Air Afrique: Worldwide Network, 1999 Television Advert: Detail Still Showing Route Map.

From the TimeTablist

The animated map sequence in this 1999 Air Afrique television commercial gives the viewer only moments to decipher Air Afrique's route network, and its European destinations are never in full view, with Rome discernible here (and is listed in the words moving across the screen) and Paris assumed, but the dot on the Cote D'Azur might be either Nice or Marseille.

Despite this lack of clarity, this still frame shows the classic structure of its home network, with a few qualifiers. It seems that at the turn of the millenium, Accra, Bobo Dioulasso, and Nouadhibou had been dropped, along with Monrovia and Freetown, both sadly embroiled in conflict at the time.

The city along the coast between Libreville and Kinshasa would correspond to the Brazzaville which pops up on screen despite being more the location of Pointe-Noire, which, along with Port-Gentil, is absent from the network.

The eastern extension from N'Djamena to Jeddah is clear, as is the transatlantic flagship from Dakar to JFK at left. Nairobi comes across the screen but there is no clear route to East Africa shown here.

Air Afrique: Worldwide Network, 1999 Television Advert

Our series from the TimeTablist Continues...

This wonderful Air Afrique television advert from 1999 finishes Air Afrique Week on Timetablist. In the sequence, the palm of the boy's hand becomes the African continent, with the entire route network shown as the image zooms out across the globe.

While the cities are not labeled and the map is too cartoonish to accurately determine what city corresponds to each node, the names of major destinations soar across the screen. The route from Dakar to New York can be clearly seen, as well as the incredibly dense network into Metropolitan France, but as with Thursday's post, specific routes and cities are very difficult to conclusively ascertain. Some secondary cities, such as Nouadhibou and Bobo Dioulasso, are not evident.

The next post will cover this route map animation in a bit more detail.

Air Afrique: Route Map Poster c. 1962

The penultimate post for Air Afrique Week brings this polychrome poster showing the home ports of the consortium. Little information is available for this print, which was a lot in a New York vintage poster auction in February 2010. While the usual suspects of Air Afrique's destinations from Brazzaville to Bamako, Douala to Dakar, Freetown to Fort-Lamy are evident, this low-resolution preview doesn't reveal many of the details.

It seems that, near the crane-like yellow and blue bird straddling the Nigeria-Cameroon border are some mysterious destinations, and the oval inset map shows a zebra-stripe of trans-Saharan routes by the dozen, including what looks to be some very easterly swings, suggesting something like a Bangui-to-Budapest or Malabo-to-Moscow, which is fantasy.

The auction catalogue gives a date of 1950, but this is more than a decade before Air Afrique was incorporated. Perhaps, given the vintage, this was willful rather than a matter of record.

Article Courtesy TimeTablist

Air Afrique: Systemwide Timetable, July 1975. Detail # 1: Trans-Saharan Routes

Still from the TimeTablist
A detail from the previous post, showing the trans-Saharan routes of Air Afrique in summer 1975. Its a bit difficult to determine just which cities are served--does the line from Abidjan to Rome hit Tunis? Is the service from Nouadhibou to Paris via Bordeaux? Which routes stop at Marseille or Nice? Its confusing that cities such as Tripoli, Agades, Lisbon and Algiers are included unnecessarily, making the connections more difficult to ascertain. However, it can be appreciated that the great North Chadian crossroads of Faya-Largeau is also helpfully included for viewers to establish proper orientation. The trans-Atlantic service to New York from Dakar is shown as an arrow at bottom right.

Vintage African Airline Timetables and Route Maps:Air Afrique-Systemwide Timetable, July 1975

Our series from the TimeTablist Blog continues: This week, we will continue with Air Afrique 1975....

Timetablist's Air Afrique Week continues: this copiously-detailed but rather low-tech brochure was published in July 1975, showing the entire Air Afrique network at the time, along with lots of other statistics not normally provided to the passenger, such as Finances, Traffic Results, and IATA certification details--perhaps this was for corporate purposes.

Dakar and Abidjan are clearly the main stations, but N'djamena, Cotonou, Lomé, Douala, and Niamey all have direct service across the Sahara to Europe. Possibly Bobo Dioulasso and Ouagadougou have non-stops to the Metropole as well--if the map has a major drawback, it is difficult to judge which routes connect where in many cases, and a great number of cities are included for reference but are not part of the network. The next post details these destinations and the northern portion of the map.

AirAsia Should Fly to Africa - Mahathir

Air Asia Africa Bound?
Former Malaysian Prime Minister, Mahathir Mohamad has urged Asia largest low cost carrier AirAsia to make Africa its next destination as part of its expansion plans. The PM was speaking during a Malaysian-Africa Business Forum.

“It is the lack of air connectivity that has limited the ties between Malaysia and African nations from flourishing.
“Perhaps, if we can start (air connectivity) with the low-cost airlines, that will be the answer.
“Perhaps, we should persuade AirAsia to fly to Africa, which will bring us closer,” Mr Mahathir said

During a presentation at the same Forum by Ethiopian consultant Henok Assefa, it was stated that Nairobi and Addis Ababa would be the best locations for creating airline hubs. South Africa offers steep competition with a myriad of low cost carriers already operating in the country. Nairobi, would especially be attractive investment choice should Tony Fernandes turn his eyes towards Africa.

There had been talk in the last year that AirAsia was behind the long awaited startup OneJetOne Airlines but those rumours were dispelled by OneJetOne CEO Mr. Arjun Ruzaik in an earlier interview on this blog.

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Addis Ababa, Nairobi, Best Locations For Airline Hubs In Africa

Addis Ababa in Ethiopia and Nairobi, Kenya are the best locations for the the creation of airline hubs in Africa, the Malaysia-Africa Business Forum recently revealed in a study.

Ethiopia's Precise Consult International PLC managing partner Henok Assefa said this was because the best connections to African destinations were actually provided by Kenya Airways and Ethiopian Airlines.

He pointed out that Ethopian Airlines, an over-a-billion dollar company, right now flew to about 60 countries, which included more than two dozen flights weekly to India and China.

"The airlines industry is growing very fast in Africa even when the global aviation industry is falling apart. All African airlines, the one that are run well, happen to earn profits.

"We need more help and I know for sure, AirAsia, or any airline in Malaysia, would like to make a connection," Assefa said in response to a proposal by former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad that African countries should come together to set up airline hubs to derive more benefits and increase inter-connectivity.

Dr Mahathir has suggested that low-cost airlines such as AirAsia seriously consider flying to Africa to facilitate travel and increase trade and investment linkages.

Currently, Johannesburg in South Africa is the known hub for Africa.

Source: Ethiopian Investor

Social Media and the MENA Airlines

Social Media amongst Middle Eastern and North African Airlines. Interesting read courtesy of Oussama's Take blog. This inspires me to do a follow up on African airlines and social media, which, my friends, will be coming soon

 The Arab Spring was attributed to the use of Social Media by the Arab younger generations. Social Media has galvanized opinions and coordinated marches and sit ins that changed regimes. Yet, MENA airlines have not tapped this resource.

It appears that most of these airlines have Info pages with no interaction with passengers or potential passengers and it is sometimes hard to figure out if the page is the airlines official page. Of the twenty one (21) airlines, that I have looked at both legacy and LCC that have Facebook pages; only four (4) have flight booking and other facilities on their pages; Royal Jordanian, Gulf Air, Bahrain Air and Etihad.  

The most liked so to speak page is Qatar Airways (161200 fans) but it is not growing and that maybe attributed to their successful promotion celebrating its 100th destination. 

The fastest growing is Royal Jordanian's page (53500 fans) which adds around a 1000 fans a day and is probably the most balanced page among the region's airlines. It has a lot of traffic directed from the airline which prompts comments and likes but not much customer service content that the airline should encourage.

The most interactive page with customer service issues is Air Arabia's but only has 5500 fans.

Interestingly Emirates (43000 fans) has an info page only but is not growing, Etihad (31000 fans) is not very interactive same as Gulf Air (15500 fans) even though both airlines provide booking and other facilities on their pages. 

It appears the MENA airlines are not very serious about social media yet, a few of them have advanced Facebook Pages but are not very successful in promoting them to the public probably due to lack of resources..

Of all the airlines Royal Jordanian seems to take the effort seriously, they launched their efforts with an aircraft on ground tweet up with the 20 most popular bloggers in Jordan and have allocated resources to maintain the effort and it seems to be successful; around a 1000 fans per day for an airline the size of Royal Jordanian and a country the size of Jordan is no mean feat.

Turkish Airlines Set for Kigali

Information was received overnight from Kigali that Turkish Airlines appears set to commence direct flights between Istanbul and Kigali / Rwanda, although the exact routing could not be confirmed immediately. The new connection will add yet more seats to the country, which has been busy promoting its tourism and investment opportunities around the world, and with Turkish, a member of the world’s leading airline alliance ‘Star’, an emerging global player is coming to Kigali, offering a growing network of connections to many key global cities, in Europe, Eastern Europe, the Americas, the Gulf, Asia and beyond.

Turkish already connects 14 cities in Africa with Istanbul and the choice of Rwanda’s capital Kigali also speaks for the country itself, now considered as a rising star on the continent and a choice destination for tourists and business visitors alike.

Watch this space for more announcements ahead of the inaugural flight.

Courtesy Wolfganghthome blog

Kenya Airways Signs for 10 more Embraers and 10 more options

African Aviation News this week:

In a breaking news story it was confirmed that East Africa’s leading airline, Kenya Airways, has just signed a 10 aircraft deal – vis a vis a letter of intent – with Brazilian manufacturer Embraer for 10 more of their jets, with an added option for a further E190 or the E170 series, with specific purchases to be confirmed at a later date.

This latest acquisition plan for new aircraft will set the stage for an intense battle unfolding over the African skies between ‘The Pride of Africa’ and their nearest competitors Ethiopian and South African, the latter reportedly now also committed to finally roll out a comprehensive Africa network in coming years, a shade late though to catch KQ and ET who now have a near equal coverage of the African continent via their Nairobi and Addis Ababa hubs. Kenya Airways offers flights from Nairobi to 43 African destinations and a further 10 international destinations in Europe, the Gulf area, India and the Far East.

Kenya Airways has already announced during the recent presentation of their annual financial year results that they will by 2013 fly to every African capital city or commercial hub, and the new aircraft will help them, especially with the ‘Advanced Range’ models of Embraer, to fly to new destinations with initially less traffic density where their fleet of B737NG’s may initially be too large to yield early profits.

The 20 new jets, should the ten options be exercised as is expected, will boost KQ’s Embraer fleet to be the largest on the African continent and will come in addition to the 5 E170’s and 2 E190’s already operating under the KQ livery, with the final 3 deliveries of E190’s still due between now and early 2012. All aircraft will be outfitted in a dual class configuration of business and economy, offering this service on each and every route and offer the passengers of not just Kenya Airways but of their Sky Team alliance partners Air France / KLM the superior service levels expected by their faithful travelers.

It is understood that the new order just signed between Kenya Airways and Embraer will begin deliveries by mid 2012 to allow for the projected traffic growth on existing routes without impairing the network rollout recently confirmed.

When asked a regular source in Nairobi, while preferring anonymity, also confirmed that the airline’s ties with Boeing remained strong and that in particular more B 737 NG will in coming years join the fleet too, to have the right sized aircraft available for all the domestic, regional and continental routes where the narrow body 737’s of -700 and -800 types are deployed or to be deployed.

KQ’s CEO Dr. Titus Naikuni was reported to have said after the signing ceremony in Paris: ‘The E190 jet fits well with our expansion strategy, giving us an opportunity to expand our network and increase our frequencies beyond the current offering while cementing our mandate of connecting Africa to the World and World to Africa through our hub at JKIA’.

With this breaking news story Kenya Airways will retain their claim to leadership over the African skies and to be indeed, for Africans from all corners of the continent ‘The Pride of Africa’.

Article Source Wolfganghthome blog

Eritrean Volcanic Eruption brings ash cloud scenario home

African Aviation news this week:

The recent eruption of a volcano in Eritrea and the subsequent ash cloud drifting across the continent is bringing home the Icelandic ash cloud scenario from last year to East Africa.

According to airline sources flights are being delayed or even cancelled already as the ash cloud drifts into the air-lanes leading across the continent, causing airlines to fly extensive detours while others have reportedly cancelled flights to Djibouti, Asmara and even Addis Ababa.

The eruption was registered on Sunday night and initially thought to be a local event, but soon it became evident that ash clouds were rising as high as 45.000 feet and began to drift across those parts of Eastern Africa frequented by aircraft flying at various altitudes between 37.000 and 41.000 feet enroute to and from Europe.

Located near the border with Ethiopia the Nabro eruption was preceded by several earthquakes, about which no damage reports are available from Eritrea, a country almost notorious for its secrecy about all and sundry and current weather forecasts are also not conclusive if the ash cloud, should eruptions continue, could eventually drift across the Red Sea and reach the Arabian peninsula, where intense air-traffic would be equally disrupted. Watch this space.

Article Courtesy Wolfganghthome blog

More bad news for Jomo Kenyatta International Airport as Water Heater Explodes

African Aviation news this week:
Only days after a failure of electricity supply and of all backup systems brought East Africa’s busiest international airport to a complete and utter halt for several hours, leading to flight delays galore, has the explosion of a water heater in the government VIP section of the airport caused more consternation amongst passengers and air operators. The water heater, probably – and this is speculation as of right now in the absence of hard technical evidence – may have been damaged by power fluctuations and the often experienced low voltage periods, and when the thermostat failed the water overheated and eventually cause the tank to explode due to overpressure.

One regular source was immediately available for comment and had this to say: ‘it is lucky for everyone that there were no casualties. It goes to show that KAA – the Kenya Airport Authority – has huge problems in maintaining our most important airport in the region and unless they pull up their socks we may find more such accident happening for lack of good preventive maintenance. They charge us airlines a lot of money, the airport expansion and rehabilitation is slow in progressing, the power backup failed last week again and caused all airlines losses through delays and now this. Maybe the time is right to  bring professional airport management to Nairobi now and send the civil servants home’.

Harsh words but understandably so, considering the endless petitions and requests made to the KAA by operators and most of the time to no avail. Watch this space.  

Article Courtesy Wolfganghthome blog

Fly Ethiopian Airlines and Earn Double Miles

Ethiopian Airlines is offering double miles on its Sheba Miles program on the following routes:

  • Fly between Addis Ababa and Frankfurt on Ethiopian Airlines and earn double miles.
    Your flight between Addis Ababa and Frankfurt in June and July 2011 will entitle you to double bonus miles. 
  • Fly between Addis Ababa and Mombasa, Nairobi, Bujumbura, Dar-es-Salaam, Entebbe, Kigali, Kilimanjaro and Zanzibar on Ethiopian Airlines and earn double miles.
    Your flight between Addis Ababa and Mombasa, Nairobi, Bujumbura, Dar-es-Salaam, Entebbe, Kigali Kilimanjaro and Zanzibar from in June and July 2011 will entitle you to double bonus miles. 
Learn more about the program here

Ethiopian Airlines New Nonstop Service from Addis Ababa to Milan in July 2011

Ethiopian Airlines Second Destination in Italy

Ethiopian Airlines will begin new nonstop service from Addis Ababa to Milan, Italy, Europe's fashion capital, effective July 2011.

Milan is one of Europe's main transportation and industrial hubs and EU's top ten most important centre for business and finance. Here are the ET schedules for the route:

Flight Days From Dep Arr To Via
Addis 23:00  
Addis Nonstop

Ethiopian has served Italy since 1964 with its maiden flight to Rome, then to daily and now to a second city Milan.

 The airline has some goodies for passengers traveling to Milan."To celebrate this new flight, members on the new nonstop flight can earn double miles for sixty days from commencement of operation. For more details please click here ."

African Aviation Events: 17th Aviation and Allied Business Leadership Conference

The 17th edition of the annual Aviation & Allied Business Leadership Conference will be held at the Kilimanjaro Hotel Kempinski, Dar es Salaam from August 28 - 30, 2011.

The Leadership Conference which is a private sector driven initiative has held annually since 1995 and attracted leaders and distinguished personalities in the air transport industry in Africa and beyond. Over the years, the Leadership Conference has enjoyed the participation of government leaders such as the Presidents and Heads of Governments of African States and several Ministers responsible for air transport across Africa.

The Leadership Conference has also continued to attract attendance from the leadership of various international agencies and organisations in Africa including the African Union, Commission, African Civil Aviation Commission, African Airlines Association, Airports Council International-Africa and the International Air Transport Association.

The theme of this year's gathering is "Air Transport In Africa: Strengthening Leadership: Sustaining Growth", and is a sequel to the 16th conference held 2010 in Gaborone, Botswana, with the theme: "Air Transport In Africa: The Challenge of Leadership".

According to the convener of the event, Captain Edward Boyo,"The conference will provide avenue for the public and private sectors to seek the best way forward for air transport in Africa. The 17th A&AB Leadership Conference will, therefore, strongly promote opening of intra-African markets, as well as the build-up and prioritization of effective leadership to drive aviation transformation in Africa"

You can download the 17th Aviation & Allied Business Leadership Conference Brochure here

Selling Air Zimbabwe would be a challenge given its financial state: Minister

Air Zimbabwe is in such shambles and its financial position so hopeless it would be difficult to find takers even if the government decided to offload it, a Zimbabwean cabinet minister has said.

State Enterprises and Parastatals minister Gorden Moyo on Wednesday told the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on State Enterprises and Parastatal Management that finding an investor to buy the ailing airline was likely to prove a mammoth task.

Moyo was responding to a question by Chiredzi North MP, Ronald Ndava, a member of the Portfolio Committee chaired by Zvishavane-Runde MP, Lawrence Mavima, who had asked him to explain why his ministry was not disposing of loss-making parastatals that were draining the fiscus.

“There are certain entities where we think surely, government should be out of,” Moyo said.

“But it may not be easy to sell Air Zimbabwe right now even if you want to offload it because you may not find a taker because of its state,” he said.

Moyo however said the difficulties facing Air Zimbabwe were not unique to Zimbabwe as a lot other airlines around the globe were performing very poorly. He cited Zambia Airways as an example.

“It is not just Air Zimbabwe which is suffering — very few airlines are doing business and it might be a big problem to sell Air Zimbabwe. A lot of parastatals are faced with huge debts and this on its own makes our parastatals unattractive to suitors. To get investors investing in a shell is not easy because of this debt overhang,” Moyo said. Moyo indicated most of the equipment in the country’s parastatals was dilapidated and archaic. To get investors to inject funds into businesses that were going under was not easy.

“The fiscal space is also too constricted to inject capital or even expertise into these entities especially given the serious human capital flight Zimbabwe has suffered,” he said.

State Enterprises and Parastatal Management deputy minister Walter Chidakwa said the issue of marketability to suitors by ailing parastatals was affected by tariffs.

“The investor looks at prices in Zimbabwe and compares them with those in the world. He looks at whether he will be able to recover his investments and we end up in this dilemma,” said Chidakwa. 

Nigeria's BusinessDay Newspaper looks at South African Airways' Decade of Operation in Nigeria

South African Airways has been operating flights to Nigeria for 13 years and Nigeria's leading Business Newspaper BusinessDay looks back at FlySAA's decade in Nigeria.
 Some quotes of note:
"The cheerfulness on the faces of the crowd at the airport comprising Nigerians from business, corporate and diplomatic circles, their friends and South African community in the country pointed out to the many business opportunities the flight connection will bring the two giants on the African continent. That singular flight has so far opened the African airspace, business opportunities, travel and tours, exchanges and networking not only between the two countries but also to the West African region and other South African countries"
Comment from Blogger: Since then the two countries have enjoyed cordial diplomatic and robust economic ties and there's a significant Nigerian Community living in South Africa. As business opportunities continue to increase between the two African giants, expect South African Airways to continue having the good load factors and continued profitable operations on the Nigerian route in the near future.

Read Full article on BusinessDay

Nigerian Aviation Stakeholders decrying Poor Infrastructure

Aviation stakeholders have urged the Nigerian government to upgrade the country's aviation infrastructure to support the country's aviation industry that has experienced some renewed growth in the last few years.

The stakeholders describe the airport environment as "difficult one to operate" in , other calls include the need to provision of air field lighting, conveyor belts along at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport that are no longer operational. The belts are said to be as old as the airport itself and the government has made promises in the past to upgrade although the promises have not been fulfilled. Infrastructural development is very key to not only supporting the growth of aviation in Africa but also ensuring high standards of safety are observed. Read Post on All Africa Infrastructure - What Govt Must do to Aid Air Transport

South Africa and Cameroon sign Bilateral Air services Agreement

South Africa today signed a groundbreaking bilateral air services agreement with Cameroon which will help further open up the African skies to flying. The agreement was signed on the final day of the Transport Infrastructure conference at the Cape Town Convention Centre.

It is the first such agreement to be signed in line with the Yamoussoukro Decision of 1999, which aims to deregulate air services on the African continent. The bilateral agreement allows South African airlines to fly to Cameroon and take on passengers and fly on to second or third countries.

Currently, South African Airways (SAA) flies four times a week, direct from Johannesburg to Douala and Yaounde, while Kenya Airways also has a connection from Johannesburg to Cameroon via Nairobi.

At present, certain parts of Africa can only be reached from flights routed via Europe. "This makes no business or economic sense, and the peoples and economies of Africa suffer as a consequence, and opportunities for improved aviation, including profitability and development of tourism, cannot be effectively responded to," said the South African Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele

He pointed out that the EU had implemented an open skies policy in the mid 1990s, which after five years resulted in a doubling of the number of passengers carried by airlines, a reduction in air fares and an improvement in the profitability of airlines.

"There has to be a message in this for African aviation, and the sooner we understand the consequences of lost opportunities the better," said Cameroonian Minister Bello Bouba "It's only through connectivity that our freedom will be complete and make way for development of our dear continent, Africa," he said.

Bello Bouba said he looked forward to maximum exploitation of the air routes, with the country's new national airline Camair-Co recently having started operations in March. His hope is that Cameroon and South Africa would also be able to co-operate in other transport sectors in the future.

Kenya Airports Authority and Korea Airports Corporation Sign MOU

Kenya Airports Authority has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Korea Airports Corporation, which will enable both parties to collaborate on various fields of airport operations, training, develop closer relations, build industry professionalism and enhance international trade between the aviation industry of Korea and Kenya.
Eng. Stephen Gichuki of KAA and Mr Yong Su of Korea Airports Corporation

Eng Stephen Gichuki, Managing Director of Kenya Airports Authority signed on behalf of Kenya Airports Authority while Korea Airports Corporation was represented by its Executive Vice President, Mr Yong Su Bae, who was accompanied by the General Manager Mr Kee hyo Hong and Mr. Yun Gu Bae Senior Manager.

Among the key areas of interest in the MOU are exchange of professional experiences relating to the development, operation, economic development and industry advancements of both organization. Sharing of insights and information relating to the aviation industry,  promoting the expansion of safe, modern, efficient airports and benchmarking opportunities within the two organizations.

Eng. Stephen Gichuki said: “ Kenya Airports Authority is very pleased with the signing of this Memorandum of Understanding with Korean Airports Corporation, and will immediately embark on its implementation. This collaboration reflects our continued efforts to learn from best practice of other leading airports. “

In his remarks Mr Yong Su Bae Executive Vice President of Korea Airports Corporation said: This MOU that we have signed today will enhance the good relations between Korea Airports Corporation and Kenya Airports Authority and enable us to develop joint strategies for future development, as we have the same ideas for mutual cooperation. I will strive to develop and enhance the relationship between the two organizations.”

Korea Airports Corporation (KAC) was established in 1980 to carry out efficient construction, management, and operation of airports and seamless air transportation. As an airport management specializing organization, KAC manages and operates total of 14 airports , 7 international and 7 domestic, namely  Seoul International Airport , Gimhae International Airport , Gimpo International Airport , Jeju International Airport, Daegu International Airport, Cheongju International Airport , Yang yang International Airport, Muan International Airport, Gwangju Airport, Ulsan Airport, Yeosu Airport, Sacheon Airport, Pohang Airport, Gunsan Airport, Wonju Airport. KAC also manages the Area Control Center, 10 VOR/TACs and Korea Civil Aviation Academy.  Its flagship airport is Seoul Incheon International Airport.

Air Afrique: Honorary Flight Covers, 1962 and 1966

Two tremendous first day covers from La Republique de Cote D'Ivoire for Timetablist's Air Afrique Week Wednesday post. The first is a terrific 1962 envelope, celebrating the launch of the new carrier, with a brief-case bearing Ivoirian businessman, his back to the rising skyline of booming Abidjan, faces a herder at right, a lamb nestled in his hand. Between them is the African continent, zooming with 707-like jets of the era. The stamp is a duplicate image.

The second example from four years hence mimics the first. Celebrating the first flight of the sleek DC-8, which soars across the envelop from the left, towards the double cancellation marks, finished with a stylish deep-green stamp honoring the same event, with silver-grey jets streaming in front of the silver grey skyscrapers of Abidjan's modern skyline. 
Article and Image Courtesy: the Timetablist

Vintage Postage: Air Afrique: Doula-Geneva, November 1969

Adapted from the Timetablist's Air Afrique week. Our series continues. For more information on vintage airline route maps, postage and timetables for over the last five decades from around the world, visit the Timetablist blog.

An attractive first flight cover of Air Afrique from Douala to Geneva on 6 November 1969. The sharp but simple graphics of the envelope, with its clever textual boundary dividing the surface in two, is enhanced by the carefully placed special-cancellation mark, and the colorful stamps at right.

Cameroon would be setting up its own flag-carrier, Cameroon Airlines, and therefore withdrawing from the Air Afrique group, barely a year after the issuance of this envelope and the launch of this service. Cameroon's inaugural flights, on 1 November 1971, were almost two years to the day from this celebratory issue (although Cameroon's B747 service to Europe only came later in the 1970s). 
Photo Credit: The Timetablist. Images may not be taken or  reused elsewhere. For more information , please contact the Timetablist Blog

A glimpse into the first Boeing 787 Dreamliner for Ethiopian Airlines!

The plane will be delivered to the Ethiopian Airlines in January 2012 and will be deployed on the Addis Ababa to Guangzhou, China route.The first B787 will be delivered Lotnicznym LOT Polish Lines. This photo was taken during a recent visit to the Boeing factory in Seattle showing the Ethiopian Airlines B787 Dreamliner!Yes finally - item no. 3 on the assembly line. Ethiopian Airlines has ordered 10 B787 Dreamliner aircraft.

An Ethiopian Airlines Journey: Is this one of the best customer reviews?

I was scouring the web for information when I came across this detailed and awesome video review of Ethiopian Airlines by a very satisfied customer, RvXKaz, who is booking a flight from Hong Kong to Bangkok on Ethiopian. It makes me really want to Fly Ethiopian!! Are there other detailed reviews of other African airlines like Kenya Airways and South African Airways out there, please share.

 Enjoy and make sure you watch it all to see the sweet surprise at the end. Happy landings!

Kenya Airways CEO Dr. Titus Naikuni appointed to IATA Board of Governors

Dr. Titus Naikuni, Group Managing Director and CEO of Kenya Airways, has been appointed to the International Air Travel Association (IATA) Board of Governors. Dr. Naikuni, who is serving on the board for the second time, was also appointed to the 2012 Nominating Committee during the Association’s 67th Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Singapore on June 6. With this appointment Mr Naikuni returns to the IATA Board having served for four years from 2004 to 2009.
 Also representing Africa on the IATA Board of Governors is Mrs. Siza Mzimela, the Group CEO of South African Airways and Mr Hussein Massoud, the Chairman and CEO of Egypt Air. The IATA Board Chairman is Mr Peter Hartman who is the President and CEO of KLM Royal Dutch Airlines which owns a 26% stake in Kenya Airways. You can read the full list of the members of IATA Board of Governors here 

IATA is an international trade body that represents, leads, and serves over 230 airlines comprising 93% of scheduled international air traffic. The board is composed of 31 persons elected from its members, who serve without remuneration. Their responsibilities include oversight and executive decision-making on behalf of the membership in order to provide policy directives and guidance to IATA Industry Committees, subsidiary bodies, IATA Traffic Conferences, and to industry settlement plans.

This appointment places Dr. Naikuni at the center of decision making for the aviation industry. It is a culmination of experience and expertise gained after 8 years at the helm of one of Africa’s leading airlines, Kenya Airways, and underpins the level of confidence that IATA members place in his leadership capabilities.
Commenting on his appointment, Dr. Naikuni noted, “I am greatly honored by this appointment and wish to express my gratitude to the IATA members for their confidence in my election to serve them. This appointment is very exciting, because it comes at a time when the economies of Africa are poised for takeoff. Transport is an important factor in Africa’s economic development and the aviation industry will undoubtedly play a major role in the pursuit of this development.”

He further added, “The appointment is an indication that African airlines are ready to take their rightful place in leading the decision making in the world’s aviation industry. I will strive to serve the interests of all members while seeking to ensure that airlines in Africa in particular are able to meet the safety, environmental, and sustainability agendas that IATA drives.”

Kenya Airways, “The Pride of Africa,” has positioned itself as a key driver in the development of transport links across Africa. The airline seeks to be the carrier of choice on the continent, connecting various African cities and linking Africa to the world through the airline’s hub in Nairobi. Kenya Airways is set to commence flights to its 54th global destination, Ndjamena, Chad, later this month.

Air Afrique: B707 Stamp for the Republic of Benin c.1975

For the next few months, we will be publishing select posts from the Timetablist, a unique aviation blog dedicated to airline route maps, route post cards from the last 5 decades. To our younger audiences,especially in Africa, it's a rare glimpse to a bygone age. You can visit the Timetablist and enjoy the rest of the posts from across the world.We thank the dedicated blogger Matt for giving us the permission to reuse this material. This week , we will feature Air Afrique.

 Here is a classically exotic image from both the golden age of jet travel and Africa's independence era: A broad-winged B707 in on a palm-fringed airfield, as the ground crew awaits deplaning passengers from Marseille, Paris or Geneva.

The pride of the young Benin, which was originally colonial Dahomey. The blacked out labelling on the stamp from Republique du Dahomey to Benin suggests the vintage of this issue to be 1975 or just thereafter.
Also, other than the occasional freighter version, Air Afrique did not employ the B707, utilizing instead the DC-8. Given that this is a non-Afrique aircraft which is not painted in Afrique colors, perhaps this drawing was originally an Air France B707. It can only be guessed that this is a gateway Benin airfield of Cotonou or Porto-Novo.


Ethiopian Airlines changes to B777 Lagos Route

Effective beginning of June this year has Ethiopian Airlines introduced the B777 on the route between Addis Ababa and Lagos / Nigeria. Cross Africa traffic has grown stronger that the global average growth in aviation and ET is one of only two airlines to have fully understood and exploited the need of Africa to connect within rather than, as was often the case in the past, Africans having to travel via a European gateway to get to the ‘other side of Africa’.

Ethiopian will be targeting both passengers and cargo, in particular to and from their Far Eastern and Middle Eastern destinations which it serves with swift connections out of their Addis Ababa hub, and the upped capacity and state of the art aircraft type will undoubtedly help them to capture more traffic. They will also in the process offer more serious competition to those non-African airlines making inroads across the continent due to a broader lack of understanding by countries granting almost unlimited traffic rights to them instead of promoting African aviation development, especially with airlines like Ethiopian foremost on their minds.
Happy landings to the new ‘baby’ now swooping into Lagos on a daily basis since early this week.

Source Wolfganghthome's Blog

Rwandair gets loan nod from Ex-IM bank in the US

News from Kigali overnight confirm that RwandAir has secured a financing approval for their two brand new B737-800’s which are due for delivery in a few months time, through the American Ex-Im Bank, with fund disbursal to take effect via the PTA Bank, also known as the Eastern and Southern African Trade and Development Bank.

Delivery of the first NG B737 is due for the 22nd August this year and the second such aircraft will arrive in Kigali a few weeks later. Both aircraft will feature the latest state of the art ‘Sky Interior’ and inflight entertainment.

The PTA Bank had in the past also supported RwandAir when they purchased two CRJ 200 aircraft from Germany’s Lufthansa which came with a major maintenance support package at the time. RwandAir has in recent years, notably as a stand alone airline without a strategic partnership in place, emerged as a serious regional player and added routes, frequencies and still improved greatly on its balance sheets as a result of a fresh focus after deciding on a new business model two years ago.

Meanwhile has RwandAir, ahead of the upcoming annual gorilla naming festival Kwita Izina, put special fares on the market to connect East Africa with West Africa via Kigali, but also to travel from anywhere in East Africa via Kigali to Johannesburg and of course to travel to Rwanda directly. More information about this is available via where schedules, destinations and these special offers are posted.

Source Wolfganghthome's Blog

Kenya Airways set for Kilimanjaro Flights?

Aviation circles in Tanzania are speculating intensely over Kenya Airways’ plans to include direct flights between their Nairobi hub and Kilimanjaro International between Moshi and Arusha, a route so far served exclusively by KQ’s Tanzanian partner airline Precision Air with ATR aircraft.

These flights are operated under a full code share arrangement which has been benefitting both airlines as they were building up their respective fleets.

The arrival of more Embraer jets however, only last week was another E190 received by Kenya Airways from the factory in Brazil, now opens up additional options for Kenya Airways to consider operating their own flights between NBO and JRO, again codesharing them with Precision Air.

The Embraers have become a regular feature on the regional routes and the 2-2 seating in the economy class, and the wider 2-2 seating in the business class section have been fully accepted by KQ’s faithful travelers from the East African region. The smaller E170 version of the Embraers flying for ‘the Pride of Africa’ may therefore well be deployed in the not too distant future to Kilimanjaro, cutting flying time to just about half an hour and giving passengers enroute spectacular views of Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain.
Watch this space.

Source Wolfganghthome's Blog

Kenya Airways takes delivery of new E190ER

Kenya Airways recently released their financial year results but alongside more good news emerged when it was confirmed that their latest addition to the fleet, a brand new Embraer 190 had arrived overnight and was being readied for operations with the maiden flight due in under two weeks time to a destination in Southern Africa.

Kenya Airways had for long banked on their fleet of B737-300, B737-700 and B737-800 aircraft but since last year progressively introduced Embraer 170 and 190, which are being deployed on routes to Mombasa, the wider Eastern African region and now also to Southern Africa, where the new E 190 will according to a source from within the airline will fly to.

The 100 seater aircraft ‘is the right size for some routes’ said the same regular source at the airline’s head quarters earlier today, especially as the airline is going to introduce yet more African destinations in coming months. By 2013 Kenya Airways intends to fly to all African capitals / commercial hubs to comprehensively cover the continent and make itself the number one choice for travelers from Europe, the Americas, the Middle East and the Asia / Pacific region when flying to Africa.

The fuel efficient aircraft offers, as all other fleet aircraft, both business and economy class and is configured 2-2 in both sections with wider and more comfortable seats in the front cabin. A further three such aircraft are expected for delivery in the second part of 2011, from an order of initially 5 such jets. Visit their website for more information on schedules, fares and special offers 

SourceWolfganghthome's Blog

Kenya Airways going places, stays green at home

The Kenya Airways sponsored tree planting project at the Ngong Hills outside Nairobi continues with now about 750.000 trees already planted of an intermediate target of 1.000.000 trees before assessing the success of the ‘Trees for Future’ engagement and launching fresh initiatives.

KQ now also gives all passengers the option of making added financial contributions in accordance with the miles flown to support added ‘green’ initiatives selected by a panel at the airline and this, according to a source in Nairobi, is taking hold in the market fast.

Meanwhile, following the announcement of the full year 2010/11 results earlier in the week has the airline confirmed that they will continue with their rollout of a comprehensive Africa network, which by 2013 will connect all African capitals, traffic rights permitting, with the Kenyan capital city of Nairobi.

Constraints it was pointed out however were found in the fact that pilots’ training – Kenya Airways has several dozen sponsored trainee pilots in flying schools in South Africa and elsewhere – takes time, something the airline does not seem to have considering the ongoing delivery of more jet aircraft to the fleet. This year alone at least two more Embraer 190AR are due to be delivered as are more NG B737’s and all require multiple cockpit crews – conventional wisdom speaks of between 5 to 7 for each aircraft to be optimally staffed – to allow the birds to be operated to the fullest extent.

Estimates at present talk of a cockpit crew shortfall of over 100 pilots for Kenya Airways alone, to meet destination and expansion targets as planned, and much of this discrepancy is linked to the siphoning effect the Gulf aviation scene has created in recent years, absorbing trained pilots from Africa’s scheduled airlines at a rate faster than they can be replaced by their original employers. This has added to the trend that East Africa’s ‘safari airlines’ too are now suffering from pilots seeking greener pastures and ‘upgrading’ their ratings from single and twin engined light and turboprop aircraft to commercial jets as and when possible, leaving the aviation industry almost befuddled over how to retain their pilots and recruit new ones meeting the standard requirements for deployment as first officers or captains.

Although the age limit for captains has been increased in recent years from an initial 60 years to 65 years there is still a wave of retirements coming the way of the global aviation industry making it all the more urgent to recruit the next, and then again the next generation of ‘fly boys and fly girls’, as the female presence in cockpits, even in Africa, begins to expand.

Meanwhile though, these challenges notwithstanding, has a regular source at KQ confirmed that plans are advancing on course to add Abuja by midyear – it is not clear if this will be operated as an extension of the airline’s Lagos flights – before commencing operations to Mauritius and a few other destinations, as many as five or six more in total it was learned, they however like to keep still under wraps to give their opposite numbers a little more time to speculate and ‘worry’ as another aviation source in Nairobi put it.
Happy Landings to them all!

Source Wolfganghthome's Blog

Kenya Government to 'defend' thier stake in Kenya Airways

Information was received from usually well informed circles in Nairobi that the government will during the upcoming additional share issue by Kenya’s national airline be defending their 23 percent shareholding in the publicly listed and traded company and underwrite their share options in full.

Kenya Airways was privatized in 1996 and has since then not raised its capital, now however thought to be essential to provide the company with the financial resources and strength to finance and acquire additional aircraft and roll out its network expansion as internal strategy papers suggest it should.

Kenya Airways remains an example of a successful airline privatization and shares are now traded across the entire region with over 75.000 institutional and individual shareholders on the company register. KQ has largely posted profits since it was ‘sold’ but for the extremely difficult years during the global economic and financial crisis, when the world’s aviation industry sank into unprecedented depths of losses not seen since 9/11 had turned airline accounts into scarlet red reading material.

During privatization, incidentally spearheaded by British Airways Speedwing Consulting, KLM at the time emerged as the most potent bidder and subsequently acquired a 26 percent stake before taking ‘the Pride of Africa’ on an unprecedented journey of success.

However, the initial KLM management team and subsequent managers then chosen have since made way for a largely Kenyan team at the helm, presently headed by Dr. Titus Naikuni, who have done Kenya and Africa proud by continuing the success stories written by their predecessors since 1996 and being living evidence that privatization, when done smartly, can actually work and bring about huge benefits.

The Kenyan government’s decision to fully take up their share entitlement will cost them nearly 60 million US Dollars but is thought to be a strategic investment – incidentally a profitable one considering the financial returns through dividends – aimed to cement Nairobi’s regional superiority as THE leading East African aviation hub. As reported here in the past in related articles, Kenya Airways’ hub airport of Nairobi is currently undergoing expansion and modernization and it is understood from usually reliable sources that this will include a dedicated new terminal for Kenya Airways and their Sky Team alliance partners alongside a second runway, which will boost Nairobi’s standing as a fully functional twin runway airport and create capacity for more airlines to commence flights to Kenya. Primary targets here are carriers from the Far and South East but also from North America where commercial demands are now gaining the upper hand over obscure aviation safety issues past American administrations had with Kenyan airports.

Meanwhile though is the immediate financial future for Kenya Airways looking stronger than ever before and this correspondent in particular is always happy to walk on the red carpet when flying with ‘the Pride of Africa’ – taking me places.

Source: Wolfganghthome's Blog

The Impersonator: Steven Frischling aka @flyingwithfish Shoots himself in the foot

Sorry guys I have been busy with work and I didn't get time to follow though with my story on Steven Frischling, the con artist who fooled the airline industry for almost four years.

In my previous post I stated that Steven gave us very strong clues that he was the impersonator but we really never had something conclusive to pin him down, you see, everything was very circumstantial. Until Now.

Steven posted two tweets today in which he virtually gave himself up as the impostor who was impersonating an African airline two years ago and posting fake tweets to genuinely concerned passengers. In 2009, I knew that whoever could pull this off was not a very smart guy. From watching 1000s of episodes on Crime & Investigation, I always believe that crimes like this are comitted by people very CLOSE to you. So, I had narrowed on my suspects to two people: 1.Steven Frischling and 2 Steven Frischling. Yes, this guy has a dual personality :-)

So I used various threats and tricks to make him take down the account.  I asked Steven politely whether he was responsible but he denied saying something like his professional ethics could never allow him to do something of this nature and even offered to help us take down the account on conditions as I discussed in the previous post, so I threatened to blog about the issue BUT also turned my attention to the impersonator and then account went down 6 hours later.

 From newly emerging evidence, it seems the actual trigger was not the blog threat but some tweet and message that I sent NOT to Steven but TO THE IMPERSONATOR! It was pure bluff, I told the impersonator that I could trace his IP address from his Twitter messages :-) and the account went offline almost in the next 10 minutes. So how did Steven read this message about the IP being traced? What  psychic energy did Steven posses to enable him read other people's DMs? Also, why did he assume I was addressing him via my tweet while I was ACTUALLY ADDRESSING THE IMPERSONATOR? It's called a Freudian slip. The impersonator, whom we can now confidently reveal as Steven Frischling, the Travel Strategist, believed that I could actually trace his IP address from a Twitter message! Awesome!

And from his tweet today, there is a very strong reason to believe that he still entertains that belief. He wants me to explain how I could possibly do that!

Here's an exchange I had with the impersonator in 2009, whom, with 120% confidence, I can now confirm as Steven Frischling

There are other hilarious sections of the conversation. For example he claimed to be tweeting from some building in the city centre. So I asked him about the street where he was located and after what I presume to be a very quick Google search he gave out the name of a street that's almost 20km away. To give rough  illustration of the scale of stupidity involved here from the Google map of New York, it's like someone tweeting in Empire State Building on 12th Avenue. In Africa, we call such a person a Mampara, a total and complete idiot.

I am done here. Steven don't let me go on to proving the $1 million demand. You are very forgetful but I have very long memory plus "hard evidence" that you demanded. Remember, if it's digital it can't be deleted. To our regular readers, my colleague Katie who is now running the blog will be featuring some interesting posts from the Timetablist Blog. Don't miss out.
Thanks everyone.

@flyingwithfish or Steven Frischling: The Airline Social Media Fraud

Around 2008/2009, airlines and travel agencies were just discovering social media. The success of Jetblue at raking in a million followers and selling tickets via Twitter had inspired airlines to dream big. Maybe, just maybe, they could just do away with the millions in print and electronic ads and do all their stuff with this new phenomenon called social media? Airlines wanted a magic solution, a silver bullet to take their social media campaigns off the ground.
Steven Fraudster: The Fraud Geek
There is always a man for every task
During this period, a new breed of human beings emerged, the social media strategists. These were people who were very good with social media and had proved capable of building vibrant online communities around brands. They were tech-savvy like me, and they knew how to use every social media tool on the web. Their experiences were derived from constant use. And this knowledge of new media was a boon to the rigid airline marketing executives who only communicated via emails. Amongst this breed was the 23 year old me, yes me: a college student and charged with building an online media brand for an airline. Yes, these were exciting times! By the end of 2009, virtually almost all airlines in the world had Facebook pages, were on Twitter and were thinking of building blogs; a testament to the painstaking work that our tribe did! Kudos to all airline social media executives: Paula Berg, Addison Schonland, Shashank Nigam and everyone else I forgot to mention.

Most of us of course moved on to new careers, more exciting but the experience of deploying social media to address traveler's woes has remained with us. I still believe in the power of social media. And we still apply those experiences at the slightest opportunity. But amongst the good fellas who pioneered this new phenomenon, there was one douchebag called Steven Frischling; a fraudulent guy who had used his skills to build a fishy online brand as a "Travel Strategist". Steven Frischling is to social media campaigns what burglars are to expensive art. Armed with the internet, and I must assume, loads of idle time(the current global job market offers an evil but creative mind some ample playground, especially if this idler has access to the internet), he would hop onto hundreds of airline websites in the "Contact Us" pages collecting email information. What followed next was an avalanche of social media consulting offers. He would search info about airline, pick some tips from Slideshare and package the half-baked ideas carefully as his own; offering road maps to a social media paradise.

Of course a lot of this information was inaccurate but in a corporate environment, an unsolicited email is an order of the day. A few weeks passed by and then one day, we started noticing a new account impersonating our official airline Twitter account. It was Steven Frischling. He was simply searching for mentions of the airline on Twitter and then replying to conversations from passengers etc with misinformation. It was his way of taking revenge. I told a few of his peers like Shashank Nigam about it and Shashank was shocked. Apparently and in  all his delusions, Frischling had informed people that he already worked for the airline. Shashank asked me, "U mean he never worked with XXXX Airlines at all? Sure. Thanks for sharing. Strange things I hear about Fish from you... he has a good reputation" Shashank, a great guy by any measure, could never comprehend Steven Frischling doing all these things; falsely claiming to work for an airline, creating a fake Twitter account to impersonate an airline, sending emails of blackmail, threatening to sue for $1 million(sic), apparently because his ideas which he had hastily picked from Slideshare (probably from Shashank himself) and other internet articles and then sent to the airline in an unsolicited email, had apparently been "stolen". And for that Steven Frischling wanted $1 million!

Steven Frischling promising to take the fake Twitter account offline if I contacted my boss and convinced him to acquiesce to his $1 million demand. Apparently, he could contact people on Twitter to take the account down in 3-5 days instead of the arduous wait of 90 days. Though he didn't admit direct liability he gave enough indications in our conversations to convince us that he was actually the culprit and it was obvious to us that the person he would contact in 3-5 days was HIMSELF! After I threatened to expose him via a blog post like this one, the account went offline 6 hours later. He contacted himself too soon :-)

Most normal people cannot comprehend this behavior. My boss then, a great guy who was doing wonderful digital initiatives at the airline and who had taken a bold move to adopt social media at a time when it was anathema to most companies including airlines was shocked beyond words. In the corporate world where people fancy doing things in an appropriate manner, Steven's antics are like a scene in a horror movie.

Eventually we decided to simply ignore him and by the time I left, the airline's social media campaign was a shining example for others to follow. Steven the douchebag eventually gave up when he realized that his hope of netting  $ 1 million from fraud was just a bad dream but not before giving one last kick. He published an article on Boarding Area in which he expounded on his claims of how the airline had used "his ideas" and how he had a paper trail etc. In a twist of irony, he was even interviewed by Addison Schonland on the popular Innovation Analysis Group, IAG podcasts where with a mountain of lies and half truths, he lied about the whole episode and offered airlines tips on how to best handle social media campaigns.That too eventually passed.

Several months later, Addison Schonland and the Innovation Analysis Group approached me for a partnership and we worked out an agreement where I was to help in securing contracts for IAG with African airlines and travel companies. I have deep respect for Addison, so I accepted. But then Steven started the fateful KLM blog project and my contacts on realizing that Steven was associated with IAG, simply backed off. It's a small world and Steven's behavior was known in the circles. I too, was forced to quit under the circumstances. That was the end for me too of my engagement with airline social media initiatives or corporate social media initiatives whatever you call it. As an engineer and also someone who values truth and accomplishing things in a straight forward manner, this complex twist of betrayal, lack of ethics and backstabbing was just too much for me.

My only regret was that I did not fire a warning letter to KLM early in 2010 when I realized Steven was about to begin work on their blog.

Unfortunately, I cannot share the emails exchanged between me and Steven in official capacity in the past as it would be a gross breach of ethics. I can only share personal correspondence which is limited to Twitter DMs and one email message.

EcoAir; ECOWASto establish a regional airline for West African states

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is set to establish a regional air carrier, called ECOAIR, it announced Saturday, in the wake of repeated poor performance by local airlines, and the financial collapse of several national carriers.
'It has become increasingly difficult to fly from one country to the other within the sub-region, the airline companies are so erratic in their schedule, so we are meeting in order to operationalise ECOAIR' Victor Gbeho, resident of the ECOWAS Commission said.

Gbehho said the proposed West African Airlines would be a private sector driven venture. 'I met with stakeholders in the sector and their response was encouraging, through partnership they can get financing through larger capitalization and will be able to access, and tap into resources of member nations', he added.
Following a grant of 63.8 million euros from the European Union, the bloc has also began implementing a transport and transit facilitation programme - which includes the construction of five joint border-posts along major corridors in the region.

This development is the first major step towards the elimination of some borders within the ECOWAS bloc.
In a bid to further promote trade , the bloc consisting of 15 member state is expected to implement the single currency policy by 2020.

ECOWAS currently consists of Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.

African Airlines Association: Europe should abolish its airline blacklist

Author: Dr Elijah Chingosho is secretary general of the African Airlines Association (AFRAA)

Last month, the European Commission updated its infamous list of airlines banned in the European Commission (EU), with a blacklist on all carriers that have been certified in Mozambique, in addition to the operations of Air Madagascar for two specific Boeing 767 aircraft, which the European Commission states is because of “significant safety deficiencies requiring decisive action in both cases”.

The African Airlines Association (AFRAA) received this disturbing news with great disappointment. Mozambique is the 14th African state to be included in the list, or the 15th if a partial ban on Madagascar’s national airline is included, which brings the number of African States now on the banned list to 26%.

LAM Mozambique Airlines’ safety record is impeccable. Since the company was established in 1980, it has not had a single major accident. And since 1989 there have been no accidents of any kind involving LAM Mozambique Airlines aircraft. Major European airlines can make no such claim. For example, according to the Flight Safety Foundation, Air France has had 23 major accidents (involving substantial damage to aircraft, serious or fatal injuries) since 1990, three of them with fatalities, and a total of 348 deaths.

LAM Mozambique Airlines has worked hard and invested significant resources to attain industry best practices on safety, which enabled it attain the IATA Safety Audit Certification in 2007, later renewed in 2009. However, the airline’s impeccable safety record, and dual achievement of the internationally reputed IOSA Certification and ISO 9000 Certification, has not spared it from the EU blanket banning. AFRAA fails to see how such blanket banning contributes to encourage African carriers that strive to achieve industry best practices in safety standards.

The banning of an airline not only prohibits that airline from operating to the EU but also impacts its ticket sales to other destinations, including on code shared routes as travel agents and other code share partners in EU are required by regulation at the time of sales or booking to notify passengers that the airline is blacklisted. Irrespective of what the European Commission public relations exercise of attempting to pass blanket banning as a solution to safety concerns is, it amounts to nothing more than a blunt instrument that constrains the development of a viable African air transport industry.

While the net losers are African carriers, the net beneficiaries are always the EU carriers that swiftly step in to fill the vacuum and take the market share of the banned airlines. Despite the blacklisting of Mozambique, EU carriers will continue to operate with increased frequencies and higher yields to Mozambique and other states that are subject to the ban. If the airspace of an African country is unsafe, it is unsafe also to European carriers who continue to fly the African skies for commercial benefit. African governments, the African Union (AU) and African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC) should not allow this state of affairs to continue as the continents’ air transport industry is progressively being destroyed.

AFRAA calls upon all African stakeholders to address the serious safety oversight deficiencies and concerns in the states blacklisted and meaningfully engage with the EU to establish a mutually acceptable, fair and transparent mechanism to address safety concerns in place of the unilateral blanket banning, which has so far not yielded any meaningful achievement in advancing safety in the continent. Once again AFRAA’ reiterates the call made during its 42nd Annual General Assembly Resolutions in November 2010, which deplored the continued unilateral practice of blacklisting mainly African states and airlines with no visible benefits in enhancing safety on the continent, whilst having a huge negative commercial implications not only on the carriers concerned but on African aviation in general.


Aviation Blog of the week: The Timetablist

I just discovered this blog this week which is a big shame because it's a classic. It covers aviation timetables, pictures of route maps, aviation themed postage stamps over the years. African airlines are also heavily featured from pre-independence era to date. I spent over two hours reading this and I suggest you do the same. A great place where you can travel down the memory lane.

The Timetablist

Kenya Airways as it Once was: East African Airways: Summer Timetable, 1974 , Adverts Plus more

I was digging into archives this week to learn more about the defunct East African Airways and a few photos can reveal a lot about a bygone era. Take a look at the first one below showing East African Airways' "Domestic Routes"
"At the height of its integration, the East African community's co-owned airline considered its routes within and between Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda as its "domestic" network. Note that Uganda had hardly any service, and that northern Kenya was also very underserved." Writes the Timetablist blog.

East African's operations were concentrated between Nairobi and Dar Es Salaam, with a large web of services up and down the coast from Lamu and Mombasa, to Zanzibar and Dar, to Kilwa and Mtwara. From Dar, a sizable domestic operation on mainland Tanzania linked Arusha (Kilimanjaro) and Dodoma to Mwanza on Lake Victoria. 
Below:  East African Airways Timetable
"Within the pages of this brochure, issued for midyear 1974, are two maps showing the extent of East African Airways networks. On the left, a landless, geometric schematic shows East African's services in its home region, with five routes each out of Entebbe and Nairobi to London, Athens, Frankfurt, and Zürich, with connections between them as well as onward service from Frankfurt and Rome to Copenhagen. Nairobi also had a small Asian circuit: Aden-Karachi-Bombay, whereas Dar Es Salaam's only trans-ocean operation was a Tananarive-Mauritius leg.

Cooperative services are shown to Lagos, Accra, Cairo, Tokyo and the Seychelles, with arrows pointing outwards from Blantyre, Mauritius, Seychelles, London and Copenhagen, presumably to other corners of the Globe." Courtesy the Timetablist
. As East Africa moves towards integration, it's hoped the present leaders can emulate the sense of community that existed in the region before it fell afoul to politics. If you have tales about old defunct airlines in Africa, feel free to drop as an email at contact[at]flight-africa[dot]com and we will publish your entries.

Images Courtesy of  Timetable Images. Special thanks!

Payday at Arik Air: Arik Pilots complain about delayed pay on Pprune Forums

It's always fun reading Pprune forums where pilots get a chance to bash their airline bosses anonymously. Last night someone brought this thread to my attention. Apparently, Arik Air has a distinguished tradition of not paying their staff on time. There are comments like "An Arik Calendar Month is 46 days long." and others.

We will be monitoring this thread to know when the Arik Air pilots are paid. Read the threads here Arik Air Pay Day

Kenya Airways Plans Routes to Libya, Tunisia Within Three Years

Kenya Airways, sub-Saharan Africa's third-biggest airline, plans to begin flights to Libya and Tunisia within three years.

“It was always in our plan to open up Tripoli and Tunisia, more so with the African Development Bank being based there, and also with North Africa starting to look south,” Chief Executive Officer Titus Naikuni said in an interview . Talks between the airline and the Kenyan, Libyan and Tunisian governments have been slowed by political instability in the two North African nations, he said.

The airline’s only route in North Africa is to Egypt. Kenya Airways will add eight new destinations this year, including the capitals of Nigera, Chad, Togo and Burkina Fasso, as well as Mauritius and the Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah later this year.

Kenya Airways is training 100 pilots who will be ready to fly its fleet in the next two years, Naikuni said. The carrier, which had 177 pilots in 2002, has 377 pilots, short of the 500 it requires to be optimally staffed, he said. It may look to hire foreign pilots to cover the gap, Naikuni said.

South African Airways and Ethiopian Airlines Enterprise are sub-Saharan Africa’s two biggest carriers, according to IATA, which represents more than 230 airlines making up about 93 percent of scheduled international air traffic.

Kenya Airways Cargo creeps Up

LIMITED capacity has stunted Kenya Airways’ cargo growth, with the airline seeing a negligible 2.2 per cent rise on the previous year.

The company is looking for a freighter to lift volume growth, chief executive Titus Naikuni said.
Despite poor cargo figures the airline posted an 87 per cent surge in yearly pretax profit to 5 billion shillings (US$58.1 million).

“We are still bullish. We are looking at opening new routes meaning we have an opportunity to increase our revenues even further,” Naikuni commented.
The six routes to be opened this year include Abuja (Nigeria), Asmara (Eritrea) and Beirut (Lebanon)

Aviation in Nigeria: Nigeria bails out its airlines

Nigeria has extended a $3.3 billion bailout to the country's troubled domestic airlines.
 Mohammed Abdullahi, a spokesperson of the Central bank of Nigeria said Monday that the fund will let airlines refinance their loans for a period of 10 to 15 years. Abdullahi says the loans help both airlines and banks, as the airlines' heavy debts could hurt the banks.

Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation, has seen its airline industry grow dramatically in recent years. The competition has strained airlines' budgets, already hurting from increased jet fuel costs. This impetus means Nigerian airlines will once again find their footing in the African skies after decades of decay.

China's first Tibetan stewardess joins senior management of newly established Tibet Airlines

Once in a while, we bring you aviation tidbits and inspiring stories not just from Africa but from around the world. Here is one from Tibet.
Deqen Yangzom, China's first Tibetan stewardess, recently joined the senior management of newly established Tibet Airlines, the first airline company based in the Tibet Autonomous Region. The first flight of the company is scheduled for July 2011.
Deqen Yangzo
Deqen Yangzom was born in 1976 in Lhasa to Tibetan parents. After graduating from high school in 1994, she successfully passed a series of exams and interviews and became Air China's first Tibetan air stewardess in 1995.

African Aviation Jobs: Fly540 Ghana embarks on a massive recruitment exercise

Fly540 is going full steam ahead with its vision to establish a Pan Africa presence. Shortly after launching Fly540 Angola, the airline is right on schedule to the launch of Fly540 Ghana to open a West African hub.
The airline has embarked on a massive recruitment exercise for the following positions:

The deadline for application is 6th June 2011.

ATR-72/500 Captains (REF CAPT2011)
Job Description
Fly540 Ghana is currently seeking the following inspired individuals: Responsible for the safe, efficient operation of an aircraft in compliance with Fly540 Operations Manual. GCAA & ICAO regulations

Required Skills or Experience

  • Must have a minimum of 3000 hours total flying time on commercial aircraft's
  •  A minimum of 1000 hours of flying time on turbine powered aircraft's (over 20 tonnes) and minimum of 500 hours of flying time on similar types such as DASH 8 or SAAB 340
  • Valid class 1 medical certificate. Must hold a valid ICAO ATPL. English language fluency (written and verbal comprehension): ICAO English level (5 or above)
  • Experience commensurate with age. Type rating would be advantageous
Cabin Crew (REF CC2011)

Fly540 Ghana is currently seeking the following inspired individuals:
Oversees the safe operation and regulatory requirements of all in-flight services related to the aircraft cabin as well as perform exceptional customer service to all passengers

Required Skills or Experience
  • Must have fluency in both written and spoken English is a pre-requisite and at least one local dialect
  •  Graduate or 'A' level education
  • Previous experience in cabin service and/or cabin crew training is an advantage
  • Be medically fit to meet aircrew requirements and must know how to swim. Minimum height of above 1.5 metres
Airport Customer Service & Operations Coordinators (REF OPS2011)
Fly540 Ghana is currently seeking the following inspired individuals:
  • To efficiently and effectively coordinate the Fly540's operation and to successfully meet safety, security, punctuality and performance standards
  • To supervise Ground Handling Agent services on shift basis to achieve optimum customer service standards and efficiency
Required Skills or Experience
  • Graduate or 'A level' standard or local equivalent
  •  3-4 years customer service/operations/ramp handling experience
  • National language/dialects. Proven supervisory skills
  • Ramp handling and load sheet/weight and balance experience/licenses are a must
Retail and Telesales Agents (REF RT2011)
Fly540 Ghana is currently seeking the following inspired individuals:
To achieve the highest possible revenue contribution and customer service standards when servicing customers, focusing on quality and performance standards by means of telephone contacts, face to face, correspondence and computer technology

Required Skills or Experience
  • Must have previous sales and customer service experience
  •  Direct exposure to sales and marketing environment
  • Good pricing knowledge
  • Good commercial acumen
  • Ability to transfer between telephone and retails sales. Ideally ticketing trained
ATR-72/500 First Officers (REF F011)

Fly540 Ghana is currently seeking the following inspired individuals:
  • To prepare for flights and attentively monitor their progress, act as second-in command and work in a fully CRM based environment.
  •  To fulfill the duties of First Officer as detailed in the Fly540 Operations Manual
Required Skills or Experience
  • Must have a minimum of 1000 hours total flying time on commercial aircrafts.
  •  Turbine experience. Valid 1st class medical certificate.
  • Must hold a valid ICAO ATPL. English language fluency (written and verbal comprehension)
  • ICAO English level (4 or above). Experience commensurate with age. Type rated would be advantageous
ATR 72-500 Engineers (REF ENG2011)
Fly540 Ghana is currently seeking the following inspired individuals:
Responsible for the safe and efficient maintenance of all company fleet of aircraft and ground support tools/equipment in accordance with GCAA, ICAO and Fl540 manuals

Required Skills or Experience
  • Must have GCAA/ICAO valid license. Minimum of 5 years experience on type.
  •  English language fluency (written and verbal comprehension)
  • Ability to use modern computer tools for maintenance
How To Apply
Written applications are invited together with a current CV and from individuals with the qualified skills and experience. Applications must be e-mailed to: (Quote relevant number in the subject line). Suitable candidates only will be contacted and invited forward to the selection process. Applicants must be energetic, resilient and willing to work on shift basis, weekends and or holidays.

Deadline is 6th June, 2011
Good luck to all our readers in Ghana who will applying for these jobs and beginning a rewarding career with one of Africa's most promising airlines!