BRITISH AIRWAYS FINALLY FIGHTS BACK
From the Worlds Favourite Airline it has been a long way to being just another airline coming to East Africa and the strikes and subsequent negative reports last year did little to swing public opinion back to BA, translating into yielding traffic share to other airlines coming to East Africa, notably the giant Gulf carriers but also to Kenya Airways and Virgin on the route to Nairobi.
But the powers that be apparently decreed that enough is enough and decided to not just show flag but significantly increase capacity of flights to Nairobi, Entebbe and Dar es Salaam, Kigali and Bujumbura not yet appearing on the BA horizon it seems.
Information received from BAs East Africa manager George Mawadri, incidentally the first ever East African to be promoted to this position, indicates that across 2012 there will be a marked increase in both frequencies as well as capacity. The B777 presently used on the route to Nairobi will be substituted against a B747-400, a significant rise in per flight capacity, while the presently 7 flights per week are due to rise to 10 a week from a date still to be announced.
Dar es Salaam, presently served only three times a week, strange considering the long standing and close ties between Tanzania and former colonial power Britain, will see as many as 5 flights operated come late 2012 and Entebbe will finally get a fifth flight, about time industry observers are saying considering that KLM, a relative latecomer to Uganda, will be going to 6 flights a week later in 2012, though combined with Kigali / Rwanda.
How this will translate into recapturing market share however for passengers and cargo will remain to be seen, as Kenya Airways too seems set to react to the news by adding more flight of their own, while the arrival of Etihad in Nairobi will add yet another one of the Gulf giants to the competitive fray, with Emirates and Qatar Airways already ahead of the pack, in terms of fares, connectivity and service levels. In particular Qatar Airways seems set to connect the entire East Africa by the end of the year, having just added Kigali to their network as 17th destination, and Kilimanjaro, Mombasa and Zanzibar are due to follow over the next few months, combined with an increase to three flights PER DAY to Dar es Salaam, where BA presently only flies 3 times PER WEEK.
Some observers have questioned though the difference in equipment used, with BA operating a wide body while Qatar for instance uses an A320 single aisle aircraft, but as witnessed just a few days ago, those planes are state of the art, equipped with wireless connectivity FOR FREE while in flight and have a seat comfort for the 5 or 6 hours of flight of superior quality in economy, though no flat beds (yet) in business class.
Those considerations however feature only on the periphery for British Airways, which is set to push ahead with their capacity increases as tourism and business visitors keep streaming into East Africa in unprecedented numbers.
Watch this space for an upcoming interview with George Mawadri due for publication in April.
Archive for March 25th, 2012
BRITISH AIRWAYS FINALLY FIGHTS BACK
Tanzania tourism breaking news – President Kikwete appoints new TTB chairman, Minister appoints new board members
TANZANIA TOURIST BOARD GETS NEW CHAIRMAN AND DIRECTORS
It was confirmed over the weekend that President Kikwete last week appointed Ambassador Charles A. Sanga as the new Chairman of the Tanzania Tourist Board. The Minister of Tourism Ezekiel Maige subsequently appointed new members of the Board of Directors to serve alongside the new chairman, namely Prof. Isya Jairo from the Institute of Finance Management, renowned economist Teddy Mapunda, Abdulkarim Shah, member of parliament for Mafia Island one of the countrys tourism attractions Kaika Telele, member of parliament for the Ngorongoro constituency as well as a private sector stakeholder by the name of Samuel Diah. It could not be ascertained due to the short time available if key tourism private sector organs like TCT, TATO or HAT had any input or were able to propose additional members for consideration, as is the case in neighbouring countries where in particular the Kenya Tourist Board is now filled with top level stakeholder presence like the CEOs of Serena Hotels, Mombasa Air Safaris and Pollmans Tours.
Congratulations on the new appointment and all the best in shaping Tanzanias tourism promotion and marketing in coming years. Watch this space.
UNWTOS FIRST PAN AFRICAN CONFERENCE ON SUSTAINABLE TOURISM SET FOR ARUSHA
The recently concluded ITB in Berlin / Germany brought good news for Tanzania as pen was put to paper between the United Nations World Tourism Organization and the Government of Tanzania to hold the first ever UNWTO Pan African Conference on Sustainable Tourism Management in National Parks and Protected Areas to the East African Safari Capital of Arusha.
The composition of the preparatory team was announced over the weekend in Dar es Salaam by the Minister for Tourism Ezekiel Maige, naming amongst others the TTB, TANAPA, the Zanzibar Commission for Tourism and even the Forestry Department, besides drawing in leading stakeholders for the event planning.
The conference is due to open on October 15th with a convocation before then running until October 19th inclusive. Stakeholders in Arusha expressed excitement about the news, anticipating a series of pre and post conference tours for delegates to be taken up to see the spectacular sights of the baobab forests in Tarangire, the tree climbing lions of Manyara, the worlds largest caldera at Ngorongoro and the migration of the wildebeest and zebras in the Serengeti.
The high profile event is expected to bring together at last delegates from 50 countries and a large gathering of tourism stakeholders from the wider region, giving Tanzania to showcase not just her own attractions but also represent a united East Africa as one region with many attractions. Watch this space as more news and details become available nearer to the time but make sure you book a date with Arusha in October and perhaps stay in one of this correspondents favourite places, The Arusha Hotel or at Rivertrees at Usa River, and last but not least the fabulous Serena Mountain Village.
ROUTES AFRICA DEAL SIGNED AND SEALED, ANOTHER FIRST FOR SEYCHELLES
The seventh Routes Africa Conference was signed and sealed last week when the organizers and the government of Seychelles put pen to paper to formalize the announcement made a few weeks ago, when in fact the global media were present in Victoria to report about the Carnival International de Victoria at the time the news were broken.
The choice by the organizers was widely hailed as bringing the Routes Africa concept to this part of Africa for the first time, also underscoring the growing importance of the African Indian Ocean islands as a major part of aviation developments on the continent.
Previous meetings took place in Casablanca, Cairo, Dakar, Marrakech, Swaziland and Bamako, but never on any of the Indian Ocean islands, and the Seychelles is set to celebrate this conference as it also coincides with the 40th year of jet aviation for the archipelago.
Airlines from Africa and those flying into Africa like the mega carriers of the Gulf Etihad, Qatar Airways and Emirates too are expected to have their route development experts on site and with between 150 and 200 delegates thought to come to the Seychelles the Routes Africa conference is surely going to be a success.
Notably this event comes at a time in Seychelles aviation history when more airlines than ever before are flying more often than ever before to Mahe, the latest entrant being Ethiopian Airlines which is set to commence 4 weekly flights from Addis Ababa to Mahe in a weeks time. The momentous changes at Air Seychelles too have been a talking point for African aviation experts, with Etihad acquiring a 40 percent stake a few months ago, catapulting the Seychellois national airline into a sudden position of prominence, having been found worthy to be Etihads latest investment target, while other ailing Indian Ocean island carriers still wait and hope for a saviour to come forward and throw them a similar lifeline too.
The choice for the Seychelles was largely a result of the now Minister of Tourism and Culture, Alain St. Ange, last year speaking at the international routes conference and both networking on behalf of the Seychelles but also making waves with his speech, and the Seychelles Tourist Boards new Chief Executive Elsia Grandcourt then preparing the successful bid and seeing it come to fruition. Time for aviators to make a date with the Seychelles to be there between the 08th and 10th of July this year. Watch this space for updates.