Africa Aviation Trails: Week 8, 2024 Highlights.

Source: AeroTrail

In the eighth week of 2024, the African aviation scene witnessed a series of intriguing developments. A West African airline opted to fly to Gatwick after being unable to secure a slot at the UK’s primary airport. Meanwhile, an airspace in East Africa faced potential sabotage, jeopardizing flight safety. Additionally, an airline renewed its codeshare agreement, and new routes were unveiled, among other noteworthy events. Explore the latest highlights from Africa’s aviation industry below.


Airports Council International – ACI Africa, the esteemed voice of African airports, has convened its 71st regional conference and exhibition in the illustrious and historic city of Cairo. Hosted by the Egyptian Holding Company for Airport and Air Navigation (EHCAAN), this event carries the theme “Airports: Levers of Socioeconomic and Sustainable Growth.” It serves as a rallying point for industry leaders, professionals, and enthusiasts from across the continent and beyond. Together, they aspire to shape a future where Africa’s aviation industry not only flourishes but also sets the benchmark for excellence in safety and technology, facilitation and innovation, environmental sustainability, economic development, connectivity, and overall operational excellence.

In a significant move, Kenya has joined the ranks of nations embracing digital security standards, marking its place as the 89th nation to deposit its Country Signing Certification Authority (CSCA) public key certification with the International Civil Aviation Organization Public Key Directory (PKD). This announcement, made by the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA), signals Kenya’s commitment to enhancing international travel security. The ICAO Public Key Directory (PKD) serves as a central repository for exchanging crucial information necessary to authenticate electronic Machine Readable Travel Documents (eMRTDs) like ePassports, electronic ID cards, and Visible Digital Seals.

Exciting news from Amadeus! Say goodbye to the hassle of currency conversions when booking flights. In a groundbreaking partnership between Outpayce from Amadeus and HSBC‘s, travelers can now enjoy the convenience of booking airfares in their local currency. This innovative initiative aims to streamline the booking experience by allowing airlines to price fares directly in the currency preferred by travelers. It’s a game-changer for globetrotters everywhere, ensuring a smoother and more personalized booking process.

African Aviation Projections And Statistics

Entebbe International Airport is soaring to new heights! 2023 marked a remarkable resurgence in air travel, showcasing a staggering surge in passenger traffic post-COVID-19. With a record-breaking total of 196,211 international passengers in January 2024, including 99,216 arrivals and 96,995 departures, the airport experienced its second-highest monthly traffic ever. That’s an average of 6,329 passengers per day, rivaled only by December 2023’s peak of 6,418 passengers daily. But the excitement doesn’t end there! In terms of cargo, Entebbe handled a whopping 5,183 metric tonnes, comprising 1,579 tonnes of imports and 3,604 tonnes of exports.

Air Service Agreements (ASA’s) And Airline Agreements

In a bid to strengthen diplomatic ties, the Czech Republic and Angola have initiated discussions for expanded cooperation, notably in the aviation sector. This significant development comes in the wake of a state visit by the Angolan president, graciously hosted by his Czech counterpart.

Meanwhile, The Gambia is poised for transformative collaborations with Ethiopian Airlines, marking a pivotal moment in its aviation landscape. From assistance in establishing a national airline to improving ground handling services at Banjul Airport, the potential partnership holds promise. Plans for regular flights to Banjul, direct routes to London, and addressing accommodation shortages through hotel construction underscore The Gambia’s commitment to bolstering its burgeoning tourism industry.

Kenya Airways continues to strengthen its global connectivity with the renewal of its codeshare agreement with Vietnam Airlines. This strategic move aims to enhance seamless travel between Africa and Vietnam, offering passengers convenient one-stop flights from various African cities to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City via Nairobi and Bangkok.

Routes And Airline Connectivity

Air Peace Limited is gearing up to inaugurate its Lagos-London flights starting March 31st. However, due to slot constraints, the airline will operate from Gatwick Airport’s southern terminal instead of its preferred gateway, Heathrow.

Turkish Airlines is eyeing a comeback in Libya after more than 12 years since ceasing operations due to the civil unrest that followed the ousting of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. Interestingly, while Turkish airspace is accessible for flights to and from Libya, a few Libyan operators have already initiated scheduled flights to Turkey.

Ethiopian Airlines is expanding its West Africa network by introducing a new service to Freetown, Sierra Leone starting May 31st. This thrice-weekly route will be served via Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, utilizing the B787-8 aircraft. In a related development, Air Côte d’Ivoire has announced a delay in the commencement of flight operations on the Abidjan-Casablanca route. The four-times-weekly flights will now begin from April 16th, operated using an Airbus A319 aircraft.

During the week, Proflight Zambia marked a significant milestone with a media launch in Cape Town, South Africa, celebrating the inauguration of its thrice-weekly direct route between Cape Town and Lusaka. This historic link represents the first-ever nonstop service connecting the two cities, set to bolster tourism, trade, investment, and cultural ties. Furthermore, effective March 19, 2024, the airline will introduce a twice-weekly domestic route linking Lusaka and Kasama, with the option of stopovers in Mansa.

Kenya Airways has announced plans to introduce scheduled flights to Maputo, Mozambique, starting March 25, 2024, as part of its “Africa first” initiative. Additionally, the airline will reintroduce a domestic flight to Eldoret in western Kenya on the same date.

FlyNamibia is bringing back domestic flight schedules between Windhoek and Walvis Bay, effective April 1, 2024. These flights are now available for booking directly with the airline or through passengers’ preferred travel agents.

Airline Fleets And ACMI’s

South Africa’s Africa Charter Airline (ACA) is set to boost its freighter capacity with the acquisition of its first 737-400SF. This aircraft, with the serial number 24436 and formerly operated by Bluebird Nordic, marks the beginning of ACA’s fleet expansion plans. ACA plans to add two more 737-400 freighters to its fleet in the near future. In other news, Royal Air Maroc has decided to retire its longest-serving B737-800 aircraft, which will be scrapped.

Kenyan Dragonfly Aviation Ltd. has expanded its fleet with the acquisition of a new 76-seater Dash 8 400 aircraft. This addition marks a significant upgrade for the airline, known for its charter flights and humanitarian services. Similarly, Z.Boskovic Air Charters Ltd has recently taken delivery of two new Cessna Caravan aircraft named ‘Tausi’ and ‘Heroe’, further bolstering their operations.

Aviation Financing And Infrastructure

Ethiopian Airlines has secured a significant $450 million loan from Citi to acquire five new aircraft. The loan, exclusively arranged by Citi’s Corporate Banking and Export Agency and Finance teams, is backed by the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM).

In a strategic step to bolster security and efficiency across all Nigerian international airports, the federal government has concluded plans to implement biometric clearance gates in collaboration with the Nigeria Immigration Department.

Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport has unveiled its first-ever hotel, Sami Court, in a grand ceremony led by the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development. This 22-room hotel, located within the airport premises, promises to enhance passenger comfort and elevate the airport’s appeal. With its seamless transition from air to accommodation, Sami Court adds both functionality and aesthetic value to the airport.

Aviation Accidents And Incidences

In a concerning development, Somalia has faced allegations of unauthorized individuals infiltrating cockpit communications, posing as controllers and issuing conflicting instructions to flight crews. This dangerous situation recently endangered the safety of a Qatar Airways flight QR1383, a B787-9 en route from Doha to Entebbe. While cruising at FL380 (Flight level 38,000 feets), the cockpit received an unauthorized command to climb to FL400 within the Mogadishu FIR. Fortunately, the QR crew acted swiftly, disregarding the directive despite the aircraft Traffic Alert and Avoidance System (TCAS) activating and averting a potential disaster. Notably, an Ethiopian Airlines flight ET 602 from Addis Ababa to Dubai, operating on an A350-941, was flying above them at FL390 at the time. This incident emphasizes the paramount importance of air safety protocols and the need for constant vigilance against emerging threats.

In South Africa, a Lufthansa Boeing 747, operating as flight LH573, narrowly avoided a collision with a South African Airways A320 on the runway at Johannesburg OR Tambo International airport due to a severe miscommunication issue. As the Lufthansa aircraft commenced its takeoff roll from runway 03L, the SAA A320 unexpectedly crossed the runway from an intersecting taxiway, prompting the Lufthansa crew to abort the takeoff.

On Monday 19, at Anjoun-Oani Airport in Comoros, a 1997 Fokker 50 carrying 50 passengers operated by R’Komor experienced a sudden left veer upon landing. The aircraft came to a halt in the grass, nearly perpendicular to the runway centerline. Fortunately, all occupants were safely evacuated from the aircraft.

In other news:

Algeria’s Algiers Houari Boumediene International Airport welcomes a new Director General, Mokhtar Said Mediouni, succeeding Mohamed Salah Kouche. This transition, announced by the Ministry of Transport, signals a commitment to advancing the airport’s infrastructure and services. Under Mediouni’s leadership, Algiers Airport is poised to embrace industry innovations while upholding its vital role as a regional hub for both domestic and international air travel.

Gabon’s transitional government has unveiled a bold initiative with the establishment of a new state-owned entity, Fly Air Gabon Holding (FLAGH), operating under the Ministry of Economy. This strategic move aims to facilitate the acquisition of shareholdings in both domestic and foreign airlines, signaling a proactive step towards bolstering the nation’s aviation sector.

Africair, Inc., the largest distributor of Textron Aviation products globally, has earned prestigious recognition from Textron Aviation for an impressive milestone: 50 continuous years of unwavering representation across Africa. Throughout this journey, Africair has been dedicated to providing new and pre-owned aircraft, along with comprehensive support services including parts, accessories, and technical assistance, to discerning owners and operators across the continent. This achievement underscores Africair’s enduring commitment to excellence in aviation solutions and customer satisfaction.

In a significant development, Capo Verde lawmakers have branded Bestfly airline as a disappointment, citing various operational challenges. Meanwhile, speculation is rife that Kenya Airways (KQ) is on the verge of welcoming a second B737-800F aircraft from GA Telesis in the upcoming weeks.

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