Africa Aviation Trails: Week 2, 2024 highlights

Wikicommons: Hansueli Krapf

Week two of 2024 brought positive developments from the Nigerian government, with the Central Bank of Nigeria redeeming outstanding liabilities totaling $2 billion over the past three months. Notably, $61.64 million was released to foreign airlines. Despite this, the continent grapples with a significant challenge—blocked airline funds, with Africa’s nations withholding over $1.7 billion of airline ticket sales. Nigeria and Egypt alone owe more than half of this total, posing a threat to airline connectivity on both continental and intercontinental levels.

The week featured major announcements on new and revamped routes. Ethiopian Airlines launched a freighter service to Casablanca in Morocco, marking its 35th cargo destination in Africa. South African Airways ambitiously expanding it’s international footprint, announced the relaunched of Perth services after almost four years since the airline operated the route. This is its second intercontinental operation after last year’s Sao Paulo relaunch, making it the only African carrier operating directly to Australia. Air Peace Limited unveiled two new routes to Cotonou in Benin Republic and Abidjan in Cote d’Ivoire starting from January 22, while TAAG-Linhas Aereas de Angola increased frequency to Lagos, Nigeria, operating daily with a B737-700 airframe.

In the realm of airline partnerships, Astral Aviation Ltd entered a Global Sales Partnership (GSP) with Take Off Aviation in South Africa and a General Sales Agent (GSA) Agreement with Euro Cargo Aviation in Europe, USA, and UAE. LAM – MOZAMBIQUE AIRLINES appointed AirlinePros International as its GSA for flight operations in the western cape province of South Africa.

Air Côte d’Ivoire and TAAG Angola became the newest APG Network interline partners, joining the APG – IET ticketing platform, providing travel agents with expanded ticketing options beyond the Billing and Settlement Plan (BSP) and flight combinations with airlines where no interline agreements exist.

Poppy Khoza‘s reappointment for a third five-year term as the Director of the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) marked a milestone in her remarkable journey. Apart from being the first woman Director of SACAA, she achieved the historic feat of presiding over the General Assembly of International Civil Aviation Organization globally in 2022.

Rwanda Civil Aviation Authority joined the Agency of Air Navigation Safety in Africa and Madagascar (ASECNA) as its nineteenth member, enhancing cooperative airspace management. Simultaneously, Entebbe International Airport unveiled a newly upgraded terminal in preparation for the Non-Alignment Movement (NAM) conference scheduled from January 15-20.

Despite positive developments, a few concerning incidents occurred across the continent. The Gambia’s national team narrowly avoided disaster due to a pressurization problem during a flight for the African Cup of Nation championship. Kenya Airways faced a cybersecurity breach by Ransomexx, compromising sensitive information. In South Africa, a British Airways pilot was reportedly kidnapped and tortured during a stopover, highlighting the vulnerabilities faced by aviation professionals. In Somalia, a United Nations -operated helicopter faced a forceful landing on Al-Shabab-controlled territory, resulting in captives and a tragic loss.

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