Archive for February, 2014

Bombardier hands over brand new Q400NextGen to RwandAir

RWANDAIR NOW JUST A MONTH AWAY FROM DOUALA LAUNCH

(Posted 28th February 2014)

As Kigali is getting ready to receive RwandAir’s brand new Bombardier Q400NextGen turboprop aircraft next Monday afternoon, are news emerging from the airline’s corporate headquarters that the planned launch of flights to Douala, the carrier’s 16th destination overall and 5th in West Africa after Brazzaville, Libreville, Lagos and Accra, will kick off with 5 flights per week. The first commercial flight will be launched on the 30th of March, expanding RwandAir’s footprint in West Africa significantly. Bookings can already be made via the airline’s website www.rwandair.com or through the common CRS systems on which WB flights feature.

Meanwhile was earlier today the new aircraft formally handed over to RwandAir at the Bombardier assembly plant in Toronto / Canada and it was the airline’s Deputy CEO Jean Paul Nyirubutama who accepted the aircraft on behalf of RwandAir.

Bombardier and RwandAir subsequently just released the following statement:

Start quote:

Bombardier Delivers Dual-Class Q400 NextGen Airliner to RwandAir

Bombardier Aerospace and RwandAir of Kigali, Rwanda today celebrated the delivery of a dual-class Q400 NextGen turboprop airliner to the African airline.

RwandAir’s order for the aircraft was announced on April 22, 2013.

Jean Paul Nyirubutama, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, RwandAir, accepted the aircraft during a delivery ceremony at Bombardier’s Toronto site where the Q400 NextGen aircraft is manufactured. The ceremony was attended by Bombardier Commercial Aircraft executives and many of the employees involved in the production of the aircraft.

We have been eagerly awaiting the delivery of this superb dual-class, 67-seat aircraft,’ said

Mr. Nyirubutama. ‘By offering similar cabin amenities on the Q400 NextGen aircraft and on our recently

acquired dual-class Bombardier CRJ900 NextGen regional jets, the two complementary aircraft types

will provide seamless passenger service, permitting us to align our total fleet strategy towards a unified

passenger experience. The Q400 NextGen aircraft will position us well to offer increased capacity on popular routes that have been opened and serviced with our 37-seat Bombardier Dash 8-200 aircraft and is the right aircraft to

develop our growing domestic and regional markets. The Q400 NextGen aircraft’s modern cabin and superior performance will also help us build new markets where regional air service today is served by older-generation jets. The aircraft will firmly support RwandAir on our path towards growth and increased profitability’ added Mr. Nyirubutama.

The Q400 NextGen turboprop has proven its capability, flexibility and ruggedness in many regions of

the world and is operating with distinction in diverse environments. We are confident that it will serve

RwandAir and its customers very well’ said Mike Arcamone, President, Bombardier Commercial

Aircraft. ‘As one of our newest and fast-growing customers, RwandAir is serving Africa’s expanding

domestic and international markets and we are delighted that another Bombardier aircraft will be used

to further develop the airline’s network of short- and medium-haul destinations’.

RwandAir is now one of 15 operators of Q400 and Q400 NextGen aircraft in Africa, and its Q400 NextGen aircraft joins more than 55 Q400 and Q400 NextGen aircraft that are already in service, or ordered for operation, in 12 countries in Africa. RwandAir is also now the fourth airline operating the dual-class Q400 NextGen aircraft among the five customers that have ordered this configuration to date.

End quote

Watch this space for breaking and regular aviation news from across Eastern Africa.

Air Seychelles’ outgoing CEO Cramer Ball gets presidential thanks for a job well done

OUTGOING AIR SEYCHELLES CEO RECEIVES PRESIDENTIAL THANKS

(Posted 28th February 2014)

Cramer Ball, and his successor Manoj Papa who will take over on the 01st of April, were yesterday invited to State House in Victoria for a meeting with President James Alix Michel.

The president, in his State of the Nation Address a day earlier, had made reference to the miraculous turnaround of Air Seychelles fortunes, and was able to discuss the future of the archipelago’s national airline with both outgoing and incoming CEO. Also present was the Minister for Home Affairs and Transport, Joel Morgan, who also serves as the Air Seychelles Chairman of the Board of Directors.

From information received late yesterday, President Michel thanked Cramer Ball for his achievements over the past two years, calling the work done a ‘great job’, clearly in reference of turning around three years of losses into two consecutive years of profit, a consolidation of destinations and a sharp rise in code share operations and last but not least a complete fleet restructuring including orders for three brand new short haul Twin Otter’s DHC6-400 and an Airbus A320 due for delivery later this year. The crowning accomplishment though must be the Skytrax ranking as a four star airline, which catapulted Air Seychelles to the top of the pack in Africa.

Cramer Ball thanked the President for his support and his vision to bring changes to the airline when he said: ‘There have been some incredible moments, and I’m very proud to say, as the outgoing CEO, that I’ve been part of a wonderful team, a wonderful family with the Air Seychelles team…Air Seychelles has a huge opportunity and a very bright future’.
President Michel also welcomed the incoming CEO Manoj Papa to the Seychelles and expressed confidence that he would create new partnerships for the national airline in order to expand its routes and consolidate its achievements so far.
I’m quite excited to pick up on the results of the team. The results, the turnaround has been amazing and I think the challenge for me and my team is to build that to the next level. Although we are a four star airline, we need to behave like a five star airline in everything that we do. We have the chance of positioning ourselves as the best airline in Africa and as we grow, globally’ responded Mr. Papa to the President’s remarks.

Air Seychelles partners with Etihad, Abu Dhabi’s national airline, which acquired a 40 percent stake just over 2 years ago when President Michel initiated the deal during one of his visits to Abu Dhabi. For more information visit www.airseychelles.com

Reunion Tourism seeks new avenues to promote the island in France

IRT ROLLING OUT NEW COMMUNICATIONS CAMPAIGN IN FRANCE

(Posted 28th February 2014)

Reunion’s tourism office is pulling out all the stops to make sure the island remains visible in the key French market with the signing of an agreement with France’s Karavel Group.

IRT will have access to three communications platforms to get their messages across the social media and professional networks through Karavel’s ‘Promovacances’, ‘Go Cheap’ and finally ‘A World’.

The present campaign will run until April 03rd and the partners expect additional traffic to be generated from new market segments in France which hitherto have not thought of visiting Ile de la Reunion, one of France’s regions in the deep of the Indian Ocean.

It was additionally agreed to add ‘Private Club Holidays’ to the campaign for the week between 25th of March to 01st of April, adding yet more value to the cooperation agreement.

The sites will carry headline banners, ear pieces, showcase Reunion’s colours and offer video links where Reunion’s main attractions are highlighted. The island is renowned for both conventional beach holidays as well as for adventure holidays, where activities like white water rafting, abseiling, canyoning, hiking and paragliding are complemented by deep sea fishing or, depending on the season, watching whales and dolphins traverse the Indian Ocean off the Reunion beaches. For more details on the island’s hotels, resorts and other facilities visit their website via www.reunion.fr

High Court Judge in Kampala orders release of blood ivory – UWA/URA set to appeal ruling

UGANDA’S REPUTATION TAKES ANOTHER KNOCK AS JUDGE RETURNS BLOOD IVORY TO OWNERS

(Posted 28th February 2014)

Conservationists and the public at large were baffled when news broke two days ago that High Court Judge Musalu Musene had delivered a ruling which effectively returned a seized consignment of blood ivory coming from the Congo to the unknown owners. Immediate allegations of a corrupt ruling were made and calls emerged to the judiciary disciplinary body to take action against the judge, whose future now looks bleak if any improprieties can be pinned on him.

Top officials from the Uganda Wildlife Authority as well as from the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities also immediately vowed to prevent the consignment of over 850 pieces of ivory, seized in October last year, from ever leaving Uganda and it is understood that an appeal will be launched against the ruling, which according to one source at UWA ‘stinks of malpractice and suggests the judge is either totally incompetent or was gotten to’.

Tourism Minister Maria Mutagamba too expressed her outrage and disappointment with the judgment when she said in a media release received yesterday afternoon: ‘We are very dismayed by the said judgment and the likely implications it has for Uganda as a contracting party to CITES Convention [but] most importantly the damage this has on tourism development and wildlife conservation in Uganda. A team of lawyers of the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) and URA have already filed a notice of appeal to challenge the judgement. We shall decisively pursue the criminal prosecution of the suspects until they are brought to book. Security agencies continue to pursue these suspects who are at large’.

Uganda, unlike neighbour Kenya, where a new wildlife law with fines up to 20 million Kenya Shillings and life in prison for poachers, smugglers and middlemen is now in place, Uganda has dragged her feet over putting an amendment of the current law before parliament, while however finding the time to incur global wrath and active decampaigning over two recently passed bills, the so called ‘Anti Mini Skirt Bill ‘ and the ‘Anti Gay Bill’, which has already led to Norway withdrawing all financial support for Uganda and other foreign governments considering similar action. Leading human rights activists and bodies have already started to call for a boycott of Uganda as a destination, citing brutally harsh treatment for gays and the likely implication for female travellers wearing miniskirts or ‘hot pants’, especially after several women across Uganda were already attacked and stripped naked by mobs as a result of targeted and thinly concealed comments by politicians.

Tourism circles are concerned about the potential fallout for their business vis a vis the two bills and the latest damage done with the judicial ruling to release the seized ivory but only time will tell just how extensive and lasting the damage will be to Uganda’s reputation abroad. Find more information about Destination Uganda via www.visituganda.com and about the country’s national parks and game reserves via www.ugandawildlife.org. Watch this space.

 

It has been confirmed that UWA and URA lawyers have filed an appeal against the Nakawa High Court judgment , obtaining an interim order that the blood ivory will not be released until the appeal case has been determined. 

Meanwhile has the Minister for Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities Hon. Maria Mutagamba issued the following statement:

 

MINISTRY OF TOURISM, WILDLIFE AND ANTIQUITIES
 
PRESS STATEMENT ON THE RULING OF JUSTICE WILSON MASALU MUSENE IN MISCELLANEOUS CAUSE NO.49 OF 2013 KAYUMBA EMILE OGANE VS UGANDA REVENUE AUTHORITY OVER IVORY TRAFFICKING
 
We have received with shock; the ruling of Justice Wilson Masalu Musene that Uganda Revenue Authority should hand over confiscated ivory to their owners (criminal suspects who are on the run and have arrest warrants issued against them). The sector is in great shock over the ruling.
This case was filed by one Kayumba Emile Ogane against URA seeking orders for release of 832 pieces of Ivory confiscated by URA, that the Uganda Police, Uganda wildlife Authority and all other authorities in Uganda give effect to the release order.
Background to this case
On 17th October 2013, we received information from URA that a container with 832 Ivory had been discovered at Ken freight Inland Container Deposit (ICD) Bweyogerere. We immediately sent a team of law enforcement officers and wildlife experts from Uganda Wildlife Authority in company of police, who confirmed that the items were indeed ivory. The consignment was then taken to URA customs stores for safe custody pending the investigations of the matter and possible reprimand of the culprits.
The matter was accordingly reported to police for purposes of investigation to find the source of the ivory and to have the people involved arrested and prosecuted. The suspects identified by the preliminary findings were Owino Odhiambo (Kenyan national) and Kayumba Emille Ogane (Congolese national) who are still at large. The Chief Magistrates court at Kampala issued arrest warrants for the said suspects and the police and other security agencies are still searching for the whereabouts of these suspects for purposes of effecting arrest.
 
Offences committed by the suspects 
Acquiring or having possession of prohibited goods contrary to Section 200(d)(i) of the East African Community Customs Management Act 2004,
Being in illegal possession of wildlife protected species without permission contrary to the provisions of the Uganda wildlife Act.
Status of the Criminal case
The investigations were completed, the file was sanctioned for prosecution, an agent of Kayumba Ogane, one Ocaya David was arraigned before court for prosecution as an accomplice to the commission of these offences under this matter, but was released on bail.
The main suspects Owino Odhiambo (Kenyan national) and Kayumba Emille Ogane (Congolese national) are still at large and the police and other security agencies are looking for them including Interpol and LATF.
At national level, Uganda as sovereign State, prohibited any dealing in wildlife species and specimens without permission and specifically prohibits possession, trade, import, export, re-export and re-import of wildlife products and species including ivory.
Elephants are listed among the highly endangered wildlife species under the United Nations Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species to which Uganda is party and bound by the resolutions. Any unauthorized trade in ivory and other related products is prohibited.
High Court Miscellaneous Cause No.49 of 2013 Kayumba Emile Ogane Vs Uganda Revenue Authority 
As a ploy to defeat the efforts of the various agencies in investigating the illegal possession and purported transportation of illegal ivory, and to frustrate the prosecution of the offenders in the above case, the suspects through their lawyers decided to file the above suit seeking for unconditional release of the said ivory.
Hon. Justice Wilson Masalu Musene unfortunately agreed with the applicant that the ivory was unlawfully confiscated and ordered that the same be immediately released.
It is however very unfortunate and dismaying that such a ruling would be given with total disregard to the requirements of the law before such consignments can be allowed to transit which were never complied with.
It is also important to note that any import, export or re-export of wildlife species require clearance by the relevant countries Management and Scientific authority CITES which is the Ministry of Tourism Wildlife and Antiquities and Uganda Wildlife Authority respectively but which was never complied with. It is a legal requirement that any import, export or re-export of any wildlife species and or specimens through Uganda requires clearance by both Uganda Wildlife Authority and the Ministry of Tourism Wildlife and Antiquities which I represent.
The suspect concealed the said goods and never declared to URA at customs points and only disguised the same as coffee meant for export. If the ruling of the honorable Justice is implemented, it will contravene the law and will cause absurdity to conservation as it will be setting terrible precedent by giving poachers and illegal wildlife traders a blanket protection.
Conclusion 
We are very dismayed by the said Judgment and the likely implications it has for Uganda as a contracting Party to CITES Convention. But most importantly, the damage this has on tourism development and wildlife conservation in Uganda.
A team of lawyers of Uganda Wildlife Authority and Uganda Revenue Authority have already filed a notice of Appeal to challenge the Judgment
Application for an interim order to stay execution of the judgment and filing of the appeal will also be immediately done.
We shall decisively pursue the criminal prosecution of suspects (Owners of the confiscated ivory) until they are brought to book. Security Agencies continue to pursue these suspects who are at large.
I want to call upon all the organs of the State to proactively support Government effort to stamp out illegal wildlife trade and trade and trafficking in order to conserve our heritage and its associated tourism development which is a vehicle for social transformation of our economy. 
For God and My Country 
 
Hon. Dr. Maria Mutagamba
Minister 

 

Safety in aviation – Africa – 2 weeks to go

Entebbe will be the place to be for everyone who is keento participate in key aviation certification workshops.
Coming your way in two weeks, AVIASSIST will conduct
a series of training sessions for aviation personnel from
the entire region. Don’t miss this great opportunity.

Key airlines partners are Kenya Airways / KLM, Air Uganda,
Emirates and Turkish Airlines and host organization is

CASSOA, the Civil Aviation Safety and Security Agency
of the East African Community.

Media registration is now open for accredited journalists.

9s8f_EKanEBB630x134.jpg

9s8f_2G4Scogs200px_1.jpg Two weeks away
10-21 March 2014, Entebbe, Uganda

Airworthiness Certification course – 10-12 March

Flight Data Management course – 11 & 12 March

2Gether 4Safety seminar – 13 & 14 March
New speakers added, including:
– LtCol Rik van Zwol on Civil-Military Co-operation & safety
– Julie Otage, Cabin Crew Manager Air Uganda

IATA Dangerous Goods course – 17-21 March

Haven’t registered yet?
For more information including full programs and registration, visit the event website or see our advertisement in The East African.

Registration in all events includes:

  • Tea & coffee breaks
  • Lunches
  • Event bag
  • A 2GB USB disk full of aviation safety reference materials
  • A year’s subscription to our full colour quarterly SafetyFocus magazine

KAA again under scrutiny over tender award for duty free shops at JKIA

PROCUREMENT OVERSIGHT AUTHORITY HALTS KAA DUTY FREE SHOPS TENDER AWARD

(Posted 28th February 2014)

The Public Procurement Oversight Authority has questioned the validity of the tender award by the Kenya Airport Authority to hand the duty free shops at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport over to a new operator, according to information received from a regular aviation source in Nairobi. It appears now that PPOA took issue with procedural aspects of the tender and now demands a fresh tender to be issued by KAA in line with public procurement regulations.

This will put, for now at least, a halt to the Nuance Group from Switzerland taking over the shops, after KAA initially decided in late 2013 that they won the bidding against several other competing companies. It could not be established if any of the disqualified bidders initiated the review by the PPOA, but suggestions have been made that at least one if not more voiced their grievances to the right ears and now got the result they wanted, a fresh tender bid to be issued under tighter control and oversight. KAA had, citing failures and shortcomings in the pre-qualification documents, disqualified all but Nuance from the bidding, leading already at the time to sharp protests and allegations of a rigged process.

KAA has made it a habit to get all the wrong publicity and attention and has been under the public spotlight over a range of allegations made in the past against the organization’s CEO’s, though the present Managing Director Ms. Lucy Mbugua has so far been spared of the often vitriolic attacks her two immediate predecessors had to endure over decisions they made. Nevertheless, this latest entry in the ‘bad books’ will no doubt leave some marks on her hitherto spotless record too as she was at the time the decision was taken the Acting CEO before being confirmed in her position in mid January. Watch this space.

Flying to Mombasa for a song – book now with Jambojet

JAMBOJET FLIGHTS NOW OPEN FOR BOOKINGS

(Posted 28th February 2014)

Nairobi to Mombasa at Kenya Shillings 2.850 or the equivalent of 33 US Dollars, all taxes and regulatory charges included – flying does not come any cheaper in Kenya as even some bus companies now charge more than that.

Bookings have yesterday gone ‘live’ and from initial reports it is clear that bookings are coming in fast and furious already, as no one wants to miss out on such extraordinary deals.

Information received from Jambojet is that the inaugural flights of the airline will leave at 06.45 hrs on the 01st of April from Nairobi to Kisumu, and the second flight at 07.30 hrs from Nairobi to Mombasa, with Eldoret, the airline’s other destination, operating in the afternoon at 14.30 hrs.

Jambojet will fly 5 times a day between Nairobi and Mombasa, twice a day to Kisumu and 10 times a week to Eldoret.

Willem Hondius, the CEO of Jambojet, had this to say yesterday as the booking system went operational: ‘I am pleased to announce that Jambojet.com is now live and customers can book flights using this convenient and accessible platform which complements our call centre and existing Kenya Airways’ sales channels while also delivering our promise of affordable air travel’.

It is widely expected that Kenya Airways will reduce their own flights between Nairobi and Mombasa, Kisumu and Eldoret accordingly, to ‘make space’ for flights by Jambojet but retain key connectivity city pairs linking passengers arriving on international services and flying beyond Kenya’s capital. The same is going to be the case for international passengers connecting from these three domestic destinations into Kenya Airways’ continental and international network, so that ‘branded flights’ on Kenya Airways are still available while the local market can take advantage of the substantially cheaper rates by Jambojet.

Aviation pundits are also presently eyeing the low cost competition in Kenya, which according to inside sources has been taken aback by the low fares Jambojet is offering, substantially below the fares these other LCC’s are presently charging, ringing in the very likely scenario of a fare war, from which travellers will benefit.

Jambojet’s concept is based on outsourcing services and leasing of aircraft from parent company Kenya Airways, allowing it to mitigate cost structures other airlines are stuck with.

Travel agency sources in Nairobi and Mombasa are already predicting a significant shift of traffic from rail and road to Jambojet, and while last minute bookings will be dearer, first come first served, or as the saying goes, the early birds will fly the cheapest of them all. For more information visit www.jambojet.com

Watch this space for breaking and regular aviation news from across Eastern Africa.

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