Africa Weekly Aviation Trails: Week 23, 2024 Highlights


(Posted 11th June 2024)


Courtesy of Aero Trail Ltd and Mr. Alex Koech



Week 23 has been packed with a myriad of activities, with IATA painting an optimistic outlook on airline operations and Airbus ramping up its production capabilities by utilizing its facilities in an African country (discover which one below) with the goal of manufacturing 75 aircraft per month by 2026. Additionally, a bomb scare was reported, notable agreements and partnerships were entered into, and fleet updates were announced, among other developments. Discover all the details by reading our latest article below.



The African Civil Aviation Commission AFCAC, in collaboration with the TANZANIA CIVIL AVIATION AUTHORITY(TCAA), hosted the 2024 AFCAC Annual Meeting for Director-Generals and Heads of Civil Aviation Authorities of Africa in Arusha, Tanzania, from June 5 to 7. This pivotal gathering aimed to chart a sustainable and efficient future for civil aviation in Africa. Recognizing the integral role of civil aviation in national development—connecting families, communities, businesses, and nations—leaders from across the continent convened to address pressing challenges and devise strategies for advancing civil aviation.

In related news, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced a milestone achievement: 73 airline CEOs have now committed to the IATA Safety Leadership Charter. Launched on September 19, 2023, during the IATA Global Safety and Operations Conference in Hanoi, Vietnam, this charter aims to support industry executives in continuously improving safety performance. The growing number of signatories underscores the aviation industry’s collective commitment to enhancing safety standards globally.


African Aviation: Projections and Statistics.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has announced an optimistic outlook for airline profitability in 2024, marking a notable improvement over previous forecasts from June and December 2023. Revenue growth is expected to outpace expense growth, with revenues projected to rise by 9.7% and expenses by 9.4%. Operating profits are forecasted to reach $59.9 billion, a 14.7% increase from the estimated $52.2 billion in 2023. Net profits are anticipated to grow by 11.3%, climbing from $27.4 billion in 2023 to $30.5 billion in 2024. Passenger revenues are set to soar to $744 billion in 2024, up 15.2% from $646 billion in 2023. Conversely, cargo revenues are expected to decline to $120 billion in 2024 from $138 billion in 2023. Although these figures represent a decrease from the extraordinary peak of $210 billion in 2021, they still surpass 2019’s revenues of $101 billion and show an improvement over the previous forecast of $111 billion announced in December 2023.

In the African aviation sector, the African Airlines Association (AFRAA) projects a 15% increase in passenger traffic for African carriers in 2024 compared to 2023. The continent has seen a 6% rise in available seats, growing from 15.1 million in May 2023 to 15.9 million in May 2024. Available seat kilometers (ASK) have surpassed May 2023 levels by 12%. Airline revenues for March 2024 were estimated at $1.74 billion, a significant 26% increase from $1.39 billion in March 2023. African carriers accounted for 48.7% of the international capacity and 35.4% of the intercontinental capacity, highlighting that foreign carriers still dominate a significant portion of Africa’s intra and intercontinental passenger connectivity.

Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) production is set to triple in 2024 to 1.9 billion liters (1.5 million tonnes), according to IATA. However, this will only meet 0.53% of aviation fuel needs for 2024. Approximately 65% of SAF is needed for airlines to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Despite the growth in SAF production, there is still a long way to go to meet the industry’s sustainability targets.


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

Royal Air Maroc has entered into a strategic partnership with UAE carrier Etihad Airways through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). This collaboration aims to offer travelers expanded choices, superior services, and added value, all while promoting sustainable aviation practices.

EGYPTAIR has also signed an MoU with Riyadh Air | ????? ??????, the newly established Saudi Arabian carrier set to begin operations soon. This partnership will provide guests with more choices between Riyadh and Cairo, along with access to a wider range of destinations.

Swissport Kenya has extended its collaboration with Brussels Airlines for ground handling services at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport for another five years, coinciding with the inaugural arrival of Brussels Airlines.

Uganda Airlines Cargo has partnered with Cargo Flash InfoTech to implement the ‘nGEN’ Integrated Cargo Management System (ICMS), aiming to transform its cargo processes with cloud-based efficiency.

Kenya Airways(KQ) has formalized a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Kenya Association of Travel Agents(KATA). This partnership is designed to augment the national carrier’s market presence and potentially enhance its competitive edge within the industry.

There are also rumors that Kenya Airways (KQ) has expressed interest in partnering with Ghana to support the establishment of its national carrier. Although discussions are in the early stages, this collaboration aims to enhance connectivity, boost tourism, and facilitate trade and investment in the western Africa region.


Routes and Airline Connectivity.

Brussels Airlines has finally made a comeback on the Brussels-Nairobi route after nearly nine years. The airline previously operated this route since its founding in 2002, following the bankruptcy of Sabena, but suspended it in 2015 in favor of partner airline Lufthansa, which offered better connections out of Frankfurt after acquiring Brussels Airlines. Now, Brussels Airlines will operate six flights a week between Nairobi and Brussels, significantly increasing capacity for the Lufthansa Group‘s routes to Africa. Nairobi will be the 18th destination for Brussels Airlines in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Egyptian airline, Air Cairo, has launched direct flights from Cairo to Istanbul’s ISG – Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen International Airport, Turkey’s second-busiest airport. The twice-weekly flights on Thursdays and Sundays will utilize an Embraer E-190 LR with a seating capacity of 109, with plans to increase frequency to five times a week. Air Cairo becomes the fifth airline to operate between Cairo and Istanbul.

Starting in 2025, Discover Airlines, a leisure subsidiary of Lufthansa, will pioneer direct connections from Munich, Germany, Terminal 2 to Windhoek, Namibia, offering three flights per week commencing April 1st, 2025 (Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays).

AIR TANZANIA COMPANY LIMITED Cargo made history last week by landing its first freighter aircraft, a Boeing 767, in Hong Kong, marking an expansion for the airline into East Asia.

Emirates is set to launch a new service to Madagascar starting September 2024. The four-weekly flights between Dubai (DXB) and Antananarivo (TNR) will operate via a linked service with the Seychelles, offering more choice and connectivity for travelers and driving inbound leisure and business travel to Madagascar.

EGYPTAIR plans to add service to Djibouti and Somalia starting July 2024, with the Cairo – Djibouti – Mogadishu route. From July 11, 2024, Boeing 737-800 aircraft will operate this route twice weekly.

Etihad‘s planned Abu Dhabi-Nairobi service has been put on hold indefinitely. The route, initially scheduled to launch on June 1, 2024, has been postponed without any disclosed reason, marking an unexpected delay for the airline’s expansion plans.


Airline Fleets and ACMI’s.

State-owned CAMAIR-CO is set to strengthen its hub at Douala with the launch of additional regional flights in June. This expansion will be supported by the return of a B737-700 from long-term maintenance in Ethiopia, bolstering the airline’s in-house fleet.

ECAir – Equatorial Congo Airlines is facing significant challenges concerning the ownership of its four Boeing aircraft, which are currently being contested in a UK court. This legal battle adds to the airline’s mounting difficulties.

Ibom Air is set to receive an additional Airbus A220-300 aircraft this week, aiming to fill a capacity gap caused by the delayed delivery of an ordered A220 from Airbus Canada, now expected in the first quarter of 2025.

Cameroon MARATHON AIRLINES S.A.‘s newest addition, an E195 aircraft leased through an ACMI contract from CAMAIR-CO, has been grounded for over a month. This aircraft, received in March 2024, has seen minimal use, disrupting connectivity and hindering regional expansion plans.

Madagascar Airlines plans to wet lease a Dash 8-Q400 from South Africa’s CemAir (Pty)Ltd as a short-term capacity enhancement solution while awaiting the arrival of an ATR72-500 aircraft.

Kenya Airways CEO Allan Kilavuka has hinted at a potential fleet renewal decision by September 2024, considering whether to opt for an all-Boeing or all-Airbus fleet. Currently, the airline operates a mixed fleet of Boeing and Embraer aircraft, along with one leased Airbus A330 from HI FLY.

Afrijet Business Service, based in Libreville, Gabon, is reportedly in talks with Airbus Aircraft and Boeing to purchase at least three narrowbody aircraft for its expansion plans across Africa and beyond, according to CEO Marc Gaffajoli.


Aviation Infrastructure and Financing.

Airbus is significantly ramping up its production capabilities by turning to its Moroccan facilities, Airbus Atlantic Morocco Composites, in Nouaceur. The goal is to manufacture 75 aircraft per month by 2026. These facilities produce essential composite parts, including cockpit linings, baggage compartments, trim pieces, and landing gear hatches for the A320 family of aircraft. These components are then shipped to France for final assembly and global distribution. Notably, Morocco’s aircraft industry exports increased by 17.3% during the first four months of 2024 compared to the same period in the previous year, amounting to 8.32 billion dirhams (USD 832 million). Morocco’s burgeoning aviation sector boasts 142 companies employing an estimated 20,000 people.

The Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA) has recently upgraded critical navigation infrastructure as part of its efforts to modernize the country’s aviation capabilities. The UCAA, which also operates Entebbe International Airport, successfully replaced two Distance Measuring Equipment (DME) units for the Instrument Landing System (ILS) and Doppler Very High-Frequency Omni-Directional Range (DVOR) systems.

RAVINALA AIRPORTS MADAGASCAR, the operator of international airports in Antananarivo and Nosy Be, has invited investors and qualified operators to express their interest in developing a state-of-the-art tertiary building at Ivato Airport, Madagascar.

Qatar Airways is expected to finalize its 49% stake deal in RwandAir Ltd in the coming months. This update was revealed by RwandAir CEO Yvonne Manzi Makolo during the IATA Annual General Meeting in Dubai on June 5. The equity partnership was initially announced in February 2020, marking a significant step in deepening the collaboration between the two airlines.



Namibia has announced plans to introduce a mandatory visa-on-arrival requirement for passport holders from 31 countries that were previously visa-exempt. This decision, described by the government as a reciprocal measure, aims to ensure parity and fairness in diplomatic interactions.



The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) has imposed civil penalties of up to $300,000 on South African Airways (SAA) in a consumer protection ruling. The penalties were for delays in refunding ticket sales owed to passengers from 2019 to 2020 after flights were grounded during the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving thousands of customers, including US citizens, stranded with unused tickets. Other airlines affected by the same ruling, including Lufthansa, Air France, and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, were cumulatively fined $2.5 million.

In a significant ruling, the COMMUNITY COURT OF JUSTICE – ECOWAS has awarded Mr. Al-Hassan Dibasi Fadia from Guinea Bissau, a former pilot with the Pan African airline ASKY AIRLINES, 15 million CFA in general damages. The applicant was dismissed by the airline on July 29, 2021, based on a retroactive ministerial order after being deemed to have fraudulently obtained a flying license by falsifying his flight log books. The court also ordered the government of Togo to reverse and expunge the disciplinary measures taken against him from its records within four months.

Officers from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship Services in Malawi have threatened to launch an indefinite strike beginning June 6. The strike follows the expiry of an ultimatum to the Ministry of Homeland Security demanding the dismissal of Department Head Brigadier Gen. Charles Kalumo over allegations of maladministration. Organizers informed various airlines and transport groups of the impending strike, which will impact immigration services at all airports and land border crossings nationwide.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Labour Congress and TRADE UNION CONGRESS OF NIGERIA (TUC) embarked on a strike on Monday following inconclusive negotiations on a new minimum wage, disrupting airline operations across Nigeria. The strike was later “relaxed” for a week to enable the unions to continue talks with the Federal Government on the new minimum wage, aiming to reach an agreement and resume normal operations.


In other news:

The South African Police Service (SAPS) Bomb Squad was deployed to a FlySafair plane (FA102) scheduled for O.R Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg following a security threat on Thursday June, 6. The Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) reported that the Bomb Squad was called to Cape Town International Airport after the crew of a departing flight was alerted to a possible security threat aboard the aircraft. The situation was swiftly and successfully managed by SAPS and other relevant law enforcement agencies, ensuring all passengers disembarked safely.

South Africa’s Mafunase Ngosa Malenga, the Founder and Managing Director of the Southern Africa Institute of Aviation Science and Technology, was among the recipients of the 2024 IATA Diversity & Inclusion Awards. Malenga received the High Flyer Award during the annual general meeting held in Dubai, UAE, in June 2024. Sponsored by Qatar Airways, these awards recognize individuals, organizations, and initiatives that have made significant contributions to promoting and advancing diversity and inclusion within the aviation industry.

In Morocco, Adil El Fakir has been sworn in as the Director General of Office National Des Aéroports (ONDA), the Moroccan Airports Manager, replacing Habiba Laklaalech. The ceremony took place on June 3, 2024, in Rabat, presided over by Mohamed Abdeljalil, the Minister of Transport and Logistics of Morocco.

Finally, in South Africa, a Jabiru J160 lost power shortly after takeoff from runway 19 at Stellenbosch Airfield (FASH), Western Cape, on Saturday, June 8, 2024, and crashed into a nearby strawberry plantation. Despite the ultralight aircraft being a write-off, both occupants fortunately sustained only minor whiplash injuries.


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