AIR MAURITIUS FINANCIAL OUTLOOK WORSENS
Alarm bells are ringing at the Air Mauritius head quarters in Port Louis when the latest losses became public knowledge yesterday, showing a 28 million US Dollars loss for the three quarters of their business year by end December 2011. It is understood from a regular source from Mauritius that one of the airlines long haul planes, an Airbus A340, is to be withdrawn from service with immediate effect and to be sold, a hard proposition though at this time when the worlds economy is again shaken by the Eurozone crisis and a mixed bag of economic performance data from leading economies as well as a less than enthusiastic outlook for the rest of 2012.
They are blaming it on the stronger Rupee and higher fuel cost. But fact is that the writing is on the wall for Air Mauritius just like it was for Air Seychelles. Our government has to decide which way to go with the airline. Stand alone it will without a shred of doubt in my mind fail. We should learn from Air Seychelles fate. In La Reunion Air Austral too is struggling with financial issues. The three governments should have sat down long ago to discuss how our airlines can cooperate. Now Air Seychelles has Etihad as a partner and they have deep pockets to revive that airline and make it work. I think time is now to seek a serious partnership and then restructure Air Mauritius to concentrate on core routes which perform well and otherwise seek code shares from which it can also profit. But at this rate our airline will run out of money because our government, which is the biggest shareholder in the airline, does not have spare cash said the source in an overnight message.
Other sources also doubted assertions by Air Mauritius top management that their plans for the airline would return the carrier to profitability by 2013. The shares of the airline are reportedly now down by nearly 20 percent over the past weeks, as the financial situation continued to worsen and shareholders dumped stock to shift investments in more profitable enterprises. Watch this space for regular and breaking news updates from the aviation sector in Eastern Africa and the Indian Ocean islands.
Archive for February 16th, 2012
AIR MAURITIUS FINANCIAL OUTLOOK WORSENS
MAULID FESTIVAL IN LAMU PROMISES TOURISM REVIVAL
Tomorrow will the annual Maulid Festival in Lamu go underway and up to 80.000 visitors are expected to descend on the archipelago in coming weeks, to celebrate the birth month of the Prophet Mohamed as done every year. The Festival is co-organised by the National Museums of Kenya and the Riyadha Mosque in Lamu, aimed at promoting the rich Islamic history and culture as found still today in the ancient town. Hoteliers are confident that the festival this year will kickstart tourism to Lamu and the neighbouring areas of the Kenya coast, severely impacted last year by a series of raids by terrorists from across the border in Somalia.
However, the iron fist reaction by Kenyas military, now advancing on Kismayu, the last major base of the terrorist Al Shabab group, has created a wide buffer zone and a regular source from Mombasa said: Security has been stepped up a very great deal. Immigration has been on the lookout for potential trouble makers claiming to want to visit Lamu for the festival and the town and surrounding areas are saturated with police, army units and special security operatives to ensure a peaceful celebration of the prophets birth month. Bus companies operating between Mombasa, Malindi and Lamu have increased capacity and airlines flying to Lamus aerodrome from Nairobi, Mombasa and Malindi have also added flights with additional charters operating during the festival month over and above the daily scheduled operations.
KENYA TOURISM MISSES 100 BILLION TARGET BY A WHISKER
With final figures now available from the Ministry of Tourism in Nairobi for the year 2011, it has become evident that the 98 billion Kenya Shillings tourism revenues missed their initial target by just 2 billion, a remarkable achievement considering the circumstances the industry was faced with in the last quarter of last year.
Abductions and killings of foreigners by radical Islamic terrorists from Somalia prompted widespread anti travel advisories and an albeit shortlived spate of explosions in Nairobi, after Kenya pursued the terror groups deep into Somalia with land, sea and air forces, too shook the tourism sector. Added to that came the woes of the Eurozone and the prospect of yet another global recession, and still, Kenyas arrival numbers were remaining steady through the steep growth rates of the earlier part of 2011 eventually flattened out. Arrivals by air, the most significant factor of inbound travel, reached 1.26 million passengers while cross border arrivals from Tanzania and Uganda topped 520.000 travellers. While arrivals in Nairobi soared, the same cannot be said for Mombasa where, inspite of more inclusive tour charters from core producer markets in Europe, the overall annual trend for 2011 remained not too much above 2010. All in all, Kenya established a new arrival and revenue record though, for the third year running, since the recovery set in during 2009, and the forecast is cautiously optimistic amongst key tourism stakeholders for 2012. We are introducing new tourism circuits in Western Kenya and are highlighting the attractions beyond the best known parks. New upmarket lodges and safari camps, even beach resorts, have come on line in 2011 helping us market Kenya as a choice destination. We offer the widest range of air connections from overseas of any airport in the region, and that also makes Nairobi a first choice for passengers to travel to. It benefits Kenya overall. When the airport expansion at JKIA is completed, we will also have a much better arrival and departure experience for visitors and Kenya Airways are playing a big part in putting Kenya on the map, in Africa and overseas. For 2012 we are optimistic and more so for 2013, when we will celebrate out 50th year of Independence. We are planning a big programme of promotions along the Olympics in London this year and for 2013 we will probably see record spending for tourism marketing as we have our golden jubilee year. This is all now getting into gear and will no doubt show good results a regular source from Nairobi communicated to this correspondent overnight in response to relevant questions.
Tea, as a result of favourable exchange rates, however topped the foreign exchange earners list with 107 billion Kenya Shillings, leaving tourism again in second place but determined to reclaim top spot in coming years. Visit www.magicalkenya.com KTBs official website, for more information about the destination.
BLUE PANORAMA MAKES MAIDEN FLIGHT TO SEYCHELLES
Italys Blue Panorama has yesterday landed for the first time in the Seychelles on a currently weekly flight from Milan and Rome to Mahe, offering Italian travelers once again a direct or nonstop connection from Italy following the withdrawal of Air Seychelles services a month ago.
The Who is Who of Seychelles tourism and aviation fraternity was assembled at the international airport to welcome the inaugural flight, which landed with 131 passengers on board, joined by members of staff of the Italian Consulate in Victoria.
Airline representatives were quoted in saying that their application for traffic rights and facilitation on the fast track was an extraordinary effort from all concerned on the Seychelles, from Civil Aviation over airport handling to the logistical support in putting the new flight on the market by the Seychelles Tourism Board offices in Bel Ombre and their Italian marketing office, making it possible to start flights in record time by cutting through the red tape. The airline is set to add a second weekly flight from July onwards, when the main vacation season starts in Italy and is confident that passenger numbers will steadily rise and soon overtake the passenger uplift Air Seychelles used to have from Italy. Seychelles, truly Another World.
(Picture courtesy of Seychelles Tourism Board, showing the traditional water cannon salute for the aircraft as it taxied off the runway to its parking position, disembarking passengers and STBs CEO Alain St. Ange in an interview with Italian and local media representatives)
CARNIVAL PROGRAMME PUBLISHED 2 WEEKS TO GO TO #SEYCHELLESCARNIVAL2012
The Seychelles Tourism Board has overnight released the much expected official programme for the 2012 edition of the Carnaval de Carnivals, co-hosted this year jointly with fellow Vanilla Island member La Reunion, and as one can see, bigger, better and more exciting than ever before.
The #SeychellesCarnival2012, as it is hashtagged and trending on Twitter, has become a key event in the annual calendar of activities the Seychelles now have to offer to visitors and has turned into an international media spectacle, with leading TV and Radio stations, but also newspapers and magazines having staff on the archipelago to report from Victoria. It is noteworthy that the Seychelles are host to the ONE AND ONLY carnival festival in Africa, positioning the country on the top of the tourism food chain with their innovations and creative PR and marketing efforts. Visit www.seychelles.travel for more information about the carnival and the destination overall.
KENYA AIRWAYS B737-700 IN SKY TEAM LIVERY
Kenya Airways has completed painting one of their B737-700 aircraft in Sky Team livery and the aircraft has resumed flying and carrying out ambassadorial duties across the KQ network.
The Pride of Africa is the only Sky Team member the alliance has in Africa and therefore of crucial importance to carry traffic into the continent via their hub in Nairobi, where key alliance member KLM / Air France is operating code shared flights with KQ on a double daily basis from Amsterdam.
Through the alliances flights passengers can stay within to 926 destinations in 173 countries around the globe, earn miles and enjoy the comfort of nearly 500 lounges in key airports. Said Dr. Titus Naikuni, CEO and Group Managing Director of Kenya Airways, when the aircraft was launched in Nairobi earlier in the week: Our partnership with SkyTeam will enable us to consolidate our presence in the African and global markets in line with our 10-year Growth Plan. SkyTeam is a compelling proposition that enables partner airlines to offer customers additional connections across the globe.
Kenya Airways is the East African Communitys leading airline, connecting East Africans via their Nairobi hub to the rest of Africa and beyond. The airline is in the final stages of a major new share issue and is set to double their fleet by 2015. Visit www.kenya-airways.com for more details.
(Fresh out of the paint shop of Kenya Airways own MRO at their Embakasi base in Nairobi)