Ethiopian Airlines Claims Skytrax’s Best Airline in Africa Title for Seven Years in a Row

Ethiopian Airlines, the largest airline group in Africa, keeps its top spot as the Best Airline in Africa and three other categories at the 2024 SKYTRAX World Airlines Award held in the UK. Ethiopian took the crown for multiple other prestigious accolades with the Best Airline in Africa title for seven consecutive years. 

Ethiopian has been honored with the titles for:

  • Best Airline in Africa for seven years in a row,
  • Best Business Class in Africa for six years in a row,
  • Best Economy Class in Africa for six years in a row,
  • Best Economy Class Onboard Catering in Africa.

Sending his congratulatory message on the award, Mr. Mesfin Tasew, Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO said: “We are pleased to have proudly received the prestigious Skytrax World Airlines 2024 award for the seventh consecutive year. At Ethiopian Airlines, our unwavering dedication to customer-centric innovation has been pivotal to our success. We remain at the forefront of the aviation industry by continually adopting cutting-edge technology to elevate our passengers’ experience.”

Edward Plaisted, CEO of Skytrax said, “We congratulate Ethiopian Airlines on winning this top award as Africa’s Best Airline for a seventh successive year and this level of consistency is a fabulous achievement that the Ethiopian Airlines management and staff should be very proud of.”

The World Airline Awards are wholly independent and impartial, introduced in 1999 to provide a customer satisfaction study that is truly global. Travelers across the world vote in the largest airline passenger satisfaction survey to determine the award winners. The awards are referred to by media around the world as “the Oscars of the aviation industry”.

These accolades, from the reputable SKYTRAX World Airlines Award, showcase our commitment to sustainability in our business and the services we provide. They are dear prizes from our esteemed customers through their vote of confidence and an achievement realized through the hard work of all employees throughout the Ethiopian network.

                                  Together, We Can Achieve More!

Read more https://www.ethiopianairlines.com/aa/shebaSkyConnect

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

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.

REGULATORY/INDUSTRY AFFAIRS

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.

Travel & Tourism in Kenya Injected KES 1TN to the national economy last year.

The World Travel & Tourism Council’s (WTTC) 2024 Economic Impact Research (EIR) has today revealed a record-breaking year for Travel & Tourism in Kenya, contributing KES1TN to the national economy in 2023.

Sector jobs grew 6% to reach a record 1.55MN, accounting for one in 13 jobs across the country.

While domestic visitor spending reached more than KES 466BN last year, almost 15% over the previous peak and setting a new record, spending by overseas visitors continued to trail the highpoint of 1999 to reach just KES 266BN.

Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO, said; “The recovery of Kenya’s Travel & Tourism sector is a testament to its resilience. Achieving record-breaking growth across economic contribution, jobs, and domestic visitor spending highlights the sector’s vital role in the nation’s economy.

“Although international visitor spending is currently lagging behind its high point, the future of Travel & Tourism in Kenya looks strong, with substantial opportunities for growth and development over the next decade.”

What Does This Year Look Like?

According to the global tourism body’s latest research, Travel & Tourism’s contribution to Kenya’s economy is forecast to grow 9% year-on-year to reach almost KES 1.15TN.

Jobs supported by the sector are projected to reach more than 1.6MN, representing almost 8% of jobs in Kenya.

Domestic visitor spending is expected to continue driving the sector to reach KES 521BN, but spending by travellers from overseas is forecast to remain below the previous high to reach KES 289.5BN.

What Does the Next Decade Look Like?

With the right government support, WTTC is forecasting that the sector could grow its annual GDP contribution to KES 1.7TN by 2034, representing 7.4% of Kenya’s economy, and could potentially employ more than 2.2MN people across the country.

See all the data in our Kenya Travel & Tourism Economic Impact Report on the WTTC Research Hub.

Source: Breaking Travel News.  

The World Travel & Tourism Council’s (WTTC) 2024 Economic Impact Research (EIR) has today revealed a record-breaking year for Travel & Tourism in Kenya, contributing KES1TN to the national economy in 2023.

Sector jobs grew 6% to reach a record 1.55MN, accounting for one in 13 jobs across the country.

While domestic visitor spending reached more than KES 466BN last year, almost 15% over the previous peak and setting a new record, spending by overseas visitors continued to trail the highpoint of 1999 to reach just KES 266BN.

Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO, said; “The recovery of Kenya’s Travel & Tourism sector is a testament to its resilience. Achieving record-breaking growth across economic contribution, jobs, and domestic visitor spending highlights the sector’s vital role in the nation’s economy.

“Although international visitor spending is currently lagging behind its high point, the future of Travel & Tourism in Kenya looks strong, with substantial opportunities for growth and development over the next decade.”

What Does This Year Look Like?

According to the global tourism body’s latest research, Travel & Tourism’s contribution to Kenya’s economy is forecast to grow 9% year-on-year to reach almost KES 1.15TN.

Jobs supported by the sector are projected to reach more than 1.6MN, representing almost 8% of jobs in Kenya.

Domestic visitor spending is expected to continue driving the sector to reach KES 521BN, but spending by travellers from overseas is forecast to remain below the previous high to reach KES 289.5BN.

What Does the Next Decade Look Like?

With the right government support, WTTC is forecasting that the sector could grow its annual GDP contribution to KES 1.7TN by 2034, representing 7.4% of Kenya’s economy, and could potentially employ more than 2.2MN people across the country.

See all the data in our Kenya Travel & Tourism Economic Impact Report on the WTTC Research Hub.

Source: Breaking Travel News.  

Kenya Waves ETA Fees for Ghana Citizens

The Ghanaian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday, June 19, informed its citizens that it had reached a deal with the Kenyan Government to scrap Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) fees.

Since January 2024, Ghanaians have been paying Ksh3,870 (USD30) ETA fees to enter Kenya despite Kenyans being exempted from visa requirements while travelling to Ghana.

The ETA fee was introduced by President William Ruto’s administration after he waved visa requirements for all global citizens.

Ghanaian government had raised complaints considering that the two countries had a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in immigration.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration wishes to inform the public that Kenya in recognition of the existing visa-free regime agreement between Kenya and Ghana has informed that Ghanaian travellers will now be issued an ETA on gratis upon application for travel to Kenya,” the statement read in part

“In that regard, Ghanaians intending to travel to Kenya are to submit their ETA application through www.etakenya.go.ke for approval prior to their departure.”

Kenya has been in the recent past waving ETA fees for countries that had previous visa-free agreements with.

In February, Ruto’s administration waived ETA fees for seven countries that had signed a visa-free agreement with Kenya between September 2022 and December 2023.

These countries included; Comoros, The Republic of Congo (Brazzaville), Eritrea, Ethiopia, Mozambique, San Marino and South Africa.

The countries joined 7 East African Community (EAC) that had been previously exempted from the ETA fees.

Before President Ruto abolished visa requirements, citizens from 51 countries were able to jet into Kenya by the power of their passports.

The National Government has not issued a statement about whether the 51 countries in future will all be exempted from paying ETA fees.

Source: Kenyans.