SHELL ACCUSED OF DAYLIGHT ROBBERY OVER NEW AVGAS PRICES
Shell Uganda is fast becoming a byword for all things negative and bad for those in the aviation fraternity using traditional piston engined aircraft, when news emerged that the cost for AVGAS has just again been raised inexplicably by the company. A large number of aircraft registered in Uganda, used by locally registered air charter companies and flying schools, but also owned by individuals for business or leisure flying, continue to use AVGAS and will do so for many years to come.
Information received from regular aviation sources confirms that the cost of a litre of AVGAS in Nairobi for instance is at present US Dollars 1.59 while in Uganda, even considering the extra delivery distance, a litre now sells for an incredible US Dollars 2.81. Aviators have blamed the company of profiteering and one more outspoken source called it alleged racketeering, mindful of the legal consequences, but overall has this latest increase in fuel cost put a damper on the local aviation scene.
Pleasure flying has according to a source at KAFTC reduced considerably and the cost for training has risen sharply again, making it ever harder for the next generation of young Ugandans being able to afford getting the initial PPL before moving towards a CPL where they can get the hours needed before they can be employed.
While the chronic shortages have now been addressed through the initiative of Kajjansi based operators which installed tanks and a bowser, reportedly Shell again was unable to guarantee regular supplies making this significant added investment necessary, the cost differential of AVGAS between Kenya and Uganda, even considering that the value of the Uganda Shilling has depreciated considerably, can no longer be justified, more so as the commodity trades in US Dollars anyway.
Safari operators using air charters in their itineraries for clients also appear upset by the constant added fuel supplement charges which have driven the cost of upmarket safaris further up, making the destination even more pricey than it was before and starting to have a serious impact on the use of chartered aircraft.
Meanwhile has a regular CAA source feigned ignorance over the problem but had to concede that fuel suppliers are working under a CAA concession and that overpricing and arbitrary price fixing would very likely contradict concession terms, and while wishing not to be quoted suggested that affected local airlines make formal complaints to the Civil Aviation Authority providing all the relevant data and details including price comparisons with Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda. Watch this space for the inevitable next chapter of another never ending story.
Archive for October 13th, 2011
SHELL ACCUSED OF DAYLIGHT ROBBERY OVER NEW AVGAS PRICES
KENYA AIRWAYS SIGNS UP WITH GECAS FOR TWO MORE B777-300ER
Kenya Airways has yesterday late afternoon confirmed that they have signed a long term lease agreement with leading aircraft leasing company GECAS for the delivery of two more very long haul B777-300ER, at a press conference held at the InterContinental Hotel in Nairobi.
The two aircraft are due to boost the airlines capacity and allow for the planned expansion of destinations into key markets, and will be delivered between October 2013 and May 2014. Dr. Titus Naikuni, CEO of Kenya Airways was reported to have said: With the increased passenger and cargo capacity that the Boeing B777-300ER offers, we are pleased with this development as it will see Kenya Airways significantly increase tonnage and passenger capacity while enhancing our premium service offering to Europe and the Far East. This also speaks to Kenya Airways efforts of flying a more efficient and environmentally friendly fleet.
The 12 year lease will further cement a long standing relationship between KQ and GECAS, which already has 3 B767-300ERs placed with The Pride of Africa. Both aircraft will be configured in Kenya Airways two class layout, with state of the art flat bed seats in Business and enhanced seating comfort in Economy, carrying about 400 passengers overall.
This latest development will allow KQ to keep pace with neighbours Ethiopian Airlines which is equally vying for continental aviation supremacy. Notably will the two rival alliances, global leader Star Alliance ET is an applicant member due to join soon and SkyTeam to which Kenya Airways belongs, be able to offer their passengers an unrivalled reach into Africa via the main hubs in Nairobi and Addis Ababa, giving them the widest possible coverage across the continent and way ahead of third rival OneWorld, which has been struggling to connect Africa in the absence of a key partner on the continent. As always, you read it first here so watch this space for more news from the aviation scene in Eastern Africa and the Indian Ocean region.
QATAR AIRWAYS CEO AKBAR AL BAKR EXPECTED IN UGANDA FOR INAUGURAL FLIGHT
It was confirmed yesterday that the outspoken CEO of Qatar Airways will be present at the launch of flights between Doha and Entebbe on the 02nd November, when the inaugural flight will come to Uganda.
Also published was the schedule for the new connections, which will see the new kid on the block fly daily nonstop using an A320 aircraft.
Officials at the Civil Aviation Authority this correspondent spoke with expressed their delight with the additional flights, saying that the expansion by Qatar Airways in this region is a natural progression, considering that the airline is already serving Nairobi and Dar es Salaam.
A source from the Qatar Airways office in Kampala pointed out that Entebbe will be the airlines 16th African destination which is a commitment to connecting Africa via Doha to the world.
Qatar, in the limelight this year for bagging the FIFA World Cup for 2022, has in recent years made a significant impact on the global aviation scene and will next year open a brand new super airport only a few miles away from the current terminal, making it a new hub of Qatar Airways, the fastest growing premium airline in the recent past. The new mega airport will give connecting travelers the best facilities when open, be it in the quality of duty free shopping, lounges, restaurants and other facilities and cater for the expected growth in traffic routing via Doha in the future.
Parallels are becoming visible when comparing the airlines global expansion drive with Gulf cousin Emirates, which successfully put itself on the aviation map and Qatar Airways is pursuing a similar global growth, with the added component of being a 5 Star Airline as far as inflight services are concerned. Presently operating a fleet of just over 100 aircraft this number is set to double when deliveries commence of the B787 Dreamliner, more B777 aircraft already on order and of a range of Airbus models including the giant A380 and the brand new A350, which is still under development by the European manufacturer. Watch this space as the countdown is now in full swing towards the launch of Qatar Airways flight to Entebbe, connecting The Pearl of Africa with the rest of the world and giving travelers to and from the country added choices.
DOUBLE LOSS AS RHINO CUB DIES AFTER MOTHER WAS KILLED
The Lake Nakuru National Park, Kenyas first official rhino sanctuary established some decades ago, was the scene of a double whammy, when first the remains of a female rhino were found with her horn cut off and then news emerged that her cub, only a few months old, has now also died probably of hunger and exhaustion. Information received yesterday via a source from Kenya Wildlife Service confirmed that the female rhino was apparently killed using poisoned arrows before her horns were hacked off. The poachers then artfully concealed the body so that it was only found several days after the incident. The source also insisted that the entire park, relatively compact in fact and largely fenced, is regularly patrolled and that it was only the evasive measures taken by the poachers which prolonged the period to find the carcass.
Security was immediately stepped up not only in Nakuru but other parks too were rhinos are located, as well as on private game sanctuaries and conservancies and investigations launched aimed to track down the syndicate behind the recent killings of rhinos in Kenya.
While still far from the regular slaughter seen in South Africa, Kenya is nevertheless seeing an upsurge in poaching activities, for ivory and rhino horn, and a series of arrests for attempted ivory smuggling at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and the main seaport in Mombasa in recent months has also highlighted that poaching is becoming a major curse for wildlife conservation.
The source would not go into details of what added security measures are now being taken and where more personnel would be deployed, understandably to keep operational details out of the media, but assured this correspondent that the response would be swift and comprehensive. Watch this space.