KENYA AIRWAYS INTRODUCES KQ MOBILE SERVICE
Kenya Airways has signed up with Cellulant to deliver to their clients and passenger up to date information via mobile phone text messaging, it was learned overnight. Named KQ Mobile the service is accessible by dialing in ones mobile phone *737# which then allows access to a range of details on flight departures, occasional delays, general time tables and schedules, ticketing issues and frequent flyer status updates.
Kenya Airways CEO Dr. Titus Naikuni said at the launch announcement: At Kenya Airways, our commitment to diversify customer service information delivery channels beyond the traditional platforms remains one of our key business priorities. Our partnership with Cellulant is expressly geared to explore new avenues to achieve this goal. Our ultimate objective is to leverage the convenience element presented by a mobile phone to deliver a range of services and information to our customers, staff and stakeholders.
Cellulant is Kenyas leading IT solutions and application developer and operates similar services successfully for some time now for other sectors in the economy too, now finally extending another African first for The Pride of Africa. Watch this space.
Archive for May 9th, 2012
KENYA AIRWAYS INTRODUCES KQ MOBILE SERVICE
KWS TAKES THE FIGHT TO THE POACHERS
Reports of two shootouts with poachers became known overnight, when a source from Nairobi confirmed that KWS enforcement personnel was in hot pursuit of two gangs of poachers in Tana River County.
During the fire fights at least one poacher was killed while others are suspected to have been wounded and are struggling to get away for the pursuing teams. Recovered were an AK 47 assault rifle and several magazines from the dead poacher while in the other incident again several magazines and bullets were found together with at least two tusks, recently removed from an adult elephant.
KWS coast conservation area senior staffer Simon Gitau informed the media and local authorities about the incident and requested support from the public to report anyone found with gunshot injuries to the police or the nearest KWS contingent tracking the gangs.
Poaching in Kenya has in recent months seen an upswing and KWS has mobilized special commando units now deployed at strategic locations for immediate action when cases of poaching become known or when gunshots are heard from or in the vicinity of national parks, game reserves and conservancies. In the most recent past several fierce engagements with poachers were reported and several of them killed while others were arrested and their equipment confiscated.
What is now missing is to strengthen Kenyas wildlife laws to provide stiff financial fines and long custodial sentences for anyone found poaching, facilitating poaching or trading in blood ivory and other wildlife products. Watch this space.
AIR SEYCHELLES STAFF COMPLETE TRAINING AT ETIHADS ACADEMY IN ABU DHABI
Information was received overnight that the first group of Air Seychelles staff had successfully completed their training programme and were type rated for the A330 and the A320, which have already joined the Air Seychelles fleet on a wet lease from partner airline Etihad. 18 cabin crew members were presented with their course certificates in the presence of Home Affairs and Transport Minister Joel Morgan, who had travelled with Air Seychelles CEO Cramer Bell to Abu Dhabi to witness the occasion.
The second such course for Air Seychelles cabin crew is presently ongoing and a third group has left Mahe for Abu Dhabi last weekend it is understood. Type rating courses are also underway for cockpit crew and engineers, who require the conversion course to be able to fly on and maintain Airbus aircraft.
The Seychelles national airline, now 40 percent owned by Etihad, used to operate a fleet of 5 B767-200 and B767-300 aircraft but has since the restructuring started in October 2011 returned most of them to lessor ILFC and is now operating one wet leased A330-200 and one A320. These two aircraft types, already in use by Etihad, will form the new fleet back bone as the search for new routes on the African continent, where the A320 could be deployed, is underway. On long haul routes, where the focus in now in East Asia, when sufficient crew have been trained on the new aircraft, Air Seychelles will get A330 aircraft though it could not be ascertained at this stage if the new birds will be seconded by Etihad or acquired directly on lease from ILFC where a quid pro quo situation appears to be in place. Watch this space for regular aviation news from the Indian Ocean islands.
NEW TOURISM MINISTER VOWS TO MAKE CHANGES
Appointed only last week, when his predecessor Ezekiel Maige was unceremoniously sacked alongside 5 other cabinet ministers, did the new man at the helm of the ministry for natural resources and tourism Khamis Kagesheki make his first major announcement yesterday in Dar es Salaam. Poaching, illegal timber cutting and trade and unsustainable use of natural resources will be high on his agenda it appears from reports received. There are many complaints on poaching, allocation of hunting blocks and illegal trading of timber. We are going to focus on those problems the new minister was quoted in having said, a first indicator that he understands what led to the downfall of Maige and how to avoid falling into the same traps by tackling the right issues.
There is speculation in Dar es Salaams tourism and conservation circles that senior staff at ministry level and subordinate bodies under the ministry may also face the axe to allow the minister a fresh start all round with new faces not associated with past scandals over illegal logging and allegedly illegal exports of wildlife. Said a regular source from Arusha when discussing the issue: Maige talked too much and talked too much rubbish. Of course no one tells a sitting minister in his face but those were wide sentiments. He lost grip on illegal logging, illegal wildlife trade which uses Tanzania as a conduit and for sure he failed to make use of the Presidents support to crack down hard on poaching. The President even offered troops but Maige and TANAPA, what were they doing. In fact, TANAPA went on rampage last year by blackmailing tour operators when they had an issue with lodges and tented camps. They held our drivers and tourists hostage. It is such issues the new minister needs to look into. Expanding Tanga Marine National Park inland is another issue he should look at. The whole question of that damned road through the Serengeti, the railway routings, mining in the Selous, the planned power plant at Stieglers Gorge, the Lake Natron soda ash plant, there are so many issues which you keep writing about. TTB needs to shape up in promotion to match our neighbours and popularize Tanzania and our islands. I have talked with colleagues and we are ready to give the new man some time to settle down but there are hard decisions waiting for him..
Similar statements are also expected from the new transport minister in particular about the future of the countrys dilapidated railway system, of which several routes could become instant tourist attractions besides once again providing Tanzanians with safe and affordable means of transport. One of the most controversial issues, the future of Air Tanzania, which has left the government in the lurch over guarantees given to them in the past for transactions, now estimated to cost the country up to 200 million US Dollars to settle is also on the new transport ministers agenda and he will be well advised to make peace with parliament which had unearthed the scandals by taking harsh and literally instant action against those implicated in the alleged fraud. Watch this space.
ETHIOPIAN PILOTS START TYPE CONVERSION TO THE B787 DREAMLINER
Ethiopian Airlines pilots are the first African pilots working for an Africa based airline to have trained on and converted to the revolutionary new B787 Dreamliner, it was learned overnight. Ethiopian will be Boeings launch customer for Africa and the first 8 pilots have now completed training at the Boeing Flight Services Academy at Gatwick Airport in the UK. Additional groups of ET pilots will be undergoing type conversion in coming weeks, after the FAA has granted Boeing the requisite approvals to provide flight training. A media release from Boeing in fact pointed out that the required training before being certified on the new plane can be as little as 5 days for pilots already operating the B777, but in no case is a longer period than 20 days required as a result of the commonalities which exist between the two aircraft types.
Ethiopian is expected to take delivery of their first of 10 ordered B787 Dreamliner in 2012, making it the debut on the continent and the first African airline to integrate this new plane into their fleet, allowing capacity increases as progressively the aged B767 fleet will be retired upon deliveries of the new birds.
Desta Zeru, Senior Vice President Flight Operations at Ethiopian Airlines was quoted to have said: This is an important milestone in the history of Ethiopian Airlines. Our pilots are now qualified as the first African pilots to fly the 787.
Watch this space for regular updates from Eastern Africas aviation industry.
Residents will be smiling, as will in particular visiting tourists, now that ZANTEL, which is part of the UAEs Etisalat Group, has introduced new data bundles, which can be taken advantage of by purchasing a local SIM card and then surfing the net, uploading pictures on Facebook or sending them by email, listening to music or streaming content with no limitations on data usage.
Not all visitors who come to Zanzibar or to Tanzanias mainland are staying in high priced resorts where free wifi is being provided, and in fact not all resorts are yet providing free wifi services for guests, while more budget friendly resorts, hotels or guest houses simply do not have the facility for their guests.
The easy access to SIM cards across Eastern Africa has in recent years led to a massive increase of purchases by visitors, on business and on holiday, to take advantage of the often substantially cheaper calling rates, unlike roaming services which can cost dearly and only become apparent weeks afterwards when the bills arrive and wipe out the holiday budget for the next trip.
All operators in Eastern Africa now offer data bundles, and while some have not yet migrated from 2G to 3G, others have introduces 3+G or are preparing for 4G introduction already. As for everything, a little comparison will do visitors good in terms of cost of calls and cost of data bundles, as few mobile providers offer the unlimited option for their subscribers, but those who do are of course prime candidates for visitors from abroad, to get the best deals available on the market. Come visit the Tanzanian mainland and its fabulous game parks before enjoying the sandy beaches and cultural and historical sights of Zanzibar and roam the net with ZANTEL.