QATAR AIRWAYS HITS THE TARMAC WITH BOTH FEET RUNNING
When QR 536, an Airbus A320 in a two class configuration with the latest inflight entertainment equipment and OnAir internet connectivity on board, landed at Entebbe International Airport for the first time on a scheduled flight a few minutes ago, there was the traditional water arc created by the airports fire engines as a befitting welcome to the latest international, and first ever five star airline coming to The Pearl of Africa.
Civil aviation officials were seen smiling and nodding to each other as they, first and foremost, celebrated their success in making daily flights from Doha to Entebbe possible and facilitating traffic rights while invited guests and a few media representatives were busy watching the plane taxi to its parking position before ground handling staff were swarming the plane to put the chokes under and wheel the staircases to the doors.
Qatar Airways and Qatar government officials as well as ordinary passengers then emerged from the aircraft to be met by CAA personnel and Ugandan government officials.
Meanwhile in the city of Kampala, some 45 kilometres away, were preparations in full swing to celebrate the arrival of Qatar Airways and CEO Akbar Al Baker will hold a press conference on Thursday morning at the Kampala Serena Hotel to meet local, regional and international media representatives.
The Qatar Airways office is presently swamped with requests for their incredible launch fares, starting at 99 US Dollars return, PLUS taxes while European and Asian destinations cost just a hundred dollars more at 199 PLUS taxes, to fly as far as Beijing. Available for the launch week the fares have caused a run of sort by opportunistic travelers seeking best bargains deserting other airlines by the droves, and the Qatar Airways staff in Kampala is of course all optimistic that their inflight quality and in particular the service on the ground in transit in Doha will soon convince travelers that they have found a new gem worth sticking to. Watch this space tomorrow for details from the press conference and answers to questions which will be fielded to the Qatar Airways CEO.
Archive for November 2nd, 2011
QATAR AIRWAYS HITS THE TARMAC WITH BOTH FEET RUNNING
AMIRANTES NOW GONE BACK TOO TO ILFC
Air Seychelles has confirmed that their second B767-200, named Amirantes, has now also been flown back to the United States where it has now arrived at a designated airfield where the International Lease Finance Corporation keeps their planes. The lease, initially running until 2014, was upon mutual agreement dissolved allowing Air Seychelles to now plan in earnest for its future as the two older B767 models left behind three newer and more efficient B767-300, which remain on the fleet for the forseable future.
No details on the exact nature of the deal could be obtained from either side, as to what, if any penalties have been applied or if ILFC accepted a trade in against and upcoming future deal with even more fuel efficient and more modern aircraft than the present generation of B767s used by HM.
What is understood though is that the airline is undertaking an openminded full strategic review with all options on the table to map out its future survival in an increasingly competitive market, where by the end of this year 25 frequencies will be flown from Gulf airports to Mahe by Emirates, double daily from Dubai, Qatar Airways daily from Doha and four times a week with Etihad from Abu Dhabi.
Air Seychelles flies in code share with Air France 6 times a week between Paris and Mahe but also serves London, Milan, Rome, Johannesburg and Singapore, with a possible codeshare to China appearing more and more likely in the future. Watch this space.
East Africa aviation news update – Economic trends and performance likely to impact on airline share sales
ECONOMIC WOES IN EAST AFRICA LIKELY TO IMPACT ON AIRLINE SHARE OFFERS
Honestly this could not have come at a worse time, Central Banks pushing interest rates up, liquidity getting tighter, credit more expensive and now both Precision and KQ are in the market for floating shares said a regular aviation pundit from Nairobi to this correspondent when discussing an emerging report from Kenyas capital yesterday afternoon, that Kenya Airways may have to resort to substantial and possibly deep discounting in order to place all their new shares, with some financial analysts suggesting at least a 20 percent margin while others go even beyond that figure. We were shocked when you reported that Precision had expanded their IPO period to be able to sell here in Kenya because first Tanzania really did not want Kenyans to buy any of their shares and secondly because extending an IPO is unusual and maybe a sign how tough the market now is he then added, referring to a breaking news story filed nearly 48 hours ago. The Precision IPO extension in fact brought prompt queries from regular readers who equally disputed the reported facts but eventually learned that indeed that has been the case and that the airline itself had also confirmed the move.
Discounting share issues is not new but the level of discounting in this case for KQ when eventually announced, and the results on 15th November of the take up of the shares offered by Precision, will be an indicator just how recent economic developments have impacted on the financial instruments markets, and will in turn very likely affect airlines in the market for new aircraft vis a vis their ability to finance them at a reasonable and affordable cost. Said an occasional source from further afield in the United States, who posted a few emailed questions on the Precision story: You are not even factoring in yet the possible fallout of the Somali situation. Your region is on the brink really, and anything which could happen, a terror strike for instance, might tear right into the performance of the tourism industry. I know you dont want to write scary things about the region you love but you got to be honest to be credible. If you report you have to factor in all elements, at once and not piecemeal.
Yes, dont we all have opinions about things but as replied, the considerations what I write and how I put things are mine and mine alone and not subject to any influence peddling, positive or negative. Watch this space as more information becomes available on the performance of the Precision Air IPO and the share price at which KQ will in due course announce their share issue.
CONSENSUS BUILDS ON TOTAL EMBARGO ON SOMALIA AND NO FLY ZONE
The news that two plane loads of weaponry and ammunition being offloaded yesterday at the airport of Baidoa in Al Shabab controlled parts of Somalia has sent a further message to the powers involved in the fight against terrorism and militancy in this largely lawless nation at the Horn of Africa, that the time is now to act and to act decisively and without fear of the misguided opinions, loud as they maybe, of the global cry baby groups who once again fail to understand that they and their values too are under attack and they would not be spared by the militants.
For long have select members of the naval coalition fighting against the ocean terror unleashed by the Somali pirates on shipping along this crucial route to and from the Red Sea demanded that the Somali coastline needed to be put under a full embargo with permission for movements to be obtained from the coalition forces or else to be treated as hostile. Now these calls have been renewed for a full air embargo when news emerged through Kenyan military channels that two planes did manage to land inside Al Shabab territory bringing fresh supplies to the terrorists. Immediate allegations were made against Eritrea of being behind the move, which if found true would certainly pitch that Stalinesque country again into renewed confrontation with the IGAD group and might finally put the regime in Asmara into the crosshairs of military strategists plotting for regime change through a range of options available to them clearly now aided by having drones operate from not just inside Ethiopia but also able to launch them from Djibouti. While this may be interpreted as a hostile act by Eritrea, and might be prodding them to lash out, they would be ill prepared for a sustained aircampaign against them nor for seeing their port being blocked, should hostilities break out and spread.
An earlier article published here As Kenya goes into Somalia Afwerki sneaks off to Khartoum too gets additional relevance as both leaders are struggling for survival in the face of ever harsher living conditions, rising prices, spreading unemployment and a bloody and draconian rule. They might get backing though as proxies of their true godfathers who are fermenting trouble wherever they can, not shy using terrorism as a tool when it suits then and it is an open secret where they are based.
Meanwhile is Kenya faced with the dilemma to send warplanes deeper into Somalia to prevent such flights and either try to turn the planes back, force them to fly on to and land in Kenya for inspection or else bring such flights to an end in midair.
Whichever the case, our Kenyan brothers need our fullest support as they are doing the dirty work on the ground others were too shy to do and I am NOT talking of our Ugandan compatriots already fighting Al Shabab in their thousands from Mogadishu, and neither of our Burundian brothers in arms doing the same. Aerial surveillance and strike capabilities are welcome, much welcome in fact when used as it is hoped for, but barely enough considering the reports on the latest re-supplies coming in. Maybe these drones should be used against such targets too and the secondary explosions after a missile strike would be proof enough that ammunition and explosives have been hit, upholding a principle that whatever one can do to deny an enemy is adding further strength to our own cause. My thoughts are with the AMISON and Kenyan troops on the ground in Somalis, as well as the TFG units fighting alongside them, for a speedy and comprehensive conclusion of their present involvement.
AMADEUS TEAM UP WITH KENYA AIRWAYS, IBERIA AND GTTP TO SUPPORT SCHOOLS
In a remarkable partnership did Amadeus East Africa join hands with Kenya Airways, Iberia and the Global Travel and Tourism Partnership to bring 100 computers to 18 secondary schools and village polytechnics. This initiative is aimed to support the roll out of GTTPs Kenya curriculum which was designed to bring knowledge about tourism to the schools and vocational institutions across the country.
Amadeus, arguably the leading global distribution network, had donated the computers sourced from across Europe and Iberia and Kenya Airways offered free uplift to Nairobi, from where GTTP organized the distribution to the beneficiary institutions. Notably, although in different airline camps, Iberia now merged with British Airways and flying under OneWorld colours while Kenya Airways belongs to the competing SkyTeam, it shows that such differences do not prevent a successful cooperation for a common good, a highly applaudable spirit! The four partners had this to say on completion of this valuable project:
In Kenya, there is no tourism curriculum in schools, commented Joseph Okello, Director at GTTP-Kenya. Tourism is taught as a Geography lesson for only one week in the final year of high school under the local national curriculum. We believe there is an overwhelming need to teach tourism and travel at the secondary school level in Kenya. This would increase general public awareness especially of its positive impact and the role of the host community in tourism.
Titus Naikuni, Group Managing Director & Chief Executive, at Kenya Airways, explained: Kenya Airways does more than transportation. We are keen on partnering with communities. We continuously seek ways to support worthwhile initiatives that contribute to the positive transformation of the African continent. The partnership with Amadeus and Iberia are such initiatives. Kenya Airways will always play a role in the strategic and sustainable development of Africa because we believe sustainable development is a natural prerequisite for business and the development of the people of Africa.
Luis Díaz Güell, Director of Corporate Communication of Iberia, said: We are proud to participate in this initiative, which is part of one of the pillars of the CSR strategy of Iberia, which supports using the tourism industry as a mean for sustainable development in developing countries.
Amadeus draws the contribution from its Global PC Bank, set up to donate hardware towards social development projects. The company also provides mentorship to participant students in the GTTP-K programme, as well as real-time industry information to students and teachers.
Amadeus is always keen to add value and be useful at the community level. We place our sector, travel and tourism, at the core of our CSR strategy because we know we can make a difference, utilising our business resources and expertise to support sustainable development. The GTTP programme is an excellent way for students to broaden their training horizons -it opens up a promising future for their careers in a sector which is crucial for the Kenyan economy, said Claes Berggren, General Manager, Amadeus East Africa.