RWANDAIR SELECTS SITA’S IT SOLUTIONS
The Rwandan national airline has entered into a long term arrangement with SITA to provide their new e-Commerce platform for web based transactions and secure payments with credit cards or e-transfers. The system launch date will be sometime in April this year, when other modalities have been resolved and final preparations made to seamlessly align the carrier’s own systems with those of SITA.
Other good news at the same time are that RwandAir is going to introduce the Horizon Frequent Flyer Programme of SITA, giving more benefits to their faithful travellers, especially important now that destinations and flight frequencies have grown in leaps and bounds during 2010.
Rwanda has last year been connected by fibre optic cable to the ‘international grid’ of super fast internet connections, allowing the national airline to push ahead with their ‘e-project’ and connect to travel agents within the country and the wider region with ease.
Watch this space to learn when the system will go ‘live’.
KENYA AIRWAYS RECEIVES ‘SIMULATOR’ CERTIFICATION
‘The Pride of Africa’ has today started using their own fully certified simulator facility at the ‘Pride Training Centre’ in Embakasi / Nairobi, after receiving the requisite ‘paperwork’ from the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority and the British CAA. Having certification from Britain too will allow the facility to be used by airlines from around the world to train their pilots on the B737-800 simulator, which will open new revenue streams for KQ in these financially challenging times.
Of course priority will be given to train and give refreshers to Kenya Airways’ own pilots, but any spare capacity for the equipment can now be ‘sold’ on the international market. According to a source in Nairobi up to 5 crews can be trained per day and it is also understood that Boeing has been supporting KQ giving special training to instructors who now supervise the courses.
Global aviation regulations by ICAO require pilots to undergo simulator refresher training twice a year and the demand for approved and internationally certified facilities like the one now open at Kenya Airways are much in demand. The facility is the latest state of the art equipment available on the market
SURVEY SHIP FOR FIBRE OPTIC CABLE LINK TO MAINLAND SETS OUT
EGS Explorer left the Victoria port on Mahe yesterday to commence a long distance survey mission, which will end on the African mainland at Dar es Salaam port, aimed at establishing the contours of the seabed along which the fibre optic connection will be laid. East Africa is now connected to three main fibre optic cables but no link was ever established with the Seychelles where the slower satellite links are still being used as the main route of data and voice communications. The project is undertaken by Cables & Wireless in conjunction with Airtel, ensuring that the two leading communications companies are also financially underwriting the cost of the investment, with government being the third major shareholder and contributor.
Completion of the link is expected by mid / late 2012, also depending on weather of course which might have an impact on the actual deployment of the cable. At that stage will the archipelago be fully linked to highest speed global communications, likely resulting in lower tariffs and subsequent wider usage of the internet.
The journey from the Seychelles to Tanzania is expected to last for about 2 weeks and the data collected will then allow the ‘design team’ to establish the most viable routing for the cable.
It is understood that the ship’s progress is being monitored by aerial assets available to the naval coalition and that the ship is equipped and manned to deal with any eventualities they may encounter during their journey.
SOUTH SUDAN STARTS TARMACKING OF JUBA – NIMULE HIGHWAY
The project to lay tarmac on this crucial highway, linking the South Sudan capital of Juba with the northern Ugandan municipality of Gulu, has been formally launched last week when President Salva Kiir, the US’ Consul General in Juba and contractors’ representatives met for the ceremony.
The highway is due to become a major road link to South Sudan’s southern neighbour and most important trading partner Uganda, and will – when it reaches Nimule – link with the highway to Gulu from where it connects to Kampala.
Over 190 KM are now being tarmacked by three contractors’ work teams, after 7 bridges crossing rivers were completed last year, as also reported here. The new highway is the first of its kind to be constructed in the South Sudan, notably NOT by the regime in Khartoum but through internal efforts and partnerships by the Government of South Sudan (GoSS) and a major section of the new highway is expected to be completed already when independence comes calling on the 09th of July this year and the Republic of South Sudan will come into formal existence.
The Ugandan part of the road will undergo re-construction commencing by later in 2011 and this portion will cover the section from Gulu to Nimule. Road connections are considered crucial to not just trade but also to attract tourist visitors to the South Sudan national parks, in particular the one at Nimule which is nearest to the border with Uganda. Watch this space.
ANOTHER AVIATION SECURITY COURSE SEES 22 MORE GRADUATE
Information was received from Kigali overnight that another course initiated by the Rwanda Civil Aviation Authority, in conjunction with global body ICAO, has ended with the graduation of all participants. This dedicated security workshop and training session lasted two weeks and was aimed at members of the security personnel deployed at Kigali’s international airport Kanombe.
Staff was taught the latest techniques in safeguarding airports, surveillance and carrying out checks, at the perimeter, for cargo and passengers. The course agenda did contain the latest global recommendations on aviation security issued by ICAO to member states.
Aircraft movements in Kigali have increased by over 40 percent in the recent past, as a result of more flights by airlines serving Kigali, new airlines adding Rwanda to their flight schedules and a sharp increase in flights by national airline RwandAir. It is therefore reassuring that training of personnel is keeping up the pace with operational developments since most international visitors actually arrive by air in Rwanda when coming for the country’s tourism attractions, for business or to attend the ever more numerous conferences, meetings and conventions now held in the ‘land of a thousand hills’.
CARNIVAL FESTIVAL INVITATION EXTENDED TO NAVAL SHIPS TOO
The Seychelles’ first ever ‘Carnival Festival’ due to be held between 04th and 06th of March continues to attract attention from the traditional carnival countries, many of which have committed to send delegations to Mahe, but of late also from another quarter.
The coastguard / navy of the Seychelles has invited members of the naval coalition to ‘show flag’ at the port of Victoria during the festival, and a special invitation has been extended to the navies of the Eastern African mainland countries like Kenya and Tanzania, to each send one of their ships to the archipelago.
This is thought to be a measure of both adding an extra attraction, having warships in harbour during the high profile festival, but also a measure of solidarity since the Seychelles continues to be a base for replenishing ships on ocean duty and a much desired R&R destination for the crews.
The Seychelles has established itself as a main base for anti piracy operations, including regular aerial surveillance flights which relay crucial information to surface ships and the uncompromising stand of the Seychelles government has in the past repeatedly led to the freeing and rescue of ships and hostages. ‘Showing flag’ therefore at the port of Victoria will undoubtedly also send a message out that the archipelago, and its numerous allies, are determined to defend and keep open the sea lanes for cargo and passenger ships.
Meanwhile though, all eyes will be watching the calendar as the countdown continues towards ‘The Creole Carnival’ the archipelago’s tourism industry has promised to their visitors in early March.