in Africa. Two initiatives should prove particularly useful. In 2009, in conjunction with Flight Safety Foundation, IATA released a Runway Excursion Risk Reduction toolkit. More than 8,000 copies have been delivered to airlines worldwide and the information was backed up by 12 global workshops in 2010. As a result, IATA members have reduced their runway excursion accidents by 43% since 2008. A revised version of the toolkit, produced in conjunction with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) will be released in May at a Global Runway Safety Symposium hosted by IATA and ICAO.
In 2009, IATA also launched the Implementation Program for Safe Operations in Africa (IPSOA). This is an IATA-funded Flight Data Analysis (FDA) scheme for IATA member airlines in Africa. IPSOA provides carriers with a data-driven safety management system essential for ICAO compliance. As of August 2010, all of IATA’s African members had FDA programs in place.
A recent review of IPSOA carriers indicated a nearly 40% reduction in events. Unstable approaches—where the aircraft is flying too high or too fast—are a precursor to runway excursions. Thanks to the FDA program, an airline’s safety team can focus on the precise details of an event, allowing the airline to change its training programs and operations to eliminate the problems. Identifying specific answers can go a long way to improving overall safety, with more than 100 different flight safety events tracked in the FDA program.
Workshops to review IPSOA and FDA performance are ongoing. It has already been noted that the airports with the least number of unstable approaches were those that had implemented Continuous Descent Approaches, or similar precision techniques, as recommended by IATA through its environmental campaign. These improvements marry safety with efficiency. The next steps involve working with the airports and air navigation service providers to tackle all contributing factors to unstable approaches.
“We are also looking more carefully at safety management systems,” says Matschnigg. “SMS has now been added to IOSA, which has been a condition of IATA membership for a while. But more can be done to help carriers in the SMS implementation phase and ensure that they fully understand the capabilities of the system.”
All of this follows on from the improvements resulting from IOSA. “Clearly, such comprehensive safety programs form part of the solution,” Matschnigg notes. “Governments must make use of IOSA to boost the region’s performance.”

United approach

Despite these efforts Matschnigg believes there is still more work to do. The main focus, he insists, has to be coordination and reaching out to those airlines not currently covered by IOSA.
The United States Department of Transport has had a Safe Skies for Africa program in place for a number of years. IATA itself has done a lot of work as has ICAO and the European Union. And there is a plethora of organizations in Africa working on a country, regional, or pan-continental basis. “The programs are usually good but it obviously presents a very complex picture to an African carrier,” says Matschnigg. “Whose guidance should they follow? Where do the programs overlap?”
Africa needs one action plan and a strong commitment from all parties, including African carriers. They must get involved and buy in to the one action plan concept. African governments and service providers must also be proactive in forming a single coherent safety strategy and following it through on an agreed timescale.
Cobus Toerien, Manager Flight Safety for South African Airways, agrees there needs to be greater transparency. “Safety issues involve all the carriers operating in the same airspace,” he notes. “IATA has helped enormously but we must continue to emphasize a safety reporting culture.”
One action plan doesn’t mean one size fits all. Rather, Matschnigg suggests there could be a modular approach, allowing the strategy to be tailored to individual needs. The fact that the overall scheme is coordinated will ensure any work dovetails perfectly within the carrier itself and in a broader context.
“IATA is serious about safety in the region,” concludes Giovanni Bisignani, IATA Director General and CEO. “We are also constantly improving IOSA, raising the bar for safety. We have many programs to assist our members in meeting all IOSA standards, including a new set of Safety Management Systems (SMS) requirements. Flying must be safe everywhere—including Africa.”

Skills shortage

Africa is facing a shortfall in pilots and skilled staff as traffic increases. Africa produces plenty of highly skilled pilots and aircraft engineers but market forces have pushed many trained personnel towards other regions, such as the Gulf States, where better rewards and perhaps greater career opportunities, such as the potential to fly bigger aircraft, are on offer.
Although this has to be acknowledged as a problem, it is by no means insurmountable. Making African aviation attractive would certainly stem the flow. “And that starts by making it even safer,” says Guenther Matschnigg. “The region would then be seen for its many advantages, not only its faults. Africa is a fascinating part of the world and aviation is crucial to its development. Presented in the right way it could attract the best people in the industry.

Arik Air:Pilots sanctioned for flying plane with one engine in Nigeria

The regulatory Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has suspended the licences of the two pilots of Nigerian airline Arik Air, who flew the airline's Boeing 737-700 aircraft with one engine over a one-hour trip after the plane suffered a bird strike Sunday.

The unidentified pilots flew the plane, with 69 passengers, from the South-eastern city of Owerri to the nation's commercial capital, Lagos, with one engine after the other one had been disabled by the bird strike shortly after take-off, the private Punch newspaper reported Friday.

“I can tell you authoritatively that NCAA has suspended the licences of the flight crew that flew that plane from Owerri to Lagos on Sunday. Their licences will remain suspended until investigation is concluded,'' the paper quoted an NCAA official as saying.

'Wealthy Nigerians acquire US$225m private jets in one year'

Wealthy Nigerians acquired at least six private jets worth a total of US$225 million between March 2010 and March 2011, bringing the total number of such jets in the country to around 70, according to a local newspaper investigation published Monday.

The latest acquisition of the luxury jets were said to have been made by billionaire industrialist Aliko Dangote, telecommunications mogul Mike Adenuga and renowned Pastor David Oyedepo.

According to the paper, Dangote bought a Canadian-made Bombardier for US$45 million, just like Adenuga, while Oyedepo acquired a Gulfstream V for US$30 million.

The owners of the three other aircraft were not identified.

The paper quoted industry experts as saying it costs about US$550,000 annually to maintain a private jet.

World's Biggest Airlines:Global Top 25 Airlines by capacity per week (ASK) in May 2011

Dynamic change at the top of the world Airline Rankings (by capacity) continues in the month of May, with China Southern Airlines the surprise loser, falling one place from Apr-2011 behind fast-growing neighbour Cathay Pacific into 13th place. All Nippon Airways has entered the list for the first time, taking Japan Airlines' (JAL) spot as the world's 25th biggest airline by capacity (ASKs), according to Innovata.

The top ten remains unchanged from last month, though the year-on-year comparison sees Emirates replacing United in fourth place;Lufthansa taking fifth place from Southwest and Air France stepping into eighth place from rival British Airways.

China Southern lost two places from the same month last year, as Ryanair continued its rise up the rankings, rounding out the global top ten. China Southern and mainland rival Air China have very moderate capacity growth plans this month, while China Eastern, which is growing slightly faster, has moved up a notch to 18th place from Air Canada.

Turkish Airways and TAM have surged into the Top 25, with ASK growth of 28% and 10%, respectively, year-on-year.Delta remains the world's biggest single airline, followed by American, by ASKs.

  1. Delta Airlines
  2. American Airlines
  3. Emirates
  4. United Airlines
  5. Lufthansa
  6. SouthWest Airlines
  7. Continental Airlines
  8. Air France
  9. British Airways
  10. RyanAir
  11. US Airways
  12. Cathay Pacific Airways
  13. China Southern Airlines
  14. Singapore Airlines
  15. Air China
  16. Qantas Airways
  17. KLM
  18. China Eastern Airlines
  19. Air Canada
  20. Korean Air
  21. Thai Airways
  22. Turkish Airlines
  23. Qatar Airways
  24. TAM
  25. All Nippon Airways

Expedia Partners with South African Airways

Expedia recently announced a private-label partnership with South African Airways,  the leading airline carrier in Africa. This follows a trend of online travel agencies offering hotel bookings on airlines' websites, and now Expedia will provide hotel bookings at each of the 35 destinations served by SAA. The announcement comes soon after Expedia's joint venture with AirAsia, the leading budget carrier in Asia.  We believe these moves will help it compete against other leading online travel agencies such as Priceline, Orbitz and Travelocity.

 How do these partnerships work?
The partnerships between airlines and online travel agencies is part of an evolving business model. Airlines' websites offer the most competitive airfares and attract a majority of air ticket bookings over the Internet. Offering hotel bookings on airlines' websites provides an added convenience and a seamless one-stop travel bookings experience. It also helps online travel agencies sell their inventory of hotel inventory to a relevant audience at the most crucial stage in the travel bookings process.

How much could it impact Expedia's stock?
Partnering with South African Airways could potentially increase Expedia's market share of hotel stays .
Here's an estimate of the potential impact by NASDAQ:
  • More hotel stays for Expedia through the AirAsia partnership
    • South African Airways flew 7 million passengers in 2010.
    • Assuming that even if a conservative 1 in every 10 passengers booked a hotel stay at Expedia, this translates into a 700k more hotel stays
  • More hotel nights booked through Expedia
    • It is estimated that on average there will be 2 persons per hotel room and 3 nights per stay leading to additional 1.05 million hotel room night bookings at Expedia in 2011 (0.7 million visitors / 2 visitors per room X 3 nights per stay)


I thoroughly enjoyed this post by my favorite East African travel journalist Wolfgang H Thome.Indeed, as I blogged some time yesterday, some Ugandan activists are clearly wasting the cyberspace by engaging in KQ bashing.

Following the incident last week when a Ugandan opposition leader was denied boarding while the airline investigated reports that their flight would be denied landing in Entebbe – sufficiently explained later on and at least in aviation circles accepted as a prudent decision – a group of Uganda’s opposition activists has now resorted to creating a Facebook page ‘Boycott Kenya Airways 4 Violanting(sic) Dr. Kiiza Besigye’s rights’. Besides the obvious spelling error, pointing to the haste and incoherence in setting this up, the effort is widely regarded as a waste of cyberspace, and a ‘cyber bar’ where ranters and ravers find an outlet to vent their anger against all and sundry with comments often not even relevant to this event.

 Said a regular aviation source to this correspondent yesterday: ‘Facebook is becoming a safe haven for all sorts of people wanting to also say something. At times Facebook takes them off because they are not just a nuisance but breaking the law by calling for criminal acts. The impact of this will be very little, hardly felt probably because Kenya Airways is the leading airline in the region and just got caught up in this almost by accident. When an operations department gets word that a flight might be sent back without landing because of a certain passenger on board, they have to act to avoid all other passengers getting delayed. In this case it appears that KQ was eventually given the assurance that they would be able to land in Entebbe with that passenger on board but by that time the flight had left. They rebooked the man and then he refused, he even refused to go with Air Uganda for reasons best known to himself. 
Kenya Airways offers the most connections between Nairobi and Entebbe and has been flying there through thick and thin. Air Uganda now flies about three times a day most days and 540 flies about twice a day. So people have a choice and option which airline to use and still KQ is market leader. In fact many Ugandans own shares in Kenya Airways and are not going to sell them over something like this.’

Another aviation regular had this to say: ‘…best to keep politics out of business. This was unfortunate but some are making a fuss out of it for their own ends, like the EastAfrican because of their affiliation with Air Uganda. This is known but not many talk about it. They have tried to talk funny things about KQ in the past and it never worked like they intended. So really, this is a passing cloud’.

True enough, as this correspondent will continue to fly the ‘Pride of Africa’ regardless. Happy Landings.

Article Source Wolfganghthome Blog

Kenya Airways Brand: For some Ugandans the Kenyan carrier is a "pariah" airline

Kenya's national carrier Kenya Airways and one of the most successful airlines in Africa is now a 'Pariah' airline amongst some Ugandans. Supporters of opposition leader Kizza Besigye have been deeply critical of the airline following a decision by KQ management to block the opposition leader from a boarding a flight after the airline received some 'intelligence' that the Ugandan authorities would not allowed the flight to land at the Entebbe International Airport if he was on board.

Kenya Airways therefore took a decision in the interest of the majority of passengers and barred Dr. Besigye from the flight.This has created an outrage amongst his supporters who have used KQ Facebook profile to lambast the airline. Instead of venting their anger on the real cause of their woes, whom I guess must be an eccentric 'dictator' called Sevo, they have chosen the airline as their object of hate. Most of the comments are obviously out of sheer ignorance of how the aviation industry works and admittedly, they made me wince.

You can sample some of the comments here on Kenya Airways Facebook page. I don't think many of the negative comments are worth republishing on this blog.

Elsewhere, reflecting on the same issue, the EastAfrican stated that KQ, as one of the leading carriers on the continent is no stranger to controversy : After all, Kenya’s national carrier is among the elite in the global airline industry that have managed to carve out a very lucrative niche by offering to take people from around the world to the most dangerous places on earth in Africa, generating on average $309 from every passenger it carries.

I remember some time back in 2009 when Kenya Airways CEO Dr Titus Naikuni was forced to travel to Lagos on a charm offensive after several Nigerian passengers complained bitterly of being treated unfairly or rudely by KQ crew. "We better fly Ethiopian or Emirates!!",the Nigerians would say. The airline even instituted measures of hiring West African stewards who understood the West African culture much better than the East African stewards who are probably more used to the less confrontational and more laid back East African passengers.

But what the nitwits making lots of noises on social media last week didn't know(not  a fault of theirs), was that this issue was beyond KQ's control.  KQ had to act in the best interest of all passengers who had booked the flight and ensure that they arrived safely in Entebbe with little inconveniences and also make sure it does not run into a collision with a government that has provided with generous landing rights.There was a time when KQ had a virtual monopoly on the Entebbe-Nairobi route. Airlines always comply with government directives because this one of the most regulated industries in the world!

Top Signs You are a Frequent Flyer

Frequent Flyer Africa

You have your passport number memorized by heart.
You refer to cities by their airport code.
The flight attendants know you by name.
You have elite status on every airline alliance.
You think airplane food isn’t that bad.
Airplane wine? Yes please!
You have multiple airline credit cards.
You went through special TSA security process so you can get into the fast security line.
Immigration greets you by name.
You don’t spend money if it doesn’t give you airline miles.
You sign up for new credit cards if they offer mile deals.
They named a plane after you.
You know the type of food each airline serves.
Even pilots don’t fly as much as you.
You are in airplanes more than you are in cars.
You know how exactly how long it takes from your house to the gate…to the second.
You do all your shopping from SkyMall.
You actually know the names of the in-flight magazine authors.
You the interior layout for every plane type.
You have airport layouts memorized.
You can identify planes just by looking at them.
You know airlines just by looking at the logo on the tail.
You’re on your second passport…..this year.

African governments must take lead in improving the continent’s air safety

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has called for political leadership in Africa in the campaign to improve the continent’s air transport safety record, which is by far the worst in the world today.

“I do not see political leadership saying ‘this is important– it’s a battle we have to win’,” IATA Director General and CEO Giovanni Bisignani said to reporters in Johannesburg on Thursday. “Profit is important. But the number one priority for aviation is safety. Africa must improve its safety record.”
IATA measures aviation safety in hull losses (that is, accidents in which an aircraft is destroyed outright or damaged beyond economical repair) per million flights.

“The numbers tell a difficult story, an unhappy story,” he stated. The global average last year was 0,61 hull losses per million flights. The figure for Africa was 7,41 hull losses per million flights – some 12 times greater than the global figure. The next worst region was Latin America, with 1,7 hull losses, while Asia/Pacific had 0,8, North America 0,1 and Russia 0,0 (zero hull losses in 2010).

Safety standards vary dramatically across the continent, with IATA’s African member airlines having passed the stringent IATA Operational Safety Audits (IOSA – now a requirement for all members of the association) and having excellent safety records. A number of African countries, including (but not only) Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya and South Africa, have first class aviation safety in general.

On the other hand, some 16 to 18 (the number varies) African countries are on the European Union (EU) blacklist, which bans their airlines from flying in EU airspace.

Other regions have had air safety issues as well. However, these have benefitted from decisive political leadership, asking for assistance from, and implementing the recommendations of, IATA. “In 2003/2004, China was a big problem regarding safety. In two years we solved it,” cited Bisignani. “In 2005/2006 we had a problem in Russia. We solved it.”

“Aviation must be safe everywhere. Africa cannot be the exception,” he asserted. “I urge South Africa to take a leadership role in the region and promote IOSA as a tool for governments to use to supplement their safety oversight and improve the region’s performance.”

Kenya Airways takes the lead in IATA's carbon offset program

Kenya Airways has become the first African airline to enlist in IATA's carbon offset program under the United Nations' Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), in which firms investing in such projects receive credits called certified emissions reductions.

So far 30 airlines have joined the IATA carbon offset program and seven airlines under IATA are already funding various projects around the world. The aviation sector contributes about 2 percent of total global carbon emissions. Kenya Airways said it planned to fund an expansion project in the country's 48-megawatt Olkaria III geothermal power station in the Rift Valley. The airline has so far offset 100 tons during a trial run in April.
Passengers could chose to offset carbon emissions of their flights by agreeing to pay a surcharge on tickets.
Kenya Airways said the program would start with passengers making online bookings. Anyone wishing to forego the program would be allowed to fly with a normal ticket.My colleague Susan booking a flight from Nairobi to Mombasa could choose to pay $0.97 for her share of damage on the planet:

The airline said the option will be available for offline bookings at a later date.
IATA's Schneider said three other African airlines -- Mozambique Airlines (LAM), Egyptair and South African Airways were expected to start making payments to carbon offset schemes this year.
UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner described the project as "something that befits Kenya's search for being a leader in the transition towards a green economy" and not just a step forward for the aviation sector. Huh!Nice words but there are skeptics,especially in governments who believe the aviation sector should do more than just introducing such  'little' green programs.