AIR SEYCHELLES TECHNICIANS JOIN ETIHAD
Information was confirmed overnight that currently 6, soon to be joined by several more of their colleagues, technicians from the Air Seychelles team are now deployed with Etihad, Abu Dhabis national airline, which earlier this year acquired 40 percent of the shares in the archipelagos national carrier.
The re-deployment is in line with exploiting synergy effects which required the pooling of resources and in some cases the transfer of specific functions from Mahe to Abu Dhabi, so that the cost savings achieved can translate in a vastly improved financial performance by Air Seychelles which was prior to the financial engagement by Etihad bleeding money and had been subjected to a radical cost cutting programme, including the cessation of all their flights to Europe at the start of the year.
During the week was a certification programme for crews, migrating from the B767 to Airbus A320 and A330 models, completed at the Etihad Aviation Academy, making good of commitments made that the airlines staff will have the opportunity to find gainful employment with Etihad, should their positions become redundant at home.
Meanwhile was it also confirmed that further discussions between the two airlines are ongoing for a yet wider code share cooperation which would see Air Seychelles flight numbers to be put on a range of additional destinations across the growing global network of Etihad. Watch this space.
Archive for June, 2012
AIR SEYCHELLES TECHNICIANS JOIN ETIHAD
KIGALIS NEW STREET SIGNS MAKES LIFE FOR LOCALS AND VISITORS EASIER
The recently witnessed start of putting up street signs in Kigali, Rwandas capital city, is expected to make trips across the city easier, not just for visitors but according to locals also for residents of the city.
A Google Map exercise started a few months ago has also rolled out according to plan and the new road signs are in due course the signage is expected to be complete by the end of the year to be integrated into Google Maps of the city. It was also learned that The Eye, Rwandas premier entertainment and tourism guide www.theeye.co.rw will update their own map in the centre of the magazine to reflect a grid pattern and street names / locations as is already the case with the sister magazine www.theeye.co.ug published in Uganda.
The Google Map roll out, which commenced at the end of March, is ongoing and done in conjunction with the Rwanda Development Boards Tourism and Conservation Department, which was keen to see the countrys tourism attractions become more visible for virtual tourists but also for those actually flying into the country and depending on Google Map technology on their iPads and other gadgets to find their way around the country.
The Kigali street sign project is expected to cost well over 1 million US Dollars and will eventually be duplicated in other towns across the country. New trends and new technologies, be sure that Rwanda is at the forefront in using and applying those.
RWANDAS TOURISM UNIVERSITY COLLEGE NOW ABLE TO OFFER DEGREE COURSES
Started in 2006, when the college could only offer vocational training and certificate or diploma courses, the RTUC has now been cleared by the Rwandan educational authorities to commence a full degree programme, starting with a Bachelor Degree course for students now studying hospitality and tourism.
The college has more recently acquired new land to build a campus at an estimated cost of more than 10 billion Rwanda Francs, which when complete will form a key component in the countrys drive to inject greater home grown professionalism into the tourism and hospitality sector, where the lack of skills has often been decried. .
A regular source at the Rwanda Development Board had this to say: Manpower development for the sector ranks very high in the national agenda for Rwanda. The country is aware of some deficits here and there to lift our service delivery to the standard levels of say Kenya. But the private and public sectors have been working hand in hand to address this issue and bring in trainers and lecturers, promote on the job training and offer decentralized courses so that we can match our countrys tourism attractions with equally good service levels.
A number of privately owned tourism training institutions have of late either opened or applied for recognition and licenses to provide in years to come skilled labour to an ever growing number of hotels and safari lodges now springing up along the scenic lake shores of Lake Kivu or near the countrys presently three national parks of Akagera, Nyungwe Forest and Volcanoes. Watch this space.
RWANDAIRS MWANZA FLIGHTS COMMENCE ON MONDAY
Following a brief delay in the start of flights to Mwanza, Tanzanias second largest city located on the shores of Lake Victoria, the inaugural flight is set to take off on Monday 02nd July, finally connecting the third destination in Tanzania with Kigali / Rwanda.
The airline is already flying to Dar es Salaam and Kilimanjaro and the addition of Mwanza also increases connectivity for city residents now able to fly with Rwandair to Johannesburg, Brazzaville, Libreville, Lagos and Dubai with a short transit stop in Kigali.
Mwanza is RwandAirs 14th destination and more are planned for later this year when two brand new Bombardier CRJ900 jets will join the airlines fleet, bringing the total number of aircraft to 7, but with more orders thought to be imminent for at least one more turboprop likely Bombardiers Q400 as well as more jet aircraft to facilitate the projected growth in destinations and frequencies the airline has outlined in their strategic plan.
Happy Landings and stand by for more exciting announcements about RwandAir due out this weekend.
EAST AFRICAN WILDLIFE SOCIETY BIDS GOOD BY TO NIGEL HUNTER AS CEO
Eastern Africas premier conservation NGO, the East African Wildlife Society, has announced that Nigel Hunter will be leaving the EAWLS by the end of the month though will continue to assist the society in fund raising in the future. It was learned today that Michael Gachanja will be taking charge at the helm from July 01st. All the best to Michael and many thanks and great appreciation to Nigel who will move on to new professional challenges.
Within the announcement was mention also made that the EAWLS has restored payment facilities via credit cards, now that the former platform in the UK has been moved from the Africa Travel and Tourism Association to Kenyan soil, necessitated as a result of global measures against money laundering, as ridiculous as this sounds in regard of EAWLS.
New partner bank in Kenya will be the I&M Bank through which credit and debit card transactions are now processed and to either renew membership or join as a new member, use these links via the EAWLS website: http://www.eawildlife.org/join/onlinepayment/joinorrenewmembership and for a gift membership, use this link http://www.eawildlife.org/join/onlinepayment/givegiftmembership
For more information visit their revamped and now much more user-friendly website: www.eawildlife.org
KWS GETS TOP HONOURS AT KENYAS PUBLIC SERVICE DAY
Kenyas public sector day saw top honours go to KWS this year for their Animal Adoption Programme, which received the coveted prize in the category of Development of Policy, Strategy and Leadership.
The Animal Adoption Programme is one of the activities KWS is rolling out at present to raise money for an endowment fund to support Kenyas wildlife heritage. The fund seeks to raise Sh7.5 billion (US$100 million) over 10 years to facilitate conservation of Kenyas wildlife through challenges of climate change, drought, changing land use and high population growth.
The fund is, according to a KWS media release, also meant to cushion wildlife conservation from over-reliance on volatile tourism trends, donor support and political goodwill. The raised funds will support wildlife and community conservation efforts hopefully for generations to come, and will be used for security operations, research and monitoring, translocations, infrastructure, conservation education and other conservation requirements.
Amongst other organizations is Microsoft on board as is the Kenya Tourist Board, aka Magical Kenya. Well done indeed.
BY PLANE TO BRUSSELS AND BY BULLET TRAIN TO PARIS
Brussels Airlines has introduced an almost irresistible offer on the Ugandan market, permitting travelers with final destination Paris to enjoy the scenic landscapes between Brussels and the French capital by using one of the European bullet trains, the Thalys, boarding the train directly at Brussels airport after clearing immigration and customs and getting off at the Gare du Nord in the heart of Paris.
At no extra cost will passengers be able to sample one of Europes fast track rail rides and spare themselves the trip from Paris CDG into the city by cab or bus.
The offer is available for travelers from and to SNs both East and West African destinations since last weekend and will run until the 15th September, giving summer views from ground level of the landscapes of Southern Belgium and Northern France as the train races along its tracks, instead of seeing the same view from 35.000 feet high up in miniature vision through a narrow aircraft window.
In addition is the airline giving economy class passengers from Paris an added 9 kg baggage allowance, which in fact for the two suitcases permitted will ultimately give up to 55 kg, one piece of the standard 23 kg and the second one with the added allowance of 9 kg making a whopping 32 kg, much welcome considering all the shopping surely done while in the worlds fashion capital of Paris, when using the early check in a day prior to departure.
The airline also confirmed that the retrofitting of the new cabin product is underway and by September the entire Airbus A330 fleet will have the state of the art new seats and entertainment systems installed and operational. Savoir Vivre in the air, Go Fly.
TOO LATE AND TOO LITTLE AS UNION RUSHES TO REPAIR DAMAGE
The message to those part of Air Tanzanias workers union was stark and without sugar coating, when the Minister for Transport, in the face of grumblings and heckling at the announcement of management changes he recently announced, told the gathering that anyone who did not like it could quit, an uncharacteristically candid but nevertheless true statement by a Tanzanian cabinet minister.
Since then there have been persistent rumours awash in Tanzanias aviation industry of the union leaders using underhand, if not dirty tactics to assert their influence, a bane which keeps haunting ATCL and scuttled several attempts of privatization and reorganization in the past, as the unions deeply entrenched in the days of the command economy of the 70s in socialist Tanzania then tried to gain fresh influence.
These union officials live like in a different time zone. They have not understood what massive changes aviation has undergone over the past 40 years. They still follow the template of confrontation and glaring lack of comprehending what is today possible financially and not. Therefore their little statement yesterday is nothing but a window dress. They still think they own the airline because back then everything was owned by everyone under that failed economic policy in place in the 70s. Let them not deceive you, they are wolves in sheepskin a regular aviation source from Dar es Salaam erupted when asked to comment, following a statement by the Acting Chairman of the union. A Mr. Msuya had reacted to press and media reports the previous day when he sought to hood wink the public in believing that circulating media reports of the union being radically opposed to the changes implemented by the Minister were not true. He went on to blame selfish individuals for the unions fresh woes, a too little and too late attempt to save the milk from being spilled and few would attach any credibility to such attempts to deflect responsibility of what is going on at the highest level of that union head office. Tough times ahead for the airlines new management when clearly there is a 5th column hard at work to oppose necessary hard decisions from being taken and implemented and when more time had to be spent defending from attacks within and close up than tacking market shares and the financial survival of the airline carrier. Watch this space as the ATCL saga clearly is heading into some new chapters.
Clare Akamanzi, hitherto Chief Operating Officer at the Rwanda Development Board, here often in the news for the work of the Tourism and Conservation Department, was appointed by cabinet as Acting Chief Executive Officer of the RDB with immediate effect. She will be taking over from John Gara who was moved to become President of the National Legal Reform Commission.
The Rwanda Development Board, here recently called Rwandas Superagency in support of Rwanda Incorporated oversees a range of functions including investment promotion but also of course tourism and conservation, since a few years ago ORTPN was merged and became part of RDB.
Both John and Clare are well known to this correspondent and it is my privilege to break these news to my readers and wish both John Gara and Clare Akamanzi all the best for the challenges ahead of them.
Last Air Seychelles crew graduate from type conversion course at the Etihad Aviation Academy in Abu Dhabi
AIR SEYCHELLES CREW RE-TRAINING ON AIRBUS AIRCRAFT COMPLETED
The final batch of overall 66 Air Seychelles cabin crew have now completed the type conversion training to Airbus aircraft, after previously holding type certification for the B767-300.
Air Seychelles, now a partner of Abu Dhabis national airline Etihad, however has since the 40 percent share acquisition by Etihad switched from Boeing to Airbus and is now operating an A330-200 on the long haul routes while an A 320 is serving shorter routes such as Mauritius. A second A330 will be joining Air Seychelles by either the end of this year or in early 2013, then being deployed on direct flights to Chinas capital Beijing.
Cockpit and cabin crews have been undergoing training at the Etihad Aviation Academy for several months now and were after graduation deployed alongside Etihads own crews on Airbus to gain inflight experience before returning to the Seychelles for deployment at home.
Present at the conclusion of the specially devised 25 day course was Cramer Bell, CEO of Air Seychelles and senior Etihad staff as well as the Seychelles Minister for Labour Mrs. Edith Alexander as a special guest, representing the archipelagos government. She said on the occasion: I am pleased to congratulate you on your successful completion of this very demanding programme. We trust that you have seen rewards for your hard work and will bring the iconic Creole warmth to your role as ambassadors of the Seychelles. Your country is very proud of you
In response Mr. Cramer Bell was quoted as having replied: This is a milestone in the revitalisation of the Air Seychelles brand. With the training of our cabin crew now complete, we will be ready to welcome the Airbus A330 to our fleet with the personality and professionalism of world-class Creole service. Congratulations again to the 12 exceptional crew graduating today. We look forward to seeing you on board the A330 very soon.
It was also learned that future crew training will be conducted at the Etihad Aviation Academy in Abu Dhabi, making use of superior facilities there and allowing for cost savings through synergy.
Happy landings to all the Air Seychelles crew members now qualified to fly on the A 330 and the A320 aircraft and looking forward to flying with you soon again.