Air Uganda:"We are the Wings that Unite East Africa"

I love this ad by Air Uganda. The airline is clearly concentrating on the key market of East Africa!Kenya Airways and Ethiopian Airlines have lofty Pan-African ambitions;SAA wants to be Africa's global airline but Air Uganda is clearly focused on being the airline for the East African community!

RwandaAir Website undergoing major Upgrade-Online ticketing service to start in April

Travellers trying to access Rwandair website in the last few weeks have been greeted with a static page with a message promising them of a "Rwandaful" website that is coming soon .The airline's website is currently undergoing a major upgrade in cooperation with SITA,provider of global information and telecommunication solutions for the air transport industry.

RwandAir will acquire the SITA e-commerce platform, which will allow for e-ticket distribution on the RwandAir website with credit card payment facility which was expected to go live this month.In short the website will have a booking engine to allow clients to book flights online via Rwandair's website.In the meantime,passengers who wish to make reservations with Rwandair have to send an email to and the staff are trying their best to help the travelers as quickly as possible.

Another system that Rwanda's national carrier will acquire is the Horizon FrequentFlyer system as part of its customer relationship management.

The airline also plans to make mobile ticket sales and check in a possibility for its customers and is currently putting up an in house call centre facility to help it manage better-inbound and outboundcalls from and to  clients.Last year the airline launched an SMS service Flight Schedule in cooperation with mobile operators MTN and Tigo.The small airline from the land of a thousand hills is definitely going places as far as adoption of technologies that Simplify the airline business {and making the lives of flyers hustle free} is concerned.

What is the future for the Libyan Aviation?

Libya,a once promising Maghreb nation with one of the highest standards of living in Africa, once gain finds itself branded an 'international pariah' and at the center of a brutal civil war with no end in sight after the very ill advised bombing campaign led by NATO supposedly to prevent a 'bloodbath' in Benghazi.One of the sectors that has suffered is the country's aviation sector. 

Decades of sanctions had prevented Libya from gaining access to new aviation technology at competitive prices.But the US took Libya off the list of state sponsors of terror allowing the country to ressurect its aviation industry which rapidly took off with the opening of new routes in Africa ,Asia and Europe.The Libyans could once again acquire Boeing Aircraft and there was even talk of launching direct flights to the United States.The Libyan aviation professionals had high expectations as Tripoli and Washington moved to restore diplomatic relations.Afriqiyah Airlines chairman Captain Sabri Abdallah had said following the restoration of ties:"And don't forget we use Tripoli as a hub for the rest of Africa so we could use the Afriqiyah flights to the US to extend our network of operations,"

Libyan Airlines:Formed in 1965
But in March this year,the Libyan airspace was closed off as soon as the UN resolution 1973 was passed that imposed a no-fly zone over Libya and all the dreams are now turning to dust.The Libyan government owns two international airlines, both operating as the national flag carriers of Libya. Libyan Airlines began flying in October 1965, but was forced to cease its international routes in 1992 due to international sanctions imposed by the United Nations. The U.N. sanctions were eased and Libyan airlines were allowed to fly internationally again.In early 2001, the Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, having made his peace with West and buoyant about African Unity and the prospect of the United States of Africa facilitated the formation of Afriqiyah Airways, which started flying in December 2001.
Founded in 2001,Afriqiyah Airways:The Airline for the United States of Africa?
Given that Libyan Airlines and Afriqiyah Airways are both owned by the Libyan African Aviation Holding Company, both airlines serve international destinations throughout Asia, Africa and Europe, with overlapping routes, including major destinations such as London, Rome, Milan, Jeddah and Dubai

There had been considerable talk about the merger of Libyan Airlines and Afriqiyah Airways to create a mega Libyan carrier, dating back to 2009.  The Libyan Government was expected to approve the merger of the two airlines by the 15th of October 2010, however internal politics seem to have interfered with the merger of the two carriers.

Both Libyan Airlines and Afriqiyah Airways fly modern fleets, both airlines have orders with Airbus for new aircraft capable of serving destinations in Africa,Asia, the Americas and Europe.  The two airlines also share a hub in Tripoli; the airline fleets have aircraft commonality and combined the airlines have the potential to spend US$5.6-billion on new aircraft over the next two years.

Back to Year Zero 

Libyan civil aircraft bombed by NATO
Now Libya finds itself back to where it all started with its aviation infrastrucutre and some of its passenger airlines destroyed by NATO;some of the Libyan Airlines staff have joined the rebels in their bid to capture power by armed force and with NATO about to step up its ill advised bombing campaigns and France and Britain arrogating themselves illegal mandates in order to save face,the prospect of a Tripoli aviation hub serving a Pan African market appears dimmer.

IATA too suspended dealings with Libya to comply with the UN sanctions.In an email,the body said:
"Due to Governmental sanctions directly affecting IATA that prevent us from having financial dealings with Libya, we must suspend all settlement services with Libyan Airlines and Afriquiyah Airways effective immediately.
Therefore IATA has suspended Libyan Airlines (LN-148) and Afriqiyah Airways (8U-546) from all BSPs.
BSP Travel Agents should:
Stop immediately all ticketing and refund transactions through the GDSs and BSPlink and continue to remit funds to the BSP.
As soon as we have more information, we will communicate this to you

The Libyan aviation might just undergo Iraq-like battering that will take years to repair.

Analysis:Where to next for the Airbus A380?

Article Courtesy:Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation(CAPA)

The A380 customer list reads like a who’s who of the most successful and ambitious airlines in Europe, the Asia Pacific and the Middle East, with 16 customers sharing 200 orders between them. 16 aircraft are now flying with Singapore Airlines (eight), Qantas (three) and Emirates (five), plying routes between major crowded hubs such as Sydney, Singapore, Paris, Hong Kong, Tokyo and London. 

The A380 now serves more than a dozen airports worldwide. However, there are also some more unusual destinations among the A380’s current and future routes (such as Reunion Island), as well as a few that are notable by their absence (such as New York, which was briefly served by Emirates from Dubai before the aircraft was switched to the capacity constrained Toronto route from Mar-2009).
What is striking is the deployment of the aircraft on the so-called “kangaroo route” between Australia and Europe.

Los Angeles is currently the sole A380 destination in the US (served by Qantas from Sydney and Melbourne). The aircraft is set to return to New York shortly, with Air France announcing plans to deploy the aircraft to JFK from Paris CDG from Nov-2009.

Emirates' A380 plans also include Paris CDG from Feb-2010 and Incheon (South Korea) from Nov-2009 and a return to New York (denoted by the light green line in the graphic above) at an undisclosed date.
New York appears to be a natural stomping ground for the A380. A global financial and transport hub, it competes with London as one of the busiest, most congested and complicated airport systems in the world. The A380 theoretically provides more capacity with a single larger aircraft, allowing airlines to make better use of valuable take off and landing slots, and also relieving pressure on airspace and runway capacity.
But the very issue of capacity is a critical one for airlines amid the global economic recession. Latest data from around the world shows airlines continue to fail to align capacity with demand (eg, the latest Association of European Airlines data shows renewed pressure on load factors). Furthermore, Business traffic - the market most initial A380 operators are targeting - has crumbled and a recovery is not imminent. As a result, yields are under considerable pressure and airlines are having to re-think their aircraft configurations.

A premium machine being re-thought

The early A380 operators, Singapore Airlines, Qantas and Emirates, have shied away from very-high capacity configurations, preferring a larger proportiom of premium seats, with typical Business class layouts of 60-76 seats, and 12-14 First Class seats.

Early A380 configurations typically offer 90-110 seats more than existing B747-400 configurations, with the difference mostly in additional numbers of Business and Economy seats. Qantas is in the unique position at the moment as the only A380 operator to offer a four-class configuration, with 32 Premium Economy seats.

Air France opts for denser configuration

But less than 12 months into the global financial crisis, the next recipients of the A380 appear to be taking a new approach to seating densities. By the end of the year, Air France will be operating A380s with a 538-seat configuration (9/80/499) on the Paris-New York route. Lufthansa, due to receive its first A380 in late 2009, will reportedly operate the aircraft with 549 passengers in three classes. Lufthansa and Air France will effectively generate 20-22% more productive capacity from their A380s than Qantas.
The days of very high density A380 could also be accelerated by the downturn. Emirates has three different A380 layouts planned, one with 600-644 seats, for short haul markets. Air Comet plans to operate Europe-South America services with more than 500 economy seats while Air Austral expects to configure its A380s with a tremendous 840 seats, in just a single-class configuration. (See related article: Airbus A380 rewrites the mass market rules. Airbus now marketing seriously low cost aircraft).

Deferrals bite into production schedule

While the aircraft is now into its second year of service (Singapore Airlines has already carried more than a million passengers on its A380s), it seems that the aircraft is increasingly becoming a victim of the global economic downturn and the cash crunch facing airlines. In the past 12 months, Qantas, Kingfisher Airlines and British Airlines have announced plans to defer their A380 orders, joining Virgin Atlantic and ILFC, which pushed back their orders after Airbus announced production delays for the aircraft in late 2006.
Potential additions to this list are Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways, Air France and China Southern. Over the past six months, all of these carriers have reportedly been considering delaying their mid-term A380 deliveries (though near-term delivery commitments are being maintained).

Widebody deferrals are nothing new at the moment, with Boeing's long-range B787 and B777 programmes also suffering. The passenger variant of the A380 has so far escaped any outright cancellations, unlike Boeing’s new B787, which has seen 73 orders vanish this year, to go along with several cancellations last year.

Ongoing production issues have also forced Airbus to adjust its A380 delivery schedule. In May-2009, the company disclosed plans to deliver 14 aircraft over 2009 and “more than 20” in 2010, bringing the number into service to 35 by the end of the decade. However, Airbus cautioned that onward production rates and deliveries are “dependent on airline demand and availability of customer financing”, meaning that if the crisis continues, more deferrals could loom.

Aviation news update – Egypt Air gets new B777-300ER as traffic levels rise again

Article Courtesy:Wolfganghthome's Blog by @whthome

A regular source at the Egypt Air Kampala office was excited over the weekend, telling news that the airline had just taken delivery of a 6th brand new Boeing B777-300ER, which were ordered four years ago.
Photo Courtesy:EgyptAir
 Instead of deferring delivery of the long range jet the airline took delivery via an international leasing company specialized in aircraft leases, an early indication that traffic levels have started to claw back, albeit slowly, to pre crisis levels.

Said the source: ‘We are happy to hear that we got a new aircraft. Here in Uganda we fly 3 times a week and we are always hoping that eventually we can go daily from Entebbe to Cairo. We are a Star Alliance member and our service levels are good, connections out of Cairo are growing to many new destinations. New modern aircraft also help us to compete favourably and Uganda is also an important market for air freight to and from Egypt. Finally the crisis is over and we are moving again so please tell the good news to everyone.’

Egypt Air flies into the region, also covering Kenya and Tanzania, although they recently halted their twice a week flight from Cairo to Juba. Traffic for MS came to a near standstill when Cairo was under curfew and crews and ground staff were unable to make it to the airport for their flights, but as the situation in Egypt has started to normalize so have traffic levels for Egypt Air.

Happy landings for the new ‘bird’, the crews and the passengers flying in the future on this latest B777.

2011 SkyTrax World Airlines Awards to take place at the Paris Airshow in June

This years SkyTrax World Airlines Awards will take place during the Paris Airshow on 22nd June.Last year's event was dominated by Middle Eastern Airlines and Asiana Airlines scooped the Best Airline Award.

This year,the survey will be more qualitative and passengers will have to rely on their own gut knowledge of the airline in rating and voting for the best airlines in the World;there are few multiple choices or guiding questions;at least,in theory, the voter in this survey must have traveled with the airline they are voting for or have a good knowledge of the airline from talks with friends who have traveled in that airline.Typical questions in the survey include:
  • Please give your reason(s) for nominating this airline as the world's Best Airline?
This I think is more qualitative and gives an accurate assessment of airline services from first hand experience rather than a simple multiple choice quizz where airlines' social media whizz would just mobilize their followers on Twitter to vote,irrespective of whether they have fly with you or not.The survey also involves:
  Business Research Group / Travel Panel
  Corporate Travel Questionnaire
  Telephone Interviews
  Selected Telephone Passenger Interviews
As always,the Flight Africa blog team will be focusing on African Airlines.Which African airline will scoop the big prize this year?Last year,South African Airways was voted the best airline in Africa, followed by Kenya Airways and Air Mauritius.Which airline are you betting on to scoop this year's award?

Vote for your favorite airline here SKYTRAX World's Best Airline Survey

Nigerian aviation unions want new national carrier

The Federal Government must establish a new national carrier, if it hopes to make Nigeria the hub of air travel in West Africa, two aviation unions have said.
The now defunct Nigrerian Airways during its "days of glory".The airline,Nigeria's flag carrier,ceased operations in 2003
The unions, Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, and National Union of Air Transport Employees, argued that the government might not be able to achieve its goal of becoming one of the top 20 economies by 2020 without replacing the liquidated national carrier, Nigeria Airways.

The National President, ATSSSAN, Mr. Benjamin Okewu, and his counterpart at NUATE, Mrs. Safiyanu Mohammed, made the submission while fielding questions from journalists in Lagos on Monday. The duo also said that the government needed to pay the final entitlements of former workers of the defunct Nigeria Airways.

He said that the recent happenings in the country made the need for a new national carrier imperative. Okewu specifically cited the inability of the Independent National Electoral Commission to airlift the printed electoral materials into the country recently, which led to the postponement of the elections two weeks ago.

He also recalled the trouble the country went through before it could evacuate stranded Nigerians in Libya and Cote d’ Ivoire in the wake of their crises.

He said, “A national carrier is important because these issues will never happen when we have a national carrier no matter the explanation given. If we have had a national carrier, it does not take five minutes for a decision to be taken to get the INEC materials back to Nigeria.

“This is what you face when people take decisions that are anti-people, their personal and business interest as against public interest.”

Okewu noted that the absence of a national carrier had led to the dearth of aviation professionals in the country.

Kenya Airways re-affirms B787 order after reaching deal with Boeing on Compensation

There will be no "French Mistress"(Airbus) for Kenyan Carrier as Kenya Airways finally settles for  Boeing
This article is a reblog from the informative Wolfganghthome's Blog
an aviation,hospitality and tourism blog by Wolfgang H Thome that is second to none in its coverage of the Eastern Africa and the Indian Ocean region
In what appears to have been a well executed role play, using discussions with Airbus to obtain ultimately the very best deal from Boeing in regard of compensatory concessions for to the extraordinarily long delay of the delivery of the first of 9 B787 Dreamliners, has Kenya Airways finally announced this afternoon that ‘Boeing it is’.

Kenya Airways initially signed for 9 Dreamliners with a further 4 options over 5 years ago in 2006, but had counted to have the new fuel efficient and larger B787 already in service, to substitute against the less economical and smaller B767’s which have for long formed the backbone of the long haul fleet of KQ, besides their larger ‘sister ship’ the B777.

Information received from ‘The Pride of Africa’ just now talks of the first delivery of a B787 by the last quarter of 2013, but no one would be surprised if Boeing, saddled with a multitude of problems with the aircraft up to this point, would miss that delivery deadline too by a few weeks or months.

While announcing the re-confirmation of the contract with Boeing the airline’s CEO Dr. Titus Naikuni also spoke of plans to fly to every major African capital by 2013, using the modern new aircraft to allow the planned network expansion across the continent, which now forms the backbone of Kenya Airways’ revenue generation, for both passengers and cargo.

Remaining an almost exclusive Boeing operator – KQ also has a fleet of Embraer 170 and 190 for regional operations where smaller aircraft than the B737 are needed – will also take care of the in house maintenance at the airline’s base in Embakasi / Nairobi, which is fully geared towards all major maintenance work, including heavy maintenance, for their Boeing fleet.

A Documentary on how aviation helps provide medical services in West Africa

Rex Pemberton's forthcoming documentary 'The Calling' (screenshot above) features Medicine on the Move, a non-profit organisation based in Ghana that uses aviation as a vehicle to provide medical assistance in Ghana and soon, it hopes, in neighboring countries. In that regards it is much like a royal flying doctors service, but Medicine on the Move goes further.
It also aims to teach rural communities about health care, such as by flying in or dropping medical supplies and information.

Although started by Westerners, Medicine on the Move is working towards creating a local aviation industry in Ghana. It has partnered with WAASPS and Aviation Technology Academy to train Ghanaians, and females in particular, how to fly aircraft and perform maintenance.

One young female undergoing flight training says, "I want to fly the plane so that one day I can go to villages and tell them how to use medicine."

It is that sentiment that manifests Medicine on the Move's statement that with aviation they can "change the future of an entire generation".

The trailer is below.

Article Source:Flight Global

More Info:The Calling' is a documentary film about Medicine On The Move and the story behind how they use aviation to change lives in West Africa.The challenge faced in West Africa of the inability to access even basic modern health care affects millions in West Africa. Often critically ill or injured patients receive no medical assistance and frequently succumb to illness that can be easily treated.

Medicine on the Move transports health care educators specializing in general healthcare, basic first aid, hygiene and disease prevention to communities previously beyond the reach of ground based aid agencies