NOW DARS JNIA ALSO RUSHES TO CATCH UP WITH DEMAND RISES
Information has been received from regular aviation sources in Dar es Salaam, that the countrys main international airport, Julius Nyerere International, has finally and apparently been shocked into a reaction too, following frequent reports in regional media and aviation circles of the determined efforts put up in the wider region to expand, modernize and refurbish the key airports in Nairobi, Kigali where in fact an entirely new airport is supposed to open by 2016 at Bugesera with Entebbe and Kilimanjaro International also at the verge of starting major new expansions.
Aviation in Tanzania, while crucially important to bring tourists and business visitors to the country, has always had the stigma of a step child at best and the lukewarm on and off decisions over the almost invisible national airline Air Tanzania, as well as the equally lukewarm attitude towards the countrys largest airline Precision Air by government speaks volumes as to the importance aviation is given in government circles.
It is understood that principle consent has now been indicated to commence the planning of a third terminal in Dar es Salaam, to cater for what is generally expected to be fast rising passenger and cargo volumes.
Unlike in neighbouring countries though, and probably again showing the lack of understanding of how aviation works, has the source in Dar mentioned that the Tanzania Airport Authority is seeking a partnership with a private investor, either due to lack of funds or inability to put a financing package into place swiftly enough to provide timely capacity relief. Going by past public private partnership experiences in Tanzania, as seen in the attempt to privatize the railways, privatize water and introduce private companies in electricity production, this is worth watching how it will develop and finally emerge, and if this venture will stand the test of time, and the test of inevitable politics in Tanzania and bring the benefits as the aviation fraternity is hoping for. So for now it is merely an expression of interest, nothing firm nor concrete and without the timelines the airline industry has been waiting and hoping for. Watch this space for regular breaking news and news updates from Eastern Africa and the Indian Ocean islands aviation scene.
Archive for December 18th, 2011
NOW DARS JNIA ALSO RUSHES TO CATCH UP WITH DEMAND RISES
Seychelles aviation breaking news – Last Paris flights in January as the end of intercontinental operations rapidly approaches
AIR SEYCHELLES TO DROP PARIS ALREADY IN JANUARY
The worst fears are coming true for staff and friends of Air Seychelles, when it was confirmed that not only the initially announced cuts of the routes to London, Milan and Rome will become effective almost immediately and be concluded by January 2012 but that Paris too will be axed without further ado from mid January onwards. Initially it was said that the presently 6 flights a week, all codeshared with Air France, would be reduced to three only and to be phased out completely by March 2012, so this latest announcement comes as yet another shock how swift and ruthless the cuts came and the endgame begins.
Regular sources from Mahe do speak of attempts to at least reach a deal with Etihad, now flying four times a week between Abu Dhabi and Mahe, to use one of Air Seychelles B767-300 aircraft, but knowing how complex such negotiations normally are, this may not come to fruition and see the entire remaining long haul fleet of 3 such aircraft being largely parked, with the only remaining services to Mauritius and Johannesburg still on the schedules.
Air Seychelles management is presently negotiating with ILFC to return the three aircraft without too much of a penalty payment, years before their leases were due to expire, and in turn acquire very likely a B737-800 version to service the Indian Ocean islands and the African mainland, where however presently only Johannesburg is active, while other destinations maybe studied right now in order to determine demand.
We could never have imagined that from flying our national colours high and proud we could be cut to such an extent in so short a time. It is not just a shock for all Seychellois, it is also a shame that this was allowed to happen and not more and greater efforts taken to seek HMs survival. As you wrote a while ago, were all options sufficiently explored, like to cooperate with Air Austral or Air Mauritius and combine routes and pool resources, share facilities in Europe and get closer? No one can answer that and now it is too late as we are turned into a shadow of our former self said a regular source from Mahe upon enquiring about feelings and fact from the archipelagos aviation fraternity. To the old Air Seychelles, as we all knew and respected the airline, it will be a final Merry Christmas but clearly not a Happy New Year, as in 2012 the dice will roll to determine what shape, image and direction the new Air Seychelles will take. Best of luck for that of course and happy landings until the last service from Europe has safely landed back home on Mahe in January next year.
NEW SEYCHELLES TOURISM ACADEMY TO BECOME SELF SUSTAINING
As reported here a few weeks ago, the Seychelles Tourism Academy is undergoing a dramatic transformation with the demolition of old buildings and the construction of new, purpose built facilities aimed to provide the best possible vocational and tertiary training for students of the hospitality and tourism courses now on offer. The next two years will see a progressive change of face for the academy, which has in recent years become a model college for other Indian Ocean islands and for countries on the African mainland, after the archipelagos government had recognized the crucial importance of training young Seychellois citizens who aspired in a career in the tourism industry but lacked skills and qualifications.
The STAs cooperation with foreign institutions, notably a highly respected college in Ireland, has added further to the standing of the school, giving graduates the opportunity to complete their bachelor degrees in their chosen field of studies.
The new STA will amongst other new features have a fully fledged Spa, where students can train, but also a purpose built chalet reflecting the need of the increasing number of local owners of such properties across the islands to have staff specifically trained to their own requirements and standards.
Also constructed will be a hotel which income is supposed to progressively reduce the subsidies presently given by government, and eventually make the institution self sufficient by offering study places at a cost of 19.000 Euros all inclusive for students from the African mainland or other island nations.
Congratulations to the STA team and those behind this development at the Seychelles Tourism Board and the private sector, who have worked hand in hand to accomplish this project.
FREE BOOZE NO MORE ON DOMESTIC KENYA AIRWAYS SERVICES
While in Nairobi a few days ago it could be confirmed that Kenya Airways had commenced, what one staff has on condition of anonymity described as a trial, a policy of no longer serving alcoholic drinks on domestic routes, not in either business or economy class, while meals too will no longer be served on board for J-class passengers as was the case until now.
As seen in the domestic business class lounge on Friday last week, hot and cold snacks are served however in the lounge at the departure gate, where passengers booked on J-class and those with sufficient miles accrued on their account can enjoy some bites, beers and wine for that matter, before boarding their flights to either Mombasa, Malindi or Kisumu.
These are short flights and we are now trying to see how this change will affect our business class clients and their reaction. On board the cabin crew continues to serve soft drinks, juices and coffee or tea, while J-class passengers will be offered our mixed nut variety the same source said while explaining the changes.
On regional routes an expanded service is however maintained for both classes in the aircraft, as competition on such routes requires matching services while on Kenyas domestic routes KQ competes with low cost airlines which do not generally provide inflight meal services nor offer business class on all routes as Kenya Airways does.
Cost pressures, over fuel and the expected rise in regulatory fees, has caused the margins on domestic sectors shrink, prompting The Pride of Africa a few weeks ago to introduce US Dollar based charges for domestic flights, but the recent strengthening of the Kenya Shilling may see this policy reviewed and reversed soon, should it become evident that Shilling based fares will be to the advantage of the airline compared to sticking to US Dollar based ticket prices. The change in catering policy too is attributed to the need to make ends meet and save money without in principle compromising service levels regular KQ passengers have come to expect. Watch this space for regular updates from East Africas aviation scene.