Africa Weekly Aviation Trails: Week 21, 2024 Highlights


(Posted 27th May 2024)


Courtesy of Aero Trail Ltd and Mr. Alex Koech



Week 21 in African aviation saw few announcements on new airline routes and fleet upgrades. However, positive news emerged from Kenya with the release of their 2023 economic survey. The document highlights a significant increase in post-pandemic travel, indicating a promising recovery for the African aviation sector. Ethiopia also made a noteworthy announcement, opening its airspace to all interested airlines for operation. This move could increase competition and potentially lead to lower fares. Read and find out more below.



The 31st African Aviation Summit: Air Finance Africa Conference & Exhibition took place from Tuesday, 21st to Thursday, 23rd May, 2024. The event’s focus was on addressing the challenge of funding African airlines—both existing carriers and start-ups. Senior officials from leading African airlines and international financial experts tackled urgent issues and recommended practical solutions.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) Wings of Change Focus Africa (WOCFA), a premier industry event in the region, brings together aviation leaders, regulators, and subject matter experts to discuss key challenges and opportunities in air transport. WOCFA will return for its second edition in Johannesburg, South Africa, on 2-3 July 2024, under the theme “Towards a More Resilient and Sustainable African Aviation,” with South African Airways as the host airline.

In Ethiopia, the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority announced a significant milestone by allowing private aviation operators to engage in domestic commercial and cargo flight services, breaking the state’s monopoly. However, representatives of private aviation firms’ expressed concerns, comparing the move to putting the cart before the horse, and remain skeptical about the new regulation’s impact.


African Aviation: Projections And Statistics.

The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) recently released the 2024 economic survey, revealing impressive growth in the tourism and aviation sectors. According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Barometer, global international tourist arrivals increased by 34.0% compared to 2022, highlighting a resilient post-COVID-19 recovery. In Kenya, the tourism sector’s performance improved significantly in 2023, primarily due to growth in the aviation sector and the hosting of prominent conferences.

The number of international visitor arrivals in Kenya grew by 35.4% to 2.0868 million in 2023. The country experienced a remarkable surge in tourist arrivals, reaching a recovery rate of 102.5% compared to 2019, surpassing the global pre-pandemic recovery rate of 88.0% according to the UNWTO Barometer.

In air transport, Kenya Airports Authority manageed airports handled 12.2058 million passengers in 2023, a 19.2% increase from the 10.2386 million passengers in 2022. International passengers grew by 34.7%, from 4.9316 million in 2022 to 6.6444 million in 2023. Domestic traffic also saw an increase, growing by 5.0% to 5.3241 million in 2023.

Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) played a significant role, with passenger numbers rising by 25.2%, from 6.5565 million in 2022 to 8.2101 million in 2023, accounting for 67.3% of all passengers. Similarly, Moi International Airport (MIA) saw a 23.2% increase in passengers during the same period.


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

In an exciting week for African aviation, Kenya’s CS for Roads and Transport, Kipchumba Murkomen, met with his Saudi Arabian counterpart, Saleh bin Nasser Al-Jasser, during the third edition of the Future Aviation Forum 2024 (FAF-24) in Riyadh. Their discussions focused on enhancing collaboration through investments in cool logistics, opportunities for Kenya Airways to establish scheduled flights to Riyadh and Jeddah, investments in ports and railways, and mutual recognition of seafarers’ certificates.

At the same forum, Liberia’s DG of the Civil Aviation Authority, Mr. Julius D. Dennis Jr., met with Qatar’s civil aviation leaders, Mr. Mohammed Faleh Alhajri and Ms. Aisha Ali Al-Nuaimi. They agreed to facilitate Liberian aviation safety, security, and training cooperation through an MoU and to negotiate a Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA) to establish a legal framework for Qatari airlines to operate scheduled flights to Liberia.

Nigeria’s Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo, announced on his X handle that regular cargo flight operations between Nigeria and Saudi Arabia are set to resume after years of inactivity.

RwandAir Ltd made headlines by extending their Singapore route through a codeshare agreement with Qatar Airways via Doha. Additionally, the airline appointed AirlinePros International as their General Sales Agent (GSA) for Singapore.

In a move towards pan-Africanism, Air Sénégal S.A and Air Côte d’Ivoire sealed a strategic commercial and operational partnership. This collaboration aims to pool their networks, offering passengers enhanced connections while optimizing operating costs for both airlines.


Routes and Airline Connectivity.

EGYPTAIR is poised to make a triumphant return to Portugal after more than 13 years, beginning on July 23, 2024. The Star Alliance member airline will operate two weekly flights between Cairo and Lisbon using Airbus A321neo aircraft. EGYPTAIR previously served this route regularly until March 2011, and its resumption marks an exciting development for travelers between Egypt and Portugal.

In another significant move in African aviation, the government of Guinea has engaged Morocco to assist in the revival of Air Guinee, which is set to become the national carrier of the country. This partnership aims to rejuvenate Guinea’s aviation sector and strengthen ties between the two nations.


Airline Fleets and ACMI’s.

Air Côte d’Ivoire has proudly welcomed its tenth aircraft, a 2016-built ex-Avianca Airbus Aircraft A319-100 (N751AV), now registered as TU-TRF. This new addition is set to bolster the airline’s fleet and increase flight frequencies across the West Africa sub-region, enhancing connectivity and service.

ValueJet, a privately-owned Nigerian airline, is preparing to induct its first CRJ700, a dual-cabin aircraft from Ljubljana, Slovenia, under an open-ended lease agreement with Regional One, Inc. This strategic move aims to expand ValueJet’s operational capacity and service offerings.

Dornier Aviation Nigeria AIEP has commenced commercial operations with its latest addition, a Dash 8-Q400 aircraft, which joined the fleet in February of this year. This aircraft will support DANA’s mission to provide reliable and efficient air travel within Nigeria and beyond.

Meanwhile, Kenya Airways has faced some challenges this week as two of its Boeing B787 Dreamliners were grounded due to engine problems, causing significant flight disruptions. The extended grounding of these aircraft resulted from delays in engine and engine component deliveries, impacting the airline’s passenger operations.


Aviation Infrastructure and Financing.

Boeing announced during the Africa Aviation Summit that it will establish its new Africa headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, set to open this year. This decision positions Ethiopia ahead of Kenya and South Africa as the preferred location for Boeing’s latest expansion plans on a continent expected to see a rapidly growing air travel industry in the coming years. Earlier, Boeing appointed Henok Teferra Shawl, a former executive at Ethiopian Airlines, as the managing director for its African division.

In an effort to enhance aviation security cooperation between Egypt and the USA, a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) delegation met with Egypt’s Minister of Civil Aviation, Mohammed Abbas Helmy, in Cairo. The TSA team committed to providing the ministry with modern devices, technical support, and training to enhance the security capabilities of Egypt’s Civil Aviation sector, particularly in redesigning Terminal 3 at Cairo International Airport.

During a state visit by Kenya’s president, the United States announced its commitment to expanding Lamu’s Manda Bay Airstrip as part of measures to combat terrorism. The expansion plan includes US financing for the construction of a 10,000-foot runway.

Sarah Zaafrani Zanzri, Tunisia’s Minister of Infrastructure and Public Works, outlined the vision for Tunisia’s civil aviation by 2040 at the Future Aviation Forum in Riyadh. The country aims to increase airport capacity from the current 19.5 million passengers to 33 million by 2030 and 35 million by 2035. Tunisia is also developing a national plan to reduce CO2 emissions, to be presented to ICAO by June 2024.

The United Nations Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS) has committed to enhancing Somalia’s aviation sector. Announced by UN Assistant Secretary-General Dr. Aisa Kirabo Kacyira, the initiative includes capacity building in aviation security, airport firefighting, tactical operations, air traffic control, medical evacuations, meteorology, and drone operations. These efforts aim to prepare for the transfer of security responsibilities from the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia to Somali security forces and the civil aviation authority.

Senegal and the Czech Republic are considering establishing a civil aircraft assembly plant in Dakar, signaling a significant step forward in the development of Senegal’s aviation industry.



On May 21, 2024, the board of management at Air Mauritius suspended its Chief Commercial Officer (CCO), Laurent Recoura, following accusations that he allegedly disclosed confidential company information. This suspension marks a significant development in the airline’s ongoing efforts to maintain corporate integrity and trust.

Meanwhile, in Nigeria, Turkish Airlines has dismissed seven employees for violating various ticketing and reservation rules, resulting in an economic loss of over USD 600,000. The dismissals sparked protests from the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) in Lagos, which picketed the airline, accusing it of dismissing its members on trumped-up charges. This action caused flight disruptions, affecting at least 300 passengers.


In other news:

The Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection (CAEP) Working Group 4, hosted by the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) and facilitated by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), conducted a four-day meeting last week. The focus was on technical issues related to the Carbon Offset and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA), including updates on the CORSIA Estimation Reporting Tool (CERT2024) and discussions on the draft 2024 CO2 Estimation Models (CEMs).

In an exciting moment for Kenya Airways, one of its Embraer E190 aircraft had the honor of carrying Iceland’s Prime Minister, Bjarni Benediktsson, to Malawi. This coincided with Kenya’s President William Ruto’s visit to the United States, during which he chose to travel on a private chartered B737 Business Jet (BBJ) from the Abu Dhabi-based RoyalJet Group.

The Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) celebrated a significant milestone last week, marking its 38th anniversary of regulating the aviation industry and providing safe air navigation services in Ghanaian airspace.

Air Peace Limited received a lifeline as it resolved safety violation allegations documented in two mandatory occurrence reports listed in the UK Safety Assessment of Foreign Aircraft (SAFA) Ramp Inspection Report (CAA-UK-2024-0217). The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) expressed satisfaction with the airline’s management response to the issues raised.

Kenya Airways Group Managing Director and CEO, Allan Kilavuka, was honored with the 2024 African Aviation Leadership Award. Established by African Aviation Magazine in 1999, this prestigious award recognizes individuals, companies, and organizations that have significantly contributed to the advancement of aviation in Africa.

Finally, two US military planes were involved in separate mishaps during the military exercise Alligator Danger off the coast of Djibouti last week. A US Marine Corps jet crashed, with the pilot sustaining injuries but remaining in stable condition. In a separate incident, a CH-53 helicopter suffered structural damage while landing at Arta Beach, Djibouti.


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