Kisumu airport to open doors in one month

The much-awaited Kisumu International Airport will be officially commissioned in a month’s time, as engineers wind-up construction works. 

Airport manager Joseph Okumu told The Standard that works at the new site was now 98 per cent complete.
"What we are doing now is test runs to ensure that all is ready as we look forward to opening up the facility to the public," explained Okumu.

Some of the works that are yet to be completed include ground lightening, visual aids and markings at the runway.
Okumu said the new terminal building will be able to handle 600 to 700 persons per hour, translating to two million traffic per annum. 

This will surpass the current traffic of 300,000 and will see it accommodate big planes such as Boeing 767 and the 737 planes. 

It was also allow Airbus 310, which can carry up to 250 passengers to land in the lakeside town.
At the weekend, former Nigerian president Oleisugun Obasanjo tested the facility when he flew direct from Abuja to Kisumu International Airport.
The former head of state was leading a powerful delegation from Nigeria on a two-day familiarisation tour of the Sh2 billion mechanised rice-farming ventures by the American-based Dominion group of companies.
"This was part of the test runs that we allowed to see how effective we are as we map the Kisumu international route," explained Okumu.

The new airport is likely to build the Nyanza economy coming as the region recovers from the rigors of post-poll violence and the subsequent global economic crunch. Already, a number of investors are eyeing the town and are rushing to set up business in order to tap the export market.

Dismantle arrangementA team of Norwegian investors has unveiled plans to put up a S4.1 million Tilapia fish-farming project and processing plant, which will be based in Nyando constituency. The group hopes to produce enough fish for export to the Europe, Asia, and pacific and Caribbean countries with the anticipated opening of Kisumu international Airport.

Another Sh837 million project that will see to the harvesting and re-use of hyacinth is expected to generate up to Sh7.6 billion a year. The project will be undertaken jointly by Kenya, US and Canada under the banner of Hyaquip.
The developments are part of effort that the area leaders have been making to woo investors back to the town, which suffered tremendous economic backlash following the 2007/08 post-election violence.

Kisumu airport expansion project, estimated to be worth Sh3 billion, begun on October 29, 2009 and was supposed to be complete in August this year. But Nyanza leaders, led by Prime Minister Raila Odinga asked for more funds to extend the runway, which delayed completion date.

Once opened, Kisumu International Airport will be among the top eight busiest regional airports in East Africa.
It will be elevated to international airport status, thereby joining the league of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and Moi International Airport, Mombasa. 

The airport is expected to create more than 30,000 jobs, fuel business growth and stir up East African economies by boosting bilateral trade.

Post Credit: The Standard Online Edition


Following news a few days ago that Malindi’s airport construction was nearly complete and the commissioning of the new facilities, i.e. passenger terminal, shops, restaurants and the new control tower was only weeks away, was additional information sent to this correspondent over the weekend that Kisumu’s airport too was now counting down to the end of construction work on terminals, the expanded runway and other facilities.

Catapulted to international fame when President Obama, whose paternal relatives live near Kisumu, was elected to the presidency of the United States, Kisumu has long been in the shadow of other cities and municipalities in Kenya when it came to economic development but its elevation to city status a few years ago and keen interest by domestic and international investors in agriculture, the fishing industry and tourism has changed much of that.

Investments will now see a boost from the new aviation facilities, as larger planes can finally land in Kisumu, also allowing for direct flights from abroad, while connections with Nairobi are now at a record high, with national carrier Kenya Airways operating three daily frequencies while Fly540 and Jetlink too are flying on the route. The longer runway will also at last allow for direct export by air of fresh fish fillets to the consumer markets in Europe and the Middle East, as wide bodied cargo planes will be able to take off with full load to their final destination, similar to the ‘sister airport’ across the lake at Entebbe. This is thought to also open the door for export of agricultural products like fruits and vegetables, which in the past needed to be trucked to Nairobi for processing, giving a boost to agro investments in this fertile part of Kenya.

Some good news at last for the Kenya Airport Authority, which has been struggling with an image of incompetence vis a vis its management of the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi and the slow pace of construction work there.

Post Credit

East Africa news – Khartoum’s membership application to join EAC seen as ‘pure mischief’


Khartoum’s formal application to join the East African Community has been received with some incredulity in Arusha, causing a blinding diplomatic headache to community bureaucrats and the member states.

No longer having any direct borders with any of the East African Community, the regime in Khartoum is thought to have placed their membership application to not only spite the new Republic of South Sudan but also to cause maximum diplomatic discomfort and division between the 5 present members.

South Sudan has made it known in the past that soon after independence they would place a membership application with the EAC, something warmly welcomed at the time by friendly governments in Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Burundi, as the ascencion of the new country to the regional trading bloc is considered a natural expansion and inclusion of an already strong trade partner.

Airlinks are already strong with multiple flights each day between Nairobi and Juba and daily flights between Entebbe and Juba and road links between Uganda and South Sudan are a priority for both countries to improve transport infrastructure. A planned rail link from Juba to the Indian Ocean, either to Mombasa or to the newly planned port of Lamu, is also at an advanced stage of preparation and there are intense talks ongoing between the government in Juba and neighbours Uganda and Kenya over a ‘re-routing’ of its oil infrastructure, aiming to create a new gateway ‘South’ instead of relying on the radical and largely considered hostile North Sudan which is already blackmailing Juba with demands for extraordinary oil transit fees.

The joining of the South Sudan into the EAC has now taken a knock, as the EAC would ordinarily be bound to deal with new applications for membership in the order they are received and when RoSS submits their paperwork only time will tell which of the two will beat the other to the door of the EAC.

Conventional wisdom though has it that South Sudan will still make it first into the trade bloc as the harmonization of laws and regulations required for applicant countries will create huge obstacles for the radicals in Khartoum, which still largely is an economy run by decrees rather than open to market forces and where in particular an entire range of laws as well the judicial system is alien to the predominantly English speaking East African nations where the British influence on laws is still widely visible.

A regular source in Juba had this to say overnight: ‘We have not been officially told from Arusha that Khartoum has applied to join. If they did, it is one of their usual tactics to upstage us, trying to undermine us and to create diversion and maybe even disagreements amongst our EAC friends. They will not succeed. Our ties with Uganda and Kenya are very strong, we have a long history together and they are our biggest trading partners. We get supplies from Mombasa port and buy goods from Uganda through open trade routes which Khartoum is denying us, which Khartoum can close at will to cut us off. We know where we belong and our friends in EAC also know where we belong. Khartoum has to change completely, politically, legally, economically if they want to succeed joining EAC. We are committed to harmonize but I tell you, Khartoum cannot do that and they lack the political will to modernize their country’.

Watch this space as the newly independent Republic of South Sudan is now dealing with their challenges to claim a rightful place amongst the Eastern African nations.

Post Credit
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Terror: Will Nigeria produce another "underwear bomber"

Aviation authorities in Nigeria have been beefing up security at Nigerian airports following an attack at a UN building in Abuja that killed some 18 people when a Boko Haram suicide bomber rammed a truck full of explosives into the UN building.

Nigeria's Boko Haram is thought to be getting training from Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb(AQIM) and getting more sophisticated in its attacks with the use of suicide bombers. In 2009, by all appearances, it seemed the movement had been permanently crushed when the late President Umar Yar Adua ordered the security forces to crush the terror group "by all means possible" that led to the killing of hundreds of fighters some of whom were executed publicly by the roadside.

But it seems the movement is live and well, and with its growing sophistication, airlines operating in Nigeria, particularly domestic airline operations, might be targets for Boko Haram in new "underwear" bombing plots like the one attempted by Umar Farouk Abdulmuttalab in December 2009. Nigerian aviation authorities need to beef up airport security to forestall such an eventuality.

Nigeria has a terror problem from the North East. The recent fall of Gaddafi at the hands of NATO forces and NATO-backed rebels and subsequent deployment of Western military advisers and equipment in Libya will give AQIM and other smaller terror forces a new cause to launch newer attacks on Western targets and on their supposed sympathisers in the country.

The UN, post Libyan conflict, was widely viewed as having colluded with NATO to effect regime change in the North African country, perhaps this explains why UN was the first target in this "revenge" attack.

At any rate, Nigerian authorities  will have to deploy more stringent measures to ensure travellers are safe from terror attacks. The authorities can effect US style TSA heightened security measures althouh this is likely to draw outrage from Nigerian travellers. There is reason to believe this is already happening. In a tweet yesterday, Nigerian aviation Minister Stella Oduah hinted at this when she said "We are putting in additional security measures at the airports in light of the recent news. Please bear with us on the inconveniences."

Nigerian aviation already ails from many illness, terrorism, if unchecked will put the final nail on the coffin of Nigerria's aviation industry.

SkyTrax: The Best Airports in Africa

The SkyTrax Award , which lists the best airports on the world is based on a questionnaire filled in by 11 million passengers. Hong Kong International Airport was voted the best airport in the world, followed by Singapore Changi Airport and Incheon International Airport. It's important to note that the best three airports are in the Far East Asia.
 The Top accolades in Africa not surprisingly went to South Africa. The best airports in Africa in 2011 are located in South Africa, not surprising given the development and upgrade in its aviation infrastructure that the country underwent in hosting the 2010 World Cup and some solid past investments in its aviation infrastructure. It's therefore not a surprise that South Africa has the most competitive domestic aviation market in Africa.

Here are the best Airports in Africa:
1. OR Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg: OR Tambo International Airport (ORTIA) in Johannesburg is the air transport hub of Southern Africa, catering for more than 17 million passengers each year. With more than 18,000 people employed by various companies at ORTIA, the airport plays a vital role in the city's and Gauteng province's economy, and boasts an impressive infrastructure that has expanded by thousands of square metres from its modest origins.

2. Cape Town International Airport, Cape Town: Cape Town International Airport is Africa’s 3rd largest airport, located approximately 20 kms from the city centre. It is also Africa’s premier tourist and VIP destination and has established a reputation as Africa’s premier international award-winning airport, consistently performing among the best in the world for service in its category.

3. King Shaka International Airport Durban: King Shaka International Airport, also known as La Mercy Airport is the primary airport serving Durban, South Africa. Located at La Mercy, approximately 35 kilometres (22 mi) north of the city centre of Durban, it opened its doors to passengers on May 1, 2010. The airport is named after Shaka, leader of the Zulu nation in the early 19th century.

Star Alliance Launches FareFinder App

Following the recent successful launch of its Navigator iPhone app, the Star Alliance network has now become the first airline alliance to introduce an easy and simple to use fare finder mobile application

Christopher Korenke, Vice President Commercial at Star Alliance said: “With the Star Alliance FareFinder we have responded to our customers' requests for a mobile app which allows them access to our member airlines’ fares. Alongside our existing popular Star Alliance Navigator iPhone app, it places us in pole position in terms of providing customers mobile access to essential alliance travel information.”

Using the new FareFinder app, customers can search for either one-way or return fares for flights between any two airports on the Star Alliance network. In order to obtain the information that best matches the customers’ wishes, the app allows for additional search criteria like number of passengers, arrival or departure times, class of service, number of stops, transfer airports and point of sale. The app also displays availability so the customers can then select the airline(s) they wish to travel on. Guided by the FareFinder app, customers can then book via the appropriate airline call centre or website.

Three African Airlines, South African Airways, EgyptAir and Ethiopian Airlines are members of Star Alliance. Eng Hussein Massoud, EGYPTAIR HOLDING CHAIRMAN & CEO said “This application is considered a new addition for EGYPTAIR customers as it offers a creative travel tool to more than 1185 airport around 185 countries. Moreover, EGYPTAIR offers its customers other tools to check their travel timings and other valuable services through or using the mobile through”

The FareFinder is available as a free download in English from or from the Apple app store. Further versions running on other operating systems are due to be released in the foreseeable future.

Egyptir Resumes Baghdad Flights after 21 years absence

EgyptAir is resuming flights to Baghdad Iraq after a 21 year absence. The Egyptian carrier scrapped flights to Iraq following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990.

 The first Cairo-Baghdad flight  left today with 30 passengers on board. The airline will fly four times a week to Baghdad and three times to Arbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdish region of Northen Iraq.
EgyptAir will operate the flights to Baghdad every Monday, Thursday and Saturday and the flights to Erbil every Monday, Thursday and Friday by the A320 Aircraft which provides 145 seats.
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Egypt's Military Opens Airport to Civilian Use to Boost Tourism

Egyptian pro-people ruling junta has approved a decision to convert a military airport into a civilian airport with an aim of boosting tourism in the country.

The decision to open Ras Banaas for civilian use was made to enhance the movement of civilians in Marsa Alam  where the airport is located in the Red Sea Governarate. The unique Red Sea region has great potential for the development of tourism with a host of magnificent natural features.
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Emirates Launches Online Recruitment Ad for 4000 Cabin Crew on Spotify

Emirates, the largest international airline, is advertising for 4000 cabin-crew jobs via online music provider Spotify as it strives to attract international staff for the world's biggest fleet of Airbus superjumbos.
Emirates needs to boost flight attendant numbers by a third to 16,000 during the year through March as it adds five double-deck, 517-seat A380s, for a total of 20.
Ads on Facebook, the No. 1 social website, may follow as the Dubai-based company seeks English-speaking, tech-savvy recruits aged from 21 to 30. In addition to the online ads, through November, the company would hold 77 recruitment fairs, around two every day, in countries including Armenia, Paraguay, New Zealand and Britain. It's worth noting that Spotify has over 1o million users in 7 European countries. Emirates is indeed becoming a true global airline and we'll inform our African audiences on the schedule of the recruitment fairs.

With Qatar Airways and Abu Dhabi's Etihad also adding staff, Emirates aims to leverage its status as long-haul market leader to become employer of choice among would-be cabin crew, akin to Apple in computing and Nike in sporting goods, advertising manager Sardar Khan said in an interview.

African Aviation: Africa Needs to Improve on Aviatioon Data Gathering

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) is decrying poor aviation data on its aviation sector but this is not just a Nigerian problem but a problem facing the African aviation sector as a whole. The authority says that the data showing annual passenger traffic emanating from the agencies in the country are mostly contradicting and unreliable.

 The Director General for NCAA Dr Harold Demuren has stated that aviation statistical committee gathering was to appraise the statistics of aviation agencies and parastatals which handle data collection and use them to reliably enhance the role of statistics in the formulation of policy as well as planning. 

Accroding to Demuren, the Nigerian aviation industry has changed significantly in the past 10 years and liberalisation has taken place in almost every aspect of the industry leading to rapid development. The Nigerian government-owned airline has been replaced by privately owned ones; Nigeria has inadequate and ageing infrastructure resulting from lack of funding and lack of continuity in policy which have plagued airports, air navigation services and handling agencies but these are now being addressed.

The director has lamented that despite the importance of statistical data in the sector, the data given by agencies in the Nigerian aviation industry are contradictory.

In  2010 for example, figures gathered by Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, which recorded data for total arriving and departing domestic passengers from the 21 airports  was 5,648,931 and 5,632,406 respectively, while  international arriving passengers  was 1,661,072 and 1,587,879 for international departures respectively,  totalling 14,530,288 passengers on flights departing and arriving Nigeria.
But the figures according to FAAN on the other hand, recorded 2,147,937 international embarking passengers and 5,344,346 embarking domestic passengers while disembarking passengers stood at 1,648,479 passengers for the international sector and 5,392,374 for domestic, giving an overall total of 13,983,136 passengers for 2010.  A difference of almost 600,000 passngers, who were unaccounted for by FAAN. The disparity is not acceptable to both industry stakeholders and the travelling public as it raises credibility and accuracy questions in the data gathered by FAAN.

Also, even  though aviation safety has improved significantly in the country, Nigerian aviation sector has nevertheless continued to be in a critical state requiring huge investments and which African countries find difficult to meet.

According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Africa recorded an accident rate of 7.41 accidents for every million flights in 2010. While this was an improvement over the 9.94 accidents per million flights recorded in 2009; this record remains the worst among the world’s regions. In spite of that, data provision even in the case of accidents in Africa is still unreliable. It's common for many international research institutes and aviation analysts to avoid using data from Africa since the data is unreliable and inconsistent. Many studies on the growth of global aviation do not even factor in Africa, in spite of the gains made in the region's skies in the recent past.

Data given by many African civil aviation authorities is not consistent and accurate, and in some cases, the data is even manipulated. It's importaht for Africa's and Nigeria's authorities to improve data gathering and generate accuarate, harmonized, reliable data that can be used not only in planning but by the global aviation fraternity.

Nigerian Airlines issued 90 Day Ultimatum to Join IATA BSP

The Minister of Aviation, Mrs. Stella Oduah-Ogiemwonyi, earlier this week issued a 90-day ultimatum for Nigerian domestic airlines to join the International Air Transport Association’s(IATA) Billing Settlement Plan.

The deadline was contained in a statement issued by the Special Assistant to the Minister. The IATA BSP is the revenue clearing house for over 230 global airlines, representing about 94 per cent of the international air traffic. It is designed to facilitate and simplify the selling, reporting and remittance procedures of IATA accredited passenger sales agents, as well as improve financial control and cash flow of participating airlines in line with global practices in the aviation industry.

The statement read in part, “All local airlines must start issuing e-tickets to passengers for efficiency, integrity and good financial monitoring. The issuance of e-tickets will assist the passengers enjoy the endorsement of their tickets from one airline to another.

“IATA’s BSP will assist to support the domestic sector as necessary tool for interlining of domestic tickets, thereby developing the downstream aviation sector and sanitising the environment for passengers’ comfort.”

According to the statement, the minister has mandated the Director-General, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Dr. Harold Demuren, to ensure implementation and compliance with the directive within the stipulated time frame.

The minister added that the move would help passengers to enjoy value for their money, while also announcing that airport lounges would be opened to transit passengers on both international and local routes.

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Additional info adapted from The Punch Nigeria

Nigeria Aviation: Nigerian Aviation College has refurbished 22 Planes

The Rector, Nigerian College of Aviation Technology, Zaria, Capt. Adebayo Araba, has said that the college has rehabilitated 22 aeroplanes since 2007. Araba told the News Agency of Nigeria in Zaria, Kaduna State, on Friday that by 2007, the college had only one serviceable aeroplane.

“When I came in as rector in 2007, I met only one serviceable aeroplane and that resulted in non-availability of any training in this college.Before I came, only one pilot and one aeroplane were hired for the college when Isa Yuguda was Aviation Minister to enable the college to continue with pilot training.

“However, the college now has 23 aeroplanes. I didn’t buy them; neither did I come with them. These are things they had the in the store.

“But because of the lack of good orientation, they kept all of them in the store and went to hire aeroplanes from outside.”

The rector said that training was moving perfectly well in the college “and it is up to the expectations of the aviation industry.”

Araba, however, said that in spite of his efforts, many petitions had been written against him and attributed the situation to people, who hated change.

Source: The Punch Nigeria
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In Pictures: RwandAir takes delivery of the first Boeing 737-800NG at a ceremony in Seattle.

Rwandair crew after inspecting the Boeing 737-800NG
Sky Interior
Rwandair 737-800NG Economy Class

Happy Client
A first glimpse at the new baby by the outside world

Let's head home: Journey about to begin to the land of a thousand hills

Bye bye Boeing.....Bye bye Seattle and thank you very much

Africa here we come!

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Sierra Leone Airlines over Freetown, 1987

Thursday's post detailed the launch of Sierra Leone's new carrier, concurrent with the 50th anniversary of the country's independence. In honor of another jubilee, in this case the 40th Anniversary of the International Civil Aviation Organization in 1987, the Republic of Sierra Leone issued this commemorative stamp. The horizon line demarcating the dull-blue, rainy season sky and a calm Atlantic is nearly imperceptible. The foreground shows a wide, intricately detailed view of the rooftops of Freetown. Sierra Leone Airlines' flagship B707-384C with its landing gear flared for landing at Lungi International across the bay, surrounded by the stamp's perforation.

Courtesy: TimeTablist

UTA French Airlines: Central & Southern Africa Destinations

Another detail from UTA's worldwide map from 1989, part of Flickr user caribb's collection. Even thought France didn't have any colonies in the southern half of the continent, and there isn't a francophone city between Kinshasa and Antananarivo, UTA flew to a number of southern African capitals where no French airline flies today. Libreville, Brazzaville, Kinshasa are no surprise (and are still connected to Paris), and Luanda and Johannesburg have economic reasons for still being served from CDG, but anglophone Lilongwe, Lusaka, Gaborone, Windhoek and lusophone Maputo are surprising. 

Courtesy: The Timetablist blog

UTA French Airlines: Worldwide Network, 1989 Detail 1: The African Network

A detail from the previous post, from Flickr user caribb's collection, showing the huge number of African destinations, which Air France didn't bother with.

Courtesy: The Timetablist

Swissair: Zurich-Kinshasa, 1973

Swissair always had extensive routes across Africa. This envelope, although certainly commemorative, does not indicate whether this date was particularly important for the route to Zaïre, which is helpfully outlined on the map.

Courtesy: Timetablist

Air Gabon: Systemwide Timetable, 1990

Air Gabon is another carrier that has recently seen extensive attention on timetablist, only to be have this further article, a delightful sample from Flickr user caribb's amazing collection, illuminate its history further. This schedule shows, in excellent detail, Air Gabon's systemwide operations, divided into three tables: Europe, West Africa and Central Africa.

The top list shows the services from Gabon to the metropole, a rotation of thrice-weekly flights, all terminating at Charles de Gaulle, but stopping in variously Marseille, Nice or Rome along the way.

The second box lists the northwesterly runs from Libreville, operated with either Fokker F-100 or Boeing B737 jets, once-weekly to Cotonou; twice-weekly to Abidjan via Lagos, extending on Mondays to Dakar; Douala and onward to Lomé on Wednesday; and Lomé-Abidjan on Saturday.

The third table shows the central and southern network. Shown here once weekly to Pointe-Noire, a F-28 flight to Bangui, and a Sunday flight to Douala only. There is a late-evening DC-10 to Kinshasa, co-listed with a Swissair flight number-- an earlier time, Swissair was known to fly to Zaïre, as has been shown in a previous post.

There is also an early morning B747 to Luanda--presumably a continuation of the Paris-Marseille-Libreville flight, with a TAAG Angola Airlines flight number listed. These joint ventures are noted at the bottom of the leaflet, but details on just which carrier's craft ran the service is not fully provided.

It is especially curious that Gabon's second city and petrolhub, Port-Gentil, is absent from the roster, as are other likely destinations such as Brazzaville, Malabo, and Yaounde.

Sudan Airways; The Domestic Network, April 1977

The second half of a fantastic prize of Flickr user caribb's incredible airline memorabilia collection: Sudan Airways "White Nile Intra-African and Regional Services" as of April 1977.

Showing a respectibly-dense network, including some regional connections in Darfur, Nubia, and South Sudan; yet all trans-national flights must connect via Khartoum.

As of 2011, although the livery was unchanged, the number of domestic destinations had been reduced to nine.

Please see previous post for international network. 

Sudan Airways: The International Routes, April 1977

Yet another jaw-droppingly rare find from the world-class collection of Flickr user caribb: This unembellished matrix shows Sudan Airways "Blue Nile international Jet services" as of April, 1977.

The Gulf is heavily favored-- it is not common to find artifacts from this era showing routes to the 21st century hubs of today: Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Doha; however these are paired with the popular destinations of that contemporary vintage: San'a, Jeddah, and Bahrain.

Sudan's Nile-striped B707s connected to Europe, often via Cairo. None of the European services exist today. A single route heads westward to other Saharan cities, neighboring N'Djamena and terminating at Kano. This is apparently still active.

In its own region, Sudan Airways is startlingly spare: Addis Ababa, Entebbe, Dar Es Salaam, Mogadishu, Djibouti, and other, more distant candidates are absent. Perhaps there was a political explanation for this.

In quite an ironic foreshadowing, Juba, the capital of the newly-independent South Sudan, is show, here as part of the international network, connected to both Khartoum and Nairobi. It is only now, some 33 years later, that Khartoum-Juba flights will cross an international border.

Please see the next post for the contemporary domestic route map.

Nigeria Airways: International Routes, November 1973

Having just recently featured Nigeria Airways in its vintage glory, it is particularly pleasing to highlight this second gem from the incredible collection of Flickr user caribb. This colorful, elephantine brochure cover reveals an entirely straightforward map of the Nigeria Airways international network inside. What is notable here is firstly the railroad-like West African leg, a spine connecting the Anglophone capitals, with a miniature hub at Monrovia. This service also touches Abidjan and Dakar, from whence the flying pachyderm stretches across the Atlantic to New York.

A second remarkable aspect is the dense web of trans-Saharan routes fanning out from Kano, reaching eight European capitals as well as Beirut, far more service than that ancient city enjoys today, a phenomenon that has been previously discussed. It is not possible to fly non-stop from many of these cities, such as Madrid, to Nigeria at present, and it is curious to contemplate having to travel from Lagos to Brussels, Amsterdam, Frankfurt or Zürich via Kano.

Timetablist will be dedicating an intermediate period going forward to highlight some of the incredible finds of caribb's collection. Timetablist would like to thank Doug from Montreal for allowing the reuse of these images under creative commons.
Courtesy; The Timetablist

Lufthansa/Privatair Flight No. LH588: Frankfurt->Libreville->Pointe-Noire

Here is the curious case of LH588: a 7 hour, 15 minute flight on board a wingleted B737-800 of Lufthansa-owned PrivatAir, from Frankfurt Airport to Libreville, Gabon, and then an onward hop of a little over an hour from Libreville to Augostinho Neto International Airport in Pointe-Noire, Congo Republic (which is also served by Air France non-stop from Paris). A seven hour journey aboard a single-isle plane may sound unbearable; but PrivatAir is all business class.

How does a major airline sustain an all-business class narrowbody, trans-equatorial service to two remote, sparsely-populated countries? Petroleum, of course.
Article Courtesy: The Timetablist

Nigeria Airways: Detail of the Domestic and Regional Network, April 1966

Still from the TimeTablist, showing the Pink Nigeria Airways in 1966
Still Nigeria Airways, still all pink. The state airways corporation operated a zig-zaging domestic network, shown here as an inset of the previous post from April 1966.

Note how, in a wonderfully curious gesture, an arrow points northeast from Maiduguri, promoted as a gateway to the Middle and Far East. The North-Eastern State, gateway to Baghdad and Hong Kong. Today, Maiduguri has barely a handful of weekly domestic flights.

Kano, Nigeria's oldest airport, was the starting gate of the northern routes to Europe for both Nigeria Airways and other airlines, and at least today still has intercontinental attention from KLM.

Historic African Airline Timetables - Nigeria Airways: Systemwide Network, April 1966

Pink was chosen to capture the essence of the fleet of the wingéd elephant's global reach in this delicious timetable from April 1966, sporting a roseate VC-10 flagship on its cover, with the stout pachydermian pegasus at lower left.

Regionally, Nigeria Airways plied a leg southeast to Douala and Leopoldville, and a littoral run west from Lagos, skipping only Conakry to reach Dakar, from whence it lept across the Atlantic to New York.

A northern web branches out from the Sahelian capital of Kano flew to Rome--curious how prominent this city was on the Europe-Africa networks--distance was perhaps a factor. Within Europe, unexpectedly the lines land at Rome, Frankfurt and Barcelona. Somewhat odd choices--perhaps distance was still a consideration. And London, naturally, London. A separate premier line from Lagos to London non-stop, which the map underscores. Abuja, of course, has yet to exist. The inset detail of the domestic network is examined in the next post.

The example featured in this post is another gem of the outstanding collection of Björn Larsson, part of the encyclopedic archive at Timetable Images. Thank you to Larsson and the rest of the Timetable Images team for their work and reproduction courtesies. 
Post Courtesy: The TimeTablist

Historic African Airline Route Maps - Cameroon Airlines: Systemwide Network

Although Cameroon Airlines never abandoned its psychadelic-jungle imagery, it apparently had, by 1996, divested in original graphic design, seeming to opt instead to scrawl its network over a readymade map.

Its not clear from this artifact (borrowed from the incredible archives of Timetable Images, specifically the collection of Björn Larsson) what the red lines indicate, as opposed to the green lines, or why some destinations are in red type and others, such as Harare, Libreville Brazzaville, have no demarcation beyond what the atlas already provided. This leaves some details unclear: for instance, while the Douala-Garoua-Jeddah and Douala-Garoua-N'Djamena routes can be made out, it is difficult to determine whether the airline served Point-Noire or Lomé, or if the East African route, from Brazzaville to Nairobi, used Bujumbura, Kigali, Entebbe, Goma, or Kivu as way stations.

Historic African Airline Route Maps: Cameroon Airlines: Systemwide Network, Summer 1976

One of the earliest and most marked secessions from the Air Afrique consortium was the Republic of Cameroon, which withdrew in 1971 to found its own flag carrier, Cameroon Airlines.

This overbright document, colored and typefaced like a Chinese menu, exemplifies the very singular presence of the airline's quasi-Maoist, neo-hippie branding, from its Star-and-crane logo to its jungle-chic Paris ticket office. from the incredible archives of Timetable Images.

A dense domestic network, was concentrated on the English-speaking southwest and zig-zagged northward to terminate at N'Djamena. Long-range ventures out of Douala reached Marseille, Paris-Orly, Geneva and Rome, likely with B707s-- the pride of fleet B747s, rarely native to tropical Africa, did not arrive until 1982. No international or intercontinental flights out of Yaoundé (Nsimalen International Airport now enjoys service from Air France, Brussels Airlines, and Swissair, at least).

Like many Air Afrique replacements, Cameroon Airlines did not last, and the country is left with fledgling, marginal re-iterations: Camair Co is scheduled to begin flying tomorrow to--where else? Paris. Also here.

This, like several other recent installments, is from the incredible archives of Timetable Images, specifically the collection of Björn Larsson-- reprinted with appreciation.

Article Courtesy: The TimeTablist

African Airlines Timetables: Air Mauritanie: Systemwide Network, 2002

The Timetablist travels to Mauritania

Continuing with those national carriers which sprang up in the wake of the Air Afrique collapse, here is a combination timetable and route map of Air Mauritanie, the flag carrier of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania.

This 2002 snapshot shows a dense domestic network, as the vast, unforgiving Mauritanian terrain can most efficiently be transversed by air. This was the original purpose of the airline, which was founded in 1962, about the same time as Air Afrique itself, which was concerned with external destinations.

The Nouakchott-Paris route is a point of pride, and the Nouadhibou-Las Palmas route is interesting, perhaps made viable by fishing and shipping industries. Air Mauritanie also tried to take slices of the more lucrative Dakar-Bamako-Abidjan triangle (the Francophone West Africa equivalent of Dakar-Bamako-Abidjan) with an extension to Cotonou.

Unfortunately, Air Mauritanie, like Air Afrique before it, did not last, folding in 2007. Furthermore, its successor, Mauritanian Airways, also proved unviable, particularly after being black-listed from EU airspace in the Fall of 2010. A third iteration of a national airline, Mauritania Airlines International, is currently operating.

This has been graciously lent to Timetablist from the incredible website Timetable Images;this particular gem is part of the collection of Arthur Na, via Timetable Images founder David Zekria.

Toumaï air Tchad Systemwide Network, March 2005

Continuing series from the Timetablist blog, here we travel to Chad

Continuing to examine West African state carriers in the wake of Air Afrique's demise, this posts credits, with special thanks, the incredible, encyclopedic Timetable Images website for freely lending the above artifact, dated March 2005, from the personal collection of David Zekria.

From its fortress hub at N'Djamena, Toumaï air Tchad runs weekly flights to neighboring capitals as far as Cotonou and Brazzaville, as well as the north Cameroonian town of Garoua. Some sort of cooperative service connects Jeddah and Ouagadougou to the Chadian capital. Domestic destinations include Abéché, Moundou and Sarh. No flagship route to Paris, but as of 2008, the airline had added Libreville, Lomé, Abidjan, Yaounde, and Dubaï. Currently, the status of the airline is difficult to verify, as it is without functioning website.

African Airline Route Maps: Air Burkina: Systemwide Network, c.2004

Further post-Air Afrique aviation: with special complements to the website Developpement Felix Mayer is this colorful Carte of Air Burkina's Reseau, which the fantastic site Timetable Images suggest was issued around mid-2004. The airline's pride of system was undoubtedly the Paris route; the Lomé to Cotonou flight must be a short hop. Note that not a single Anglophone destination is served.
Post Courtesy: The TimeTablist

Air France: The African Routes, 1977. Detail #1: East Africa & the Indian Ocean

Air France: The African Routes, 1977. Detail #1: East Africa & the Indian Ocean

Compared to the Western portion of the continent, where Air France was absent in 1977 and is quite present today, the Eastern half of Africa was much more thickly webbed by Hippodrome jets than it is today.

Air France does not even service Nairobi any more, but it was an important way-station between Europe and the former colonies of the Indian Ocean, with a stretching nonstop from CDG. Similarly, its amazing to see Djibouti as a massive hub, linked in a Cairo-Jeddah-Addis Ababa axis and also linked to the entire Francophone archipelago.

Other Anglophone cities that Air France has since abandoned include Dar Es Salaam and Entebbe (linked to Athens) as well as the Ethiopian capital. Links between Paris, Mauritius and Madagascar remain important today, but the native carriers of the region take a sizable share of the loads on their wide-body jets to Europe. Mahé is no longer an Air France destination, and Bujumbura and Kigali were also dropped, but still served from northwestern Europe by Brussels Airlines.

See previous post for other portion of this route map.
Post Courtesy the TimeTablist

Air France: The African Routes, 1977.

Our series from the Timetablist continues with Air France's African Route Map for 1977.

Air France: The African Routes, 1977.

In the wake of Air Afrique Week, it might be most fitting to spend the latter half of the month examining a bit more of those carriers who served West Africa during Air Afrique's existence and in the aftermath of its sad demise.

The first such example is one of the newest additions to the Timetablist collection, an Air France route map from 1977, when Air Afrique was in its prime, and Air France was just beginning to adopt its modern color scheme. Surprisingly, Air France completely defers to the West African carrier in the Gulf of Guinea region, only touching Dakar on the route to Rio de Janeiro. While the former dominions of Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia in North Africa are thoroughly serviced, France's colonial heartland is left untouched.

The service table at the bottom details Air France's weekly frequencies to North and East Africa and the Indian Ocean islands, and helpfully charts the use of particular aircraft, even if its not entirely clear which Paris airport hosts which flight. The footnotes confirm that Air France relies on Air Afrique, Cameroon Airlines, and UTA for services from Paris to West and Central Africa, and that these airlines, along with Air Djibouti, Air Comores, and Air Madagascar operate intra-African and domestic networks.

The next post details the Eastern portion of the map.

Historic African Airline Route Maps: Air Afrique: Route Map Poster c.1962

For the last  two months, we have been publishing select posts from the Timetablist, a unique aviation blog dedicated to historic and current 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 will bring you the last route maps from Air Afrique and then travel with other airlines across the continent of Africa:

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.

Kenya Airways adds one more daily flight to Kisumu

Kenya Airways will be adding an additional daily flight to Kisumu as the demand to the city rises.

Jambo Jet: Will Kenya Airways succeed in low-cost airline market?

Kenyan LCC Fly540: Kenyan LCC market already faces stiff competition

Kenya Airways recently announced its intention to establish a low- cost, “no frills” airline to be called Jambo Jet.
The stated intention is to establish a low- cost regional carrier that will presumably take back the market share that KQ has lost to Jetlink and Fly540.

The question is: will this move succeed?
KQ already has a significant minority interest in Precision Air, which it bought following the now failed entry of South Africa Airways into the East Africa market via the purchase of Air Tanzania.
The then management of KQ saw the threat from a big carrier such as SAA on their doorsteps and rightly reacted by buying into an existing carrier with air operators’ licences and route approvals.
Globally, no full service carrier has been able to start a low cost brand from scratch and succeeded.
The cases of United Airlines, Delta and British Airways are all available for one to read and learn valuable lessons from.
South West, which is the global leader in the budget airline business, Ryanair and EasyJet were all started from the ground-up as budget carriers without the baggage of trying to also run a full service airline.
In the book “In Search of Excellence”, Tom Peters and his colleagues successfully argued that a key success factor in most businesses is to “stick to the knitting”.
KQ has been formidable in turning Nairobi into a sub-Saharan African hub bringing in passengers from as far north as Sierra Leone and as far south as Harare to take long haul flights to Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
That model which had previously been used successfully by Ethiopian Airlines in the late 80s and early 90s has certainly been refined by KQ and they should stick to that.
My gripe with KQ on Jambo Jet is that this may distort customer perception of KQ’s brand image, there is a danger of blurring the distinction with the main line carrier and when it fails it will destroy value for shareholders.
Yes there may even be advantaged in terms of gaining experience from a new business model and defending existing market share but at what cost to shareholders especially given the lack of any successful examples globally?
It is not my place toadvise the board of KQ, but as an investment banker I would rather see them go and scout for an acquisition opportunity much like they did with Precision Air and that way take-over an entity with a viable business, licenses, facilities and perhaps even non-unionized staff.

Adapted from Business Daily Africa

Kenya Airways traffic up as route expansion takes shape

Kenya Airways has yet again proven itself as a leading African carrier with a nearly 30% traffic increase in the three months ended 30-Jun-2011 (1QFY2012). The carrier credits the boost in numbers to its aggressive expansion plans, which have been rolling out successfully across Africa and on intercontinental routes. On the back of this success, Kenya Airways is expanding its cargo operations and will take delivery of a new B747-400F in Oct-2011.

 Kenya Airways carried 850,908 passengers in its fiscal first quarter, a 28% increase from the same period last year. The carrier saw passenger growth in both domestic and international markets, with a 26.3% increase on routes to Europe.

Kenya Airways reported a year-on-year increase in capacity (ASKs) of 20.3%. The carrier’s weekly ASKs to Europe grew by 26.3% to 108 million ASKs, which it credits to the introduction of its Rome service, as well as a 20% increase in frequency to London, and 12.3% to Amsterdam. It also increased service to Paris CDG from four times weekly to daily in Jan-2011.
Kenya Airways top ten international routes (ASKs, 01-Aug-2011 to 07-Aug-2011)

Kenya Airways’ London service remains strong and continues to be its top route by ASKs. Kenya Airways offers the highest number of seats per week between the UK and Kenya, at just over 3000. It will be reducing its seasonal capacity for the upcoming winter schedule.

UK to Kenya seats per week (Kenya Airways, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic Airways) one-way, 04-Jul-2011 to 22-Jan-2011
On this route Kenya Airways competes with British Airways, Virgin Atlantic Airways and Thomson.

Beirut and Jeddah service: a work in progress

The Middle East, Far East and Asia regions registered capacity growth of 22.3% as a result of increased frequencies to Dubai via Muscat.

Kenya Airways is working on launching service to Beirut (Lebanon) and Jeddah (Saudi Arabia) to commence later in 2011. Jeddah has been on the carrier’s wish list for a while however due to a slots issue this service has been unable to commence. “We are still working on the Jeddah details. There is a problem with slots at the moment. The times that we are being offered don’t fit in with our schedule,” stated CEO Titus Naikuni. In the Middle East, Kenya Airways serves Dubai (UAE) and Muscat (Oman).

Saudi Arabia is a major trade partner of Kenya. UAE is Kenya’s fourth largest trade partner and the planned additional services will help bolster Kenya’s trade relations with countries in the Middle East.
Kenya’s trade with main partners (2010)

Regional capacity still a strong point despite slow progress with Tripoli and Tunisia service

Kenya Airways is sticking by its previously announced goal of serving Tripoli and Tunis within the next three years but has released little information about progress in this area. The carrier is waiting for political tensions to calm and has admitted that talks between the Kenyan, Libyan and Tunisian governments have been slowed due to unrest associated with the Arab Spring. The African Development Bank’s location in Tunisia has played a major role in the decision to consider operations in northern Africa, and when Kenya Airways begins this service, it will be one of the few Sub Saharan African airlines to serve northern Africa. For the northern Africa region, Kenya Airways reported 6.4% capacity growth, despite unrest in the region.

The carrier’s eastern Africa operations grew 7.5% due to increased utilisation of its Embraer fleet on short haul routes such as to Kigali via Bujumbura. In terms of regions, Kenya Airways deploys its highest capacity (seats per week) to central and western Africa, followed by eastern Africa and then southern Africa.

Kenya Airways international capacity (seats) by region (01-Aug-2011 to 07-Aug-2011)

Approval to launch third frequency to Angola

Kenya and Angola signed a bilateral air services agreement on 27-Jul-2011 allowing Kenya Airways to expand operations in Angola and operate a third frequency to Luanda. The agreement allows Kenya Airways to operate its route schedule from Kenya to any point in Angola, with a provision to operate to destinations beyond Angola. It also allows for enhanced codesharing with TAAG and gives Kenya Airways the opportunity to operate to South America from Luanda. TAAG currently serves Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, routes on which it recently deployed its new B777-300ER equipment, and also serves Havana in Cuba. Kenya is currently not connected to Brazil or Cuba through scheduled air service, and codesharing with TAAG would allow Kenya Airways access to the Americas.
Currently air travel between Kenya and Angola is limited, with Kenya Airways offering approx 250 seats per week (Aug-2011) and TAAG offering 120 seats per week. The two countries have no significant trade or investment links. 

“Well on track” with Africa expansion plans

Jun-2011 and Jul-2011 saw Kenya Airways launch twice weekly service to its 44th and 45th African destinations: Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso and N'djamena, Chad. Kenya Airways is the only Kenyan operator to serve Ouagadougou and one of two eastern African carriers, the other being Ethiopian Airlines. The carrier's service to N'djamena is its first in Chad and it offers 464 seats per week. Ethiopian Airlines also serves Chad with 2,556 seats per week. Other international operators serving N'djamena Airport include Air France, Camair-Co and Sudan Airways.

Over the past two months, Kenya Airways launched two new services and increased frequencies on three services within its Africa network, which puts it well on track with its expansion plans in the continent. It maintains its goal of launching eight new routes this financial year after opening six new routes in the last financial year.
Kenya Airways service launch/increases for Jun-2011 and Jul-2011
Launch date
Increase from daily to twice daily
Increase from twice weekly to three times weekly
Increase from twice weekly to three times weekly
Twice weekly
Twice weekly
Despite the roll-out of Kenya Airways’ Africa expansion, CEO Titus Naikuni stated he would have wanted his company to expand at “three times” that level in terms of connectivity in Africa. Mr Naikuni blamed limitations with pilot recruitment, training and traffic rights as to why expansion has not occurred at his desired speed. 

Domestic network performing strongly

Kenya Airways reported passenger increases in its domestic market as well. Capacity grew by 62.5% compared with the same period last year due to additional frequencies to Mombasa and the introduction of a Malindi service. The Nairobi-Mombasa service registers the highest number of ASKs for Kenya Airways’ domestic network and has been dubbed “the Mombasa shuttle” because of its 10 daily frequencies.
Kenya Airways top three domestic routes (seats, 01-Aug-2011 to 07-Aug-2011)
Kenya Airways is facing competition on domestic routes from low cost carrier Fly540, and JetLink Express. Although Kenya Airways holds substantial market share on all the domestic routes it serves, the domestic market has largely been left out of the carrier's expansion plans.

There are many domestic routes not covered by Kenya Airways, such as Malindi-Lamu, Mombasa-Lamu (both operated by Fly540) and Wajir-Nairobi (operated by African Express Airways and Jet Link Express). Air transport in Kenya is centred on southern hubs with passengers required to transit through Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta and Mombasa, while areas in the northwest of the country, such as the Turkana District (Rift Valley Province), are virtually unreachable. The Turkana District is particularly under-served because of the low population (approximately 447,000 people live there) and security issues. Rainfall in the region is low and drought and famine are frequent. Economic opportunities are scarce and agricultural potential is low, so air service to the region is seen to be unprofitable.

Kenya Airways’ domestic route map

Without a sophisticated air network, Kenya has poor road and rail alternative, and travel can be lengthy and dangerous. The government has announced plans to spend KES409 million to improve Nairobi's transportation system. This includes work on roads and repairs to the rail network. The main goals of the project is to reduce congestion and facilitate better transport to regions outside of the city.
In an attempt to improve its domestic network, Kenya Airways recently announced plans to launch a low cost subsidiary called Jambo Jet. While few details have been released about the LCC, it is likely to replace Kenya Airways on service from Nairobi to Malindi and Kisumu. It may also be used to serve new destinations such as Eldoret in the west.

Cargo operations set to soar with first dedicated freighter aircraft on the way

Kenya Airways is set to receive its first dedicated freighter, a B747-400F, in Oct-2011, on lease from GECAS. It is also expecting two more B777-300ERs in late 2012 and 2013 from GECAS, which will be used to increase cargo operations through the aircraft's belly capacity. Kenya Airways has purchased two B737Fs as well, and is expecting delivery in late 3Q2011 or 4Q2011.

The impending cargo operations are expected to boost revenue and close the competition gap between it and Ethiopian Airlines, by providing more space to transport Kenya's main exports of tea, horticultural products and coffee. Currently, Ethiopian Airlines dominates cargo operations in eastern Africa. In FY2010, it carried 134,160 tonnes of cargo whereas Kenya Airways carried 56,401 cargo tonnes. Ethiopian Airlines operates four dedicated cargo aircraft while Kenya Airways only uses belly capacity on passenger aircraft. Kenya Airways carried 15,286 tonnes in 2Q2011, up 19.8% from last year's figures.

Regional destinations for the carrier's first dedicated freighter aircraft, the B747-400F, are expected to include Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi and South Sudan. Cargo operations outside of Africa are still being considered for this aircraft.

The carrier’s cargo arm commenced operations in May-2004 and was confined to belly capacity on passenger aircraft. Later in 2011, Kenya Airways plans to enter into a co-operative cargo agreement with TAAG, subject to the amended air service agreement between the two countries.

Network expansion requires infrastructure expansion

To keep up with Kenya Airways’ expansion plans, the Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta International Airport plans to construct a USD500 million terminal in early 2012 to prepare for an expected influx of passengers, brought on by Kenya Airways’ new routes. The expansion will give the airport capacity to handle 20 million passengers per year and include 60 check-in counters, 40 boarding gates and a railway terminal. The airport is forecast to handle 6 million passengers in 2011, up 5.5 million from 2010. Reports suggest passenger numbers will increase to 38 million per year by 2030. The new terminal is expected to generate USD111 million in its first year of operation, with an estimated annual growth of 10%.

Aggressive expansion and cargo plans set Kenya Airways up for future profitability

Kenya Airways’ aggressive expansion plans are setting it up for future success. As well as expending within Africa, Kenya Airways has been actively chasing more international routes and has applied for approval to operate additional services to India and to launch operations to Saudi Arabia and Malaysia. It has nine B787-8s on order which will support its international expansion and will replace Kenya Airways' old and fuel inefficient fleet of B767s, which should reduce operating costs.
However, Kenya Airways is facing challenges on its domestic network and could soon see start-up LCC Fly540 overtake it in terms of capacity share in the market. But the launch of Jambo Jet may allow it to strengthen its domestic position, while the addition of a new B747-400F will enhance the the carrier’s cargo operations which should allow the airline to continue to drive revenue growth.

Analysis adapted from the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation

South Africa Goodies : Velvet Sky Airlines Promotions for August and September

Airline Offers Best Fares and Host of other Goodies

South Africa's new budget airline is offering its customers a bunch of goodies for its August and September Promotions.  The airline offers as low as R249 for flights between Johannesburg and Durban and R449 for flights between Johannesburg and Cape Town.

Velvet Sky's promotion's desk has also partnered with Joburg Day for the September Tourist Month in South Africa and will be offering free 30 golden tickets to a music concert on Joburg Day for travellers who book tickets to fly to Johannesburg from Durban.

Other Promotions include a one night's accommodation and breakfast in Cape Town's  Upper East Side Hotel for ticket purchased at the Velvet Sky's information station to the tune of R1400 or more  before 31st August; a R5000 free travel insurance to the first 10 passengers on the mid morning flight from OR Tambo in the last week of August; two tickets to the homemakers fair at CTICC between September 1 and 4 for the first 20 passengers to book tickets to Cape Town at Velvet Sky's promotional desks; passengerrs who bring their boarding passes to Velvet Sky's Promotional Desks will also win instant prizes!

Survey: Kenya Airways , the "Pride of Africa" makes Kenyans Proud

The Pride of Africa is also the Pride of Kenya
Kenya Airways, with the widely recognized tag line ‘The Pride of Africa’ is indeed making Kenyans proud, as the latest survey undertaken by the Nation Media Group shows.

Nearly a third of those polled have Kenya Airways their ‘thumbs up’ while runner up Safaricom ended up with a 20 percent vote, and Equity Bank coming a respectable third with just over 16 percent of the votes cast. One of the main factors was the bold display of the national colours integrated into the aircraft livery, which impressed those participating in the survey, and the fact that Kenya Airways was carrying Kenya’s flag across the entire continent and beyond. Also taken into consideration was the long term strategy and vision of Kenya Airways to cover Africa and connect it to the world via Nairobi, in the process bringing a range of added benefits to Kenya and boosting tourism and trade.

According to a regular aviation source however the ‘… main reason for this recognition is the way KQ re-entered the domestic market with a bang last year. They are offering competitive fares, beating the low cost airlines and private airlines at their own game now. Up to 10 flights a day to Mombasa, three times a day to Kisumu, daily to Malindi and several times daily via Nairobi to everywhere in East Africa, that is what really matters to most travelers and the readers of the Nation and Business Daily appreciated that too. That in my humble opinion was the formula which made KQ win this survey’.

Well done KQ – and continued happy landings!

Ethiopian Airlines to Train another 48 Pilots in new Pilot Training Programme

Information was received over the weekend from Addis Ababa that Ethiopian Airlines has partnered with a Canadian company to create a new pilot training programme, which is in its first phase aimed to turn out 24 first officers for the Bombardier Q 400 aircraft, a turboprop commuter plane used for domestic and short regional routes, and another 24 for the ‘workhorse’ B737-800 which serves many of ET’s regional and continental routes from their Addis Ababa hub.

A Past Graduation Ceremony at Ethiopian Airlines Aviation Academy
 The new ‘project’ will go underway at the beginning of Q4 this year at Ethiopian Airlines’ own training centre in Addis and is likely to run for about 1 ½ years before the first batch of successful graduates can join active flying duty as co-pilots.

Ethiopian’s Aviation Academy is one of three such international quality facilities known by this correspondent on the African continent, besides the training centres owned and operated by the national airlines of South Africa and Kenya, all aimed to train up much needed additional pilots to facilitate growing fleets, flight frequencies and destinations. Well done ET!