Africa Weekly Aviation Trails: Week 19, 2024 Highlights


(Posted 15th May 2024)



Courtesy of Aero Trail Ltd. and Mr. Alex Koech


Week 19 brought several notable developments in the aviation sector, including Egyptair’s commemoration of a significant milestone, Kenya’s aviation regulator validating country regulations in collaboration with industry stakeholders, the signing of air service agreements, unveiling of new routes, and other key highlights. Explore below these highlights to gain a comprehensive understanding of the dynamic aviation landscape during the preceding week.



EGYPTAIR, a trailblazing airline with a rich history spanning 92 years, commemorated its start of operations on May 7, 1932. Initially named Misr Airwork, it emerged as the seventh aviation entity globally through a collaboration between Egypt’s Bangue Misr and the esteemed British Airwork Limited. While it officially kicked off commercial operations in 1933 with a Spartan Cruise aircraft on the Cairo to Alexandria route, the airline underwent transformative changes over the years. It evolved into Misrair in 1946 and later merged with Syrian Airlines in 1960, forming the renowned United Arab Airlines (UAA). Subsequently, in 1971, it adopted its present name, Egyptair, after parting ways with United Arab Airlines, marking a pivotal moment in its illustrious journey.

The Kenya Civil Aviation Authority recently convened a three-day stakeholder validation event for the Kenya Civil Aviation Regulations (KCARS) draft 2024. This gathering brought together industry luminaries and experts to meticulously evaluate and enhance the draft regulations, encompassing vital aspects like Personnel Licensing, Approved Maintenance Organizations, Airworthiness, Operation of Commercial Aircraft, Air Operator Certification & Administration, Instrumentation, Equipment & Flight Documentation, Helicopter Operations, Nationality & Registration Marks, and more. This rigorous process aims to ensure that the regulations align with evolving industry dynamics, bolster safety standards, and catalyze growth within Kenya’s aviation sector.

In another significant development, the Airports Council International – ACI Africa has opened applications for the ACI Africa Airport Safety Award. This prestigious accolade underscores a steadfast commitment to bolstering safety standards throughout Africa, spotlighting top-performing airports. Under the theme “Excellence in Airport Emergency Management and Resilience,” the award accentuates the paramount importance of coordinated efforts among airport operators and stakeholders to adeptly manage emergency scenarios and swiftly restore normal operations.


African Aviation: Projections And Statistics.

World Travel Awards, the prestigious authority in recognizing excellence within the global travel and tourism sector, recently unveiled the winners of the 31st annual World Travel Awards for Europe, Indian Ocean, and the Middle East regions. While most nominee voting has concluded, there’s still time to vote for nominees from Asia, Oceania, and Africa until July 28, 2024. (You can vote for Africa nominees here).

In the Indian Ocean region, which encompasses some countries within the African subcontinent, Air Mauritius and Air Seychelles were honored with notable recognitions. Here are the recognitions relating to aviation for the Indian Ocean region:

Source: World Travel Awards


Moving on, the African continent boasts a diverse array of airlines crisscrossing its skies, from global-reaching legacy carriers to niche regional and domestic operators catering to specific markets. In terms of airlines Nigeria tops the list with a staggering 87 registered airlines, followed by South Africa with 70 and Kenya with 64, according to a report by Business Insider. Below are the ten (10) African countries with the highest number of airlines.

Source: Planespotters


In April 2024, Airbus added 57 gross orders to their order book and delivering 61 aircraft to 33 customers. These deliveries included 51 A320 and 6 A350 aircraft models.


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

Algeria and Turkey have embarked on a promising aviation journey with the signing of a groundbreaking memorandum of understanding (MoU). This agreement, championed by Kemal Yuksek, Turkey’s Director General of Civil Aviation, and Hakim Qanun, his Algerian counterpart, is set to revolutionize air travel between the two nations. By lifting restrictions on flight destinations, the MoU paves the way for a substantial increase in weekly flights from 35 to an impressive 80.

Meanwhile, Kazakhstan and Egypt have reignited their aviation collaboration through a revitalized air service agreement. This agreement promises a remarkable surge in weekly flights from 14 to 48, along with expanded designation points and carrier options. FlyArystan, Air Astana and SCAT Airlines on Kazakhstan’s end, and EGYPTAIR, EGYPTAIR CARGO, Air Cairo, Red Sea Airlines and Nile Air on Egypt’s side, have the freedom to herald flight operations to any of the two countries airports.

In another development, the Ethiopian government and the Democratic Republic of Congo have inked a pivotal air service agreement, granting Ethiopian Airlines the green light to commence scheduled operations to Kisangani, an important inland port city after Kinshasa. This strategic move supplements Ethiopian Airlines’ existing routes to Kinshasa, Lubumbashi, and Goma, reinforcing their commitment to serving the region’s aviation needs comprehensively.

On the African tourism front, Uganda Tourism Board‘s collaboration with Emirates Airlines signals a concerted effort to position Uganda as a premier global tourist destination. This partnership aims to showcase Uganda’s vibrant cultural heritage and breathtaking landscapes to a wider audience, fostering increased tourism and economic growth in the region.


Routes and Airline Connectivity.

EGYPTAIR is set to soar to new heights with its upcoming nonstop flights from Fujairah International Airport in the UAE to Cairo, Egypt adding a touch of convenience and connectivity for travelers starting July 11, 2024. This exciting expansion will operate twice a week, whisking passengers away on Sundays and Thursdays to experience the rich culture and wonders of both Fujairah City and Egypt’s vibrant capital.

Air Côte d’Ivoire recently made history with its inaugural flight to Moroccan soil, marking a monumental moment for the airline. Led by the Ivorian Ministers of Transport and warmly welcomed by their Moroccan counterparts at Mohamed V Airport in Casablanca, this milestone underscores the airline’s commitment to enhancing connectivity and fostering diplomatic ties across borders.

TUNISAIR is bringing back the magic of Lisbon, Portugal, with its scheduled operations resuming this summer after a five-year hiatus. With one weekly flight starting from May 6 until October 21, travelers can once again savor the charm and beauty of Lisbon, courtesy of Tunisair’s seamless service.

Kenya Airways had reason to celebrate last week as it confirmed the unconditional release of its two employees by the military authority in Kinshasa, leading to the reinstatement of flights to the vibrant city. The airline had announced the suspension of flight operations to Kinshasa, following the arrest of the two.

In cargo operations, DRC’s Gomair Congo introduced its ATR72 freighter into revenue service, adding efficiency and reliability to its logistics network. This seasoned aircraft, previously serving the Italian post, now contributes to the airline region’s economic growth and connectivity.

However, not all aviation plans take off without hurdles. Ghana Airlines, envisioned as the national carrier to be operated by Ashanti Airlines, faced delays due to the suspension of the airline certification process. With ongoing changes in its financial backing, the future of Ghana’s aviation dreams remains in flux.

Likewise, ECAir – Equatorial Congo Airlines though having secured its AOC from the Congolese civil aviation authority, and signaling a fresh start to its domestic operations with a B737-700 is, however, without its South African partner Alligeance Capital and is currently in a legal dispute with the owners of its aircraft.


Airline Fleets and ACMI’s.

Air Master Cairo, a budding charter cargo carrier based in Egypt, has made significant strides with the acquisition of two Boeing B737-800F aircraft. Having secured its Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) from Egypt’s Civil Aviation Authority on February 27, 2024, the airline is gearing up for the official launch of its scheduled regular cargo operations, promising efficient and reliable services.

Zambia Airways 2014 is elevating its presence in the skies with the latest addition of a 20-year-old B787-800 aircraft from its strategic partner and major shareholder, Ethiopian Airlines. This strategic move underscores Zambia Airways’ commitment to expanding its fleet and enhancing its operations to meet growing passenger demands.

Uganda Airlines has finally welcomed a new addition to its fleet—a 1989-built A320-231 aircraft registered as ZS-GAR, previously operated by Lift Airlines in South Africa. This aircraft, secured under a 6-month wet lease agreement, brings with it 150 seats and a promise of seamless travel experiences for passengers flying with Uganda Airlines.

AIR TANZANIA COMPANY LIMITED Boeing B787-8 Dreamliner has been grounded for seven months in Malaysia due to maintenance issues linked to its Rolls-Royce engines. The critical problem has necessitated the removal of both Rolls-Royce Trent engines, sparking curiosity and attention within the aviation community due to the Dreamliner’s relatively recent acquisition and the challenges it faces.


Aviation Infrastructure and Financing.

Blaise Diagne International Airport in Senegal has been selected by ASECNA as the flagship location to pioneer a groundbreaking project: a state-of-the-art laboratory dedicated to producing and supplying electronic terrain and obstacle data, alongside aerodrome map data. This initiative marks a significant step forward in the Agency’s efforts to modernize aeronautical information services across its member states, revolutionizing safety and efficiency in aviation operations.

In a momentous occasion, President H.E Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of Ghana has unveiled the newly upgraded Kumasi International Airport, now proudly renamed as Prempeh I International Airport. This transformation not only signifies a major milestone in Ghana’s aviation infrastructure development but also heralds a new era of enhanced connectivity and service excellence for travelers in the region.


Aviation Incidences and Accidents

A recent incident involving a Transair Boeing B737-38J, registered as 6V-AJE and operating for Air Sénégal S.A, resulted in substantial fire damage after it experienced a runway excursion at Blaise Diagne International Airport in Senegal on Thursday, May 9, 2024. The aircraft, bound for Bamako, Mali, was carrying 85 passengers, leading to 11 injuries as a result of the incident.

Another noteworthy event involved an Ethiopian Airlines flight ET154 utilizing a De Havilland Aircraft of Canada Limited Dash 8-400, which encountered smoke in the cabin during its journey from Awasa (AWA) to Addis Ababa (ADD). Despite this, the aircraft successfully landed in Addis Ababa, and all passengers disembarked safely at the designated gate without any reported issues.

In a separate occurrence, NG Eagle flight 2N902, an Embraer ERJ-145LR registered as 5N-BZZ and operated by XeJet Airlines, experienced a runway excursion upon landing on runway 18L at Lagos International Airport (LOS). With 52 passengers and three crew members onboard, the aircraft skidded off the runway, prompting flight diversions. Fortunately, there were no injuries or fatalities reported from the incident.

Additionally, a De Havilland DH.82A Tiger Moth made a forced landing on highway N1 near Kroonstad, Free State. Thankfully, the pilot emerged unharmed, and the aircraft sustained no damage during the landing.


In other news:

Aviance Ghana, a prominent player in passenger and ground handling services, is poised to take over ground handling operations at the newly-renovated Kumasi International Airport from the two airlines operating at/to the airport. This strategic move aims to streamline airport operations in preparation for scheduled international passenger services.

In a bid to optimize government resources, President Bassirou Diomaye Faye of Senegal has implemented a ban on airport ceremonies during his arrivals or departures. This decision is part of broader efforts to enhance operational efficiency and curb unnecessary expenses associated with protocol receptions.

TAAG-Linhas Aereas de Angola achieved a significant milestone on May 3, transporting a record-breaking 96 tons of miscellaneous cargo. This marked the largest shipment since the airline resumed operations from the European Distribution Center in Liége, Belgium, to the new international airport Doctor António Agostinho Neto.

Magazine Forbes recognized the Chairman and CEO of EGYPTAIR Yehia Zakaria as one of Travel Leaders 2024, a prestigious acknowledgment that reflects the airline’s commitment to excellence and leadership in the aviation industry. Meanwhile, Eng Ananias Sichone has assumed the role of Director of Air Navigation Services at the Zambia Civil Aviation Authority (ZCAA), bringing his expertise to further strengthen air navigation operations in the country.

Airlink is set to revolutionize its distribution capabilities with the introduction of New Distribution Capabilities (NDC) starting from July 31, 2024. This initiative follows extensive efforts by the airline’s commercial department to modernize and enhance its distribution systems, replacing the outdated Electronic Data Interchange for Administration, Commerce and Transport (EDIFACT) protocols with advanced technologies.

Lastly, Kenya Airports Authority clarified misinformation regarding an alleged incident involving a Qatar Airways Airbus A330 aircraft. Social media reports suggesting severe turbulence and cabin damage during the final approach to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport were refuted by the authority, ensuring accurate information reaches the public domain.


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