KENYA AIRWAYS ADDS 10TH E 190 TO FLEET
Kenya Airways has confirmed the delivery of their 10th Embraer E190 jet, configured with 12 business class and 84 economy class seats, this being the last of 3 leased from the Air Lease Corporation or in short ALC.
The new jet will greatly assist the airline in adding more frequencies but also expanding destinations with Kilimanjaro coming on line in early July in a codeshared operation with partner Precision Air. .
The E 190 has taken the pressure off the airlines fleet of B737-700 and -800 used to key destinations in Africa and is now a regular visitor to such places as Bujumbura or Kigali, Entebbe but even Addis Ababa, where the 2×2 configuration in the economy cabin and the 2×1 in business class have been accepted as an acceptable layout on flights of between 1 and up to 3 hours.
The jets are also used, alongside the 3 E170s on routes to Mombasa, Kisumu, Malindi and soon Eldoret giving their local rivals still using older equipment now a run for their money in terms of inflight comfort.
From July onwards are a further 9 E190s expected in intervals of one a month until March 2013 when a batch of newly ordered B737-800s will be delivered, boosting medium haul destinations across Africa where by the end of 2013 Kenya Airways intends to connect every commercial and political capital with Nairobi.
Happy Landings to the new bird, its crews and passengers.
Archive for May 31st, 2012
KENYA AIRWAYS ADDS 10TH E 190 TO FLEET
The Chui as the Leopard Beach is fondly called amongst friends of the resort last night suffered fire damage to the makuti roofs near the main building, when around 02.15 a.m. the fire alarm was sounded by the night staff.
The resort is undergoing its annual spring cleaning and modernization at present, as every year for the past 11 years since veteran hotelier Chris Modigell joined the owners, and no guests were affected therefore.
According to a firsthand report from Diani Beach the fire was extinguished with the help of its own inhouse trained security team supported by a state of the art fire hydrant ring line, the valuable assistance of the Ukunda airstrip fire truck and neighbouring resorts staff also trained in fire response, preventing greater damage to the structures. Group 4 Security too provided assistance though the Kwale County Councils fire department was reportedly as non responsive as ever, prompting a few choice words being uttered by another source called to corroborate the story.
The famous bars Marios and Marcos bars makuti roofs were also affected but damage to both facilities was very limited. The linen stores and laundry and some offices nearby however suffered greater damage, nothing though which cannot be replaced, and while the planned re-opening on 29th June, an annual event when the Chui make a re-appearance on the market sparkling new and fresh for another year of near full house occupancies, may have to be pushed, the resort is due to announce the anticipated dates very soon.
Fire adjusters from the insurance company are already on site and foul play has been ruled out as far as present investigations confirm, leading to a short circuit as the potential source which might have triggered the blaze.
The 150 room, suite, cottage and sea side villas resort is presently adding 28 garden and forest villas of 2 to 3 bedrooms each with their own pools, bringing the total number of rooms then available to 225, and also adding a 6thFusion restaurant. The Leopard Beach Resort and Spa has been consistently voted as Kenyas leading South Coast resort in both international and local selections and is a crowd favourite to many who appreciate that the Chui never looks tired or worn as is the case in many other resorts.
No one was injured in the fire and clearing up work has already commenced, again aided by the fact that the resort was closed at the time for its annual dose of adding sparkle back to it. Visit www.leopardbeachresort.com for more information and details, when available, on the projected re-opening.
SEYCHELLES ST. ANGE GUEST OF HONOUR AT MADAGASCAR TOURISM FAIR
The Minister for Tourism and Culture of the Seychelles, Alain St. Ange, was invited by the Madagascar government as guest of honour to formally open the islands International Tourism Fair, as Madagascar is trying to re-emerge from the political cold it found itself in over political events 2 years ago.
St. Ange, in his usual engaging style, praised the cooperation between the Indian Ocean islands working hitherto hand in hand under the Vanilla Island marketing concept and made it clear that cooperation in todays economic climate was the sensible and logical choice for the islands instead of individually facing the same problems but without the safety net others could hold out.
Quoting in part from his address availed to this correspondent, Minister St. Ange said:
On behalf of President James Michel, the President of the Republic of Seychelles, the current President of the Indian Ocean Commission the message is to the you Minister Jean Max Rakotomamanjy, and to the exhibitors and friends of the tourism industry I simply say all the very best with the 2012 edition of the International Tourism Fair Madagascar 2012. Madagascar along with Seychelles, La Reunion, Mauritius, Mayotte and Comoros launched the Vanilla islands grouping because we all saw merit in unifying ourselves to get our region more visible and known. Today Madagascar is promoting a Tourism Fair for our Region and I stand here as a display of our support for the unity of our islands and for their effort in staging a event that can and that will bring visibility to our region, to the Vanilla islands. Seychelles is also doing the same through the annual Carnival International de Victoria which was co-hosted this year with La Reunion again in that same spirit of togetherness to get our region more known. We need all our islands to find a theme on which to stage a regional event which we can all support. We cannot be an island onto ourselves. We need each other, our region needs all of us and the Vanilla islands depends on unity of its six islands. It is with this frame of mind or mindset change needed in some cases that we will overcome the difficulties we are having to contend with because of the economic woes in our traditional main tourist markets. The policy of working in isolation and safeguarding only your little patch is no longer sustainable as a policy. The world is moving fast and as a Region we need to be on board, and we must ensure that we do not miss the boat. I am in Madagascar because we, in Seychelles, we believe that we need to show support for Madagascar in their endeavour to create a Tourism Fair for Magagascar. But also a tourism fair for the Indian Ocean Vanilla Islands expressing the position of both the Seychelles government and of his ministry in regard of cooperation within the Indian Ocean islands versus block headed competition of the 70s command economy style.
Notably was reference avoided to what must have been a trigger to some of these comments, the attempt by MTPSs Karl Mootoosamy to Copy and Paste Seychelles festival success in what has been largely perceived as the reaction of a bruised ego and a last ditch attempt to safe his own, under growing pressure, tenure some say has now become almost untenable.
Present at the fair opening were senior ministers from the Madagascar government and top diplomats, on whom St. Anges diplomatic side stepping of the issue they expected to be addressed were not lost. Present were the Madagascar Minister for Tourism, Mr Jean Max Rakotomamonjy, Mrs Elia Ravelomanantsoa, the Madagascar Minister for Culture, Dr Johanita Ndahimananjara, Madagascar Minister for Health, Mrs Lantotiana Rakotomavo, Vice President for Madagascar Superior Council for Transition, Eric Koller the President of the Office National du Tourisme de Madagascar and Vola Raveloson, the Director General of his Office, Frederic Pierret the Executive Director of the WTO among many national dignitaries and members of the Diplomatic Corps.
Watch this space as Madagascar is aiming to reclaim its position as a nature tourism destination with in particular their national parks and the various Lemur species attracting the most attention.
MINISTERIAL STATEMENT SEEKS TO REASSURE THE TOURISM INDUSTRY
Tanzanias recently appointed Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism Khamis Kagesheki, yesterday issued his media statement to the situation on Zanzibar, where violence swept the old Stone Town on Friday and Saturday while other parts of the island came under siege on Monday, as suspects were produced in court and charged.
The statement, read out by Deputy Minister Lazaro Nyalandu, said in part: This was just an isolated incident that has been brought under control by government. There is peace in Zanzibar as we speak. There were no reports of destruction of hotels or attacks on tourists.
That part of the statement raised more than a few eyebrows as far from being isolated the same radical group was last year blamed for firebombing bars and restaurants as they oppose the selling of alcohol. The brought under control bit of the statement also evaded elegantly that it took security forces two days to quiet down the rioters in the old Stone Town and then faced another outbreak at a different part of the island as they were guarding the law courts en masse. Sections of stakeholders also mentioned to this correspondent that it was their direct action and communication amongst each other to keep the tourists in the resorts and bring back excursions already on the road when the news of the riots spread, nor did the statement admit that three churches were burnt, though indeed no tourism facility on this occasion.
Zanzibar, as has the entire Tanzania, were long an accepted role model for different religions living peacefully side by side in the spirit of tolerance and mutual respect and the burning of churches, intended by the radicals to set one religion against another, was widely condemned though Christian church leaders called for calm and urged their supporters not to be tempted by retaliation.
At least one senior stakeholder from Zanzibar in regular contact with this correspondent spoke of the sectors fear of future repeats and of tourism being targeted outright by the group for maximum impact, calling for much more stringent measures by security to ensure that there is continuous protection around resorts and tourism hotspots while also vowing to increase internal security measures to prevent any incidents happening inside resorts.
With the current low season in full swing the sector has not been overly busy but the media coverage of the incidents has thrown some clouds over the future.
The Minister was reportedly swift in blaming the international media for overstating the situation in Zanzibar but in turn must suffer the consequences for trying to downplay on the situation and conveniently leaving out of his statement past criminal incidents blamed on Uamsho, which leader by the way was arrested yesterday and charged with a range of offences. Mainland sources commended this move as the radical Islamic group is also reportedly working to undermine the union between Zanzibar and the mainland, seeking separation and the establishment of an Islamic hardline state, two scenarios which are vehemently opposed by the government of President Kikwete whose CCM ruling party had since independence been promoting unity and tolerance and in the past stepped down hard on dissent. Watch this space.
Kenya Airways postpones announcement of share rights issue, combines it with annual financial results publication
KENYA AIRWAYS PUSHES SHARE RIGHTS ISSUE ANNOUNCEMENT TO JUNE 06TH
Regular sources were tightlipped at Kenya Airways head offices in Embakasi / Nairobi over the true reasons why the expected media announcement over the performance of the share rights issue was suddenly postponed by a week to 06th June. There is speculation in the market that the airlines financial advisory team is locked in talks with institutional investors from Kenya, the region and further abroad, to potentially absorb any share rights which may not have been taken up during the main sales period in April this year.
Launched with great fanfare and expectations, President Mwai Kibaki was Guest of Honour at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre in Nairobi for the function, there have been both expressions of hope for an oversubscription of the issue inspite of adverse market conditions with continuously high interest rates in Kenya, which made individual investors perhaps back away from this unique opportunity to outright skepticism if indeed the minimum success threshold of 70 percent take up would be significantly exceeded.
It is however understood from contact made in financial circles at the launch ceremony that an agreement has been reached to extend the deadline at which either an irrevocable bank guarantee or Letter of Commitment must be received by the airline for the take up of share rights, has been pushed to the 11th of June, while on the 06th of June, when the announcement of the share rights issue success will be made, the airline is also expected to announce their annual financial results in Nairobi at a major press conference.
The airlines information booklet issued at the start of the sale of the share rights, provides for other investors to take up more than their share or buy on the open market should unsold rights remain and it could be as much as 23 percent of those still seeking new owners according to one source demanding strict confidentiality, who claimed that the issue had reached a 77 percent success rate, 10 percent above the threshold set ahead of the exercise. The same source also insisted that the airline was close to concluding a deal with an international investment group but found itself out of time vis a vis the initially set announcement date of 30th May, much to the disappointment of the media and the financial markets which had keenly looked forward to this date.
On further investigation it was also learned that the trading date at the Nairobi Stock Exchange for the new shares, which was due to commence on June 14th, has subsequently also been pushed ahead to June 21st to cater for the negotiations to conclude.
Share values in Kenya Airways had at the crucial launch briefly gone below the 14 Kenya Shillings at which the rights were offered but have recovered significantly since then, spurred two weeks ago by the announcement that Virgin would withdraw from Kenya by September, leaving the hugely important route between Nairobi and London Heathrow to archrivals Kenya Airways and British Airways, although KQ is expected to absorb most of the 15 percent market share Virgin enjoyed until the announcement.
There is broad agreement that Kenya Airways shares will be a sound medium to long term investment and the growth plans of the airline include a huge fleet expansion from presently 35 aircraft to 119 aircraft by 2021/2 including dedicated cargo aircraft which would be needed to back up plans to fly to 115 destinations worldwide by then. The funds now raised by the share rights issue will be used to leverage the financing of new aircraft, pay commitment fees and in particular use up to 150 million US Dollars for the required payment to the US IMPEX Bank for guaranteeing the purchases the airline has pending already with Boeing and the added acquisitions needed to meet the 10 year targets as formulated under their new strategic Plan Mawingo.
Watch this space for regular and breaking news from East Africas vibrant aviation scene.