Archive for February, 2013

Emirates announces second A380 frequency to Sydney from June

EMIRATES ANNOUNCES SECOND DAILY A380 FREQUENCY TO SYDNEY

A regular source from the Kampala office of Emirates, Dubai’s award winning airline, has confirmed that from 01st of June onwards they will operate a second daily Airbus A380 nonstop flight between Dubai and Sydney. The move will add nearly 1.900 extra seats per week on the route and give passengers on the very long haul service to Australia’s commercial capital the added comfort they can enjoy in the three class configured aircraft.

The version to be deployed will comprise 399 Economy Class seats, 76 state of the art flat bed seats in Business Class and 14 luxurious First Class suites on the upper deck, which presently constitute the non plus ultra of First Class travel across the entire aviation world.

The morning departure from Dubai is presently being served by B777-300ER aircraft.

Said the source: ‘We are getting more A380 aircraft now at regular intervals and routes in high demand, and routes over very long distances are now being added as A380 destinations. We only fly wide body aircraft wherever we go around the world. But the A380 is in a class of its own and will give us the competitive advantage over all other rivals and their aircraft for the comfort our passengers from Uganda can enjoy when they connect in Dubai’. The rivalry among airlines has inched up recently since KLM announced the introduction of daily flights between Entebbe and Amsterdam and with both Turkish and Qatar Airways both using narrow body single aisle aircraft on their sectors from Entebbe, and in fact Nairobi, and Dar es Salaam too to Istanbul and Doha respectively, Emirates has been hitting the market hard with passenger comfort on wide body aircraft PLUS the growing number of destinations now served by the world’s largest passenger aircraft.

Watch this space for regular and breaking aviation news from the East African region.

ve >@e ce licenses and AOC’s from SSCAA. Foreign airlines need to apply to be recognized when they fly from their own countries to Juba and their own authorities must make them a designated airline to fly to South Sudan. It is all part of building our nation and our institutions slowly by slowly’.

South Sudan at present has no national airline although the government in Juba was reportedly keen to establish one in due course, perhaps under a public private partnership to spread the capital requirements into a wider domain. Several smaller airlines, flying domestically and regionally, have been formed in the past before and after independence but apart from Feeder Airlines failed to make a significant impact on the aviation sector until now.

Watch this space for breaking and regular news from across Eastern Africa’s vibrant aviation scene.

South Sudan launches Civil Aviation Authority

SOUTH SUDAN ESTABLISHES INDEPENDENT CIVIL AVIATION AUTHORITY

South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir has earlier this week issued a decree, establishing the country’s Civil Aviation Authority while at the same time appointing General Agasio Akol as the first chairman of the board, overseeing the new aviation body alongside 6 other members.

SSCAA will now seek formal recognition with global body ICAO, the Montreal based International Civil Aviation Organization and along that way have to accept, and then implement, ICAO’s regulatory requirements governing civil aviation around the world.

SSCAA, when fully established, is expected to carry out all licensing functions for air transport, both domestic but also internationally as governed by Bilateral Air Service Agreements, aka BASA’s, will issue Air Operator Certification for airlines registered in the South Sudan and carry out oversight and safety functions in line with established practice elsewhere in the world.

The formation of the SCAA is according to a periodic aviation source in Juba ‘just one step to make our independence fully operational, so that we can become members of in this case ICAO. South Sudan will have to abide by global standards and will be tasked to especially uplift operational safety through strict oversight. We had too many aircraft accidents, often by foreign registered aircraft flying here in South Sudan, because for now we did not have the capacity to establish our own aviation regulators and private aviation industry. This will now change quickly. When SCAA is fully working it will be the same like their counterparts anywhere else in the world and region. Aircraft used in South Sudan must get permits, they will have to show evidence of maintenance and pilots will have to get South Sudan CPL’s and ATPL’s if they are to fly on aircraft registered in South Sudan. Airlines will have to get air service licenses and AOC’s from SSCAA. Foreign airlines need to apply to be recognized when they fly from their own countries to Juba and their own authorities must make them a designated airline to fly to South Sudan. It is all part of building our nation and our institutions slowly by slowly’.

South Sudan at present has no national airline although the government in Juba was reportedly keen to establish one in due course, perhaps under a public private partnership to spread the capital requirements into a wider domain. Several smaller airlines, flying domestically and regionally, have been formed in the past before and after independence but apart from Feeder Airlines failed to make a significant impact on the aviation sector until now.

Watch this space for breaking and regular news from across Eastern Africa’s vibrant aviation scene.

Serengeti benefits from global recognition

SERENGETI’S NEW SEVEN NATURAL WONDERS OF THE WORLD STATUS DRAWS IN VISITORS

The Serengeti National Park, according to figures released by TANAPA, the Tanzania National Park Authority, has reached record numbers, going by the media statement given from Mr. Pascal Shelutete earlier this week, exceeding 17.000 last month, the highest number ever recorded entering the park.

A regular source in Arusha attributed this development to the inclusion of the Serengeti National Park in the 7 natural wonders of the world list, which was only announced a few weeks ago, but that the relentless campaigning for inclusion had raised visibility and tourist awareness of this UNESCO World Heritage Site national park. The other Tanzanian landmark in the list is Mt. Kilimanjaro, giving the largest East African country a clear edge when heading to the ITB Tourism Fair over the coming days to promote the country even more vigorously.

The rise in visitor numbers will also contribute to cementing the Serengeti’s income status, presently laying in number three spot after Mt. Kilimanjaro and the Ngorongoro Crater, but fast catching up now.

It was also learned that Tanzania will be hosting a second tourism fair after the forthcoming Karibu Travel and Tourism trade show in October this year, the Swahili Tourism Fair aimed initially at the South African market, from where a growing number of visitors now come to Tanzania to enjoy safaris and the beachs of the mainland and of Zanzibar. Watch this space for breaking and regular news about tourism developments in Eastern Africa.

FastJet attempts to dispel rumours through press conference

FASTJET RESPONDS TO DEBT AND OTHER ALLEGATIONS

Information was received from a source in Dar es Salaam who attended a press conference yesterday called by FastJet at short notice.

Airline executives refuted claims that they were not paying their dues to TCAA or TRA but tried to explain that, while they acquired Fly540 Tanzania last year, the debts owed back then by Fly 540 should be paid by the initial owners and not themselves. The amount owed to TRA, described as a ‘historical debt’ was given as over 3 billion Tanzania Shillings although no explanation was reportedly offered as to why the due diligence at the time of negotiating the purchase had not eliminated such old debts prior to acquiring Fly 540 Tanzania or else provided for an iron clad contract. The latter now appears to be full of legal holes and trap doors, enabling Fly 540 in Kenya to sue FastJet and categorically deny that those old debts remained with them but claim it is the sole and entire responsibility of FastJet to now settle those outstanding amounts.

It is also not clear which impact the written notice by Fly 540 in Kenya to halt the use of permits, licenses and other agreed usage, like flying the orange aircraft still painted in livery of Fly 540 in West Africa, on the operation in East Africa, nor was it made clear, according to the source, what impact the reported demand by the leasing company had which demanded the deregistration of planes as a result of overdue payments.

Other issues reportedly raised centred around the conditions of the AOC, which require accountable managers to be resident in Tanzania, and in response the airline officials confirmed that both the airline CEO and the COO (Chief Operating Officer) were indeed based in London and not in Dar es Salaam.

The airline used the opportunity, when trying to clarify on the ton of rumours flying the FastJet colours, to announce they would at some point in the future also commence selling tickets for the sector Kilimanjaro – Mwanza and start flights to Zanzibar. Watch this space to see how this all will pan out.

Inshoza Ballet leaves mark on FESPAD with a blend of old and new

INSHOZA BALLET TAKES AUDIENCE BY STORM

When the FESPAD, the Pan African Dance Festival, moved to the Northern Province headquarter town of Huye, expectations were to see much of similarities vis a vis previous days. A stop enroute to the festival venue at the National Museum, which is based together with the Institute of National Museums in Huye, previously known as Butare, allowed the assembled scribes to see a bit of Rwanda’s past when it was still a kingdom. Inspite of being a press group picture taking in the museum was not permitted, denying readers that priceless ‘one picture says more than a thousand words’, leaving only the outdoor homestead, granary and the weaving and pottery projects open to take pictures from. Make sure to check my Facebook pictorials to see what this photo expedition yielded. Meanwhile though, upon reaching the festival hall did to everyone’s surprise the Inshoza Group take to the stage and then the audience by storm with a new concept of blending old and new.

Best described as a choreographed ballet performance the dancers thrilled the crowd to bits when they ably merged the best of the traditional Rwandan dances with equally well presented contemporary moves on stage, moving effortlessly from one theme to the next. One of the judges, visibly pleased with what he saw, only said ‘this was very innovative to combine classic and modern, traditional heritage with the way ballets today express themselves’ before joining his colleagues for a break as there was a brief power outage halting the proceedings just when Egypt had taken to the stage.

Members of Inshoza professed to their love for art and dance and their desire to bring the Rwandan heritage and culture closer to the younger people, for many of whom the ‘classic’ performances not longer cut it all and who were waiting for some new stuff to come ‘to the market’ as their enthusiastic applause clearly indicated.

Best bet would be that Inshoza will make it to the national finals where they can present to the Rwandan nation what they see as the future of dancing in the country. Watch this space.

Mauritius and Maldives sign aviation agreement

MAURITIUS AND MALDIVES SIGN NEW AIR ACCORD

The two Indian Ocean island states have earlier this week signed a new bilateral air services agreement, commonly referred to as BASA, allowing the national airlines of the two countries to commence up to 7 flights per week between Port Louis and Male at a later time.

The Maldives, more even than in Mauritius, depends heavily on tourism and has for the first time since records were established beaten Mauritius into second place in terms of passenger arrivals, exceeding the one million mark while Mauritius failed to reach that magic number. The Vanilla Island Cooperation, headquartered on La Reunion, has some weeks ago already floated the idea to incorporate the Maldives into the group to showcase the vacation potential within this part of the Indian Ocean and as and when flights are launched between the two destinations, it may well enhance twin centre holidays incorporating both the Maldives and Mauritius.

It could however not be established if either national airline would be in a position to commence flights any time soon, considering the cautious approach by Air Mauritius to new destinations, potentially leaving the route to a designated third country airline flying between Male and Port Louis as part of a fifth freedom rights agreement.

Watch this space for regular and breaking aviation news from the Indian Ocean islands.

FESPAD 2013 goes upcountry

TAKE A BREAK – DANCE IS THE MOTTO OF FESPAD 2013 AS IT MOVES TO THE COUNTRYSIDE

When we hosted FESPAD before, all activities were concentrated in Kigali. This time we wanted to have the entire country have a chance to participate. The national competition is now on and we will have a winner when the roadshow comes back to Kigali for the closing days. It also allows our participants from abroad like Egypt and Namibia to show their own heritage of dance to our people in the regions of Rwanda. Instead of our people travelling to Kigali to see the Pan African Dance Festival, the festival comes to them this time’ said one of the RDB staff attached to our media team yesterday as we travelled to the Eastern Region headquarter town of Rwamagana. 6 local groups competed to be regional winner and make it to the national finals where a winner will be selected while the international participants were able to showcase their dance skills to the locals who had overcrowded the meeting hall and occupied all window spaces from the outside to catch a glimpse of the thrill inside.

The roadshow will today continue to make its way to the Northern Regions headquarter town of Huye, aka Butare, before then moving to Karongi, Musanze (previously known as Ruhengeri) and finally Gisenyi where a party is planned at the shores of Lake Kivu in the grounds of the Lake Kivu Serena Hotel. On Saturday then the dance juggernaut will return to the capital Kigali for the announcement of the national dance competition winners and the prize giving ceremony for the participating countries from across Africa.

Watch this space for updates and in the meantime enjoy the pictures which document the spirit of the people of Rwanda better than any words could describe.

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