AIR SEYCHELLES DROPS SINGAPORE AS RESTRUCTURING CONTINUES
News broke today that Air Seychelles will, effective 22nd November 2011, drop its once a week flight between Mahe and Singapore, throwing a spanner in the works of promoting the archipelago in this part of the Far East but at the same time keeping an eye on cost cutting measures.
The development does not come completely unexpected as new CEO Bram Stellar, now in office for just about 6 weeks, has set out to look at each and every aspect of the airlines operation, fleet and destinations with the aim to reduce cost and help HM survive in an increasingly tough aviation market.
Already have two of the five B767 aircraft been returned to ILFC, following successful negotiation to end the leases for the two -200 versions prematurely, leaving Air Seychelles with three B767-300 to operate the routes to London, Paris, Milan, Rome and Johannesburg.
Passengers already booked well in advance on the Singapore to Mahe route will be contacted by the airline and offered alternatives, but once the last flight has been concluded, traffic to and from the Seychelles to the Far East will depend on such airlines as Emirates, Qatar Airways and Etihad, which are operating up to 25 flights from the Gulf to Mahe per week by the end of this year and offer convenient connections to Singapore and beyond to China and other key Far and South Eastern destinations.
It is understood that other destinations too are subject to performance review under the ongoing restructuring process and any further emerging news will be reported right here in real time.
Archive for November 9th, 2011
AIR SEYCHELLES DROPS SINGAPORE AS RESTRUCTURING CONTINUES
RWANDAS ARRIVALS UP BY 28 PERCENT
The Rwanda Development Boards Tourism and Conservation division staff went to Londons WTM armed with good news: Arrivals are up, AGAIN, by over 28 percent compared to the previous year, manifesting the result of hard work and creative approaches to marketing the country and keeping it in the spotlight of the global travel media.
Amongst the fastest growing markets were East Africa, South Africa and West Africa, no surprise here as RwandAir is now flying increasingly often to these destinations, especially now that the airline has taken delivery of two B737-800 aircraft, bringing the total fleet to 7.
RwandAirs marketing efforts though go hand in hand with RDB and the private sector, which have been fielding a united front when going out to promote the country and in the process being mentioned alongside such marketing giants like the Seychelles.
Small but oh la la comes to mind when talking Rwanda and the nature experience of the three national parks is complemented by forest reserves like Gishwati, birding trails and now the Congo / Nile Trail, which traverses the continental water divide feeding into Africas two most important rivers.
The sharp increase has also in part be attributed to the market entry of KLM, which now operates 5 times a week between Amsterdam and Kigali, and the return of South African Airways on the route from Johannesburg will add further arrival numbers. Once Turkish Airlines will commence flights in April next year, and considering the interest in Kigali of such giants like Qatar Airways, this will only further improve the performance of the tourism industry which in recent years has become an economic cornerstone of The Land of a Thousand Hills. Watch this space for all current news on tourism and conservation, brought to you right here as and when things happen in Rwanda.
Kenya aviation news – Africa’s top spot in aviation will be ours, claims regular aviation source from Nairobi
KENYA AIRWAYS TOO ASPIRES TO OCCUPY THE CONTINENTAL TOP SPOT
No sooner had a report been filed here last week about Ethiopian Airlines aspiration to be the undisputed Number One airline in Africa, did a regular source from Nairobi rush material and input to this correspondent, claiming that it was in fact Kenya Airways which was to be on top of the African rankings in a decades time.
We appreciate your concerns over the capacity at JKIA [Jomo Kenyatta
International Airport, Kenyas main aviation gateway in Nairobi] and share many of the issues you raised in a series of articles about aviation, especially the recent one when you compared airline growth under the context of airports not keeping pace with capacity increases. But in a decade, we here in Nairobi will have a second runway, might even plan for a third one, and will probably have even a terminal 5 in operation [Terminal 4 is due to be opened by end 2012]. So Kenya Airways will have all the infrastructure ready on the ground to go into overdrive with our roll out of destinations, in Africa, the Mid and Far East, India, Europe and North America. By 2013 all African capitals or commercial centres will be connected with our Nairobi hub, several times a week or daily or several times a day as traffic demands. There will be a mix of aircraft used for such routes, from wide bodies to the B737 and the new fleet of Embraer E190ARs which are now joining the fleet.
We are stepping up pilot training which you also identified as a restraining factor to airline growth and our Pride Centre at Embakasi has already a B737 simulator. We might expand on this to train even more of our pilots at home. Right now we have 33 aircraft in the fleet, the freighters are now coming and next year we will get more Embraers. The delivery dates for the B787 Dreamliners are still vague but that applies to our rivals also. We are getting two more B777 and have 9 Dreamliners on firm order and 4 more on options. This number is very likely to grow a lot more because by 2021, in ten years time, we might have a fleet three times the size of today. Now that shows we are aware of the opportunities of professionally managed aviation in Africa, in East Africa and are going flat out to see the full potential exploited, aided by our geographical location and by East Africas tourism attractions.
True enough says this correspondent, and while at present giving Ethiopian Airlines a slight edge, in terms of aircraft numbers in the fleet and destinations served internationally with already existing flights between the US and Addis Ababa, the fight for superiority in the African skies will intensify in coming months and years and the outcome will be determined by infrastructure on the ground, quality of the service at airports, in the air and via service centres, punctuality, safety standards and records and the ability to get enough pilots on line to fly all those new planes. Fodder for thought, as the Big Three in Africa, Ethiopian, Kenya Airways and a revitalized South African Airways take their marketing campaigns and battles for supremacy to each other. And as often said in closing, read all about it right here through regular updates, breaking news and opinion pieces.
Tanzania news update – Prince Charles raises conservation and biodiversity issues during State Dinner
PRINCE CHARLES ADDRESSES TANZANIAN CONSERVATION LEGACY
The heir to the British throne, fresh back in Dar es Salaam after a day visit to Zanzibar, did not disappoint the conservation fraternity in his official State Dinner address, when he expressed his hopes to see Mt. Kilimanjaro during his one day visit to Arusha on Wednesday, weather permitting. Notably did Prince Charles pay glowing tribute to the founding father of the Tanzanian nation, the late Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, whom he described as leaving a priceless legacy of conservation of national parks, game- nature- and marine reserves, which until now have contributed to maintaining global biodiversity.
There is speculation that Prince Charles in his one on one meeting also raised serious questions of the current Tanzanian governments commitment to conservation, in his capacity as President of the WWF UK chapter and generally as a known conservationist and nature lover, ever ready to speak his mind candidly.
Tanzania has been in the bad books of the global conservation fraternity over a range of inexplicable U-turns from Nyereres total commitment to conservation, to the extent of being accused on trampling the founding fathers legacy and inheritance. Tanzania celebrates its 50th anniversary of Independence from Britain this week and has tried to capitalize on the celebrations to promote tourism to the country, however overshadowed by a series of ministerial gaffes and contradictory statements and hugely controversial plans to extract Uranium in the Selous Game Reserve, mine soda ash at the single breeding ground of the lesser flamingo, build a highway across the Serengeti and convert the Tanga Marine National Park, home to the prehistoric Coelacanth fish, into a deep sea harbour, amongst a range of other equally controversial development projects.
Prince Charles has meetings with conservationists on his agenda and will undoubtedly give them reassurance and hope that his support will add to the public pressure to revise if not abandon some of the most controversial plans and seek other options to explore Tanzanias mineral riches without impacting irreversibly on biodiversity. Watch this space.
LONG OVERDUE KANYEIHAMBA REPORT FINALLY OUT
After being denied yet another extension of the term of office for the controversial commission of enquiry into the UWA / PAMSU project has the long overdue report finally been submitted and was published yesterday.
In a sign of dissent however did the secretary to the commission apparently not sign the report although two other commission members, who had previously indicated they might submit a minority report, appear to have either changed their mind or yielded to pressure and affixed their signatures to the document.
Vengeful, acid and often personal attacks by Kanyeihamba on witnesses during hearings appear to have found their way into the document, which is according to a well informed source at the Ministry of Tourism already being scrutinized with the aim of highlighting errors and inconsistencies and publicly tear it apart and discredit it and its author.
In the cross hairs of Kanyeihambas report is amongst others the former Permanent Secretary Amb. Onen, with whom the controversial retired Supreme Court Justice had repeated run ins over office space and facilitation, i.e. the budget for his work, and has now conveniently repaid by calling for the Permanent Secretarys prosecution. Others recommended for prosecution are former Executive Director Moses Mapesa as well as current Acting Executive Director Dr. Andrew Seguya, with whom Kanyeihambe personally had several public spats.
This is pay back by Kanyeihamba for those he considered standing in his way, and in my humble opinion not based on fact but by other motives much more sinister said a usually well informed source familiar with the going ons in the ministry and at UWA to this correspondent yesterday afternoon.
The report also took aim at the current Minister, Prof. Ephraim Kamuntu, who was interesting enough not in any way connected with the events at UWA which led to the commission being established by his predecessor in office, but having denied Kanyeihamba a lucrative extension of the commissions term of office by another three months may well have angered the retired justice and let emotion get the better of him, making allegations against the Minister of Tourism which might well lead to a legal reaction by the minister as an individual and the ministry as a whole.
The one positive thing however now is that a report has been produced, no matter how skewed and tilted it might be in its opinions and can now be subjected to proper legal scrutiny, while seeing Kanyeihamba hopefully disappearing again into the obscurity of retirement. Watch this space for any legal action or potential prosecutions, as and when such developments occur.
CAA LICENSING MEETING SET FOR 24TH NOVEMBER
The upcoming licensing committee meeting of the Civil Aviation Authoritys Board of Directors will hear applications from 12 airlines on the 24th of November, when one of the rare meetings will take place at the Imperial Royale Hotel. Unlike elsewhere in the region, where for instance in Kenya these meetings are convened at quarterly intervals due to the volume of applications received, in Uganda at best such meetings take place once a year. Urgent applications may in between licensing committee meetings be granted administrative approvals by the regulators but applicants will then have to appear at the next public hearing to submit and defend their application.
Amongst the five renewals will be Air Ugandas air service license, which is generally considered a foregone conclusion, considering it is Ugandas sole international airline, while others are Ndege Juu, based at the Kajjansi airfield and Uganda Air Cargo Corporation amongst others.
New applications have been lodged with the CAA by a number of aspiring air operators, several for domestic and regional charters proposing to use Cessna 208 Caravan aircraft, while Jubba Airlines from Kenya is seeking a license to start non-scheduled passenger and cargo services using a first generation B737. Other applicants for non-scheduled licenses equally have listed ancient aircraft of the DC9 or B727 types, which while in theory if well maintained can still be airworthy but generally speak volumes about the capacity of such wannabe operators using the cheapest birds available with operating cost and fuel burns almost certain to inflict some serious financial harm on the bottom lines of such companies.
The hearing is public, i.e. open for observers and media representatives and will as usual be preceded by a meeting of the Board of Directors of the Civil Aviation Authority. Visit www.caa.co.ug for more information about Ugandas aviation sector.