Africa Weekly Aviation Trails: Week 26, 2024 Highlights.

Week 26, marking the midpoint of 2024, wasn’t a major news week for African aviation. Despite a relatively slow week, an airline secured its Aircraft Operating Certificate, and another resumed intra-Africa flight operations after a 16-year hiatus. The highlight of the week was the Skytrax 2024 airline recognitions. Read on to discover more about the week’s developments below.


Sam Airways, a charter specialist based at Yoff-Leopold Sedar Senghor International Airport in Senegal, has obtained its Air Operator Certificate (AOC) from the local civil aviation authority. The airline currently operates a single Falcon 7X, registered 6V-JMJ, which it received in mid-2023.

In collaboration with RwandAir Ltd, Airbus proudly organized the Airbus Fleet Connect for Africa event in Kigali, Rwanda, from June 23rd to 25th, 2024. The event brought together international aviation institutions and various African airlines to address the current challenges faced by African carriers. Through engaging working sessions, the event focused on Engineering and Maintenance, Material Management, Education and Leadership, Flight Operations, and Digital Solutions for safe operations.

African Aviation: Projections and Statistics.

According to Airbus Aircraft, about 23% of the in-service fleet in Africa for passenger aircraft above 100 seats comprises new-generation aircraft, including the Airbus A220, A330neo, Embraer E2, Boeing 737 MAX, and Boeing 787. The global average for 2022 stood at 25%. However, Africa has a relatively smaller fleet than other continents, with a significant percentage belonging to Ethiopian Airlines, noted Joep Ellers.

Royal Air Maroc is set to offer over 6.5 million seats to more than 90 destinations across four continents this summer, an increase of 300,000 seats compared to 2023. Europe will see 3.2 million seats with about 671 weekly flights. Middle East services will include 282,361 seats, while North America will have 533,586 seats, an increase of 13%. Africa will have approximately 1.3 million seats to 28 destinations, representing a 19% increase. To support this expansion, the airline will lease at least seven next-generation aircraft from various sources through lease agreements.

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

The Sierra Leone Civil Aviation Authority (SLCAA) and the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to enhance collaboration in air navigation, training, safety oversight, and technical assistance.

Air Seychelles and Air Austral have established a new partnership through a special prorate agreement (SPA), enabling their customers to travel seamlessly between Seychelles and Reunion. This follows AIR AUSTRAL‘s withdrawal of their nonstop service between the two locations.

Air Mauritius has become the latest direct airline partner of AirAsia MOVE , the OTA formerly known as the AirAsia SuperApp. This partnership allows travelers to book Air Mauritius flights through the AirAsia Move app, connecting Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Indian Ocean region.

ExecuJet Aviation Group has signed an agreement with Air Seychelles to manage the FBO at Seychelles International Airport (FSIA). Operating under the name Air Seychelles VIP, this collaboration aims to provide exceptional travel experiences.

Ethiopian Airlines has reportedly terminated discussions with the Nigerian government to establish a joint airline venture. Nigeria Air, the flagship airline project, faced setbacks last year, and the new government has decided against partnering with a foreign airline, deeming previous efforts fraudulent.

Routes and Airline Connectivity.

Zambia Airways 2014 has resumed flights to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, after a 16-year hiatus. The airline, welcomed with a traditional water salute, will operate this route with a B737, offering three flights per week.

Seychelles will soon connect to Chengdu, China, through the first direct, non-stop charter flight operated by Sichuan Airlines in the second half of this year, according to Tourism Seychelles. This new route aims to attract more Chinese tourists to the island.

Volotea has announced the expansion of its services from Bordeaux Airport, France, with a new route to Marrakech, Morocco, starting November 5, 2024. This route, available for booking through all distribution channels, will operate two flights per week, on Tuesdays and Sundays.

Airline Fleets and ACMI’s.

Proflight Zambia has expanded its fleet with the addition of a BAe Jetstream 41, a versatile and reliable turboprop aircraft. This particular Jetstream 41 was previously operated by Airlink, a regional airline based in South Africa.

Uganda Airlines is set to order up to four A320neo aircraft from Airbus Aircraft to fulfill its medium-haul needs, complementing the two B787 widebodies on order from Boeing. The airline has shelved initial plans for two Boeing freighters following an MoU with Saudi Arabia.

Air Botswana expects to induct its first two Embraer E145s and one E175 in August. The airline aims to more than double its current fleet and open new regional routes amid a post-COVID-19 stabilization process under the leadership of new CEO Lulu Rasebotsa.

Rumors suggest the Nigerian government plans to purchase an Airbus A330 seized from an unnamed Arab prince and businessman who defaulted on hundreds of millions of dollars owed to a German bank. The government is currently scrambling for funds to complete the transaction.

Aviation Infrastructure and Financing.

Malawi’s state-owned Airports Development Limited (ADL) has announced plans to develop an “airport city” at Kamuzu International Airport in Lilongwe, the country’s largest airport. The project will encompass hotels, shopping malls, an aviation university campus, housing units, and other commercial facilities, utilizing over 3,000 hectares of available land.

Nigerian President Bola Tinubu has approved the upgrade of Ibadan Airport from a domestic to an international airport. The expansion will include extending the runway and upgrading facilities to stimulate economic development in Oyo State.

The governing Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF-Inkotanyi) has pledged in its five-year election manifesto to significantly expand Rwanda’s aviation industry. This includes doubling the number of passengers transported by RwandAir Ltd and enhancing its cargo transport capabilities within five years if re-elected in the upcoming July 14-16, 2024 elections.

Liberia’s Roberts International Airport has scheduled the international tendering process for the third quarter of 2023.

Special News of the week.

Skytrax, an international air transport rating organization, recently unveiled the World’s Airline Awards for 2024. In Africa, 20 airlines from 15 countries were recognized. South Africa led with four airlines receiving accolades, followed by Kenya with three, and Egypt with two.

Ethiopian Airlines emerged as the most awarded, being named the leading carrier on the continent for the seventh time and ranking 35th globally. Royal Air Maroc followed, ranking 55th globally, South African Airways came in third (72nd globally), Kenya Airways fourth (73rd globally), with RwandAir Ltd rounding off the top five (90th globally). Air Mauritius also made the top 100, ranking 78th. Ethiopian Airlines also led in the categories of Best Business Class and Best Economy Class in Africa.

South African Airways was awarded for having the Cleanest Airline on the continent, while LIFT , also from South Africa, was named the Best Low-Cost Carrier in Africa. Morocco’s Royal Air Maroc was recognized as the Best Regional Carrier on the continent, while EGYPTAIR was announced as the Most Improved Carrier in Africa.

However, there have been criticisms regarding Skytrax‘s methodology for recognizing and awarding airlines. For instance Kenya carrier Fly540 Aviation Ltd was ranked position five best low cost carrier on the continent despite having been ordered by the Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) to stop its services following customer complaints over flight bookings and revelations that its operation certificate expired in September of 2022, bringing the operation of the airline to an halt since then. South Africa Airways is also said to have been recognized in 2021 by Skytrax, and yet the airline did not operate any flights in the preceding year.

In other news:

Air Côte d’Ivoire is set to host the next Annual General Meeting (AGA) of the Association Internationale des Transporteurs Aériens Francophones (ATAF) in Abidjan on November 23, 2024. Founded in the early 1950s, ATAF represents the interests of Francophone air service carriers, aiming to ensure well-balanced development of member companies, establish a North-South dialogue—particularly concerning Africa and the outer islands—and promote cooperation between long-haul flight operators and those providing internal connections.

The Kenyan Auditor-General has flagged the management of car parking services at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA), revealing that it costs taxpayers hundreds of millions of shillings yearly due to revenue leaks. The parking system, managed by Kenya Airports Parking Services (KAPS), lacks functional features such as vehicle license inventory, and cash payments to attendants at airport exit points are often not remitted to the airport operator Kenya Airports Authority.

In Mozambique, the chairperson of the national parliament and the national football team, the Mambas, were stranded in Lisbon due to debts incurred by LAM – MOZAMBIQUE AIRLINES to the Portuguese company Atlantic Airways (EAA). The airline scrambled to gather about USD 47,000 to arrange alternative transport for the football team and the chairperson back to Maputo. However, another 104 non-VIP passengers were left stranded and rebooked for the next available flights. Despite Flymodernark ‘s interventions, LAM’s debts to its suppliers and partners continue to grow.

Finally, the domestic terminal at Murtala Muhammed International Airport, operated by Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited, hosted Nigeria’s first airport wedding, leaving passengers stunned and awed. Mr. Agboola Qudus, the groom, exchanged vows with his bride, Alli Miracle, surrounded by family, friends, and well-wishers against the backdrop of arriving and departing flights.

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