Africa Aviation Trails: Week 4, 2024 highlights

Week 4 of 2024 unfolded with the skies buzzing with excitement as the african aviation scene marked significant milestones, unveiled new routes, navigated the ebb and flow of operations, expanded their fleets, witnessed infrastructural transformations, and made noteworthy appointments. Below we delve into the highlights of the past week of the African aviation landscape.

Let’s kick things off with a toast to the skies! Kenya Airways soared to new heights as it celebrated an impressive 47 years of weaving through the vast expanse above. Born in 1977 from the ashes of the East Africa Community, the airline’s journey has been a testament to resilience and progress. Meanwhile, Safarilink Aviation, the embodiment of adventure in the Kenyan skies, marked two glorious decades since its inaugural flight in January 2004. From a humble start of 69 passengers in their maiden month, the airline now commands the skies with around 29,000 passengers per month, boasting a staggering 360,000 passengers in 2023 alone. LIFT , the rising star of the South African aviation scene and pandemic-born prodigy, made waves by clinching the title of the best new airline brand for 2023 according to the prestigious @Global Brand Magazine.

Amidst the jubilant milestone celebrations, Air Algérie and TUNISAIR soared to new heights with their remarkable performances in 2023. Air Algérie, carried over 7.2 million passengers, marking an impressive 47% surge compared to the previous year. Meanwhile, TUNISAIR dazzled with a 14% increase in passengers, welcoming a commendable 2.47 million travellers on board. Moreover, TUNISAIR proudly reported a staggering 16.4% boost in earnings during the same period.

Buoyed by the stellar performance, Air Algérie is ready to soar to even greater heights. The airline is primed to embark on an ambitious expansion plan, introducing thrilling new routes for 2024. Among these exciting destinations are Libreville in Gabon, N’Djamena in Chad and the dynamic capital of Abuja in Nigeria.

Week 4 also brought a whirlwind of activity in the realm of airline routes. conviasa, the Venezuelan carrier, made an audacious entry onto the African stage with the inauguration of its Caracas – Algiers flight, opening up exciting new connections between South America and North Africa. Meanwhile, EGYPTAIR, embarked on a diplomatic journey with Belarus to explore the potential for a direct airline link between the two nations, aiming to foster stronger bonds and promote tourism. In a bid to enhance regional connectivity, LAM – MOZAMBIQUE AIRLINES unveiled plans to introduce three new routes linking various destinations within the country to the bustling hub of Johannesburg in South Africa.

However, amidst these ventures, there came a somber note as EL AL ISRAEL, announced the unfortunate cessation of its South Africa route. After decades of service dating back to 1951, this crucial link between South Africa and Israel will soon vanish from the skies, marking the end of an era in the longstanding relationship between the two nations.

In the world of fleet renewals and expansions, Ethiopian Airlines welcomed two Boeing 737 MAX8 aircraft into its illustrious fleet. However, amidst the arrival of these planes, the airline bid farewell to a 16-year-old B737-800 that gracefully bowed out for scrapping, marking the end of an era in its service history. While, over at Air Zimbabwe, the airline saw the arrival of a nimble 50-seater ERJ 145 jet and a Boeing 737 aircraft. These additions are poised to bolster the airline’s domestic and regional flight offerings.

Air Côte d’Ivoire bolstered its operations by leasing a second Airbus A320, strategically capitalizing on the increased demand spurred by the ongoing AFCON competition in the country. In Mauritius, Air Mauritius latest addition—a state-of-the-art ATR72-600 aircraft took to the skies on its maiden flight. Meanwhile, Kenya’s Safarilink expanded its fleet with the acquisition of a brand-new Cessna 208B Caravan, the ninth addition to its impressive lineup.

When it comes to infrastructural development, Egypt has unveiled an ambitious plan for Cairo International Airport. This groundbreaking initiative includes the addition of a new terminal building, poised to elevate the airport’s capacity to a staggering 30 million passengers. While over in the Central Africa Republic, a historic investment agreement was inked in Bangui between the government and a consortium of Emirati investors. This landmark deal sets the stage for the construction of a cutting-edge Bangui International Airport, a venture estimated at a monumental $200 million.

In a groundbreaking move towards fostering unity and connectivity across the African continent, the Ghanaian government has set the stage for an exciting transformation. In a bold announcement, they declared their intention to waive the visa requirement for all African visitors by the end of the year. This progressive step not only highlights Ghana’s commitment to promoting the free movement of people and goods but also signifies a monumental shift towards a more interconnected and inclusive Africa.

In the realm of sustainability initiatives, Z.Boskovic Air Charters Ltd of Kenya has forged a groundbreaking partnership with Surf Air Mobility, marking a significant milestone as the third Kenyan aircraft operator to do so, following in the footsteps of Safarilink and Yellow Wings Air Services. This groundbreaking partnership aims to revolutionize regional flying by embracing electrification, with plans to enhance both current and future fleets through the integration of Surf Air’s cutting-edge powertrain technology.

When it comes to new appointments in Africa, ASKY Airlines welcomed the arrival of Martial Daté Dovéné TEVI-BÉNISSAN, who stepped into the role of the airline’s official Commercial Director. Tevi-Benissan is poised to chart new heights for ASKY Airlines. Meanwhile, in Ghana, Yvonne Nana Afriyie Opare made her grand entrance as the newly appointed Managing Director of Ghana Airports Company Limited. Following her nomination in December 2023, Opare’s ascent to this prestigious position marks a significant milestone, as she becomes only the second woman to hold this esteemed role.

In other news, Air Cargo Malawi LTD, determined to spread its wings in the realm of cargo airline operations, is on a mission to secure the financial backing needed to obtain its Aircraft Operator Certification (AOC). This ambitious venture promises to unlock new opportunities and elevate the region’s air cargo capabilities. Meanwhile, FLY ANGOLA, having taken a temporary hiatus from the regional flight scene, is gearing up for a triumphant return. After a brief absence, the airline is poised to resume regular flights, with Sao Tome and Principe as its inaugural destination, with plans for four weekly rotations.

In a momentous leap forward for aviation safety, RwandAir Ltd made headlines this week by joining the esteemed IATA Safety Leadership Charter. This noteworthy achievement positions RwandAir as the second airline in Africa to commit to this esteemed charter, following in the footsteps of Ethiopian Airlines, which paved the way with its commitment at the charter’s launch in 2023. Earlier in the week, the airline also made history by becoming the first sub-Saharan African carrier to join IATA’s CO2 Connect. This innovative online tool provides the most accurate calculation of CO2 emissions for commercial passenger flights.

Amidst the flurry of aviation news, Brussels Airlines assumed the role of the official carrier for the much-anticipated annual summit of the Africa CEO Forum. Set to unfold in Kigali from May 16th to 17th, 2024, this esteemed gathering serves as a pivotal platform for top executives and thought leaders from across the continent to convene and delve into the pressing issues shaping Africa’s economic landscape.

In less favourable developments, the Kenya Airports Authority has taken the decision to auction off over 90 aircraft that have accrued substantial outstanding charges across various airports. This decision aligns with the provisions outlined in the Disposal of Uncollected Goods Act. Owners of these aircraft are being afforded a 30-day window to settle their outstanding charges before the auction proceedings commence.

Meanwhile, Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority has implemented a stringent ‘no pay, no service’ policy as part of its efforts to recover outstanding debts from airlines. This proactive measure aims to address the escalating issue of mounting debts within the aviation sector while also emphasizing the importance of financial accountability.

Lastly, a Challenger CL 601 executive private jet, registered as N580KR, encountered a mishap upon landing at Ibadan Airport in the capital of Oyo State. With 10 people on board, including VIPs, the jet overshot the runway. Fortunately, there were no reported casualties, and all passengers emerged unharmed from the incident.

Similarly, a comparable incident unfolded at Libya’s Mitiga Airport, where a Cessna 560 XLCitation, registered as 5A-DRK and operating as an air ambulance, veered off the runway during an emergency landing. Once again, there were no casualties reported, and all individuals involved emerged safely from the incident.

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