Africa Weekly Aviation Trails: week 27, 2024 Highlights.

Last week, IATA offered a positive profitability outlook for African carriers amidst new ministerial appointments in aviation. Ethiopian Airlines and Jambojet launched new routes, while a pioneering female pilot made history as West Africa’s first B737 MAX pilot. Dive deeper into these developments in our latest article on African aviation.


Johannesburg, South Africa, hosted the IATA Wings of Change Focus Africa (WOCFA) from July 2-3. This dynamic event brought together industry leaders, operators, regulators, and subject matter experts to discuss the pressing challenges and exciting opportunities in the air transport sector. Participants engaged in vibrant discussions aimed at formulating strategies to harness air transport as a catalyst for economic and social development across the African region. A significant highlight of the event was the collective call for countries to accelerate the development and production of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), underscoring a commitment to sustainable growth in the industry.

African Aviation: Projections and Statistics.

Africa’s airlines are projected to earn a collective net profit of $100 million in 2024, marking their second consecutive year of profitability. However, this translates to just 90 cents per passenger—significantly below the global average of $6.14. The financial landscape varies widely across the continent, with many independent airlines still grappling with losses. International Air Transport Association (IATA) anticipates a robust demand for travel in Africa but stresses the need to address infrastructural deficiencies, high costs, and onerous taxation to unlock the continent’s full potential.

In a positive trend, new data from IATA highlights strong annual performance in cargo demand, with Africa’s airlines recording the highest growth among all regions at +18.4% year-over-year. Globally, air cargo demand (measured in volume-ton-kilometers, VTKs) surged by 14.7% year-over-year, while air cargo capacity (available cargo tonne-kilometers, ACTKs) increased by 6.7%, including a 10.2% rise for international operations.

The World Travel & Tourism Council‘s 2024 economic impact research indicates that travel and tourism contributed TZS 18.6 trillion (approximately $7 billion) to Tanzania’s economy, surpassing the previous 2019 peak by 4% and representing 9.5% of the economy. International visitor expenditure exceeded TZS 8 trillion (around $3 billion), and domestic spending reached TZS 3.7 trillion (about $1.4 billion), up 11.1% and 12.8% from 2019 levels, respectively. Employment in the sector climbed to over 1.4 million, adding more than 97,300 new jobs, but still 7.4% below the 2019 peak.

In neighboring Kenya, the global tourism body reported a record-breaking year, with travel and tourism contributing KES 1 trillion (approximately $8 billion) to the national economy in 2023. This growth is attributed to domestic travel spending, which reached more than KES 466 billion (around $3.6 billion)—about 15% higher than the previous record. However, international visitor spending lagged at just KES 266 billion, trailing the high point set over 20 years ago in 1999.

Nigerian airline Ibom Air recently released its June scorecard, revealing that out of 668 scheduled flights, 612 were operated (56 cancellations). The airline experienced 248 delayed departures and 168 rescheduled flights, resulting in a 66% reliability score and a 60% on-time performance.

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

The Republic of Tunisia’s Minister of Transport and the Chairman of Oman’s Civil Aviation Authority have finalized a groundbreaking air service agreement between their countries. This agreement updates the 1985 accord to reflect modern regional and global aviation advancements. Key provisions include establishing open skies to allow unlimited direct flights and enhancing operational and technical cooperation for mutual benefits.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has announced the expansion of its TSA PreCheck program to include Ethiopian Airlines. This expedited screening program enables low-risk travelers to enjoy a secure and efficient screening experience at more than 200 U.S. state and territorial airports.

In a move to significantly boost its global reach and market presence, AIR TANZANIA COMPANY LIMITED has extended its partnership with APG EAST AFRICA. APG will now represent Air Tanzania as their General Sales Agent (GSA) in Austria, Belgium, Egypt, Ivory Coast, Kuwait, Nigeria, Pakistan, Portugal, Qatar, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Ukraine.

Kenya-based airline Safarilink Aviation has announced a new partnership with APG East Africa. This collaboration aims to significantly expand the airline’s distribution network, offering customers greater accessibility and a wider range of booking options.

The International Organization For Migration (IOM) Kenya and national carrier Kenya Airways (KQ) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to form a strategic partnership aimed at combating human trafficking and promoting regular migration pathways. This partnership underscores the commitment of both organizations to protect travelers and migrants, reducing their potential exposure to exploitation by traffickers.

Routes and Airline Connectivity.

Ethiopian Airlines has inaugurated its 24th European destination with the launch of scheduled service to Warsaw, Poland. This new route, operating four times a week, will connect Warsaw to Addis Ababa via Athens, Greece.

Spanish regional airline BINTER CANARIAS has resumed its summer direct flights between Essaouira-Mogador International Airport (ESU) in Morocco and Gran Canaria Airport (LPA) in the Canary Islands. The service, operated by an ATR-72 aircraft, marks a significant boost for seasonal travel.

AirAsia has launched its longest non-stop intercontinental route, connecting Kenya and Malaysia. Starting November 15, 2024, AirAsia will offer direct flights between Kuala Lumpur and Nairobi using an Airbus A330. This four-times-weekly service aims to strengthen ties in tourism, business, and trade between the two continents.

Kenyan low-cost carrier Jambojet inaugurated a new intra-Africa route on July 1, connecting the coastal city of Mombasa with that of Zanzibar in Tanzania. The service operates four times a week on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays, enhancing regional connectivity.

TAAG-Linhas Aereas de Angola announced the resumption of flights from Luanda, Angola’s capital, to Brazzaville, the capital of the Republic of the Congo, starting August 2. This route, operated by a Dash-8 400 with a capacity of 74 passengers, will run twice a week on Fridays and Sundays.

Air Botswana is set to introduce new and reinstated routes to South Africa. These routes will connect Kasane to Cape Town, Maun to Cape Town, Kasane to Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport (KMIA), and Kasane to Windhoek. Additionally, the airline will reinstate routes previously halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including Kasane to Johannesburg, Maun to Johannesburg, and Francistown to Johannesburg, in a move to stimulate and increase demand.

Airline Fleets and ACMI’s.

TUNISAIR has expanded its fleet with a 20-year-old aircraft acquired under a wet lease agreement. This aircraft will be deployed across the airline’s route network, serving French destinations such as Paris, Toulouse, Lyon, and Marseille, as well as other European cities.

Uganda Airlines is set to order up to four Airbus Aircraft A320neo aircraft, with government approval already secured for the purchase. According to the airline’s CCO, Adedayo Olawuyi, these planes are expected to join the fleet as early as 2029.

FlySafair is planning to phase out all of its Boeing 737-400 aircraft over the next two years, shifting exclusively to the newer Boeing 737-800 models. However, the airline does not have immediate plans for net fleet expansion.

Aviation Infrastructure and Financing.

Gabon has launched an ambitious project to modernize its airports, aiming to renovate and equip them with state-of-the-art technologies that meet International Civil Aviation Organization standards. To achieve this, the government has commissioned Canadian company INKAS to enhance and upgrade the airport infrastructure.

Airbus Helicopters has announced plans to open a new subsidiary in Casablanca, Morocco, significantly strengthening its presence in the country and creating a regional hub for West Africa. This strategic move aims to ensure a balanced delivery of its aviation programs, both operationally and financially. The new subsidiary will also include a regional training center equipped with flight simulators to train pilots from around the world.

Major Appointments.

Barbara Creecy D has been appointed as the new Minister of Transport in South Africa’s coalition government, led by President Cyril Ramaphosa. Previously, she served as the Minister of Forestry, Fisheries, and Environment from May 30, 2019, to June 2024. She will be deputized by Mkhuleko Hlengwa.

In Egypt, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has appointed Pilot Sameh Al-Hafni as the new Minister of Aviation as part of his government’s new cabinet. Sameh Al-Hafni brings significant experience to the role, having served as Egypt’s permanent representative to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and as a member of its Board of Directors in 2021. His extensive background in aviation, both in Egypt and internationally, promises to bolster the country’s aviation sector.

Fatima Goukouni Weddey has taken on the role of chairperson of the Civil Aviation Authority in Chad. This follows a decree restructuring the Chad Civil Aviation Authority (ADAC), signed by President Idriss Deby Itno. According to Article 9 of the decree, the Minister of Civil Aviation will head ADAC’s board of directors.

In other news:

ASKY AIRLINES was awarded the title of ‘Best Airline in West Africa 2023’ at the seventh Accraweizo event held in Accra, recognizing the airline’s consistent efforts in promoting the region.

Jennifer Yhaye from Ivory Coast has become one of the youngest female airline pilots in West Africa. She has recently achieved the distinction of being the youngest Boeing 737 MAX pilot in Africa and the first woman to fly this aircraft type in the entire West African region.

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has announced the suspension of 10 private jet operators for violating aviation regulations. These operators failed to commence the recertification process, contravening the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations 2023 Part 18.3.4, which prohibits holders of Permits for Non-commercial Flights (PNCF) from using their aircraft for commercial operations or charter services.

In the UK, Prime Minister Keir Starmer has scrapped the controversial policy to deport asylum-seekers to Rwanda, describing the scheme as “dead and buried before it started” and stating that it “never acted as a deterrent, almost the opposite.”

A Mil Mi-8 helicopter operated on behalf of the United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS), registered UNO-243H, with seven people on board, suffered a forced landing in Musinga near Munanira village in North Kivu, D.R. Congo. The helicopter was consumed by a post-accident fire, but there were no reported fatalities. Additionally, a drone operated by the Nigerian Air Force crashed near Rumji Village in Kaduna State.

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