The AFRAA promoted joint fuel purchasing project, which the African Airline Association launched last year as reported here at the time, will continue with a new deal extending until the end of 2013. Initially underwritten by 9 member airlines which included at the time Kenya Airways, Precision Air, Ethiopian Airlines, RwandAir, Air Seychelles, Air Namibia, TAAG, Air Mozambique and Air Malawi, for the next phase at least 5 more AFRAA member airlines have expressed their desire to join the scheme and benefit from lower tariffs for the contract period. This, it was pointed out overnight, would not affect the fuel hedging deals individual airlines have put into place.
It was also learned from the same source that AFRAA, previously comprising some 32 member airlines, has during the last meeting received a further 4 membership applications and approved them, which include Starbow Airlines from Ghana, Camair from Cameroon amongst others.
A source from Nairobi conceded that the scheme had initial teething problems, in particular where member airlines are subject to exchange control regulations at home, making payments in foreign exchange difficult for some, but that eventually most of the early challenges had been overcome, resulting in an extension of the scheme and the likely participation by more airlines over and above the initial nine.
The same source also mentioned that efforts by AFRAA to have the EUs ETS suspended and turned over to global aviation body ICAO working hand in hand with IATA, were ongoing. In this connection it was learned that countries opposed to the scheme like China, Russia, India and the US were now also starting to apply pressure on the EU with thinly concealed threats to block a wider global climate deal in the next round of UN sponsored negotiations, unless the EU would suspend their ETS and return to the negotiating table.
Watch this space for regular aviation updates from Eastern Africa and the Indian Ocean islands.