Morocco's Aerospace Industry Takes Off

Nassima Boukhriss has never set foot on an airplane, but soon she will be helping wire up some of the world's most advanced jetliners.

The 22-year-old vocational student is participating in one of North Africa's most ambitious economic-development efforts: starting an aerospace industry.

Across Morocco, millions of people lack jobs, basic education and even running water. Manufacturing remains a small part of the economy compared with agriculture and tourism. Low-skilled textile work is one of the biggest sectors.

At a school near Casablanca, students are learning skills that they hope will win them high-paying jobs in Morocco's growing aerospace industry. Video and reporting by WSJ's Daniel Michaels.

Yet over the past decade, Boeing Co., Safran SA of France and other leading aviation companies have built increasingly sophisticated factories in this kingdom.

As revolutions swept neighboring countries last year, aerospace giants United Technologies Corp. and Bombardier Inc. BBD.B.T unveiled investments of more than $200 million in new Moroccan factories.

To ensure they have qualified staff, the government and an industry group in May opened the Moroccan Aerospace Institute, or IMA, the vocational school Ms. Boukhriss attends.

The result is that the aviation industry now employs almost 10,000 Moroccans who earn about 15% above the country's average monthly wage of roughly $320.

Moroccan officials are betting that by leapfrogging into advanced manufacturing like aerospace and electronics, the country can attract more basic industries in their wake.

Morocco's Aerospace Gambit

Over the past decade, leading aviation companies have built increasingly sophisticated factories in Morocco, as local officials hope this push into advanced manufacturing can attract more basic industries in its wake.

"When you succeed in aerospace, you can succeed in other industries," said Hamid Benbrahim El-Andaloussi, president of Morocco's aerospace trade group, Gimas.

That hasn't happened yet. Manufacturing's share of Morocco's economy has shrunk over the past decade. The country has joblessness of roughly 30% among both young and well-educated people—the same groups that helped lead revolts in Egypt and Tunisia.

The upheaval of the Arab Spring has put new urgency on showing Morocco's aerospace gambit can deliver. King Mohammed VI last March neutralized protests by offering a more democratic constitution and fresh elections, which proceeded peacefully in November. But for Morocco to remain calm, analysts say, it must create jobs.

"High unemployment is at the center of what's going on in the region," says Karim Belayachi, a private-sector development specialist at the World Bank.

Morocco's push into commercial aeronautics is unusual among developing economies. Brazil, Indonesia and South Africa in the last century developed military aerospace companies, but only Brazil's privatized Empresa Brasileira de Aeronáutica SA successfully shifted to building passenger planes. Today, it is a national bellwether. Mexico has recently drawn aerospace component producers, but they remain a small part of its economy.

Many more countries have expanded with technology and automotive investments, as Morocco is also attempting. Taiwan, South Korea and Slovakia relied on foreign or state-supported investments, mixed with entrepreneurialism, for economic growth. But those countries fostered regulatory climates more friendly to start-ups than Morocco has achieved and could tap skilled work forces. Education in Morocco lags behind its economic peers, according to the World Bank.


Morocco's aerospace development started in 1999 with a nudge from Mr. Benbrahim at Gimas, who was then a senior executive at Boeing's longtime customer Royal Air Maroc. He and other officials at the national carrier urged the U.S. giant to invest in Morocco as a sign of good faith.

"There was push-back within Boeing," among executives who deemed an investment unnecessary, recalls Seddik Belyamani, who was then Boeing's top airplane salesman and was born in Morocco.

But the Moroccan links and a desire to fend off rival Airbus prevailed. Boeing, the airline and French electrical-wiring company Labinal SA in 2001 opened a small operation preparing cables for Boeing 737 jetliners, named Matis. Staff painstakingly prepared wire bundles and shipped them to Boeing plants in the U.S. for installation.

The labor-intensive work entailed no technical background, yet Boeing managers still initially expected to achieve efficiency of only 30% of industry norms. To their surprise, staff hit 70% efficiency within two years, recalls Mr. Belyamani, who retired from Boeing in 2002 and recently was appointed chairman of Matis.

The results impressed executives at Labinal, which in 2000 had been acquired by the French aerospace group now called Safran. Managers saw that as Matis grew, job openings attracted floods of highly educated applicants. More than 80% are women, who have limited job opportunities in traditional industries.

The only foreigner among 700 Matis staff today is the French general manager, Sébastien Jaulerry, who previously worked for Labinal in the U.S. and France. Walking through the spotless plant recently, he said employees achieve "exactly the same standard" of quality as at his previous plants.

Around him, Matis staff prepared wires not just for Boeing but also for General Electric Co. GE -0.69% engines, Dassault Aviation SA AM.FR -0.42% business jets and even Airbus jetliners. The most visible difference from more established aviation shops was the large number of women in head scarves.

Safran, encouraged by results at Matis, expanded into more advanced manufacturing. In 2006, its Aircelle division opened a plant making jet-engine housings. The work, which includes machining advanced plastic composites and assembling safety-critical structures, mirrors operations at Aircelle plants in France and Britain. Product quality is also comparable, say Aircelle executives.

Today, Moroccan officials highlight aerospace as a success within the country's larger economic modernization drive, dubbed "Emergence." Other projects include a giant Mediterranean port complex and tax-free zone at Tangiers, where French car giant Renault SA recently opened a big factory.

Yet despite Morocco's big push to create export-oriented jobs, manufacturing's share of the economy is shrinking, says Lahcen Achy, an economist with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, in Morocco's capital, Rabat. He calculates manufacturing now stands at roughly 15.6% of gross domestic product. The World Bank pegged it at 19% of GDP in 1995.

Moroccan manufacturing growth hasn't kept pace with tourism and other service businesses. A major reason, economists say, is the headaches that domestic entrepreneurs face. Mr. Belayachi at the World Bank notes that Morocco's judicial system reports to the royal palace and isn't an independent arm of government, which undermines its reliability. "Enforcing a contract is lengthy and difficult, which has a big impact" on small businesses, he said.

Moroccan officials say they have made other efforts to help business, including recent anticorruption legislation and the creation in 2009 of a Central Authority for Corruption Prevention.

Analysts say that as a result of impediments to business, local entrepreneurs haven't piggybacked foreign investors as extensively as domestic producers in developing countries of Asia and Eastern Europe.

Ahmed Chami, a member of parliament who served as Morocco's minister of industry until recently, said foreign investments are starting to bear fruit and "spillover will happen." The lack of local aerospace businesses is "the weakness in the picture today and should be the next focus," he conceded.

Boosters of Moroccan aerospace say the growing number of foreign suppliers indicates the sector will go local. One of the first contractors to arrive was Le Piston Français, an aerospace component producer based in Toulouse, France, near the Airbus unit of European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co. EAD Director Vincent Fontaine says the company was drawn to Casablanca in 1999 by sales opportunities and government incentives, such as tax breaks.

The plant has grown to 110 employees from about 25 and is adding new customers, such as Bombardier, Mr. Fontaine said. Aerospace materials, like advanced alloys, are also getting easier to buy locally, marking "a big step for industrial development," he said.

But other investors have faced a bumpier ride. Baccarat Precision, a French family-owned aerospace contractor, started making pistons for jetliner brakes near Casablanca in 2007. Soon after, it landed a giant order for explosive devices that blow open airplane doors in emergency evacuations. The complex cylinders, made of 40 precisely machined elements, must be assembled in a clean room to keep pressurized nitrogen from escaping.

When production began in 2008, managers rejected every second cylinder due to production flaws. "Machinists in Morocco have never seen pieces like this," said local manager Giancarlo Zanfonato, holding one of the hand-size metal devices. He eventually realized that compared with seasoned French workers, his Moroccan staff needed twice the documentation, including pictures detailing every production step.

After intense efforts to educate machinists, the rejection rate has shrunk below 10%, yet remains far above the target of 2%, Mr. Zanfonato said. The project, which was expected to break even within one year, remains unprofitable. "We are a small company and this project was much too ambitious for us," he said.

Mr. Zanfonato sees a hopeful sign in the creation of IMA, the vocational school, which will graduate several hundred students annually. The center is a partnership between the government, which contributed the land and buildings, and the industry group, Gimas. Its members organize and sponsor training, modeled on French standards, for their new hires. Students spend up to 10 months alternating two-week stints at IMA, where many live in dormitories, and on their new jobs.

Demand for graduates is so strong that companies are pressing for two shifts of classes, said IMA Director Annie Lagrandeur recently, as students practiced wiring and machining in the school's shop. Nearby, others attended lectures given by veteran aerospace workers whom IMA hired from local plants for their expertise.

Before IMA, foreign aerospace investors were paranoid about rivals poaching their few skilled employees, Ms. Lagrandeur recalled. Some companies even forbade their local staff from riding together on shuttle buses out of fear they might try to recruit each other.

IMA and similar industry-led vocational schools that Morocco has established in the automotive and other industries are "leading-edge in the region," says Anthony O'Sullivan, head of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's private sector development division in Paris. Morocco's overall educational development lags many of its neighbors, and he says "one of the best ways to fill the gap is to have companies involved in training."

Within three months of IMA's opening in May, roughly 1,200 aspiring students had delivered resumes to the front gate, and more sent in applications, said Ms. Lagrandeur.

"It's a great opportunity because we learn very technical skills in electronics," said Ms. Boukhriss, the student. Classmate Said Ouchen added he is proud Morocco is developing an aerospace sector and has remained stable over the past year. "Morocco is an example," he said. 

Source: Wall Street Journal

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South African Airways to launch a new Flight Academy

South African Airways (SAA) has initiated a global search for a qualified and internationally recognised partner to join it in establishing and running a new flight academy, the SAA Flight Academy, which will ensure focused, expert training for new pilots.

The SAA Flight Academy will recruit students from across South Africa, placing special emphasis on attracting future pilots from previously disadvantaged backgrounds.

Besides training future generations of SAA pilots, it will be launched as an international centre of excellence to candidates from other South African, African, and international airlines.

The new SAA Flight Academy will concentrate its efforts on turning out pilots steeped in the ethos, practices, corporate culture and safety disciplines of a major international carrier while making a significant contribution to the transformation of the entire South African airline industry.

The academy will also offer future pilot generations a clear career path within commercial air transport, with the best candidates earning the opportunity to fly as Second Officers alongside SAA's established Captains and First Officers.

“With only 17% of pilots trained since 1994 coming from previously disadvantaged communities, South Africa has not yet made all the progress it needs to in opening this highly skilled area of airline operations to aspiring pilots,” said Siza Mzimela, SAA's CEO. “In order to establish a secure and sustainable talent pipeline of appropriately trained pilots and to further the best transformation interests of the country, the SAA Flight Academy is a highly systematic approach to ensure the production of top-class pilots year on year.”

SAA has issued a tender calling for established flight training institutions to express interest in a long term partnership to establish and manage the training academy. The tender is open to all qualified service providers from South Africa and internationally.

“Key will be the ability of any prospective partner, whether from South Africa or elsewhere, to prove that they have a track record in implementing international best practice in the airline pilot training sector,” said Mzimela. “As is SAA's practice now, the qualification authority will be the Joint Aviation Authority, responsible for setting training standards for civil aviation in Europe.

In contrast to non-scheduled air transport, the international passenger airline industry is highly regulated, with a premium placed on pilot perfection at every moment from the standard pre-flight checks to the post-flight debriefing after engines are turned off at the arrival gate. Traditionally, South African airline pilots have either received their initial training in the air force or at a private flying school, the latter going on to fly smaller general aviation aircraft as charter pilots or junior flying instructors gathering flying experience foran average of seven years before they are eligible to join a scheduled carrier.

“The new system will begin training pilots for their highly responsible roles within airline operations from day one,” said flight academy project leader Jimmy de Beer, himself an SAA Senior Training Captain with 37 years experience. “We will put candidate pilots into SAA's passenger aircraft simulators for 100 hours soon after they have learned the flying basics on the academy's own entry-level aircraft. This will ensure they absorb the entire approach required by a major carrier from the word 'go', without any unnecessary detours,” he explained.

Intrinsic to the training is the development of collaborative analytical, decision and action-taking skills. These are the foundation of the modern cockpit Crew Resource Management techniques that have contributed significantly over the past two decades in making commercial aviation the safest mode of public transport available.

The previous training philosophy, involving a variety of flying in other environments, has often resulted in pilots joining airlines with an air force or charter background first having to unlearn habits and procedures which are unsuited to the passenger air transport environment.

“Experience shows that over 100 hours in an airliner simulator practising every imaginable situation is worth a great deal more than say over 100 hours flying a light cargo plane between municipal airfields,” said de Beer. “Our students will inculcate the internationally benchmarked SAA approach from day one.”

In order to reach the necessary economies of scale, the academy will aim for an intake of 150 to 250 new students annually. As a result of natural attrition and growth, SAA needs approximately 45 new pilots a year. An integrated academy in South Africa will offer significant advantages: excellent flying weather for almost the entire year, comfortable living and working conditions for students pilots at a new, purpose built facility, and the ability to train on state-of-the-art simulators under the tutelage of SAAs' experienced training captains, will all contribute to the mix.

It is expected that the full training cycle from a candidate pilot's first day in the classroom to the first day in the flight deck on a regular flight will take about 3.5 years and cost between R1-million and R2-million. Candidates sponsored by SAA will be required to work for the airline for an agreed number of years, failing which they will be required to buy their way out of the training contract.

“Interestingly, one of the world's biggest airlines, Cathay Pacific, is about to implement a training system very similar to our new approach,” said Mzimela. “Our aim is for the SAA Flying Academy very quickly to become not only a national asset, but in fact an asset for the whole continent.”

SAA plans to select its partner for the academy this year, with the first student intake expected in 2013. 

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Air Berlin to Boost Mombasa Flights

airberlin will boost its Mombasa lights mid this year as part of its networking realignment with new shareholder Etihad Airways, a move that will also see the Germna carrier cancel its Bangkok service. airberlin will bring its seasonal Mombasa, Kenya services to a year-round offering with two flights a week from 22-Jun-2012. (The service will be briefly suspended between 13-Apr-2012 and 22-Jun-2012.)

airberlin will join fellow German carriers Condor Flugdienst and Jetairfly in offering a year-round service to Mombasa, the centre of coastal tourism in Kenya.

Airberlin currently dominates the route with 1212 seats per week, followed by Condor with 1044 seats per week and Jetairfly with 570 seats per week. Germany accounts for approximately 5% of tourism arrivals to Kenya.

Mombasa Moi International Airport capacity (seats per week) by carrier: 05-Mar-2012 to 11-Mar-2012. Source:centreforaviation.com


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Juba Air: Plans underway for the launch of South Sudan's new airline in April

An Abu Dhabi-based UAE national is helping to set up an airline, Juba Air, in the newly independent African state of South Sudan.

Captain Samir M. Al Sayed Al Hashemi, chairman and chief executive officer of Legacy Aviation, an aviation consulting firm, is organising start-up funds of up to $40 million (Dh146.8 million) to kick-start the airline in April.

"We have already secured the initial approval from the South Sudan government to prepare for the take-off, following the issuance of the Air Operations Certificate for which we are working closely with the government on certification," he said recently in an interview with a Gulf daily.

"South Sudan is an emerging market. It is a new country, although as a nation it existed for a long time. The country has a huge potential to grow. It's nearly a virgin market and we want to help it with our expertise."

He added that the return on investment could be double to triple compared to other markets.

An aviation expert, Captain Al Hashemi has also set up a company to manage the country's airport assets and help develop the infrastructure. He has also started a media company to launch radio and television stations.
The airline is being set up in partnership with a few investors from South Sudan. They have already deployed a Boeing 727 aircraft and negotiations are on to obtain a few Boeing 737-400s.

The airline, the first private carrier for the nine-month-old country, will be based in Juba Airport — the only international airport in the country. The airport is located on the outskirts of the country's capital city — Juba — to the northeast of the central business district of the city, on the western banks of the White Nile.

High profile
"The UAE is globally renowned for its forward-thinking and open policy approach when it comes to aviation, so seeing a high profile Emirati assisting South Sudan get on the map is of little surprise," Saj Ahmad, Chief Aerospace Analyst at UK-based Strategic-Aero Research, said.

"As a new country, the incentives from a government perspective to drive traffic, business and tourism, South Sudan will no doubt appreciate the expertise that Captain Al Hashemi will bring."

The government is planning to create a new administrative district where the capital will be located.

"The airport is about 30 kilometres away from the site of the new administrative district where the capital will shift. Either way, the airport is ideally located to cater to both places," he said. "However, the airport needs a lot of investment to cater to larger international airlines and handle bigger air traffic."

Juba Airport handles international and local airlines, cargo traffic and chartered commercial flights. It is also used by the South Sudanese military and by the United Nations relief flights for the country. The airport is at an altitude of 461 metres above sea level, and has one runway that is 2,400 metres long.

As of May 2011, Juba International Airport was undergoing improvements and expansion.

The work included expansion of the passenger and cargo terminals, resurfacing of the runway and installation of landing lights for night operations.

His company has already secured a three-year concession for ground handling of passengers and flights.

"We have a plan to upgrade facilities, expand the runaway to handle larger aircraft. The terminal building is capable of handling the current level of traffic, but not more. We will expand the facilities as well," he said.

Captain Al Hashemi said his company is mobilising resources for a US and a Spanish company to build a hangar that will take care of light maintenance of the airline's fleet.

"One of Juba Air's first destinations will be Dubai — which will help South Sudanese people access goods and services from international vendors," he said.

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CNN Business Traveller is Back!

Doing Business on the Move
CNN's once popular monthly international TV travel program CNN Business Traveller is back after over 1 year absence! Each month, road warrior Richard Quest and Ayesha presented from hotels, airports and cities around the world, bringing his detailed experience of surviving out of a suitcase.

CNN Business Traveller
The new episodes debuts with a feature on Singapore(and why everyone wants a piece of the Asian market) and Singapore Airlines.  I'm looking forward to fresh episodes and insights from the industry and to Richard Quest's exciting presentation :)

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HH Travel: 3 East Asian Online Travel Retailers form new luxury travel brand

Three of Asia's biggest travel agencies in Taiwan, China and Hong Kong jointly launched a high-end travel brand Thursday aimed at the growing demand in Asia for luxury excursions and holidays.

The new company, HH Travel, was formed by Taiwan-based online travel agency ezTravel, China's biggest online travel agency Ctrip.com, and Hong Kong-based Wing On Travel. 


A booming Luxury market in Asia
One of the first high-end package holidays to be launched by the venture is a US$161,270 round-the-world 80-day tour to five continents on Silversea Cruises, said ezTravel President Jack Yu. The tour will be open to 15 individuals, with registration openings on March 26. 

The company estimates that it will sell tour packages to 1,200 travelers at an average price of NT$500,000 this year and to 10,000 travelers at the same average price by 2016.
 

ezTravel executive Jack Yu said similar luxury group tours promoted by ezTravel in the past -45-day, 60-day and 66-day round-the-world tours in 2005, 2010 and 2011, respectively -were all snapped up in under 15 minutes, an indication of the market potential for high-end travel in the region. 

China has over 960,000 households with assets of $1.58 million or more
Yu noted that China has about 960,000 households with assets of 10 million Chinese yuan (NT$46.7 million; US$1.58 million) or more, according to the latest Hurun Report, which publishes an annual list of China's wealthiest people.

There are also more than 600,000 families in Taiwan and Hong Kong that are potential luxury travel customers, Yu estimated.


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Online Travel Agency Travelstart Officially Launched in Kenya

 Travelstart, an online travel agency last week launched operations in Kenya in a battle to win a slice of the growing business as passenger numbers rise.

The South African firm unveiled a portal —www.travelstart.co.ke— that allows travellers to make flight bookings, pay and receive confirmation promptly via the Internet.

The website has a query form in which one fills in the particulars of the flight such as one way or round trip; dates of departure and return; number of travellers and their age.


Win a Travelstart Luggage
 The site conducts a real-time search of the query by accessing the flight databases of all airlines and displaying all the possible results ranked in terms of cost, which the cheapest on top.

“We have brought in an innovation to the Kenyan travel industry. Online travel booking is more efficient as it can be done at any time and offers better deals by allowing comparisons,” said Mr Stephan Ekbergh, the chief executive officer of Travelstart.

Online reservations offer opportunities to business travellers to book a flight without necessarily going to a physical travel agent.

The Travelstart portal also offers payment solutions through mobile money transfer platforms like M-Pesa, Internet bank transfer, cash deposit at any Barclays or KCB branch and through use of a credit card.
“One advantage of online booking is that travellers are given an opportunity to compare various airlines and there are no hidden charges,” said Magdaline Wambua, a marketing executive at Travelstart Kenya.
Based on pre-arranged terms, travel agencies can secure cheaper bargains with airlines by assuring them a steady supply of travellers.

“Our operations are much cheaper since we so not spend on renting offices, employing many workers, printing. We thus pass this savings to our clients,” said Mr Ekbergh.

Travelstart charges a transaction fee of Sh830($10) for domestic, Sh1,660($20) for regional and Sh2,490($30) for international bookings.

Growing
The online firm offers additional services such as hotel and car booking, offering a one-stop shop for travellers. The online agency seeks to tap into the growing number of travellers passing using Kenyan airports and airstrips.

Data from the Kenya Airports Authority shows that the total number of passengers through Kenyan airports and airstrips grew 12.5 per cent to 8.1 million as at June 2011 compared to 7.2 million a year earlier.

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Why you should book your tickets with local Online Travel Agencies

Online travel and booking has finally entered the last market frontiers, in Africa. While in the past, travel in many parts of Africa involved paying a visit to your travel agent and making endless calls to plan your itinerary, the internet has revolutionized the way travel planning is done today.

The most trusted means to book a ticket to your destination is via the airline's booking website with many airlines now eager on installing cutting edge ticket reservations systems integrated with the global GDS. Booking directly within an airline has many advantages, since you are dealing directly with the travel service providers, you can expect to be offered quality service by the travel provider itself!

Alternatively, travellers are now planning their journeys and booking their tickets via Online Travel Agencies like Expedia. The advantage of this is that you can always find very cheap fares on online travel agencies, sometimes even cheaper than the fare offered on the airline's website.You are also able to compare fares from many airlines and they also provide you with additional useful information about your flight like duration, number of stopovers if any. Some even include useful information about your destination including hotels, car hire, tips on places to visit and more.

While global online travel agencies like Expedia, Priceline, Orbitz are quite popular and have entrenched their hold on the travel markets, travellers can still have the option of local online travel agencies which in spite of their small size, still retain a certain winning edge in the local travel market through their local focus and presence.

In Kenya, the most popular Online Travel Agency is Travelstart which offers some very good fares to various international destinations. So what are the advantages of booking a ticket on a local online travel agency as opposed to a global and established player like Expedia?

Local travel agencies are quite fast since they are hosted locally.While flight searches on portals like Expedia or FareCompare will take an eternity, searching for a flight on an Online travel Agency like Travelstart is just a matter of seconds. This is due to the fact that the website is hosted locally and submitting information to a server based in California from Nairobi will naturally take longer than doing the same to a  server based in Nairobi.

Another advantage is the local customer support from staff and local travel consultants who understand your language and culture and are in a better position to help you with your travel needs than for example a customer service representative based in the US or Europe. Besides, many local online travel agencies have local offices in your city and can help you plan even more expensive complex itineraries in person especially where you are uncomfortable with undertaking large online credit/debit card transactions.

Local Online Travel agencies also have flexible payment methods that international travel agencies may not necessarily have. While booking on international online travel agencies might require your credit or debit card, local online travel agencies are flexible to cheque payments, mobile payment, bank deposits and more. Besides, with the blacklisting or greylisting of some African countries by global eCommerce platforms, a local online travel agency might just be your prince in shining armour allowing for seamless travel planning irrespective of your location.


I have also noticed that it's possible to get very good fare offers on a local online travel agency. Sometimes better than what you would find on Expedia. Online travel is now moving to emerging markets, always buy from a local travel retailer where one exists and make huge savings while at the same time helping build local eCommerce businesses and keeping jobs in Africa!


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The yellow fever headache: Yellow Fever Vaccinations Requirements in Africa

For those who have been following news of late, you have probably seen the row between Nigeria and South Africa after some 150 Nigerians were deported from South Africa for allegedly carrying fake yellow fever certificates, an action that prompted retaliatory deportations of South Africans from Nigeria's Murtala Muhammad International Airport.

Yellow fever endemic areas in Africa: If you come from Africa's yellow fever belt, you will always need a yellow fever certificate to travel to almost every African country. Please review the list below for the various requirements on yellow fever vaccinations.
 Many countries still require travelers moving into their countries from countries with risks of transmission to carry yellow fever certificates.

 The countries in Africa considered to be high risk due to high incidences of yellow fever infections include Tanzania, Somalia and Sao Tome and Principe. If you have stayed overnight or longer in these countries, then a yellow fever vaccination will be mandatory as you travel to other countries. 
Vaccination certificates requirements of countries are published by the World Health Organization and it's important for all travellers to carefully review these requirements and get the necessary vaccinations to avoid getting stuck at the airport.  It's also important for travellers to get vaccinated at any of the WHO designated yellow fever vaccinating centres to avoid running into problems over "fake" yellow fever certificates. Sometimes, a naive traveller might decide to take a vaccine at their local hospital, while the vaccine might be valid, the centre and certificate are probably not recognized and designated by WHO and some immigration officials will not recognize such yellow fever certificates and many of them will not bear a stamp in such cases. Always ensure your yellow fever certificate is STAMPED by the authority administering the vaccination. A yellow fever certificate without a stamp will not be considered valid by many authorities and often results in deportations.

A stamped Yellow Fever Certificate
Once administered, a yellow fever vaccine is valid or 10 years! It will be a decade before you are required to take another vaccine so this is not really an inconvenience for travellers frequently hoping from one country to another. Th ey ellow fever jab is however not recommended for those  over the age of  65. So please take your yellow fever vaccines properly and avoid putting your governments at loggerheads :)

Some of the African countries where yellow fever certificates are required include:
  • Angola: Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate Required for ALL travelers over 1 year old. It's also recommended for your own safety to take a Yellow Fever vaccine when visiting Angola as the country is still considered a yellow fever risk due to incidences of the disease in recent years.
  • Algeria: Yellow Fever Vaccination required for all travelers over 1 year old arriving from countries with yellow fever infection. Algeria has no yellow fever risks and yellow fever vaccinations not recommended if you are coming from a country that's yellow fever free.
  • Benin: A yellow fever certificate is required for ALL travelers over 1 year old. It's also highly recommended for travellers coming from the yellow fever free countries to take the vaccine due to risk of infection.
  • Botswana:  A yellow fever vaccination is required for travelers over 1 year of age arriving from or having passed from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission. Travelers from countries that are yellow fever are free do not have to worry as there is no risk for yellow fever transmission in Botswana.
  • Burkina Faso: A yellow fever vaccination is required from ALL travelers over 1 year of age. There is also risk of yellow fever transmission in Burkina Faso so it's in the travelers' best interest to ensure they get a yellow a fever vaccine before traveling to Burkina Faso.
  • Burundi: A Yellow fever vaccination is required for all travellers over 1 year of age. It's also highly recommended fr travellers to take an initiative to get the vaccine since Burundi is considered by the WHO as having a risk of yellow fever transmission.
  • Cameroon: Yellow fever vaccinations required for all travellers over 1 year of age. It's also highly recommended for travellers entering Cameroon to get a yellow fever vaccination due to risk of transmission.
  • Central African Republic: Yellow vaccination required for all travellers over 1 year of age. Highly recommended for travellers to ensure they take yellow fever vaccine due to risk of transmission in the country.
  • Chad: A yellow fever vaccination is required from travellers arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission. Highly recommended for travellers to get the vaccine due to risk of transmission in Chad.
  • Cape Verde: A Yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission. Travellers from countries with no risk of yellow fever transmission do not need yellow fever certificates.
  • Comoros: No yellow fever vaccination requirements.
  • Congo: Yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from all travellers. Highly recommended for travellers to ensure they take yellow fever vaccine due to risk of transmission in the country.
  • Cote d'Ivoire: Yellow fever vaccination certificates required from all travellers over 1 year of age. Highly recommended for travellers to ensure they take yellow fever vaccine due to risk of transmission in the country.
  • Yellow vaccine required from all travellers over 1 year of age. Yellow vaccine highly recommended for travellers over 9months old except under the following conditions: Generally, a yellow fever vaccine is not recommended for a traveller whose itinerary is limited the DR Congo's Katanga Province.
  • Djibouti: A yellow fever vaccine is required from all travellers arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission.
  • Egypt: A Yellow fever vaccination is required from travellers arriving from countries with high risk of yellow fever transmission. All arrivals from Sudan are required to possess either a vaccination certificate or a location certificate issued by a Sudanese official centre stating that they have not been in Sudan south of 15°N within the previous 6 days. Travellers from countries with no yellow fever risk do not have to worry about yellow fever vaccinations.
  • Equitorial Guinea: A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers arriving from countries wit risk of yellow fever transmission. Highly recommended for travellers to ensure they take yellow fever vaccine due to risk of transmission in the country.
  • Eritrea: Country requirement: a yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission.  Generally not recommended1 for travellers going to the following states: Anseba, Debub, Gash Barka, Mae Kel and Semenawi Keih Bahri.
    Not recommended for all other areas not listed above, including the islands of the Dahlak Archipelagos (Map). 
  • Ethiopia: A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers over 1 year of age arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission. Highly recommended for travellers aged 9 months and over  to ensure they take yellow fever vaccine due to risk of transmission in some areas of the country. Generally not recommended1 for travellers whose itineraries are limited to the Afar and Somali provinces (Map).
  • Gabon: A yellow fever vaccination certificate  is required for all travellers over 1 year of age. Highly recommended for travellers aged 9 months and over  to ensure they take yellow fever vaccine due to risk of transmission in the country.
  • Gambia: A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from all passengers arriving from countries wit risk of yellow fever transmission. Highly recommended for travellers  to ensure they take yellow fever vaccine due to risk of transmission in some areas of the country.
  • Ghana: A yellow fever vaccination is required from all travellers over 9 months of age. Highly recommended for travellers to ensure they take yellow fever vaccine due to risk of transmission in the country.
  • Guinea: A yellow fever vaccination is required from all travellers over 1 year arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission. Highly recommended for travellers to ensure they take yellow fever vaccine due to risk of transmission in the country.
  • Guinea Bissau: A yellow fever vaccine is required from all travellers over 1 year of age. Highly recommended for travellers to ensure they take yellow fever vaccine due to risk of transmission in the country.
  • Kenya: A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from all travellers over 1 year of age arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission. Highly recommended for travellers to ensure they take yellow fever vaccine due to risk of transmission in the country.
  • Lesotho: A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from all travellers over 1 year of age arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission. Lesotho has low potential for exposure and a yellow fever vaccine is not recommended for travellers staying in the country. Travellers from countries with no risk of yellow fever transmission do not require yellow fever certificates.
  • Liberia: A yellow fever vaccination is required from all travellers over 1 year of age. Highly recommended for travellers to ensure they take yellow fever vaccine due to risk of transmission in the country. Highly recommended for travellers to ensure they take yellow fever vaccine due to risk of transmission in the country.
  • Libya:  A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission. Libya has very low potential for exposure to yellow fever and a yellow fever vaccination is not recommended for travellers from countries with no risk of yellow fever transmission.
  • Madagascar: A yellow fever vaccination is required from all travellers from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission. Madagascar has low potential for infection and a yellow fever vaccination is not recommended for travellers staying in the country from regions with no risk of yellow fever transmission.
  • Malawi: A yellow fever vaccination is required from all travellers from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission. Malawi is another low potential country and a yellow fever vaccination is not recommended from travellers staying in the country from regions with no risk of yellow fever transmission.
  • Maldives: Not really country in Africa but pretty close to the Africa Region. A yellow fever vaccination is required from all travellers from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission. The vaccination is not recommended for visitors staying in the country as there is no risk of yellow fever transmission in the Maldives.
  • Mali: A yellow fever vaccination is required from all travellers over 1 year of age. Recommended for all travellers aged 9 months and over going to the areas South of the Sahara Desert.
  • Mauritania: A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers over 1 year of age arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission. Recommended for all travellers aged 9 months or over travelling to areas south of the Sahara Desert (Map). Not recommended for travellers whose itineraries are limited to areas in the Sahara Desert (Map).
  • Mauritius: A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers over 1 year of age arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission. Not recommended for visitors from countries with no risk of yellow fever transmission as there's no risk of yellow fever transmission in Mauritius.
  • Mayotte: Yellow fever vaccination certificate is not required.
  • Morocco: Yellow fever vaccination certificate is not required. Yellow fever vaccination not recommended for travellers as there's no risk of transmission.
  • Mozambique: A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from all travellers arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission. Yellow fever vaccination not recommended for travellers who do not pose a yellow fever risk  i.e. from countries with no risk of yellow fever vaccination.
  • Namibia: A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission. The countries, or parts of countries, included in the endemic zones in Africa and South America are regarded as areas with risk of yellow fever transmission.
    Travellers who are on scheduled flights that originated outside the countries with risk of yellow fever transmission, but who have been in transit through these areas, are not required to possess a certificate provided that they remained at the scheduled airport or in the adjacent town during transit. All travellers whose flights originated in countries with risk of yellow fever transmission or who have been in transit through these countries on unscheduled flights are required to possess a certificate. The certificate is not insisted upon in the case of children under 1 year of age, but such infants may be subject to surveillance. Yellow fever vaccination not recommended for travellers who do not pose a yellow fever risk  i.e. from countries with no risk of yellow fever vaccination.
  • Niger: A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from all travellers over 1 year of age and recommended for travellers departing Niger. Recommended for all travellers aged 9 months or over travelling to areas south of the Sahara Desert (Map). Not recommended for travellers whose itineraries are limited to areas in the Sahara Desert (Map).
  • Nigeria: A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers over 1 year of age arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission. Highly recommended for travellers to ensure they take yellow fever vaccine due to risk of transmission in the country.
  • Reunion: A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers over 1 year of age arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission. Yellow fever vaccination not recommended for travellers who do not pose a yellow fever risk  i.e. from countries with no risk of yellow fever vaccination as Reunion has no risk of yellow fever transmission.
  • Rwanda: Yellow fever vaccination required from all travellers over 1 year of age. Highly recommended for travellers to ensure they take yellow fever vaccine due to risk of transmission in the country.
  • Sao Tome and Principe: A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from all travellers over
    1 year of age.
  • Senegal: A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers over 9 months of age arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission. Highly recommended for travellers to ensure they take yellow fever vaccine due to risk of transmission in the country.
  • Seychelles:  A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers over 9 months of age arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission. No yellow fever risk in the country so a vaccination is not recommended for those from countries not placed under the mandatory yellow vaccination requirement.
  • Sierra Leone: A yellow fever vaccination is required from all travellers. Highly recommended for travellers to ensure they take yellow fever vaccine due to risk of transmission in the country.
  • Somalia: A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission. Generally not recommended for travellers going to the following regions: Bakool, Banaadir, Bay, Gado, Galgadud, Hiran, Lower Juba, Middle Juba, Lower Shabelle and Middle Shabelle (Map). Not recommended for all other areas not listed above. 
  • South Africa: A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers over 1 year of age arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission. Generally not recommended for travellers from countries with no risk of transmission as South Africa is generally a very low risk(no risk) area for yellow  fever transmission. 
  • Sudan: A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers over 9 months of age arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission. A certificate may be required from travellers departing Sudan. Highly recommended for travellers to ensure they take yellow fever vaccine due to risk of transmission in the country.
  • Swaziland: A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission. Like South Africa, Swaziland has no risk of yellow fever transmission hence a yellow fever vaccination is not recommended unless it's a mandatory requirement for your country.
  • Tanzania: A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers over 1 year of age arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission.
  • Togo: A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from all travellers over 1 year of age. Highly recommended for travellers to ensure they take yellow fever vaccine due to risk of transmission in the country.
  • Tunisia: A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers over 1 year of age arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission. A yellow fever vaccination is not recommended unless it's a mandatory requirement for your country as Tunisia has no risk of transmission.
  • Uganda: A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers over 1 year of age arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission. Highly recommended for travellers to ensure they take yellow fever vaccine due to risk of transmission in the country.
  • Zambia: Yellow fever vaccination certificate not required.
  • Zimbabwe: A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission. Zimbabwe, like South Africa has no risk has no of yellow fever transmission and a vaccination is not recommended unless it's mandatory for your country.

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TalkHotels.com: A Social Network for Hospitality Professionals

There's a new social network in town for hospitality professionals TalkHotels. TalkHotels is according to its founders "the first professional social network or hoteliers". Sort of like the LinkedIn for hoteliers. 

The social network is equipped with features to help hoteliers access and process information faster and in a more organized manner in order to help them make quick informed choices. The social network does this by giving members access free access to vendors, products and services, reviews, other hospitality professionals, and knowledge and insight from peers.

The social network has over 750 hotel professionals so far.



The social network also primarily offers hoteliers opportunity to network with other hoteliers from around the world and share ideas and best practices. Some of the features include the following:

Shop Page: Allows members to find vendors, products, and local service providers without having to conduct exhaustive online searches, reading through generic sales pitches, and taking risks on vendors and service providers you’ve never worked with before. The best part is that you’ll also get to read reviews from your peers.


Vendor Profile:  Each vendor profile will feature a vendor’s contact information; reviews from your peers, along with responses from the company to give you both sides of any story; and Loyalists, which is a list of people in your network that either use the vendor currently, endorse them, or used them at some point in the past.
 Join TalkHotels

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Fly 540 Africa Website

Had not noticed this before but Fly 540 launched a Pan African website some time back that incorporates both Fly 450 Ghana  and Fly540 Angola. According to a report by the Telegraph,Fly 540 was not offering Angolan flights contrary to widely circulated press reports that the airline had launched Angolan Flights and tickets were sold out.

Fly 540 is currently owned by a Lonrho/Stelios Consortium.

Fly 540 Pan African Website


Visit Fly 540 Africa Website Here


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After 20 year absence, first international airline(Turkish) Lands in Mogadishu

THE first long-distance international commercial airliner in some two decades to fly to Somalia's war-torn capital landed on its maiden flight at Mogadishu airport today.

The Turkish Airlines flight, with a high level delegation from Ankara led by Turkish deputy prime minister Bekir Bosdag, was welcomed on landing in the anarchic seaside capital by Somali President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed.

"Today is big day for Somalia - Turkish Airlines made its first official flight to Somalia," said Somali government official Abdisalam Mohamud, adding that top leaders welcomed the flight to "commemorate the big event".

Several Somali airlines, including Kenya-based African Express, fly into Somalia from neighbouring nations, but Turkish Airlines' proposed twice-weekly flights are the first commercial flights from outside the region.

"The deputy prime minister of Turkey has officially opened the operations of the international carrier," Mohamud added.

Somalia has had no effective government since 1991 and in recent years al-Qaeda-allied Shabaab insurgents and other groups have taken an increasing hold on large parts of the country.

Security was tightened in Mogadishu ahead of the plane's arrival, with the main roads in neighbourhoods around the airport blocked by gangs of heavily armed policemen.

"Security is a major issue in Mogadishu so we are trying our best to assure that things go smoothly," said Somali police commander, Colonel Mohamed Adan.

"We are very happy to see this country gradually gaining international attention, a step on the road towards development," Adan added.

The airline's arrival was welcomed by Mogadishu residents, who said they hoped it would make it easier for relatives in the large Somali diaspora scattered around the world to come home to visit.

"Everybody is talking about Turkish Airlines," said Hidig Ali, a resident of Mogadishu. "This is a big deal, as it can help many people outside the country to come back and see their homeland and family."

"Turkish Airlines will encourage other international carriers to realize they, too, can operate in Somalia. It really is a major step towards development and we are happy today with Turkey," said Shamso Agey, another resident. 

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Berlin Demands more Germans at Airbus

The German government has sparked a furious row by calling on EADS, the European defence and aerospace group, to put more Germans in top posts at aircraft subsidiary Airbus or risk losing Berlin’s development aid and export-credit guarantees.

In an unprecedented attempt to influence operational decisions at EADS, deputy economics minister Peter Hintze wrote a letter to Tom Enders, Airbus’s German chief executive who will soon take the helm at EADS, to deplore an “unacceptable” bias towards French management and production in France and to demand “a reversal of this trend”.

The demands look set to give Mr Enders a rocky start when he succeeds Louis Gallois as EADS chief executive this spring, and threaten to make a mockery of their shared ambition to make EADS and Airbus “normal” companies free of political inference.

Airbus quickly and brusquely rejected the demands, saying the letter “spoke for itself” and was “not even a basis for any discussion” with Berlin. “Airbus is not going to play any games with questions of balance and proportionality,” it said.

The intervention by Mr Hintze, a close ally of Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, comes after Mr Enders said he was planning to move EADS’ headquarters from Munich and Paris to Toulouse, already home of Airbus, its most important unit.

Although the move is expected to involve no more than 300 people, the announcement revived fears in Germany that the company’s long-prized Franco-German balance was tipping in favour of France just after the German government agreed to take a 7.5 per cent stake in EADS from its co-founder Daimler, the German carmaker.

The German government’s unusually heavy-handed intervention looks set to kick-off another round of the kind of political mudslinging between France and Germany which many executives at EADS had hoped the company had finally put behind it.

With the French government holding 15 per cent and French media company Lagardère a further 7.5 per cent, EADS has been the focus of many an unseemly struggle with Germany, whose stake of 22.5 per cent is still controlled by Daimler.

The letter reflects the German government’s long-held frustration with EADS and Airbus, where it feels it has to maintain a close watch in the face of sometimes aggressive French industrial policy. But this has also drawn it into ever-deeper involvement, making it, as one official noted, “as French, or more French than the French”.

In his late-February letter, seen by the Financial Times, Mr Hintze complained that the €500m in aid Berlin put up for the development of the wide-body A350 aircraft had not led to the promised strengthening of Airbus’s German production sites in Hamburg and Bremen.

As a remedy, he demanded EADS and Airbus ensure “parity” of German and French executives in the “five top tiers” of both companies by January 2017 – and the relocation of some research and development from Toulouse to its two main German sites. 

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