IATA Wings of Change Focus Africa: Speakers highlight role of aviation in improving connectivity, economic growth

The International Air Transport Association (IATA), on the first day of its Wings of Change Focus Africa conference, held in Johannesburg, South Africa, emphasized the need for African governments to take advantage of a strengthening aviation sector to maximize its benefits for economic and social development across Africa.

During a media briefing at the event, IATA senior VP for sustainability and chief economist Dr Marie Owens Thomsen described Africa as “hitting below its weight in terms of the global economy”.

She pointed out that, despite being home to about 18% of the world’s population, Africa contributes only about 3% of global GDP.

She added that improved connectivity, including through aviation, could go a long way in driving higher growth on the continent.

“Poor connectivity definitely equals poor economic outcomes.

“If we adopt aviation, and all forms of connectivity as a proper growth strategy, then we have a completely different picture of radical collaboration on this continent,” she said.

IATA Africa and the Middle East regional VP Kamil Al-Awadhi added that the Single African Air Transport Market, which is aimed at liberalising civil aviation across Africa, provides the continent with a “ready-made” mechanism to drive economic growth.

He noted, however, that few governments have taken the steps needed for its implementation.

“Non-compliance of bilateral air service agreements by African governments is a major obstacle to achieving seamless regional connectivity and growth in Africa’s aviation sector,” he said.

Meanwhile, Al-Awadhi also pointed out that African airlines were likely to earn a collective net profit this year for the second consecutive year.

He noted, however, that the anticipated $100-million profit translates into just $0.90 per passenger, pointing out that was below the global average of $6.14 per passenger.

IATA’s Focus Africa initiative seeks to provide a strategic framework to address the continent’s most pressing issues, paving the way for a robust aviation sector that can significantly contribute to Africa’s economic and social development.

“The path ahead is quite clear . . . We have to work together in a collaborative manner. We can overcome the obstacles before us and realize the full potential of Africa’s aviation.

“This is not just about transport. It’s about unlocking the future of the continent. Let us commit to this vision for the benefit of Africa’s nations, economies and people,” said Al-Awadhi.

Source: Engineering News.  

Air Seychelles, Air Austral launch interline agreement for Seychelles-Reunion travel

Air Seychelles and Air Austral have established an interline agreement, specifically a Special Prorate Agreement (SPA), allowing customers to travel between Seychelles and Reunion via Mauritius on a single ticket. This agreement follows Air Austral’s decision to cancel their nonstop route between the two islands, prompting discussions with Air Seychelles to maintain service continuity.

Air Seychelles currently operates between Seychelles and Mauritius three times a week on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays offering passengers a range of dates to plan their holidays and connections.

Example of a one-way trip from Seychelles to Reunion via Mauritius

• Departure from Seychelles at 9.30am hrs arriving into Mauritius at 12.05pm

• Departure from Mauritius at 2.45pm hrs arriving into Reunion at 3.30pm

Example of a one-way trip from Reunion to Seychelles via Mauritius

• Departure from Reunion at 1.15pm hrs arriving into Mauritius at 2pm

• Departure from Mauritius at 5.05pm hrs arriving into Seychelles at 7.40pm

“Air Austral is pleased with this partnership with Air Seychelles. It was important for us to be able to offer an alternative travel to the Seychelles to our passengers. It’s a destination we know is particularly appreciated by the Reunion islanders and which we hope to be able to resume, as soon as the financial and operational situation will allow it, in agreement with our authorities.” Said Joseph Brema, Chairman of the Management Board of Air Austral.

“It is a pleasure for Air Seychelles to be able to intervene and offer an alternative bridge between Seychelles and Reunion at a time when it was most needed. We look forward to a long and fruitful cooperation,” shares Sandy Benoiton, chief executive of Air Seychelles.

Customers’ baggage will also be checked in to their final destination.

Source: Zawya.  

AirAsia X expands with new route to Nairobi, Kenya

AirAsia X (AAX) has announced a new route to Africa, connecting Singaporean travellers to Nairobi, Kenya, via Kuala Lumpur. The inaugural flight is scheduled for 15 November 2024, making AAX the only low-cost carrier in Malaysia to offer direct flights to Nairobi. This expansion follows a strong start to the year for AAX, with impressive financial results, high load factors, and regained market leadership.

Earlier in March, AAX also launched new flights to Almaty, Kazakhstan, marking its first entry into Central Asia.

Connecting Asia to Africa

The Nairobi route is a crucial link in connecting Asia to Africa, fostering stronger trade, tourism and business ties within the region. AAX will also offer a seamless Fly-Thru connection, creating a vital link between Kenya and 130 destinations across Southeast Asia, Northern and Central Asia, and Australia providing affordable and convenient travel options for all while reinforcing its commitment to global connectivity.

Nairobi, Kenya, is renowned for its lush greenery, expansive grass plains, and abundant wildlife, attracting tourists eager to see the near-extinct Northern White Rhino and the Great Migration in Masai Mara. The city offers breathtaking skylines, thrilling safari experiences, vibrant nightlife, rich cultural heritage, and diverse culinary delights, making it a captivating destination for travellers.

Strategic vision for global connectivity

Tony Fernandes, CEO of Capital A says: “We are thrilled to announce a direct new route, bridging Asia and Africa. This milestone, coming on the heels of our 15th consecutive win as Skytrax’s World’s Best Low-Cost Airline, embodies our mission to connect the world affordably. This new route not only opens up Asia to Africa but also has the potential to strengthen ties in tourism, business and trade between the two continents.

“It marks the beginning of a new journey into Africa, and while our roots are in Asia and Asean, our dream has always been to make Kuala Lumpur a global low-cost carrier hub. This expansion brings us closer to that vision, giving us a solid footing to build global connections and opportunities.”

Benyamin Ismail, CEO of AirAsia X adds: “Embarking on this new adventure into Africa is truly exhilarating, particularly in light of our significant growth trajectory earlier this year. This route presents excellent connectivity opportunities to other key markets we serve, especially in the Asean region.

“Travellers from Singapore can now journey more affordably to Kenya, with a convenient and smooth stopover in Kuala Lumpur. Kenya is a vibrant nation, home to millions of people and a rich tapestry of beautiful heritages and extraordinary sceneries. We look forward to further enriching the cultural and economic exchanges between these dynamic regions.”

Source Biz Community.

Jambojet Starts 4 Weekly Flights Between Zanzibar And Mombasa

NAIROBI, Kenya, July 2 – Jambojet yesterday began its first of four weekly flights between Zanzibar and Mombasa with an eye on tourists flying into the Tanzanian island.

The flights will depart from Mombasa to Zanzibar on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday.

“Our new route starts at 24,420 Kenyan shillings, (495,000 Tanzanian shillings) for a round trip,” Jambojet CEO Karanja Ndegwa said yesterday during the inaugural flight from Moi International Airport in Mombasa to Zanzibar’s Abeid Amani Karume International Airport (AAKIA).

“As a leader in low-cost aviation, we pride ourselves on our competitive fares and extensive network, enabling more people to travel across East Africa This route  reflects our goal of making air travel accessible to everyone,” Ndegwa added.

The route will be served by a De Havilland Dash 8 400 aircraft capable of carrying 78 to 82 passengers.

The subsidiary added that the route also offers connections to Nairobi, Dubai, Frankfurt, Milan, and other destinations.

“On behalf of the Kenyan government, I am delighted to be part of today’s launch of this new route operated by our airline, Jambojet, from Zanzibar to Mombasa,” said Issac Njenga, Kenya’s Ambassador to Tanzania.

“This step is crucial not only in facilitating quick and affordable air travel but also in strengthening commercial, tourist, and cultural ties between Tanzania and Kenya,” Njenga added.

“By enhancing connectivity, we are fostering development along the East African coast.”

 Since it was started in 2014, Jambojet has served over 7.5 million passengers, accounting for more than 54 percent of the domestic air travel market share in Kenya.

The airline also flies to Nairobi, Kisumu, Eldoret, Lamu, Malindi, Diani, and Goma in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

“Mombasa is a key city for tourism in Kenya. “Jambojet is opening up many socio-economic opportunities for Zanzibar and Mombasa. We expect more tourists and traders to benefit from this affordable and fast direct flight,” said Abdulswamad Shariff Nassir, Mombasa Governor.

 Source: Capital Fm

Dubai Destinations campaign launches new phase celebrating summer season

DUBAI: A new phase of the Dubai Destinations campaign is inviting residents and visitors to create unforgettable memories this summer by exploring Dubai’s vibrant offerings and discovering a wide range of captivating experiences and activities.

A celebration of the city’s unique appeal across all seasons, the Dubai Destinations campaign seeks to spotlight the city’s top-rated attractions, with an emphasis on the unique experiences that set the emirate apart as one of the world’s most captivating destinations. The collaborative campaign, implemented by Brand Dubai, the creative arm of the Government of Dubai Media Office (GDMO), harnesses the power of storytelling to further raise the city’s profile as a leading global destination.

The latest phase of the campaign will capture the essence of Dubai as a unique summer destination by focusing on beach destinations, waterparks, indoor activities, and luxurious hotel pools, highlighting the city’s diverse range of experiences that cater to the tastes and interests of people of all ages and nationalities.

The current season of the Dubai Destinations campaign also brings together a wide range of public and private sector stakeholders to showcase the emirate’s various exciting experiences.

Shaima Al Suwaidi, Director of Brand Dubai, said, “This phase of the Dubai Destinations campaign aligns with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, to transform the emirate into the world’s best city to live and visit. By showcasing Dubai’s vibrant summer offerings, we are not only highlighting its unique charm but also reaffirming our commitment to raising Dubai’s profile as a city that offers unparalleled experiences for both residents and tourists.

With the support of government entities, industry stakeholders from the public and private sectors, and the creative media community, the campaign will shed light on unique destinations, hidden gems, and exciting activities that make Dubai one of the world’s most popular destinations. Our goal is to ensure that everyone can experience the beauty, excitement, and warmth that define Dubai, fostering a deeper connection with the city and its offerings.”

Through engaging and interactive content, the campaign will spotlight Dubai’s stunning beaches and water activities, featuring popular spots such as Dubai Ladies Club, Bluwaters, Dubai Marina, Jumeirah Beach Residence, The Beach, Jumeirah, Al Mamzar Park, and the unique Night Beach experience.

For those seeking indoor adventures, the campaign will highlight attractions like Ski Dubai, Aya Universe, Chaos Karts, and an array of shopping malls including Mall of the Emirates, Dubai Mall, and Mirdif City Centre. Visitors can also enjoy unique experiences at Deep Dive Dubai, various sports courts, theme parks such as IMG Worlds of Adventure and LEGOLAND, Air Maniax, indoor skydiving at iFly Dubai, The Green Planet, and KidZania.

Dubai’s famous waterparks will also be featured prominently, including LEGOLAND Water Park at Dubai Parks and Resorts, Wild Wadi, and Aquaventure Waterpark at Atlantis, The Palm.

The campaign will also highlight Dubai’s luxurious hotel pools, from infinity pools and rooftop pools to private pools and those with breathtaking views, offering the perfect retreat from the summer heat.

Upcoming Dubai Destinations guides, set to be released by Brand Dubai during the campaign, will help people discover many attractions in the emirate covering exciting summer and weekend activities, seaside dining options, and other businesses running exciting programmes during the season. From top-rated summer camps for children to thrilling water activities, enchanting staycations and indoor hotspots, these guides serve as unique resources for exploring the best of Dubai during the summer season.

Furthermore, the campaign will spotlight unique homegrown businesses from the ‘Proudly from Dubai’ network, an initiative launched by Brand Dubai to highlight the success stories of businesses born and initiated in Dubai.

Brand Dubai will also be partnering with several content creators and influencers to develop videos and promotional content that highlight the top activities, experiences and events in the city and where to find them. The latest phase of the Dubai Destinations campaign, which coincides with Dubai Summer Surprises, is being rolled out over digital, broadcast, print and outdoor media to ensure it reaches large sections of local and international audiences.

Source:  Zawya.  

Kenya’s tourism sector gears up for MKTE 2024

Investors in Kenya’s tourism sector are urged to leverage the upcoming Magical Kenya Travel Expo (MKTE) to forge global partnerships and enhance business opportunities.

Tourism PS John Ololtuaa emphasized that MKTE plays a crucial role in facilitating local enterprises and start-ups to access international markets, particularly benefiting those unable to participate in overseas expos due to cost constraints.

“This expo has consistently fostered linkages and collaborations between local tourism businesses and global markets, leading to significant growth within Kenya’s tourism sector and the diversification of our tourism products,” stated PS Ololtuaa.

Speaking at an MKTE partners’ event, gearing up for its 14th edition from October 2nd-4th, 2024 at Uhuru Gardens, Nairobi, stakeholders explored collaboration opportunities to enhance the premier travel show in East Africa.

Last year, MKTE attracted over 3,000 delegates from 25 countries, showcasing Kenya’s diverse tourism offerings.

The 2024 edition aims to host 5,000 delegates, including 160 hosted buyers and over 100 buyers’ clubs.

PS Ololtuaa reaffirmed the ministry’s commitment to fostering an enabling environment through public-private sector engagements, aimed at supporting tourism businesses, especially at the grassroots level.

“As we focus on attracting international visitors, we must also promote domestic tourism, which presents untapped potential. Encouraging Kenyans to explore their own country will capitalize on high-quality local experiences and facilities,” added Ololtuaa.

Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) CEO June Chepkemei expressed optimism for MKTE 2024, highlighting its role in providing affordable access to international suppliers and markets for Kenyan travel trade, county governments, and affiliated brands.

“This year, our strategy includes targeting new source markets such as Brazil, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, and Australia, alongside traditional markets in Europe and Africa, in line with our destination diversification efforts,” Chepkemei noted.

KTB aims to achieve a target of 3 million visitors by the end of 2024, building on MKTE’s reputation as a pivotal event in Kenya’s tourism calendar.

Source: KBC  

Kenya Airways Secures “Best Airline Staff Service in Africa” Award at 2024 World Airline Awards

London, UK June 25, 2024 – Kenya Airways (KQ) has been awarded the “Best Airline Staff Service in Africa” at the 2024 World Airline Awards held on June 24th, 2024, at the Fairmont Windsor Park in London.

Hosted by Skytrax, the international air transport rating organisation, the World Airline Awards are renowned as the “Oscars of the aviation industry.” This recognition signifies the exceptional dedication and outstanding service consistently delivered by Kenya Airways’ staff.

Commenting on the award, Kenya Airways Group Managing Director and CEO, Allan Kilavuka, expressed his gratitude for the recognition, stating, “This achievement is a testament to the unwavering dedication and exceptional service demonstrated by our team members each day. Receiving the Best Airline Staff Service in Africa award serves as significant motivation for us to continue striving for excellence in service delivery and passenger satisfaction” 

Edward Plaisted, CEO of Skytrax, echoed the sentiment, stating, “We congratulate Kenya Airways on this achievement of being named as the Best Airline Staff Service in Africa at the 2024 World Airline Awards. This service and hospitality accolade should be a source of pride for the management and staff of Kenya Airways.”

SourceCorporate Kenya-Airways.

AFRAA Projects a 15% Rise in Passenger Traffic for African Carriers in 2024

The aviation industry experienced a dynamic start to 2024, grappling with a multitude of challenges and opportunities. Despite ongoing post-pandemic hurdles, the airline sector sustained its recovery momentum this year, witnessing a resurgence in passenger demand.

Africa witnessed a 6% increase in available seats, rising from 15.1 million in May 2023 to 15.9 million in May 2024, attributed to by the introduction of new routes and increased flight frequencies. During the same period, ASKs (Available Seat Kilometers) surpassed May 2023 levels by 12%.

African carriers accounted for 48.7% of the international capacity and 35.4% of the intercontinental capacity.

AFRAA projects a 15% rise in passenger traffic for African carriers in 2024 compared to 2023. Regarding capacity allocation between African and non-African operators on International routes (regional and intercontinental), AFRAA estimates a split of 51.3% and 48.7%, respectively. However, in regards to intercontinental routes, Africa accounts for only 35.4% of capacity, with non-African operators holding the majority share at 64.6%.

In this season, intra-Africa connectivity surged across regions, with major hubs such as Addis Ababa, Nairobi, Abidjan, and Lome witnessing a notable uptick in connectivity.

African airlines are experiencing enhanced revenue performance, following the growth in traffic. AFRAA’s estimate shows operating revenue for March 2024 at US$1.74 billion, a significant increase from US$1.39 billion in March 2023, marking a 26% growth.

Global price of Jet A1 continues to fluctuate from week to week. The global average jet A1 price ended the week of 24th May 2024 down 0.7% at $99.85/bbl.


In Nigeria, the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO) has raised concerns over the detrimental impact of excessive airline taxes, which have made Nigerian airports some of the most expensive globally for foreign airlines to operate.

Egypt is making strides towards sustainable aviation with the Egyptian Petrochemicals Holding planning to launch the country’s first sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) production facility by 2025.

In Kenya, the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) is leading efforts to validate draft aviation regulations aimed at enhancing safety and efficiency, with active stakeholder consultation. However, the Kenyan government’s proposed Finance Bill 2024, which includes VAT on aviation equipment and supplies, is causing concern as it deviates from global best practices where aviation is typically VAT-exempt.

In South Africa, the clarification received on the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) Act is that the Act is targeted at enhancing and encouraging procurement of goods and services from B-BBEE compliant companies and the requirement to have foreign operators to be B-BBEE certified is impractical. Foreign operators in South Africa are encouraged to seek further clarification with the BEE Chambers on applicability to their respective airline. Additionally, the Department of Forestry, Fisheries, and the Environment is reviewing aviation meteorological service tariffs for the next three years, with new rates effective from April 2024 to March 2027.

In the United States, major airlines are challenging a new regulation by the US Department of Transportation (DOT) that mandates upfront disclosure of ancillary airline fees. This rule aims to enhance transparency for consumers regarding additional travel charges.

Singapore Airlines has revised its seatbelt and meal service policies following fatal turbulence. Hot meal service will now be suspended when the seatbelt sign is on, and cabin crew will ensure all items and equipment are secured during poor weather conditions.

The latest report on Blocked Funds is that Nigeria has settled and released all funds that had been blocked in Nigeria to the airline operators.

Source: Airspace-Africa

How Gen Z is transforming tourism: 4 key travel trends

The travel industry is taking notice of a rising demographic: Generation Z. As this tech-savvy generation comes of age, their unique travel preferences are poised to reshape the tourism landscape. Defined by social consciousness and a thirst for authentic experiences, Gen Z travellers are demanding a different approach from travel companies. Understanding their motivations and expectations will be crucial for crafting experiences that resonate with this influential generation.

Talking to this is Chaiwat Tamthai, director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand in Dubai for the Middle East and Africa. As he asserts: “the tourism industry is markedly different to what it was just a few years ago. Each generation of travellers puts their distinct stamp on the industry.

Generation Z is particularly distinctive in that they’ve grown up in a time of unparalleled change – they are digital natives who have lived through economic recessions, pivotal social movements, technological innovation and most recently, the Covid-19 pandemic.

These experiences have shaped their worldview and by extension, their take on many aspects of life, including social interactions, work and travel. As tourism industry leaders, getting to grips with some of these formative trends is the key to building a sector that is positioned to welcome these travellers to new and exciting experiences.”

Travel – but make it green

An increasing number of young travellers are going in search of tourism opportunities that have a relatively low carbon impact and show reverence and respect for the environment and local communities. This is especially true of South Africans.

According to a survey conducted by Flywire, 87% of local travel providers have seen a rise in the number of clients seeking sustainable travel options. A further 49% of travellers have expressed interest in sustainable options when booking accommodation.

Amongst these are Gen Z-ers who are more environmentally and socially conscious than their older counterparts. Their demand for more ‘responsible’ travel experiences also extends to how they choose modes of transport, their leisure plans and their food choices.

This trend has become particularly prevalent in destinations known for their green status, including Thailand, which offers travellers a range of eco-friendly options. As Tamthai explains, Thailand has a STAR programme that categorises tourism operators according to 12 sustainable travel criteria which include economic, social, environmental and good governance factors.

“The system is incredibly useful for responsible travellers who can easily review each operator’s sustainability status and make informed decisions, knowing that a quality standard has been set,” he says.

The search for authenticity

Even in a hyper-connected, high-tech world, young travellers go in search of authentic experiences that allow them to become immersed in local culture and lifestyle. Gen Z-ers are less likely to be drawn to popular tourist destinations and are more inclined to seek out opportunities that can take them off the beaten track. This quest for authenticity often leads them to prefer homestays, boutique hotels, and experiences like cooking classes and cultural festivals.

This trend has been picked up in locations like Thailand, which now offers a wide variety of authentic travel experiences. “Some of these include joining local farmers in rice plantations, hand-weaving crafts like baskets and cotton goods, embarking on a cultural exchange with a local host family or getting involved with a community-based tourism project.

“These kinds of opportunities can be richly rewarding and memorable and allow visitors to take a piece of authentic Thai magic home with them,” says Tamthai.

Digital-driven travel choices

As digital natives, Gen Z-ers are also the first generation to grow up with smartphones and social media. Naturally therefore, digital technology is an integral part of their travel experiences and choices. They rely heavily on apps and online platforms for everything from booking flights and accommodations to finding local attractions and restaurants.

Social media also plays a prominent role in how young people choose the destinations they visit. As much as 60% of South Africans find travel inspiration on social media channels such as Instagram and TikTok according to the Expedia Group.

Another study by Booking.com found that almost 40% rely heavily on peer reviews from social media influencers and celebrities when deciding where to go, what to do and what to eat. Going forward, social media will become an increasingly important touchpoint by which to engage these tech-savvy travellers.

Holistic health takes priority

Gen Z-ers are known to be more focused on holistic wellbeing and factors such as personal fitness, mental health and social awareness. This trend went into overdrive after the pandemic, with many young people seeking travel experiences that could assist them in their journey towards general wellness.

Destinations such as wellness spas cater to these kinds of travellers. In Thailand, many spas go beyond traditional offerings such as massages and offer programmes and retreats that are designed to restore and rejuvenate the body, mind and spirit. As Tamthai predicts, wellness tourism will continue to draw the interest of young people as this trend moves from being a niche to being a more mainstream pursuit.

Source: Bizcommunity.

New study highlights unserved air routes to boost African connectivity.

Airbus has released a new study highlighting several unserved air routes within Africa. These routes, the study suggests, could significantly improve travel connections for passengers, stimulate economic growth in local regions, and generate substantial revenue for airlines. The study builds on data from Airbus’s latest Global Market Forecast (GMF).

Several of the top unserved routes identified in the analysis are concentrated in cities such as Lagos, Cape Town, Nairobi, Dakar, and Douala. Airbus also touched on strategic recommendations to capitalise on the opportunities of a more connected continent as well as Airbus’ capabilities to help realise this potential.

Identifying critical routes

“Despite significant traffic between certain city pairs, some identified routes still lack regularly scheduled non-stop flights. Factors such as restrictive bilateral air service agreements, economic variables, and challenges with capacity, frequency and operating cost efficiency contribute to these routes remaining unserved,” said Geert Lemaire, market intelligence and consulting director, Airbus.

“With our capacity to make analyses about route and network development potential in-house, Airbus remains committed to partnering with airlines across Africa to identify optimised fleet solutions in line with network development requirements that further stimulate the continent’s air transport industry growth and improve connectivity for travellers.”

Growth and forecast

The forecast, meanwhile, predicts a 4.1% growth overall in air traffic over the next 20 years, resulting in an anticipated need for 1,180 new aircraft by 2043. Meanwhile, the continued growth of the aviation sector in Africa is expected to result in 3.3% real GDP growth on the continent, well above the 2.6% global average.

This growth is ratified by data from Airbus’ Global Services Forecast, which estimates that Africa will need to introduce 15,000 more pilots, 20,000 technicians and 24,000 cabin crew to meet the surge in air travel demand.

Source: Nile Post.