Africa Weekly Aviation Trails: Week 10, 2024 Highlights.


Week 10 of 2024 was a time of both celebration and somber reflection in the aviation world. While the global community honored and recognized the invaluable contributions of women in society, the week also bore witness to several unfortunate aviation safety incidents across the African continent, resulting in the loss of at least 8 lives. Additionally, the week saw numerous leadership transitions and significant events unfold within the aviation industry. Read on to discover the highlights and challenges experienced in the African aviation scene during this eventful week.


In Week 10, the world celebrated International Women’s Day 2024 , honoring the remarkable contributions of women in all aspects of life. From professional careers to societal roles, organizations worldwide spotlighted the influential women shaping their legacies and inspiring future generations.

In a bold move to empower women and advocate for gender equality, Ethiopian Airlines and Kenya Airways took the lead by operating all-female crews on flights from Addis Ababa to London and from Nairobi to London, respectively. This initiative aimed not only to inspire aspiring female aviators but also to champion gender equality within the aviation industry, setting a powerful precedent for inclusivity and diversity in the skies.

African Aviation Projections And Statistics.

African airlines soared to remarkable heights in 2023, boasting an impressive annual traffic growth of 38.7% compared to the previous year, as reported by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) . Surging ahead of established regions like the Middle East (33.3%) Latin America (28.6%), North America (28.3%) and Europe (22%), African carriers confidently secured the second spot in the global aviation arena. Only Asia-Pacific airlines eclipsed this feat, with an astounding 126.1% surge in full-year international traffic, showcasing the dynamic growth and potential of the aviation sector across the continent.

In the first quarter of 2024, global airline capacity is expected to outpace both Q1 2019 and Q1 2023, with a projected increase of 2% and 10.1%, respectively. Notably, Africa has surged ahead by 9.1% compared to 2019, showcasing robust growth across the continent. However, Europe continues to face challenges, with capacity still lagging by 5.7% from 2019 levels, particularly in Eastern Europe due to geopolitical tensions. Despite these obstacles, the aviation industry remains resilient, with a total of 6,621,746 scheduled flights and an average of 94,596 commercial flights per day recorded from January 1st to March 10th, 2024, according to OAG data.

In January 2024, International Air Transport Association (IATA) released data showcasing a robust beginning for global air cargo markets. Total demand surged by 18.4% compared to January 2023 levels, with capacity also increasing by 14.6% during the same period. This impressive growth is largely attributed to the flourishing e-commerce sector, which has consistently driven air cargo demand above the growth rates observed in both trade and production since the final quarter of 2023.

In a compelling report by Airbus and Boeing , it is predicted that Africa will require over 20,000 new aviation technicians by 2038. This represents a substantial demand for skilled professionals tasked with ensuring the safety and efficiency of the continent’s expanding aircraft fleet. However, significant questions arise: where will these technicians originate, and how will they acquire the necessary training and certification? Addressing these challenges will be pivotal for the African aviation industry in the coming years, underscoring the importance of governments implementing essential capacity-building initiatives.

Air Service Agreements (ASA’s) And Airline Agreements.

Uganda is on the verge of finalizing an agreement to become part of the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM), signaling its unwavering commitment to the liberalization of African airspace. This move is poised to foster greater connectivity and economic growth across the continent.

In another significant development, EGYPTAIR , the national carrier of Egypt, has sealed a pivotal agreement with Qatar aimed at bolstering the Doha-Cairo route. Presently, EgyptAir operates daily flights between Cairo and Doha, while Qatar Airways operates 24 flights per week to Cairo, along with an additional 3 flights to Alexandria. This partnership is set to enhance travel options and connectivity between the two countries.

Meanwhile, Gabonese airline Afrijet Business Service has entered into a commercial cooperation agreement with Air France , positioning Libreville Airport as a key connecting hub in Central Africa. This collaboration will see both airlines offering seamless connectivity on select Air France routes, expanding travel opportunities and facilitating smoother journeys for passengers across the region.

Routes And Airline Connectivity.

Morocco’s National Tourism Office (ONMT) and United Airlines have inked a groundbreaking agreement to introduce a new airline route linking New York to Marrakech, set to commence this October. This historic partnership heralds the first direct point-to-point connection by an American airline to Morocco and the broader North Africa region, utilizing the Boeing 767-300 aircraft. United Airlines now solidifies its position by making Marrakech its fifth gateway into Africa, distinguishing itself as the sole U.S. carrier serving the city. In another intercontinental route news, TUNISAIR is gearing up to resume Zurich flights starting from April 2, 2024, reinstating a vital link between Tunisia and Switzerland.

In a notable development within the African aviation landscape, EGYPTAIR is poised to resume regular flights to Misrata after a decade-long hiatus. This resurgence comes in response to the escalating demand for air travel between Libya and Egypt, attributed to enhanced security conditions following the ouster of Muammar Gaddafi.

Amidst these developments, fastjet is bolstering connectivity between Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe and Kruger Mpumalanga Airport in South Africa, elevating flight frequencies through the utilization of Embraer ERJ-145 aircraft. Furthermore, commencing on June 1, 2024, CemAir (Pty)Ltd will launch flights to MALAMALA GAME RESERVE every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, facilitating convenient access for travelers to this esteemed wildlife sanctuary.

Airline Fleets And ACMI’s.

In Week 10, Ethiopian Airlines made a significant move by placing an $11 billion order with Boeing for eight 777-9 new airplanes, with the potential for an additional 12 jets. This monumental investment underscores the thriving business travel and cargo shipping sectors across Africa. By securing this order, Ethiopian Airlines cements its position as the first 777X customer on the continent, further expanding its fleet following its landmark 2023 order for 11 787 Dreamliner and 20 737 MAX airplanes, aimed at modernizing and expanding its operations. Additionally, in the same week, the airline welcomed a new Boeing 737 MAX 8 directly from the factory.

Meanwhile, Air Sénégal S.A has secured an A340-600 aircraft for pilgrimage flights to Jeddah this season, adding to its regular route to Jeddah. Once again entrusted with the transportation of Senegalese pilgrims to Mecca, Air Senegal continues to play a crucial role in facilitating Hajj journeys. For Hajj 2024, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has allocated a quota of 12,860 pilgrims to Senegal, with 11,000 to be transported by private tour operators.

In another development, a Royal Air Maroc B737NG aircraft has been acquired by Werner Aero, LLC , for teardown by ecube in Wales, where it will be dismantled for spares. Additionally, Libyan, Medsky airways is currently in discussions with Airbus for new planes, indicating a potential expansion of its fleet and operations in the near future.

Aviation Financing And Infrastructure.

The Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) has received approval for a significant infrastructural development project totaling R21.7 billion (approx. USD $1.16 billion), signaling a major step forward in the expansion efforts of key airports throughout the country. After being put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, these long-awaited expansion plans for Cape Town International Airport and @OR Tambo International airports are now back on track.

This substantial investment is primarily aimed at refurbishments, efficiency enhancements, and compliance measures, all geared towards improving asset availability, airport safety, and passenger experiences. Key aspects of the investment include capacity expansion projects at Chief Dawid Stuurman International Airport (Gqeberha) and George Airport, focusing on the expansion of terminal facilities. Additionally, the development of a new cargo terminal, known as Mid-field Cargo, at O.R Tambo International Airport is on the agenda, along with extensions of bussing gates and holding lounge areas for passengers, among other airports improvements under ACSA.

Aviation Accidents And Incidences.

Week 10 witnessed a series of unfortunate aviation incidents and accidents across Africa, casting a shadow over the skies. In Kenya, a Dash 8-300 operated by Safarilink Aviation bound for Diani along the Kenyan coast collided mid-air with a Cessna 172 Skyhawk training aircraft over Nairobi National Park, close to Wilson Airport. Miraculously, the Dash 8 managed to return to Wilson Airport and land safely, averting further catastrophe, while the Cessna tragically crashed, claiming the lives of both occupants—a student pilot and their instructor. Wilson Airport, a general aviation hub with over ten pilot training schools in its vicinity, is regarded as a leading airport on the continent in terms of aircraft movements.

Elsewhere, in eastern Burkina Faso, a plane crash claimed the lives of at least five people, including the pilot, with two others sustaining injuries. The aircraft, belonging to a private airline, was en-route from Diapaga airfield to Fada N’Gourma when it crashed during take-off. Meanwhile, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a Cessna Grand Caravan operated by AB Airlines was involved in an accident during a landing attempt at Katchungu-Tchambogo, South Kivu Province, resulting in the pilot’s death and the copilot’s serious injury.

In Somalia, a Lockheed C-130 Hercules operated by Ugandan Bar Aviation Uganda encountered a runway excursion while landing at Jowhar airstrip. Despite the aircraft exiting the unpaved runway and coming to a halt on uneven ground, all crew members escaped unharmed. Similarly, in Kenya, a Bell 407 helicopter carrying the Kenyan cabinet secretary of transport and the Kenya Airport Board chairman experienced a hard landing during takeoff, damaging its skids. Fortunately, all occupants evacuated safely without injuries reported.

Lastly, at N’djili Airport, the primary airport of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, chaos ensued when ground service personnel were overwhelmed by passengers rushing to board a FLYCAA Airbus A320 aircraft on the tarmac, highlighting a breach of safety protocols on March 5, 2024.

Appointments And Transitions.

Week 10 marked significant leadership transitions within various aviation institutions across the continent. Zambia Airports Corporation Limited (ZACL) welcomed Mrs. Ngoza Kasunga Matakala as its new managing director, effective March 6, 2024, succeeding Ms. Gillian Mazimba , who served in an interim capacity.

In a parallel move, Air Mauritius appointed Charles Cartier as its new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) on March 6, following the departure of Kresimir Kucko . Kučko’s exit came after a mutual agreement, following his suspension in September 2023 amid an internal investigation.

Similarly, Air Burkina announced Azakaria Traore as its new leader, stepping into the role amid the dismissal of Maxime D Christian TOE . Traore inherits the challenge of leading a financially strained company with no owned aircraft, as all three leased aircraft from Nordic Aviation Capital are currently out of service.

Meanwhile, Mauritius Airport Holdings Ltd witnessed the resignation of Ken Arian , the CEO, from the board of Air Mauritius . The airline faces turbulent times marred by corruption allegations and suspicions of poor governance, deeply impacting its operations.

In Mozambique, LAM – MOZAMBIQUE AIRLINES saw the dismissal of CEO Joao Carlos Po Jorge, following revelations of financial misappropriation by South Africa’s Flymodernark . The scandal has sent shockwaves through the airline industry, highlighting the importance of transparency and accountability in aviation governance.

In other news:

Royal Air Maroc has announced a time adjustment for its customers, transitioning to GMT time on Sunday, March 10th, 2024, at 3:00 AM. Since 2018, Morocco has been on daylight saving time, shifting its time zone from UTC+0 to UTC+1. This change occurs in alignment with Ramadan, rather than following the traditional summer and winter time adjustments.

In another significant event, the BARSA (Board of Airline Representatives of South Africa) Summit took place in Johannesburg during the preceding week. This two-day summit brought together high-level policy makers, industry leaders, thought influencers, and key stakeholders from the aviation and tourism sectors. The summit aimed to chart a clear trajectory for the future of aviation and celebrate the resurgence of the airline industry.

Share this Trail:

More Trails

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Contact Information

Opening Hours

0800hrs – 1700hrs (EAT)

AeroTrail Limited

AeroTrail is a premier consultancy specializing in comprehensive market research, advanced data analytics, and strategic modelling solutions within the aviation and logistics sectors.

Copyright ©  2024 AeroTrail Limited | Credits: Pictures from Unsplash

Scroll to Top