Africa Weekly Aviation Trails: Week 18, 2024 Highlights.

In our latest update on African aviation trends, we highlight significant developments showcasing Africa’s aviation regulators’ commitment to capacity building, safety, and security. This commitment was evident through the agreements signed during the recent ICAO Global Support Symposium. Additionally, the Visa Guide unveiled the global passport index ranking, and there were notable agreements and fleet additions, among other noteworthy updates. Explore further to uncover the detailed insights.


The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) recently convened its Global Implementation Support Symposium from April 30 to May 2, 2024, in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. This symposium, renowned as ICAO’s premier implementation support and capacity-building event, advocated for air transport’s pivotal role as a catalyst for sustainable development. During this symposium, significant agreements and partnerships were forged between ICAO and various civil aviation authorities, marking a notable step forward in enhancing aviation safety, compliance, and expertise across regions.

The South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) solidified its commitment to capacity-building and expertise development by entering into a management service agreement with ICAO. This agreement encompasses the provision of specialized training, project management support, and strategic guidance, underscoring South Africa’s dedication to advancing aviation standards.

Similarly, the Angola Civil Aviation Institute sealed pivotal agreements with ICAO, emphasizing joint efforts towards enhancing safety and compliance within the aviation sector. These agreements, signed by high-ranking officials from both entities, signify a collaborative approach to addressing key challenges and fostering sustainable aviation practices.

Ethiopia demonstrated its heightened dedication to implementing ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPS) by formalizing an agreement with ICAO during the symposium. This agreement underscores Ethiopia’s proactive stance in aligning with global aviation standards, ensuring a safe and efficient aviation environment.

African Aviation: Projections And Statistics.

International Air Transport Association (IATA) recently released its data for March 2024, revealing a robust growth trend in global air cargo markets. Cargo tonne kilometers (CTKs) surged by 10.3% compared to March 2023, marking the fourth consecutive month of double-digit year-on-year growth. Notably, international operations recorded an even stronger growth rate of 11.4%. Despite Africa’s modest global cargo market share of 2%, the region saw a notable improvement in CTKs, rising by 14.2% from March 2023.

In terms of passenger demand, African airlines experienced an 8.1% year-on-year increase, accompanied by an 11% rise in capacity. However, this growth led to a slight dip in load factors, which fell to 70.3% compared to March 2023. Overall, Africa’s market share of global capacity stood at 2.1%, with revenue passenger kilometers (RPKs) reaching 10% and available seat kilometers (ASKs) at 12.3%. Domestic demand, accounting for 39.9% of the global share, displayed a more moderate growth rate in March, returning to typical pre-pandemic levels.

Additionally, the VisaGuide.World Passport Index unveiled its 2024 rankings, providing insights into the strength and positioning of passports from 199 countries and territories. Below are the top 20 African countries according to the latest rankings.

Source: VisaGuide.World

Air Service Agreements (ASA’s) and Airline Agreements/Partnerships.

The Ethiopian Minister of Transport and Logistics, alongside their Congolese counterpart for Transport, Civil Aviation, and Merchant Marine, recently finalized a new aviation agreement. This updated bilateral air service agreement (BASA) notably incorporates the 5th freedom of the air, signifying a significant step forward in air transport cooperation between the two nations.

Meanwhile, Africa World Airlines Limited (AWA), a prominent Ghanaian carrier, has forged a strategic alliance with Travelport, a leading global distribution system (GDS) provider. This partnership aims to enhance AWA’s visibility and convenience for both travel agencies and passengers. Through the Travelport platform, travel agents can seamlessly book AWA tickets, providing enhanced accessibility and efficiency in the booking process.

In a move towards modernization and improved customer satisfaction, Ethiopian Airlines has collaborated with Verteil Technologies to expand its NDC (New Distribution Capability) content globally. This initiative aims to broaden the accessibility of Ethiopian Airlines’ offerings across a vast network of travel vendors, ensuring a seamless and enhanced booking experience for travelers.

Furthermore, TAAG-Linhas Aereas de Angola has opted to partner with Pratt & Whitney Canada for engine care services for its Dash 8-Q400 fleet. This six-year agreement, established under a Fleet Management Program (FMP), entails maintenance services for the PW150A engines powering TAAG Angola’s six Dash 8-400 aircraft. This strategic partnership underscores TAAG Angola’s commitment to ensuring optimal performance and reliability of its fleet.

Routes and Airline Connectivity.

South African Airways successfully completed its inaugural nine-and-a-half-hour flight from Johannesburg to Perth in Australia, marking a significant milestone as the carrier’s second intercontinental route since its post-COVID resurrection following the launch of Sao Paulo in 2023. This new flight service will operate three times a week on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays. Departing from Johannesburg at 20:00 hrs local time, the flight arrives in Perth at 12:20 hrs the following day. The return flight departs Perth on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 14:40 hrs, reaching Johannesburg the next day at 19:35 hrs.

There are speculations circulating that Kenya Airways is contemplating operating flights to the newly established Kumasi International Airport in Ghana, as part of a strategic effort to deepen bilateral trade and tourism between the two nations. OEC data reveals that Ghana exported $5.46 million to Kenya in 2022, while Kenya’s exports to Ghana totaled $9.53 million, highlighting the potential for increased economic collaboration.

However, the Kenyan national carrier has suspended its flights to Kinshasa due to the continued detention of its crew by the DRC military following a controversial consignment of banknotes in the previous week (Week 17). This situation has left the carrier unable to operate its flights without essential personnel, impacting its operational capabilities.

Fly Phoenix Direct Limited,  a UK-based virtual carrier, plans to launch direct charter flights using a leased Airbus A330-200 aircraft between London and Harare International Airport in Zimbabwe by June, with the necessary clearances from aviation authorities obtained according to its co-founder and CEO, Trust Jephius Chitokomere.

In a separate development, Etihad has postponed the planned resumption of its Abu Dhabi – Nairobi passenger flight from May 1st to June 1st, 2024. This delay is attributed to ongoing delays in obtaining the necessary regulatory approvals required for the flight operation.

Airline Fleets and ACMI’s.

Ibom Air recently launched its own Airbus A220-300 into service after nearly six months since its delivery to Nigeria. The aircraft, registered as 5N-CDA (MSN 55250), was delivered to the airline in early December 2023 and had been parked until its official launch. Additionally, Ibom Air has signed a training agreement with AIR TANZANIA COMPANY LIMITED for crew training and supervision, with nine more A220-300s on firm order from Airbus Canada.

Air Cairo, a subsidiary of EGYPTAIR, has expanded its operations with the acquisition of a new A320 MSN 3656 delivered from Miami. This acquisition has increased Air Cairo’s fleet to 33 aircraft, which includes @embr E190s and ATR models.

Speculations suggest that the Ugandan government may have finalized a deal with Boeing for the purchase of four aircraft for Uganda Airlines . Following a meeting on April 22, during which the Ugandan president greenlighted the purchase, the airline intends to acquire two freighters (a B737-800F and a B777F) and two B787 passenger aircraft from the manufacturer.

Renegade Air is poised to become the first Kenyan airline to resume ATR operations with the lease of an ATR72-500F from Abelo Capital Aviation. Additionally, the airline has received its first CRJ100 aircraft from the lessor Avmax Aircraft Leasing Inc. in Canada.

Safair (Pty) Ltd has made a strategic addition to its fleet by acquiring an ex-Flair Airlines Boeing 737-800 aircraft, enhancing its operational capacity and service offerings. Similarly, Medsky airways has bolstered its operational capabilities with the delivery of a wet-leased Airbus A320 aircraft, positioning itself for enhanced service delivery and customer satisfaction.

In a notable development, a 1990-built Boeing B767-2N0ER aircraft named Chimanimani and previously registered as Z-WPF under Air Zimbabwe Private Limited, has found a new owner and will now operate under DRC colors for Mont Gabaon Airlines.

Aviation Infrastructure and Financing.

The Algerian government has allocated $74 million towards enhancing safety and security measures at its airports, aiming to transform Algeria into an international transit hub meeting global standards in security and safety protocols.

In Kenya, plans are underway to close Terminal 1E at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport due to its outdated infrastructure. The Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Kipchumba Murkomen, announced that Terminal 1E, primarily used for international arrivals, will be decommissioned in the coming months upon the completion of a new arrival terminal.

Meanwhile, CAMAIR-CO is facing significant financial challenges, with a debt amounting to $203 million, ranking it second in the list of state-owned enterprises with substantial indebtedness.

Aviation Incidences and Accidents

In a tragic incident, three Westair Group Namibia employees lost their lives in a devastating plane crash in Windhoek, Namibia. The accident occurred shortly after the aircraft took off from Eros Airport, marking a somber day for the aviation community in Namibia.

Meanwhile, a Royal Air Maroc B737-800, operating flight AT573 from Tunis-Carthage International Airport to Casablanca, encountered a bird strike on one of its engines during takeoff on April 26, 2024. The pilot, prioritizing safety, made the decision to return the aircraft to the airport as a precautionary measure.

In a separate incident, a 27-year-old Fokker 50 aircraft belonging to R Komor Airline experienced a runway excursion during a failed takeoff at Bandar Salam Airport in Moheil, Comoros. This particular aircraft, registered as DS-AIB, had been involved in prior incidents, including one at the same airport in September 2023 and another at Ouani Airport in February 19, 2024, due to a tire puncture. Fortunately, no casualties were reported in these events, emphasizing the importance of safety protocols in aviation.

Additionally, operations at Ndjili International Airport were temporarily halted following a runway excursion involving a 1991-built SERVE AIR cargo company B737-3Y0F aircraft registered as 9S-AKK on the evening of May 5, 2024. The incident resulted in significant damage to the aircraft, highlighting the critical nature of maintaining operational safety standards at all times.

In other news:

The Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA), Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) and the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics have jointly launched the Aviation Satellite Account (ASA) project. This initiative aims to quantify the impact of civil aviation on Kenya’s economic development by analyzing its interactions with other industries. The project’s objective is to provide comprehensive data that will empower policymakers and investors to make well-informed decisions regarding resource allocation based on the aviation sector’s economic impact.

In another development, two lions named Vasylyna and Nikola have found a new home in South Africa after being transported on a special Martinair flight from the Netherlands. These majestic animals arrived in South Africa on April 26 aboard a Boeing 747 Freighter. Originating from FELIDA, a specialized sanctuary for big cats in Friesland, the Netherlands, Vasylyna and Nikola will now join other big cats at the Lionsrock Big Cat Sanctuary in Bethlehem, South Africa, contributing to wildlife conservation efforts.

Furthermore, on May 5, 2024, the Kenya Association of Air Operators (KAAO) celebrated its 57th anniversary of advocating for the Kenyan aviation industry. Since its inception, the association has maintained a steadfast commitment to promoting and enhancing the operations of Kenya’s aviation sector. This milestone anniversary underscores the association’s enduring legacy of excellence, innovation, and collaborative efforts within the aviation community.

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