Kenya Airways Sponsiors Kenyan Sevens Team to the tune of Ksh.290 million

Kenya Airways has signed a huge sponsorship deal worth Ksh.290million($ 3million)for the Kenya Sevens Rugby team. The Kenyan Sevens team has a great international profile and is a regular participant of the Sevens circuit and has given the airline an international profile in terms of branding.

Reports Wolfgang H Thome blog:

18 players and four coaches and staff will under the new and much improved deal get monthly salaries paid, allowing them all to concentrate fully on team affairs and training, besides improved medical coverage and of course the all important tickets to and from major events, where the Kenyans are now a regular side playing in the 8 country / 9 match series. They are again invited to play in Japan, with other matches played in Hong Kong, the United Arab Emirates, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, the UK and the United States of America.

Brand new kits as well as bonuses for match and series wins too are part of the new deal, which will see Kenya Airways hold all the sponsorship rights for the team, which of course will wear the badge of The Pride of Africa with pride

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TAAG Angola carried 1 million Passengers in 2010

TAAG Angola Airlines carried 1,012,000 passengers in 2010, a figure 6.9% lower than in 2009, with 62% load factors.  50,516 passengers flew on TAAG from Angola to Brazil representing a 16.35% drop in demand while 52,848 passengers flew from Brazil to Angola on the airline during the same period. The total cargo volume carried by the airline in all routes was 56 million tonnes-km of cargo.

TAAG Angola Operates two weekly flights with Boeing 777-300ER on the Luanda - Rio de Janeiro route and three weekly flights to Sao Paulo.
Current fleet: 02 Boeing 737-2M2, 01 Boeing 737-2M2F, 04 Boeing 737-7M2 + 2 ordered 03 Boeing 777-2M2ER and 02 Boeing 777-3M2ER.

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Estonian Air begins Social media Loyalty Program

Estonian Air has launched a new social loyalty programme for its customers and fans, aiming to reward customers for not only flying the airline but also for being strong advocates online. This way Estonian Air creates history in loyalty marketing, being the first airline in the world launching social loyalty programme.

Estonian Air is the first airline in the world to launch a social media loyalty programme fully-powered by social media and using the underlying Facebook platform. Estonian Air customers and fans can be rewarded for a variety of advocacy actions, like sharing their reviews of the airline on Facebook and tweeting a deal about the airline.

 This is the first time in the world where customers will be rewarded for advocacy without even having to fly the airline.

This is a bold and ground breaking move, as a heavy social media user who likes discussing airlines, I always wonder at times whether am creating any value for myself in discussing an airline and its various offers; here's an airline that understands the value of positive social media vibe in improving an airline's brand image and rewards users for enhancing its brand image. People still use social media, especially Twitter to get information about an airline and determine whether they will buy a ticket based on that information. While many of my choices in air travel this year have been determined by necessity rather than social media, constant vibe about some airlines' quality services make me wish when I could fly with those airlines. An airline's brand image is enhanced when users find positive vibe in their timeline every time they log in to Twitter. It's something that's eventually embedded in the psyche of the traveler. I wonder whether on the contrary, this promotion might lead to numerous fake reviews by social media users just to earn a few points!

Airlines are trying to find ways to make air travel more attractive and rewarding for even those who aren’t frequent flyers. The future of airline loyalty is now a pressing question given to the growth of social technologies. In this field Estonian Air is working together with SimpliFlying, the world leaders in helping airlines engage customer profitably.

“Today 88% of frequent flyers use Facebook and they are twice as active as ordinary Facebook users. Over 70% of them would like to be part of a social loyalty programme too. Estonian Air’s pioneering effort in this field will intensify a pool of advocates for engaging with the airline online. The lessons learned from this can potentially change the course of airline loyalty programmes globally,” says Shashank Nigam, CEO of SimpliFlying.

“In addition to rewarding and sharing recognition to our fans and customers, we also see it is an innovative way to bring Estonian Air and Estonia to the world map. Estonia is a small market and in order to provide good connections at reasonable price for Estonians, the airline needs to also attract connecting traffic from outside Estonia. Social Media is one of the most effective ways to market and promote brands across the borders,” said Tero Taskila, the CEO of Estonian Air.

Foursquare recently announced a growth of 3,400%, signed up its 6 millionth user, and that nearly 381.6 million people checked in worldwide – all in 2010. A study conducted by social networking site myYearbook reported that 81% of respondents said they received advice from friends and followers relating to a product purchase through a social site and 74% of those who received such advice found it to be influential in their own decisions. These are the trends Estonian Air aims to capitalize upon.

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Jet Charter Travel in Africa

Africa is on the move and a new confident class of oligarchs is emerging from the continent; confident and optimistic business leaders who are strutting the continent's capitals signing deals be they in banking, mining, manufacturing or telecommunications or the internet and holidaying across the vastness of the continent.  The continent now has its own billionaires and self made millionaires and it's no wonder that they are demanding luxury, not just in living but in travel.

Jet Charter travel has been common especially in Africa's tourist hotspots in Kenya, South Africa, Egypt, Morocco, Seychelles, Zanzibar, Maldives and Tunisia. While the overwhelming majority of clients are still wealthy Westerners, homegrown demand for high end luxury jet charter services is also driving the growth of the industry on the continent.

Several factors have led to the well heeled chosing jet charter services in place of scheduled commercial airline services. The first outstanding quality that you will notice when you decide to charter a jet is a noticeably high level of luxury. On your normal jet charter flight you can expect to be served gourmet food, receive the best customer service, have the most comfortable seat, and have the latest entertainment media available. On private jet charter flights, you will be guaranteed exclusivity. You probably will fly in a plane that seats 10-15 people, so you won’t be sharing space with a ton of other people.  While the in-flight service might vary depending on where you are flying, you can still expect excellent services.

VIP Private Jet
 Chartering a jet also comes with a reduced level of travel stress and anxiety. Charter travel pretty much eliminates all travel stresses because of the service and partial exclusivity that it offers. If you decide to use a jet charter, you won’t have to worry about waiting in long lines at the airport, mishandled luggage, or missed flights. You can show up right on time for your flight and your luggage comes with you on the plane.   

Jet Charter services in Africa also provide flights to exotic locales. There are relatively few airports in Africa serving mostly the major cities while regional airports are underdeveloped, so commercial airlines are allowed to only land where there’s an airport or  relatively well maintained landing strips. However, charter jets are much smaller and much more maneuverable; they are able to land in many more locations, some of which are very remote and quite enchanting.

Jet Charters take you to exotic locales!!

Most people assume charter travel is expensive and for the wealthy, but the truth is that it can be very affordable. There are many promotional offers that charter travel companies give to customers. Often, companies will offer group discounts and special travel packages.  The internet has made shopping easy and many private jet charter companies provide highly personalized services to clients and prospective clients. You can also check out various websites like for special deals and promotions and flight experience straight out of aviation's golden age.

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Photos: Emirates A380 Landing at OR Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg

 Emirates began its daily service with the A380 to Johannesburg today Saturday 1 October. Scores of South African Airplane Spotters were on standby to witness another small piece of aviation history at the OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg. More pictures will follow soon, they will most probably make it into our collection of aviation photos of the week.!

EK761 DXB0440 – 1050JNB 388 D
EK763 DXB1015 – 1625JNB 77W D
EK765 DXB1440 – 2050JNB 77W D

EK762 JNB1410 – 0010+1DXB 388 D
EK764 JNB1915 – 0515+1DXB 77W D
EK766 JNB2220 – 0820+1DXB 77W D

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Eastern Cape Government needs R300 million for Mthatha Airport

The government of South Africa Eastern Cape Province needs R300 million for the upgrade the infrastructure of Mthatha Airport .

Mthatha is the economic hub of the KSD region and one of the biggest municipalities in the province. The fact that it is home to former President Nelson Mandela has led to thousands of tourists flocking to the town every year. The area incorporates large portions of the former Transkei and is the poorest district in the Eastern Cape in all poverty measures.The authorities also want to Santaco Airlines to service the poor region.

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South Africa: Velvet Sky Announcces new flights to Port Elizabeth

Velvet Sky have announced their new flights to Port Elizabeth  from both Cape Town and Durban. Flights will operate from Durban to Cape Town via Port Elizabeth 4 times weekly and 3 weekly direct flights from Durban to Cape Town. Prices start at R301 one-way from Port Elizabeth to both Cape Town and Durban and will commence in November. Their first flight to Polokwane also took off today and flight prices for this route came down to R300 one-way after they initially sold tickets to Polokwane for R800. Airlink fought back by bringing their prices down from R1 600 to R700 one way and they also deployed their AR8 on the route to Polokwane. Will have to wait and see how long this price war will continue.

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Aviation History in Africa: AHRLAC marks a first for Africa's aerospace industry

Africa's aerospace industry has entered a new era with the launch of a ground-breaking multi-role aviation platform. This marks the first time in Africa's history that the continent has independently designed and manufactured its own aircraft. The market potential of the aircraft could add up to half a billion dollars to the industrial output of the South African economy.

This comes at a time of growing threats from terrorism, piracy, cross border incursions, climate change, natural disasters and drug trafficking that has fuelled the worldwide need for a low cost aerial reconnaissance, surveillance and armed patrol system capable of supporting a wide range of operations.
The new category of aircraft is looking to challenge Western manufacturers because of its low acquisition cost, reduced requirement for back-end support, extensive operational capabilities and greater degree of pilot situational awareness.

The project to develop an Advanced High Performance Reconnaissance Light Aircraft (AHRLAC) is the initiative of South African defence and aerospace giant Paramount Group together with technical partner Aerosud, South Africa’s largest aeronautical engineering company. They  have designed the compact aircraft to combine the kind of capabilities provided by UAVs, attack helicopters and surveillance aircraft.
Ivor Ichikowitz, executive chairman of the Paramount Group, said: “The launch of AHRLAC marks a major milestone for Africa. For the first time in the history of the continent, Africa will be designing and manufacturing its own aircraft and can benefit from the jobs and economic growth associated with a vibrant domestic aerospace industry.”

The launch occurs as Western governments are under pressure to cut defence spending, and developing nations seek out affordable aeronautical and defence technology to tackle a variety of emerging security challenges including terrorism, the effects of climate change and increased demand for peacekeeping and humanitarian relief operations.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) have become increasingly popular over the last few years due to the absence of serious aerial threats in conflicts like Afghanistan and Iraq.  However, some argue that these platforms are complex and expensive, lack multi-role flexibility and situational awareness which could result in collateral damage.

Ichikowitz said: “The future of South Africa’s economic development relies on the development of knowledge-based industries. AHRLAC is a clear indication of this capability. We have unveiled an aircraft with global relevance, which was conceived, designed, engineered and will be manufactured right here in South Africa.

“AHRLAC is a cost effective, flexible, multi-role aviation platform that marks the first time a company has successfully bridged the gap between manned and unmanned aircraft.
“AHRLAC is a huge technological triumph for South Africa. The reality is that the technology behind UAVs has been oversold and that AHRLAC provides a far more comprehensive solution. For example, AHRLAC has strong defensive capabilities which mean that it can operate in hostile airspace, as well as the ability to carry out operations in domestic airspace because it is piloted.

“This makes it ideally suited to some of the long term security issues facing the world such as drug trafficking control, piracy, patrol of exclusive economic zones, protection of fisheries and rainforests, coast guard and border surveillance and the monitoring of strategic installations such as oil pipelines.

“The cost effectiveness of this aircraft means that more countries than ever before will be able to access the kind of operational capabilities once restricted to only a handful of superpowers. AHRLAC has important political implications for South Africa in strengthening economic relations and helping the country to be recognised as a strong centre for aerospace innovation and technology. South Africa already leads the world in many fields such as sport and peacekeeping, now we will show the world that we can lead in the aerospace industry.”

The development of the aircraft is symbolic of Africa’s growing confidence and increasing economic and political profile on the world stage. Over the last ten years Africa’s economic pulse has quickened, with real GDP rising nearly 5% per year from 2000 – more than twice the pace in the 1980s and 1990s.

Post Courtesy; Arabian Aerospace
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UAE to develop own helicopter with launch planned for Dubai Air Show

A new family of civil helicopter aircraft is set for launch at the Dubai Air Show in November – with a UAE company behind the initiative.

The manufacturer is called Quest Helicopters and is backed by Quest Investments.
Sources involved in the project say that the helicopter will be built in the UAE and will be brought to market in the fourth quarter of 2013.
Dubbed “Project Q” the company claims it will be revealing ground-breaking technology and design.
The team involved in the project are believed to include established business aviation personnel from the UK, UAE and engineering expertise from Ukraine.
The helicopters will be built to Ukrainian, UAE and EASA certification standards.

Courtesy Arabian Aerospace 

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African Airlines and Social Media Revisited

The last time I wrote about African Airlines and social media was in 2009 when social media was still an alien tool to many African airlines and passengers alike; only Kenya Airways had an active social media campaign in 2009 with an active Twitter account, Facebook page, Youtube channel, Flicker account and a dedicated social media development team.

Kenya Airways has therefore reaped the benefits of joining the race early and the airline has the largest social media following across various social media platforms. The channels, especially the Twitter feed is fresh, helpful and engaging. The Kenya Airways Corporate Communications Manager is also on Twitter, so users are only a Tweet away from engaging the airline in a more meaningful way.

Another dynamic that has changed in the last few years in Africa is access. More Africans have had greater access to broadband and hence millions more have signed up on social media channels and are running blogs. Many African travelers have utilized this new “voice” in loudly expressing their satisfaction/displeasure at airline services. A case in point might the incident when Ugandan Opposition leader Kizza Besigye was taken off a KQ flight destined for Entebbe after the airline received a warning from Ugandan aviation authorities that the flight might be prevented from landing at Entebbe with the opposition leader onboard. Many Ugandan sympathizers descended on KQ Facebook page to express their displeasure and even declared their intention to “boycott” Kenya Airways flights. Today, unlike two years ago, a simple Twitter search for any major African carrier will yield lots of conversation, presenting a golden opportunity for airline social media managers to jump in and manage the conversation. Increased internet access has empowered consumers and given many a direct way to get in touch with the top management on issues of concern.

Sheer numbers aside, there have been some quality too in the deployment of social  media marketing tools  through innovative techniques as can be seen amongst South African airlines like Kulula. Some of the top African airlines on Twitter include the following:

Kenya Airways                     14,495 Followers
South African Airways            8299 Followers
Kulula                                     6012 Followers
Arik Air                                  3084 Followers
Air Nigeria                                712 Followers

Kulula engages its clients in more conversation and has the highest number of mentions on Twitter, meaning Kulula is getting social media right. In the next post, I will analyse these stats in detail using some three social media tracking tools to determine which airlines generate more negative vibe and which are more influential.                          
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