AIR SEYCHELLES RESTRUCTURING GATHERS PACE
A task force has been established at the head office of Air Seychelles in Mahe, having to deal with the downside of the current major restructuring, which will see the airline drop all intercontinental destinations and downsize itself to a regional airline, serving existing and very likely new destinations on the African continent. The newly appointed Director for Human Resources and Training, who already holds the portfolio of IT, Mr. Chang Lam, took over the combined departments earlier in the week when his predecessor retired from the airline, signaling that restructuring also happens at the top and not just down the line.
It was learned that departmental heads are already working on streamlining their staffing levels in areas under their supervision and that senior staff from the Ministry of Employment, the Department of Public Administration and notably also the National Human Resource Development Council are all working hand in hand with the airlines management to find new opportunities for those affected, not an easy task considering the skills levels those being made redundant now already possess in a highly specialized sector of the economy. It is expected that within weeks significant announcements will be made by Air Seychelles top echelon in regard of the extent of redundancies and the new lean look HM, including announcements on destinations and type of aircraft to be used to fly there. Flying the Creole Spirit will continue, in albeit a different format and aviation aficionados will mourn the day when Air Seychelles will finally end their flights to Paris, London, Milan and Rome, ending a long chapter of aviation history for the archipelago. Happy Landings until then, and beyond.
Archive for November 24th, 2011
AIR SEYCHELLES RESTRUCTURING GATHERS PACE
ETHIOPIAN NOW ALSO FLIES THE LATEST BOEING SKY INTERIOR
Ethiopian Airlines earlier this week also took delivery of the first of 10 ordered B737-800 Sky Interior, of which RwandAir already fly two, having beaten the African aviation giant to the door to claim the honours of being the first African airline to do so.
However, Ethiopian will progressively received their full order delivered and passengers will enjoy being on board of the single aisle jet, yet having the impression of the cabin feeling of a wide body. Passengers to the two destinations Dar es Salaam and Riyadh will be the first to get a taste of the new bird, with more destinations to follow once additional deliveries come off the assembly line in Seattle.
Ethiopian is Boeings largest customer in Africa, flying presently an all Boeing fleet, although they have an order on their books for a number of Airbus A350 models as well.
Besides, Ethiopian is renowned for their maintenance work carried out at Addis Ababas Bole International Airport, with customers from near and far having their Boeing aircraft maintained by ET according to manufacturers requirements, recommendations and relevant ADs (airworthiness directives usually issued by the FAA and EASA). Watch this space for regular aviation updates from Eastern Africa.
FORMER ATCL CHIEF IN COURT AS SUCCESSOR TALKS BIG
The former Air Tanzania CEO has ended up in court yesterday with two erstwhile colleagues, charged with abuse of office over an alleged 1.4 billion Tanzania Shillings procurement deal of vehicles. The cause of the charges dates back to 2007, when Air Tanzania, allegedly in violation of the relevant procurement regulations, signed a deal for 26 cars, while at the same time ignoring their many other obligations to pay outstanding debts, including to travel agents who had paid for tickets and are todate still waiting to get their refunds. Those in particular will be happy to see the former airline chiefs dragged to court on criminal charges, while some apparently are also preparing to sue them and the airline jointly to recover their money.
David Mattaka is joined in the dock by former chief financial officer E. Ikomba and former chief internal auditor William Hajji. The accused were released on a 10 million Tanzania Shillings bond and two sureties each of the same amount, and will have to attend court for upcoming mentions of the case before the main trial begins. Ironically, it was such actions which contributed to the decline of Air Tanzania, a development current management is seeking to reverse with an ambitious development plan but this correspondents advice is be careful with your deals as apparently ignorance of the law is no defense as seen right here.
SIR SEEWOOSAGUR RAMGOOLAN INTERNATIONAL NAMED AS AFRICAS BEST
Mauritius had reason to celebrate a world number one position this week when it became known that the international airport survey carried out by the Airport Council International, ranked SSRI as Africas best, ahead of more likely rivals on the continent. Globally the airport is ranked as number 31, up nearly 50 positions from the last published survey, and a sign that ongoing renovations, modernization and upgrading plus expansion is paying off handsomely for this Indian Ocean island nation.
Passenger comments and feedback was taken into consideration for the survey results and it became known that nearly 90 percent of all travelers using the islands main international airport were very satisfied with duty free shopping, lounges and overall service levels.
Notably did Nairobis Jomo Kenyatta International Airport feature as amongst the worst in this years survey, a result endorsed by this correspondent who frequently suffers of the congested terminal when either flying to Nairobi or connecting via Nairobi.
The survey results will help Mauritius to even more successfully promote holidays to the island as the overall package, from arrival experience to departure experience, are now greatly enhanced by passenger satisfaction at the airport, not just through the resorts.
Watch this space for regular news updates from the Eastern African and Indian Ocean islands aviation scene.
NATIONAL TREE PLANTING CAMPAIGN STARTS
Last weekend saw the start of the national tree planting campaign as this year targets in particular parts of the country with less trees than is average in the country. Rwanda presently has 22 percent of its territory under forest cover, a figure due to increase to 30 percent by the year 2020, and annual but also special campaigns are aimed to keep the population sensitized about the need in their own area to grew new trees and to accept that forests are a hugely important resource as water towers and for tourism purposes.
This correspondent, presently in Rwanda to get acquainted with the new Congo / Nile Trail which is due to be launched on Friday this week, was also able to see during his drive to Lake Kivus lakeside municipality of Kibuye, and along the entire trail in fact, that tree planting was evident in several areas along the route.
Rwanda intends to link the forest of Gishwati with other patches of forest towards Nyungwe National Park, to close gaps which developed in the past due to encroachment and deforestation, a trend now successfully countered. Of the countrys present three national parks two are forests, namely Nyungwe Forest National Park and the Parc de Volcanoes where the prized mountain gorillas live in the border triangle with Uganda and Congo. Both of these parks are hugely important for Rwandas tourism industry which in recent years has been growing well above global and regional average. Gishwati, presently a protected national forest reserve, is considered to be the next national park in the making, adding attractions and offering tourists yet more options where to go and what to do while in Rwanda. This is particularly significant as the new Congo Nile Trail is being launched, as the very first loop outside Gisenyi is in fact taking hikers and cyclists to Gishwati forest through the Pfunda Sub Trail.
For more information on Rwandas forests read Rwanda turns forests into tourism assets, Rwanda shines in conservation where her EAC partners falter and A visit to the enchanted Nyungwe Forest National Park via these links: http://www.theeye.co.rw/forest_tourism.php,
www.wolfganghthome.wordpress.com/2011/07/26/rwanda-conservation-news-a-visit-to-the-enchanted-nyungwe-forest-national-park/ and http://www.theeye.co.rw/conservation.php
AIR TANZANIA PLANS BOMBARDIER PURCHASES
Within hours of the announcement that Precision Airs IPO had attracted less than 43 percent of a share take up, did Air Tanzania make waves with an announcement that they would hold more talks with Canadian manufacturer Bombardier for the purchase of up to 8 aircraft.
Presently ATCL operates a single Bombardier Q300 turboprop aircraft but has stated the intention of purchasing a range of jets with the CRJ200 and the larger CRJ700 series at the forefront of the plans. Several airlines in the wider region are already flying these city jets successfully and the size of 50 seats for the CRJ200 is considered to be just right for an airline in a market already strongly competed over by private sector rivals and regional carriers.
ATCL would require guarantees though from the Tanzanian government, if a major deal is to be struck, though the Canadian export agency has already indicated they would be keen to support a package, as long as a government guarantee from Dar es Salaam would be given for the purchase of both pre-owned as well as brand new planes.
Bombardier notably also manufactures turbo props, the type of aircraft needed to restart domestic operations in earnest and their Q300 and Q400 series would compete with mainly Precision Airs ATR fleet, and a range of other turboprops operated by rival Coastal Aviation. ATR 42 and ATR 72 are the proven workhorses and fleet backbone for Precision and are considered very suitable in the climatic and geographical conditions across East Africas largest country. Manufacturer rivals Embraer from Brazil however are also reported to be pushing their own models, as they also offer both turboprop as well as smaller jet aircraft like the E170 and E190 series.
Considering the current economic climate though, in Eastern Africa and the world at large, reviving ATCL will take more than just a new strategic plan printed on glossy paper but the ability to secure government funding, something which often lacked in the past and led to the decline of the national airline in the first place. Watch this space to follow breaking news as and when deals are announced.
PRECISION AIR IPO ALL BUT FLOPS
The signs were ominous from day one of the airlines IPO when several banks had to postpone the launch over lack of relevant documents and an ill timed announcement by the Tanzanian government about a planned revival of Air Tanzania did not help much either as it rattled investor confidence. Bounced earlier in the year, the IPO then was postponed over a frivolous winding up petition related to an alleged outstanding of around 100.000 US Dollars the airline then looked at later in the year but the IPO coincided with worsening economic date across Eastern Africa, with inflation and devaluation at the time hitting regular new records. Therefore, and when after the initially scheduled period an extension was announced heads rose up and took notice that not all was well and that the added time was to generate buyers interest across the border in Kenya too, following the eventual approval by the financial market regulators.
According to regulatory and other sources, nearly 6.700 offers for shares were received but only covered some 42.3 percent of the overall shares put on sale, missing the target to raise nearly 28 billion Tanzania Shillings by a very substantial margin, as the airline bagged just under 12 billion Tanzania Shillings.
This raises immediate questions over the financing of Precision Airs ambitious fleet and destination development plans, as a funding gap of 16 billion Tanzania Shillings now has to be addressed.
Airline officials put a brave face to the announcement and were swift to point to the subsequent IPO by Tanzania Breweries which is running from November 04 till November 25 and in contrast appears to be taken up with a gusto. Other mitigating factors were given such as the relatively late approval by the Kenyan financial regulators, a reason however rejected by financial analysts and industry observers, one of whom quipped: If they wanted to sell their shares in Kenya too, they should have sought a more timely approval and not extend the IPO, which sent all the wrong signals to the market.
Watch this space how the fallout of this disappointing IPO will affect the forthcoming issue of new shares of major shareholder Kenya Airways and generally influence the aviation market where the deck of cards appears to be in a shuffling stage right now.