Saturday, April 30, 2011

Kenya Airways Resumes Flights to Abidjan !

Kenya Airways resumed scheduled flights to Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, after a month’s absence due to the political skirmishes that had rocked the country.
The Kenyan National Airline resumes the route with three flights a week linked with Dakar starting 2nd May 2011 operating on Monday, Thursday and Saturday.

Kenya Airways flights to Abidjan/Dakar were re routed Accra, Ghana on 1st April due to security reasons. But as a result of the improved political and security situation in Cote d’ivoire, Abidjan flights have been reinstated. Kenya Airways flies daily to Dakar, 3 times a week via Abidjan and 4 times a week via Bamako Mali.

Air Zimbabwe chairman Jonathan Kadzura quits Air Zimbabwe?

Air Zimbabwe chairman Jonathan Kadzura hangs in the balance as he has reportedly quit the troubled airline amid talk that he had fallen out of favour with Transport minister Nicholas Goche over the recent strike by the airline’s pilots.
Transport minister Nicholas Goche, to whom Kadzura is supposed to have submitted his resignation, could neither confirm nor deny speculation surrounding Kadzura’s tenure.
“You should ask him (Kadzura) on whether he has resigned or not,” he said in a telephone interview yesterday.
Kadzura gave a veiled response to businessdigest’s inquiry: “I haven’t really done that. I have heard that. But you can’t keep such news away from the public.”
However, impeccable sources within the aviation industry said Kadzura had tendered his resignation, but Goche had turned it down.   
The sources said Kadzura threw in the towel as the national carrier’s chair, frustrated that he was bypassed twice during critical meetings to resolve the pilots’ crippling job action.
The sources said the embattled Air Zimbabwe chair, who has witnessed two paralysing strikes within a space of six months since his appointment in 2009, tendered his resignation after government by-passed him and directly struck a deal with the pilots on April 14.
Goche, according to sources, did not accept the resignation although he is understood to have already lined up former Air Zimbabwe acting CEO Oscar Madombwe or ZTA chief Karikoga Kaseke to succeed Kadzura.
Kadzura is said to have fallen out favour with Goche over the manner in which he handled the strike. He was consistently quoted as saying the airline had no cash to meet the financial obligations, a development that is understood to have irked the pilots.
Kadzura, previously vice chairman, succeeded Mike Bimha as chairman after the former chair was appointed Industry and Commerce deputy minister at the formation of the inclusive government two years ago.
Information gathered by businessdigest indicates that at meetings convened last September to save the financially beleaguered airline Captain Courage Munyanyiwa represented the pilots, Patson Mbiriri stood in for
the shareholder (government) while immediate past Air Zimbabwe CEO Peter Chikumba was not party to the meetings.
“They agreed during these meeting that arrears owed to the pilots should be cleared within six months.
Government failed to meet this deadline, which resulted in the most recent strike.  Kadzura was again not actively involved on the negotiations, which could have annoyed him as board chairman. Acting CEO Innocent Mavhunga, Munyanyiwa and Mbiriri instead took part in these negotiations.”
Air Zimbabwe pilots went on a strike on last month  over non-payment of nearly US$3 million in outstanding salaries. The strike, according to the sources, was stopped after the parties agreed government would immediately pay 74% of the arrears, with the remainder being cleared by end of August this year.
Meanwhile, Munyanyiwa is understood to have quit the national carrier amid reports that he has joined a Middle East airline. 

Friday, April 22, 2011

Air France expands its offer of services to West Africa

Present for the past 75 years on the African continent such as Douala-Cameroon, Yaounde-Cameroon, Accra- Ghana, , Lagos-Nigeria, Air France is expanding its offer of services in West Africa with the launch of routes to Freetown and Monrovia and increased frequencies to Conakry.
Air France now flies to Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone, twice weekly, on Tuesdays and Sundays, via Conakry; and to Monrovia, the capital of Liberia, twice weekly, on Wednesdays and Fridays via Conakry. Daily flights to Conakry will be operated on a non-stop basis four times weekly and via Nouakchott three times weekly.

Flights to Conakry, Nouakchott, Freetown and Monrovia will be operated by Airbus A330-200 with 208 seats, in Air France’s three long-haul cabin classes (40 seats in Business, 21 in Premium Voyageur and 147 in Voyageur).

“After the launch of flights to Kigali by KLM in October 2010, these two new Air France routes and the daily service to Guinea illustrate the confidence Air France KLM has in the development of the West African region. Our commitment to offer our customers even more choice and destinations goes hand in hand with our desire to accompany the growth in economic relations between the African continent and the rest of the world” explains Pierre Descazeaux, SVP Africa & Middle East, Air France KLM.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Aviation Experts Commend Air Zimbabwe For Securing New Plane

Aviation experts say Air Zimbabwe has moved in the right direction in securing use of a new Boeing 737-500 from Zambian-based Air Zambezi to update its aging fleet.
South African-based aviation expert Guy Leitch said indications are the plane has been secured on a long lease agreement with cabin crew, pilots and other staff. The state-owned carrier has been virtually crippled by a strike by pilots, engineers and cabin crew.
The striking pilots recently complained to Parliament they are flying outdated planes.

Leitch said that while the new model is more commercially viable, Air Zimbabwe management must put its house in order to achieve profitability.
“While it is commendable that the airline has secured a new plane, it should also address management problems that have led to the current strike," Leitch said.

Zimbabwe: A World of Launch Brand At South African Tourism Expo

Zimbabwe will launch its tourism brand, Zimbabwe: A World of Wonders, at the Indaba Tourism Expo to be held in Durban, South Africa, from May 7 to 10.
This is one of the biggest promotions on the tourism industry in Africa. It is to be held at Durban's Albert Luthuli Convention Centre.
In an interview, the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority head of public relations, events and protocol, Mr Sugar Chagonda, said the tourism expo would create a platform for Zimbabwe to launch its brand on a continental scale.
"South Africa is among Zimbabwe's major source markets and remains the major focus for tourist arrivals, accounting for 70 percent of tourist arrivals in Zimbabwe from Africa.
"The Indaba, therefore, becomes an expedient forum for us to launch our Zimbabwe: A World of Wonders brand," he said.
The Zimbabwe tourism delegation to South Africa will be led by the ZTA chief executive Mr Karikoga Kaseke and will include tourism operators.
About 30 companies are expected to exhibit at the expo, among them Rainbow Tourism Group, Khanondo Safaris, Shearwater Adventures and Chikwenya Safari Lodge.
Apart from the brand launch, the travel expo offers an opportunity to increase tourist arrivals from South Africa, to identify and recruit media and buyers for this year's Sanganai/Hlanganani expo and to establish strategic partnerships with the travel trade and media from different source markets.
The Great Indaba promotes a wide variety of Southern African tourism products and services.
Mr Chagonda said the expo provides Zimbabwe with a great opportunity to meet key tour operators from South Africa with packages to Victoria Falls and other neighbouring countries promoting Africa from the international source markets.
"The major objective this year is to launch the brand, 'Zimbabwe A World of Wonders' during Indaba, following successful brand launches in the United Kingdom, China and Germany earlier this year, respectively.
"Given the negative perception about Zimbabwe within the public and the travel agencies, the brand launch serves as a platform for telling the true and detailed story of Zimbabwe," he said.
South Africa is one of the target markets, with a population of 50 million, according to the national census of 2001.
It is a major source market with great potential to grow faster than most source markets, given its proximity to, historical and trade links with Zimbabwe.
Last year, there were 1 368 234 visitors from South Africa to Zimbabwe, compared with 912 000 in 2009.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Air Zimbabwe announces fleet renewal

Air Zimbabwe said Tuesday it would retire its entire fleet of Boeing 737-200 aircraft and replace them with new planes.

The state-owned carrier has three Boeing 737-200 planes, which it says are now too old and obsolete to operate.

In a statement, the airline said it would acquire new aircraft and lease more modern ones as part of an ambitious fleet renewal planned.

Last week, Air Zimbabwe leased a Boeing 737-500 plane from Air Zambezi of Zambia to operate on domestic and regional routes.

"This (the lease) is part of a fleet replacement programme which will see the gradual phasing out of the entire B737-200 fleet the airline has been operating," Innocent Mavhunga, the airline's chief executive, said.

The carrier is presently paralysed by a month-old strike by pilots and cabin crew over unpaid salaries and allowances amounting to US$12 million

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Air Zimbabwe leases aircraft from Zambia for its domestic and regional routes.

Zimbabwe - Air Zimbabwe said Tuesday it had leased aircraft and flight crews from Zambia after reaching a deadlock with its striking pilots and cabin crews. Zimbabwe's airline's pilots and flight attendants went on strike over three weeks ago, demanding payment of overdue salaries and allowances amounting to US$ 12 million. Despite the strike being ruled illegal by the courts, the striking workers have refused to go back to work, insisting on payment of their salaries and allowances. Air Zimbabwe, which is saddled with huge debts of more than US$ 100 million, has said it was unable to settle the salary arrears and appealed to the workers to go back to work to save the airline from imminent collapse.

Airline chairman, Jonathan Kadzura, said Air Zimbabwe had leased aircraft and cabin crews from Zambezi Airlines of Zambia to service domestic and regional routes as a stop-gap measure.

He said domestic routes to be covered were from the capital, Harare, to the second city of Bulawayo and the country's tourism hub, the Victoria Falls.

Among the regional routes would be South Africa and DR Congo, as international routes to London and Beijing, among others, remain unserviced.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Air Zimbabwe Needs $4 Million to End Pilot Strike....

Air Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe national flag carrier, needs at least $4 million to pay pilots to end a strike that began on March 23, Newsday reported, citing acting Chief Executive Officer Innocent Mavhunga.
The airline can’t afford arrears it owes to pilots and engineers after it last year cut salaries to between $1,000 and $1,500 a month from between $3,000 and $7,000, the Harare-based newspaper cited Mavhunga as saying yesterday.
Air Zimbabwe employs 49 pilots, though of the company’s aircraft, only two Boeing 767s, two Boeing 737s and one MA60 are currently functioning, Newsday said.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Air Zimbabwe striking pilots finally decided to ends & flights will resume on Sunday .

Strike by Pilots employed by state-owned Air Zimbabwe has been call off. The strike went before a couple of weeks. The reason for strike by the pilots was that the pilots are demanding to be paid outstanding allowances, according to the Harare-based broadcaster. The airline doesn’t have enough cash to pay the pilots and hasn’t taken any action to avert or end the strike.
Now the issues of salaries seems solved according our secret journalist and outstanding are resolved by the Air Zimbabwe’s administration. And the pilots decided to ends the long week strike and flights will resume hopefully on Sunday.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Air Zimbabwe workers seize assets

Air Zimbabwe's who are payable nearly US$4, 00,000 in unpaid salaries and bonuses yesterday attached property that includes management vehicles.

Efforts to stop the attachment and subsequent auctioning of the assets failed at the High Court yesterday.

The properties, attached by the deputy sheriff last Friday, can now be auctioned anytime despite protests by Air Zimbabwe that this will paralyze its already obstructed operations.

Pilots are on strike and the airline has for the past two weeks been transferring passengers to other carriers.
Air Zimbabwe is incurring a monthly loss of US$3,5 million and all its craft on all routes - when operating - are incurring losses.

Some of the properties were attached in November last year, but had not been auctioned because of legal challenges.

Yesterday, High Court judge, Justice Andrew Mutema, dismissed with costs an urgent chamber application for stay of execution by Air Zimbabwe lawyer Mr Selby Hwacha.

Justice Mutema said the High Court had no jurisdiction on the matter.

"The door is now shut on Air Zimbabwe. The deputy sheriff has already removed things and they are going to be sold," said Caleb Mucheche of Matsikidze and Mucheche, who represented the disgruntled workers.

In his application, Hwacha said the airline's operations "will be irreparably affected if execution is allowed to proceed". He said the national airline was an important and strategic State institution.

"The attachment and or notice to remove and sell applicants' property is so manifestly unlawful that an inference of improper conduct is sustainable," Hwacha had argued.

He also challenged the impartiality of Arthur Manase, the arbitrator in the case between Airzim and its workers.

"On November 18, 2010 following a similar application, this honourable court issued as an order by consent directing that the first respondent Mr Arthur Manase, who had dealt with the matter before, be directed again to determine whether or not the date due to the second (Air Transport Union) and third (National Air Workers Union) for salary and bonus November and December 2009 had been discharged. "It is worthy of mention that the matter has had a troubled background...

"There are serious issues as to whether or not Mr Manase has acted impartially in this matter."

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Kenya Airways targets region with new cargo freighter

National flag carrier Kenya Airways will deploy the new cargo freighter to serve the East African region when it arrives later this year.

The freighter, the first of its kind in the KQ fleet, will address the latent demand for air freight within the region, spreading to the Central African region and covering Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi and southern Sudan.

Kenya Airways Cargo General Manager Sauda Rajab made the announcement during the annual agents’ awards ceremony in Nairobi during which the airline hosted hundreds of the cargo agents, freight forwarders and logistics companies.

"We have already sent a team to the United States to review a potential Boeing 737 cargo freighter but we are confident that we will take delivery of the aircraft by the third quarter of this year," said Rajab.

She explained that the cargo division’s announcement of the impending delivery of a specialized freighter had stirred the market as there was pent up demand for faster movement of goods within the East African and Great Lakes region.

"The freighter will take up the cargo that is not able to go into the relatively smaller Embraer E170 aircraft that currently serve the region," she noted.

To augment the expansion of its cargo capacity, Rajab said that KQ Cargo was keen to establish a online cargo booking and tracking system to be shared with other agencies and players in the cargo freighting sector.

"We are currently in discussions with the Kenya Revenue Authority to establish a Cargo Community System that will automate the manual cargo booking that is currently in use.

"It will operate in a similar manner to the passenger booking system," she said, adding that once the vendors are identified, she will provide a comprehensive update.

The Cargo Community System will be integrated into the E- Freight platform, on which KQ Cargo went live in December last year.

"This is a cog in the wheel of automating cargo freighting which is currently laden with tedious paper processing.

"A single transaction requires at least 30 forms of paper to be filled in and processed at any one time, making the booking, transport and clearing unnecessarily long," she said.

Rajab noted that the International Air Transport Association (IATA) which is championing E-Freight had given KQ Cargo an automation target for December 2011.

"We are now expected to process 10 per cent of our total cargo volume through the E-Freight system by the end of this year," she said.


Zimbabwe Fresh Fears Over Mugabe's Health in Livingstone, Zambia

Livingstone, Zambia — President Robert Mugabe moved around in a golf cart during the Thursday summit of the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) troika on peace and security, sparking fresh speculation about the 87-year-old ruler's health.
Travelling with a large entourage that included six medical people, Mugabe had difficulties disembarking from the Air Zimbabwe chartered flight at Livingstone International Airport.
With one bodyguard in front and one on the left, Mugabe walked slowly to the dais where he was again assisted to climb up for the singing of the national anthems.
During the summit at Zambezi Sun Hotel in the resort town in southern Zambia, Mugabe moved around in a golf cart.
Even disembarking from the golf cart required his optimum concentration and holding of supporting metal bars while his counterparts walked freely.
Last month, Mugabe's spokesman George Charamba, in what should be a first in the former guerilla leader's presidency, announced that his boss had undergone a surgical operation to remove cataracts in his eyes in Singapore.
The announcement followed intense speculation during Mugabe's annual leave that he was suffering from prostate cancer and had visited a hospital in the Far East.
Zanu PF has chosen Zimbabwe's only ruler since independence to represent it in presidential elections expected later this year.
But analysts' doubt that he would be fit enough to see through the usually vigorous election campaign.
His major rival would be the 59-year-old Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai who beat Mugabe in the first round of the 2008 presidential elections but failed to garner the majority required to claim the presidency.

Air Zimbabwe Pilots call off strike for Bob!

President Robert Mugabe together with his massive delegation and elaborate security has caused a stir at a luxury hotel in Zambia.
Zimbabwe's octogenarian leader, who was visibly not feeling well, jetted into Livingstone, Zambia, this week on a Zimbabwe plane accompanied by heavy security, ministers and plenty of aides - despite Air Zimbabwe pilots being on strike. Officials, however, said pilots were "required to temporarily call off the strike" if Mugabe wants to travel.
He was attending the Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit.
On arrival at the Zambezi Sun Hotel, Mugabe was surrounded by more than 60 people. More than 40 of them arrived on the same plane as Mugabe while about 15 had come as an advanced delegation. Curious Zambians and tourists stared in awe.
The situation was worsened by members of the Zambian protocol and government officials, who had come to welcome the 87-year-old leader.
The veteran Zimbabwe leader, who appeared to struggle while walking, slowly made his way to a golf cart which took him to his executive suite.
Tourists, guests and SADC officials watched as Mugabe was driven to his room surrounded by bodyguards and officials on foot. It was difficult for photographers to get a good picture of Mugabe. Another cart with more bodyguards and protocol officials followed behind.
Even when he left the hotel for lunch, Mugabe used the golf cart to get to his vehicle.
South African President Jacob Zuma had less than 12 people around him and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai six.

Cameroon gets new national airline, launches its first flights!

The launch of a new national airline for Cameroon in Africa. Camair-Co has begun operations from Douala airport with a single 767-300 (with 210 seats including 30 in Business class) and a single 737-700, configured with 128 seats including 12 in Business class. According to the airline’s website, the route network comprises double-daily domestic flights to Yaoundé (morning and evening) and a mid-day flight that goes from Douala to Garoua, Garoua to Maroua, and finally from Maroua back to Douala. This flight operates three-times weekly. There is also a three-times weekly service from Douala to Garoua, Garoua to Ndjaména (in Chad), and Ndjaména back to Douala. These flights are operated by the airline’s 737.
The airline’s widebody 767 operates six-times weekly from Douala to Paris CDG via Yaoundé. The inaugural flight left Cameroon on Monday 28 March.
Experienced management team
Lufthansa Consulting has been involved in the formation of the airline and Lufthansa Technik will provide line maintenance. The CEO is Alex van Elk, COO Matthijs Boertien, CFO Roy Harrypersad, and CCO Christian Perchat. Prior to joining Camair-Co, van Elk was Managing Director of Arik Air in Nigeria, and before that was CEO of Weeze Airport in Germany. Boertien was formerly CEO of Denim Air in the Netherlands and helped launch Amsterdam Airlines. Harrypersad was previously CFO at both Caribbean Airlines and DHL Express Americas. In total, the airline currently employs 330 people.
Air France, Brussels Airlines and Swiss already serve Cameroon
Douala is already connected non-stop to three European hubs; Brussels, Paris CDG and Zurich thanks to Brussels Airlines (three flights per week), Air France (daily) and Swiss (four flights per week). All three of these carriers also operate to Yaoundé, the country’s capital.