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Did You Know? In 1995 our team launched Air Highways Magazine and followed up with Air Highway Days, a conference to showcase member airports and communities to the travel industry. Several years later we staged and even bigger show in Vancouver, the Air and Marine Tourism Conference. Good fortune continued to smile on us that same year when, in partnership with the Africa Travel Association, we introduced Africa Travel Magazine. It's 4,000 page web site now leads the pack in many search categories. Continued . See: http://www.airhighways.com
Future is in the Air
ATA, which represents the hopes, desires, plans and potential of Africa's travel - tourism industry was born in 1975 and raised under the most trying political, social and financial conditions. Today's ATA continues to seek new markets, win new friends and open new doors. So much has happened in the past decades, it's hard to fathom - but in Africa, recent years have signaled remarkable changes. Ranking high are new direct routes and realistic fares from New York and other U.S. gateways. In evaluating Africa's transportation scene, ATA members can be considered among the most astute judges of all. Ms. Berman is Executive Director, Africa Travel Association. More;>
Highways to Africa
New Route Africa:
Access the continent's booming aviation market
CARGO AND EMIRATES SKYCARGO SIGN INTERLINE AGREEMENT
AIRWAYS' NEW DESTINATIONS
AVIATION WORKSHOP DISCUSSES NEW REGULATIONS
The Uganda CAA this week discussed the new draft regulations for Uganda with stakeholders in the presence of observers from their counterparts in Kenya and Tanzania, the panel for harmonization at the East African Community and members of the US FAA who supported the exercise. Over 220 submissions were made by stakeholders, namely the Uganda Association of Air Operators (UAAO) but also from Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF), the police air wing, Uganda Air Force, air traffic controllers association and the meteorological department. While a good number of objections were taken care of during the meeting by amendments, alterations or deletions from the presented text, other areas were deferred for further discussions with stakeholders.
The President of the Uganda
Tourism Association during the closing ceremony underlined
the partnership between regulator and aviation fraternity
but also called for an intensified institutional dialogue
between the parties to address issues as an ongoing practise
and asked the regulators to accept the private sector
stakeholders as full partners and not only call upon them
when convenient or impossible to ignore. He also asked for
membership in the aviation bodies UAAO and BAR to be made
mandatory by the regulator to bring all aviation companies
under a private sector platform and then allow them a
regular consultation with the CAA and other relevant
KQ TO OFFER
LONDON &endash; MOMBASA DIRECT FLIGHTS
Upgrades for Future Growth
Information received from KLM's regional office in Nairobi indicates that the airline is planning to add a 5th flight on their Entebbe route to cater for sharply risen demand for non-stop flights to and from Entebbe, starting with the summer schedule. The Nairobi route too will get a boost when the airline will begin using a B 747-400 for the summer schedule instead of the B 777 they have used in joint flights with Kenya Airways. Both changes will besides the tourism and business community also be welcomed by exporters of flowers, lake fish, fruits and vegetables as it offers yet greater uplift capacity for the producers.
FLATBEDS FOR SN BRUSSELS
With the scheduled fleet cabin conversion now completed, passengers on SN Brussels Airlines flights between Entebbe and Brussels can now enjoy the comfort of flat bed business class seats. The cabin interior in SN's Airbus 330-200 fleet was completely re-styled and both economy and business cabins now appear in their new look. Inflight service also underwent some improvements to reflect the growing competitive demands of passengers traveling on this full service carrier.
The new layout was last week
introduced in Kampala to travel agents, frequent travelers
and the business community at large. SN Brussels currently
flies three times each week between Brussels and Entebbe
with connections via Nairobi and connects from there to
dozens of destinations within Europe and &endash; through
code share arrangements &endash; beyond.
Airlines Non-Stop Scheduled Service To Accra
North American Airlines, a wholly owned subsidiary of World Air Holdings, Inc. has improved access to the West African nation of Ghana with weekly non-stop Boeing 767-300ER scheduled service from John F. Kennedy International Airport to Accra, the capital of Ghana. More->
WTO and "ROUTES" work for new Air
Aviation Safety Meeting
CENTRE COMPLETES U.S.
After another sterling performance in 2005 for both cargo and passengers, the CAA is now looking at a long term average growth of at least 7.5 percent, which industry observers however term 'very conservative'. Growth in recent years was almost always well into the double digit figures and as more airlines show interest to fly into and through Entebbe &endash; which is rather generous with 5th freedom rights through its open sky policy &endash; more traffic is expected to use Uganda's sole International Airport. Domestic aviation has also been growing substantially as the CAA is rehabilitating more and more upcountry airfields. Presently about 50 such airfields exist across the country and the Uganda Association of Air Operators together with the Uganda Tourism Association has asked government to have at least one airfield in each of the country's districts, which would require presently at least another 18 to be constructed.
2006 should also see the work advance in the reconstruction of the 'old airport' to which side the cargo and domestic operations will be relocated, leaving the present terminal solely for international arrivals and departures. The old airport is presently used as main operations air base of MONUC, the UN force for the Eastern Congo.
EAGLE AIR INCREASES JUBA / YEI FLIGHTS
Another flight has been added to the route by Eagle Air, which now operates every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, following an increase in demand for air travel between the two cities. Juba is the capital of the South Sudan and seat of the Government of South Sudan. Said Capt. Tony Rubombora, CEO of Eagle to the question of daily flights: 'as demand grows we shall add another flight until we can operate daily services. We operate a 19 seater LET 410 which also offers some limited loose cargo capacity and is well suited to the operating environment in Yei and Juba, as we need no ground equipment to turn this aircraft around'
MORE HONOURS FOR KENYA AIRWAYS
Following the swoop at the East African Travel News awards ceremony recently, where the airline scooped 5 of the coveted 'best' awards, the African Aviation Magazine now once again recognized KQ as Africa's best carrier &endash; the 5th time over the past 7 years &endash; in their recent meeting in Casablanca. Criteria employed were amongst others customer care, inflight service, financial performance, network expansion and fleet modernization, all areas where East Africa's premier airline has set the standards for the continent in recent years.
CAA TO BUILD MORE TERMINALS AT AIRFIELDS
The ongoing effort of CAA to improve the quality of air transport around the country were given a further boost with the announcement of two public tenders to build a small terminal building at the Kidepo airfield, a remote and scenic national park in the border triangle between Uganda, Sudan and Kenya, while the existing terminal at Kisoro is due for expansion and modernization. Kisoro is the gateway for gorilla tracking, located in the border triangle of Uganda, Rwanda and Congo DR and allows easy access to both of Uganda's gorilla parks, Mgahinga and Bwindi. Especially the drive from Kisoro along some lakes towards the Nkuringo tracking point at the Eastern side of Bwindi is considered one of the most scenic across the country. Meanwhile, an applicant air operator from the January licensing hearing has made a range of public allegations against CAA over their licensing status in a press conference this week. It is however recalled that this operator wanted to introduce an outdated Antonov aircraft to fly regional routes for cargo collection, and was told at the meeting that ICAO's binding guidelines were to phase out existing such aircraft from the registries and not allow fresh registrations. Further allegations that CAA officials were 'never available' are also not matched by reality, as requests for information or meetings by this correspondent have never failed to be accommodated in the swiftest possible manner. Frustrations by unsuccessful applicants are not unknown but rarely boiled over so far into public press statements of such nature.
SOUTH AFRICAN AIRWAYS ADDS KILIMANJARO
SAA has just announced that for the coming summer schedule they will for the first time add Kilimanjaro International Airport / Arusha, using an A 319 aircraft operating every Saturday. This will allow visitors to East Africa to conveniently connect from the main East African safari parks directly to South Africa but also open market access for Tanzania via SAA's network hub in Johannesburg. This will offer extra connectivity for visitors from the US but also Australia and Asia seeking a multiple destination holiday on the African continent.
SKAL KAMPALA GETS NEW BOARD
During the recent AGM the Skal members elected Mr. James Rattos of the Sheraton Kampala Hotel as new President, following two terms of office by Mohit Advani, who retired with his executive to make way for a new board. All members present thanked Mohit and those away did by email, for his achievements and for the dedication shown to the club during his two-year tenure. James was serving on previous boards in other capacities and is also expected to drive the club and its membership forward.
NEW SCANDINAVIAN AIRLINK TO MOMBASA
Many years after Kenya Airways withdrew their scheduled service to Copenhagen a new link is being planned from Northern Europe for the next winter season. A Scandinavian charter airline is set to introduce a once a week flight between Stockholm and Mombasa, using B767 equipment. This will be a further boost for Kenya's revival efforts to make tourism the number one economic sector and move towards the 2 million-arrival mark.
RWANDAIR EXPRESS GETS NEW AIRCRAFT
The Rwandese national airline has now returned their wetleased MD aircraft to the lessors in Europe and acquired a B737-500 from Air Malawi on a one-year lease. Confirmation for this welcome development was received through Mr. Manzi Kayihura, CEO of Rwandair in Kigali, to whom this correspondent spoke during the week. Rwandair is presently undergoing privatisation as reported in the East African business media some time ago and a decision on the new chosen partners is due by middle of this year. Several interested parties have been shortlisted for this exercise that is supported by the International Finance Corporation. The airline is also operating a Dash-8 for their short routes within Rwanda and to Bujumbura and Entebbe, which it serves daily from Kigali.
Rwanda has over the past decade undergone a complete economic revival under the government of President Kagame and tourism has become a major source of revenue for the country, which is fondly named 'the land of a thousand hills'.
WHICH WAY BA?
Following recent reports on the ongoing battle between British Airways and the East African travel agency fraternity over commission levels (the airline intends to reduce commissions to IATA agencies from the present 7 percent to a meagre 1 percent) rumours have now emerged that BA might be considering substituting their direct presence through offices in the East African countries with newly appointed General Sales Agents, who are to carry out the work and ticket sales on behalf of the airline. Calls for comments to the airline offices were not returned at the time of going to press.
PRECISION AIR BUYS ADDITIONAL ATR
Tanzanian private carrier Precision Air has now announced the firm purchase order for a 7th ATR aircraft from the French manufacturer. This column reported some months ago a near 100 Million US Dollar deal the airline signed up for 3 each ATR 42 and ATR 72, cum spare parts package and training components, and the additional aircraft order reflects the growing demand for air travel across the region. Precision Air has over the past few years benefited from its association with Kenya Airways, which in 2003 acquired a 49 percent stake, but also from the decline of Air Tanzania, which industry observers now hold entirely against South African Airways' failed business plan and policies, when they managed the airline until the inevitable break-up of the joint venture last year. Precision serves a number of domestic destinations across Tanzania but also Zanzibar, Mombasa, Nairobi and Entebbe in the region and two new destinations in Mozambique and the island of Pemba. The remaining LET 410, currently deployed on the Mwanza &endash; Bukoba route is also due to be retired from the fleet shortly. Passengers carried on an annualised basis are expected to reach just under 400.000 for their recently ended financial year.
KENYA AIRWAYS TO INTRODUCE EMBRAER 170 AIRCRAFT
In their continued drive to not only remain Africa's premier airline but also to become a star performer on the more global scene, KQ has now announced the introduction into their fleet later in the year of 3 Embraer 170 regional jets. The airline some years ago expired the ageing A310 fleet to go entirely Boeing. Their jet fleet now includes 4 B777 and 6 B767 aircraft with several new additional orders, including the Dreamliner B 787 pending delivery in coming years. Kenya Airways has now, in the absence of Boeing being able to offer a smaller jet aircraft to supplement their B737 fleet, opted for the Brazilian manufacturer. It will be the first time that Embraer jet aircraft are being introduced into the East African skies and this column will of course break the news when the deliveries are about to take place.
SWISS INTERNATIONAL TO FLY DAILY TO NAIROBI\
After years of serving the Zurich - Nairobi - Dar es Salaam route 5 times a week the Lufthansa part- and soon to be fully owned airline is now going daily as a result of the increase in demand. Lufthansa itself had withdrawn from the Nairobi passenger route in a misguided development in the late 90's, while enjoying very high load factors at the time but citing low yields. Swiss is however offering connecting flights from any point in Germany via Zurich to East Africa, which has to an extent compensated for Lufthansa themselves not operating a Frankfurt &endash; Nairobi service. This development, after the recent announcement of Virgin commencing daily flights between London and Nairobi, will add further capacity to the market but also increase the pressure on the already very limited facilities at Nairobi's Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.
In a related development the reconstruction and expansion of the airport in Nairobi has also raised controversy, as the initial volume of work has increased more than tenfold, without however the additional workscope being tendered or rather re-tendered, when the parameters changed. It is generally agreed that JKIA needs not only a face lift but also a substantial expansion, as during peak hours &endash; now much of the day in fact &endash; the facilities are overcrowded, the concourse' are jam-packed with travellers arriving and departing as well as connecting (Nairobi has still no separation of passenger traffic flows), making it neither a good starting nor ending experience for a holiday in East Africa. The cost increase from the initial plans has raised public concerns over the award of the contracts and the subsequent information given by the key players did not satisfy the probing questions asked by parliamentarians and the public at large.
VIRGIN ATLANTIC COMMENCES NAIROBI FLIGHTS IN JUNE
Virgin Atlantic Airways founder and chairman, Sir Richard Branson, seen here at the Nairobi Serena Hotel, announces that his airline is to start flights to Kenya in June. The airline will operate daily flights between London's Heathrow Airport and Nairobi's Jomo Kenyatta International Airport using Airbus A340-300 equipment with a capacity of about 240 passengers. This is expected to bring some downward pressure on the present airfares between Europe and East Africa but also add capacity on a route that during much of the year enjoys very high load factors. All East African countries are expected to benefit from the added business and tourist arrivals the new connection will generate. It will also add a twist to the present battle between travel agents and British Airways over commission levels and may see a significant shift of allegiance and booking patterns developing in coming months. Watch this column for more news from East Africa.
Picture by Boniface Mwangi, The Standard, Nairobi, Kenya
SOUTH AFRICAN AIRWAYS ADDS FLIGHT TO ENTEBBE
Beginning May 2007 SAA will begin to operate a fourth non-stop flight between Johannesburg and Entebbe. The new schedule will operate Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday every week. Traffic to and from South Africa has been growing above average, now adding the much-needed extra capacity on the route.
SUDAN AIRWAYS TO RESUME ENTEBBE FLIGHTS
From April 01 this year the Sudanese national airline, which has had patchy operations from Khartoum to Entebbe over the past years, will resume full operations on the route. The airline in this connection recently also announced the purchase of 'new aircraft', this being planes of the types A300 and A310, both of which are ancient by today's standards. The statement released in Kampala claims to resume 'regular' operations three times a week from Khartoum via Juba to Entebbe.
AIRWAYS ADDS FREQUENCIES AND CUTS ENTEBBE FARES
KENYA AIRWAYS INAUGURATES 4TH BOEING 777
In a low-key ceremony KQ took delivery of their 4th Boeing 777-200ER. Senior management of the airline, government officials and invited guests witnessed the event, which included the US Deputy Chief of Mission Ms. Pamela Slutz. In her address she issued a warning that security for visitors must be upped, saying 'we are watching efforts of the Kenya Government to contain insecurity. We need to see the government working towards this with speed'. In 2006 over 86.000 American tourists visited Kenya and largely defied anti travel advisories issued by their own State Department, but a recent increase in deadly car jackings involving American diplomats and citizens may cause such advisories to have a greater impact on would be visitors in the future. The new aircraft will be deployed on routes to Europe, the Middle East and Far East to boost frequencies and increase capacity. Photo:Kenya Airways Chief Executive Officer, Mr Titus Naikuni, alights from the new Boeing 777-200ER aircraft that was delivered from the US on Thursday past week. Picture by Martin Mukangu, The Standard, Nairobi, Kenya
AIRWAYS ADDS MORE WEST AFRICA DESTINATIONS
UPGRADES AIRCRAFT ON ENTEBBE ROUTE
AIRWAYS SIGNS UP WITH SKYTEAM
Kenya Airways Completes Fleet
KENYA AIRWAYS TO START ISLAND FLIGHTS: Following the start of regular flights to Paris Kenya Airways has now also announced new flights to Mayotte and Comoros, both French speaking islands in the Indian Ocean off the East Africa coast. These new flights will start in November with the start of the winter schedule. Visit their website www.kenya-airways.com for more details and bookings.
MALINDI AIRPORT READY FOR EXPANSION: The Kenya Airport Authority has in a recent press release announced, that the upgrading of Malindi's airport (a coastal town about 100 KM north of Mombasa) can now proceed. Initially the work will cover a remodeling of the arrival and departure lounges to allow a simultaneous handling of up to 500 passengers. Also on the drawing board is the relocation of the control tower. The main and singlerunway is due for expansion by another 1.500 metres once the relocation of residents affected by this measure is completed
AIRWAYS STRIKE IMPACTS ON EAST AFRICA
KENYA AIRWAYS GETS NEW