Saturday, September 22, 2012

SA Express operates flights to Harare from Durban.

Harare, Zimbabwe
SA Express Airlines will be expanding its route network into Zimbabwe with the launch of its flights to Harare from Durban, with an inaugural flight scheduled for October 3.
In a statement, SA Express Airlines said the new route would be the airline’s second major regional route launched in the last three months, taking the carrier’s destinations to 16.

In July, it launched three flights a week between King Shaka and Kenneth Kaunda International Airport in Zambia.

“The launch of this new route and added frequencies further underscores the importance of the Durban base and the commitment to its growth,” the company said.

The latest three flights between Durban and Harare will operate on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays using a wide-body CRJ 200 aircraft that can carry up to 50 passengers.

SA Express said the two-hour thirty-minute direct connection would be more affordable and convenient for the business market, but leisure travellers would equally benefit from more travel options into and out of KwaZulu-Natal.

“The new air route is part of a strategy to develop sub-regional air network from KwaZulu-Natal to the 14-nation Southern African Development Community, and thus boosting the tourism and regional business development between the two countries,” said SA Express.

Friday, August 31, 2012

South African Airways to increase flights to Zimbabwe!

South African Airways (SAA), a carrier owned by the government, said it wants to establish a hub in West Africa in partnership with a regional airline to help drive its planned expansion across the continent.
The airline plans to increase flights to Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Zambia and Ghana and may add trips to two or three more destinations in Africa in the year through March 2014, chief executive officer Siza Mzimela said in a presentation to lawmakers in Cape Town, on Wednesday.

“Ghana is the prime location for a potential joint venture,” Mzimela said. “We are currently in discussion with the government on this possibility.”

The development comes at a time when Zimbabwe has approached SAA to be the official carrier during the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) General Assembly
set for next year, as the troubled national airliner Air Zimbabwe remains grounded.

SAA now flies to 21 African destinations outside its home market, carrying an average of 4 600 passengers a day, according to the company.

According to the Tourism and Trends Statistic report for 2011 SAA, Kenyan and Ethiopian Airways had taken advantage of challenges besetting the local airline to increase their market share.

SAA last year increased its market share to 39% from 28% in 2010 while that of Kenya Airways rose to 9% from 8%.

The airline has since added an airbus to the Harare-Johannesburg route. The airline is currently servicing 18 flights per week to Zimbabwe.

A hub in West Africa would make it easier for travelers to fly to Johannesburg and connect with flights to South America, Asia and Australia.

Mango, SAA’s low-cost carrier, or SA Express, another state-owned carrier, are the preferred brand for the new venture, while SAA’s cargo, technical and catering units could provide support services, Mzimela said.

SAA has increased its carrying capacity in Africa by about a third over the past two years, making it the continent’s largest carrier after EgyptAir, Royal Air Maroc, Ethiopian Airlines and Air France-KLM.

Together SAA and Mango operate 53 passenger planes.

SAA has ordered 20 new A320 and A321 Airbus SAS planes, and expects to take delivery between next year and 2017. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Ethiopian Airlines launched its Dreamliners 787 and landed in Harare, Zimbabwe.

Africa's fastest growing airlines, Ethiopian Airlines, yesterday demonstrated its latest acquisition - the Boeing 787-800 Dreamliner in Harare.
The arrival of the giant 289-seater aircraft, the most technologically advanced commercial aircraft in the world, was a spectacle for both local and Ethiopian nationals who thronged the Harare International Airport, as it taxied on the runway and received the traditional water canon salute, reserved for aeroplanes making their maiden landing.
The plane's landing at the airport was its third on African soil and underlined the importance of Harare as a major hub for air travel in Southern Africa and Africa as a whole. The plane, dubbed "Africa's first", is one of 10 Dreamliners ordered by Ethiopian Airlines to service mostly African routes.
The Dreamliner is a long-range, mid-size wide-body, twin-engine jet airliner developed by Boeing Commercial Airplanes. It seats 265 passengers in economy class and 24 in business class. It is Boeing's most fuel-efficient airliner and the world's first major airliner to use composite materials for most of its construction.
The 787 consumes 20 percent less fuel than the similarly-sized 767. Its distinguishing features include a four-panel windshield, noise-reducing chevrons on its engine nacelles, and a smoother nose contour.
Mr Munodawafa urged the Civil Aviation Authority to continue to maintain high standards and woo more airlines to land in the country.
"We need to retain every plane that lands here. It is within our capacity -- it can be done," he said.
Advocate Mudenda paid tribute to Ethiopian Airlines for being one of the few airlines to continue flying into Zimbabwe at a time when other airlines were pulling out due to negative publicity the country was attracting internationally during the first decade of the new millennium. Ethiopian Airlines flights to Zimbabwe from United Kingdom are major participation which very low prices from all other airlines.
Ethiopian Ambassador to Zimbabwe Dr Koang Dung said the arrival of the Dreamliner was a reaffirmation of Ethiopia's commitment to its friendship with Zimbabwe that has seen its airline flying to Zimbabwe consistently since 1982.
"My country attaches great importance to its friendship with Zimbabwe and that is why it moved swiftly to establish air links with the country in 1982 soon after its independence," he said.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

KLM will start again flying into Zimbabwe in 29 October, 2012.

Until the year 2000 Zimbabwe had multiple international airlines flying in and out of the country. But as Zimbabwe's political anarchy, one by one they withdrew their services.
Now Royal Dutch Airlines (KLM) is back and starting its first flights to Zimbabwe on October 29th to Harare, along with Lusaka, Zambia, will be added as their newest destinations.
In a statement they said: "KLM sees great growth opportunities in Africa. This year we launched service to Luanda in Angola, Lusaka in Zambia and in 2011 we began serving Kigali in Rwanda.
The airline said it would also offer 11 weekly services to Harare via Nairobi in co-operation with Kenya Airways.
Flight KL523 will be operated with an Airbus A330-200 on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays, departing from Schiphol at 10:20 and arriving in Harare on the same day at 21:25.
The return leg of the circle trip has the same number, KL523, leaving Harare at 22:30 the same day, with an intermediate landing in Lusaka. The flight arrives in Amsterdam the following morning at 10:20.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Emirates adds dedicated cargo flights to Lusaka!

Emirates Sky Cargo, the freight division of Emirates, one of the fastest growing international airlines, underlined its commitment to Zambia’s growing economic prosperity with the touchdown of its first dedicated SkyCargo freighter flight into Kenneth Kaunda International Airport in Lusaka, effective from July 3rd 2012.
Operating a Boeing 777-200LR aircraft, the dedicated SkyCargo freighter flight arrives from Dubai at 16:00 hrs every Tuesday during the month of July. The airline will then evaluate whether to continue with the service on a permanent basis. From Lusaka the flight will continue to Johannesburg before returning to Dubai.
The SkyCargo airplane has the capacity to carry 103 tonnes of freight, adding to the existing weekly cargo capacity of 160 tonnes on Emirates’ scheduled five-time-a-week passenger service.
Supporting the thriving trade between Africa and the rest of the world, SkyCargo’s weekly cargo capacity into and out of the continent is already more 6,000 tonnes since the launch of the airline’s passenger service flights to Lusaka and Harare on February 1st 2012. SkyCargo now has a total annual capacity of more than 300,000 tonnes worldwide.
The new gateway means Emirates SkyCargo can connect businesses in 21 countries across Africa to its network of more than 100 destinations, while also providing increased opportunities for key trading partners such as China and Japan.
South Africa – with a weekly capacity of more than 1,500 tonnes spread across the belly-hold of 84 passenger flights serving Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban, as well as two dedicated Johannesburg freighters – is Emirates SkyCargo’s key trading point on the continent.
Dedicated freighters also operate to Eldoret and Lilongwe, Cairo, Nairobi, Entebbe, Lusaka, Johannesburg, Accra, Lagos and Tripoli. While the other points on Emirates SkyCargo’s African network – Abidjan, Addis Ababa, Accra, Cairo, Casablanca, Dakar, Dar el Salaam, Entebbe, Khartoum, Lagos, Luanda, Nairobi, Tripoli, and Tunisia – are served using either the belly-hold of wide-body passenger aircraft, or a combination of the belly-hold and freighters.
“With such a comprehensive service now in place we are in a good position to help sustain Africa’s continued economic development by facilitating international trade with its business partners and opening it up to new markets on our ever-expanding network,” said Ram Menen, Emirates’ Divisional Senior Vice President Cargo.
Emirates SkyCargo is transporting parts to support the mining and infrastructure sectors in Zambia – as well as of commodities such as garments, computer parts, and pharmaceuticals – from the likes of the Far East, Australasia, the Indian Subcontinent, Middle East, Europe and North America. Fresh flowers, fruit and vegetables will be among the main commodities shipped in the other direction, while trade is also expected to be generated by neighbouring countries.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

South African Express launches flights to Lusaka

New four times a week flights between Durban’s King Shaka Airport and Lusaka’s Kenneth Kaunda Airport will begin on Thursday July 12.

The introduction of the flights is part of the efforts to intergrate the Southern African Development Cooperation (SADC) to grow trade and tourism opportunities.

It follows the announcement by President Jacob Zuma during the recent launch of the Dube Trade Port terminal that the King Shaka Airport would become a springboard to launch inter-regional communications, and logistic infrastructure and integration.

Launching the new route, SA Express CEO Inati Ntshanga, said they would use a 50-seater aircraft for flights to Lusaka four times a week on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday.

“The aim will be to increase this frequency to six days very soon. Booking for the inaugural flight on July 12 are now open.

“We are excited to be launching this new route. SA Express has become an active participant in regional economic cooperation and integration in recent years. The objective of the new route is to enable Zambia and South Africa to grow tourism and trade opportunities,” he said.

He said that the next phase of expansion would be to apply for route rights from Durban to Harare (Zimbabwe), Gaborone (Botswana), the Malawian cities of Blantyre and Lilongwe, and the Mozambican cities of Maputo and Vilanculos.

“For Zambia and South Africa to make full use of its growth potential, it will be essential to work in a cooperative manner by promoting further regional economic integration and developing broad regional infrastructure,” Ntshanga said.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Emirates boosts flights to Zimbabwe & Zambia Route!

Emirates, one of the world’s fastest growing airlines, underlined its commitment to Zimbabwe and Zambia yesterday by announcing a daily service on the Dubai-Lusaka-Harare route beginning October 1.
The linked service, which currently operates five times a week, has performed strongly since its launch on February 1 this year. To date, Emirates has carried over 43 000 passengers on the route.

In a statement, Jean Luc Grillet, senior vice-president of commercial operations for Africa, said the move was testament to the continuous upward growth in demand for flights to and from the continent.

“A daily flights to Lusaka and Harare will mean greater choice for customers, while an increased cargo capacity of 40% will facilitate more export business opportunities for both countries, forging greater trade links and increasing access to key trading partners in Asia and the Middle East,” he said.

According to Emirates, a weekly cargo capacity of 224 tonnes and access to Emirates’ network of more than 120 destinations worldwide, is already supporting a range of exports from both Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Key commodities being shipped from Lusaka and Harare include fresh flowers, fruit, vegetables and copper mining industry by-products.

Tourism is another key beneficiary, with Emirates’ Zimbabwe service supporting the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority and Tourism ministry targets for increased visitor arrivals to five million by 2015.
It is expected that Emirates flights to the country would support the tourism sector to contribute over $5 billion to the economy by 2015.

The Dubai-Lusaka-Harare route is serviced by an A330-200 aircraft in a three-class configuration, offering 12 luxurious first-class seats, 42 seats in business class and generous space for 183 passengers in economy class.

With a fleet of 175 aircraft and already the largest Airbus A380 and Boeing 777 operator in the world, Emirates currently flies to 123 destinations in 73 countries.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Precision Air has launched its flights to Lusaka, Zambia!

Precision Air has launched its flights to Lusaka, Zambia, becoming the third airline to enter the market this year after Emirates Airline and Royal Dutch KLM.
The airline, which touched down at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport at 13:05 hours on Friday, was characterised by pomp and splendour as it received a water salute amid cheers from senior Government officials, ambassadors and Tanzanians living in Zambia.
Minister of Transport, Communication, Works and Supply Yamfwa Mukanga, who officiated at the launch of the airline in Lusaka, said the development will enhance trade between Zambia and Tanzania as the distance has been cut to two hours from 10 hours.
Despite Zambia and Tanzania being neighbours, businessmen and women travelling to Tanzania had to fly via Nairobi or Ethiopia due to lack of a direct flight.
“Many businessmen especially car traders go to Tanzania and it takes them 10 hours to fly to that country hence delaying business transactions. Every business person knows that time is money and I’m happy that Precision Air helped reduce the distance to Tanzania,” he said.
Mr Mukanga called on the airline to ensure that it remains on the Zambian market unlike some airlines, both local and foreign, which have closed down.
“I hope Precision is not on transit but here for good. We would like to see Precision grow like Kenya and Ethiopian Airways to give customers a variety of choices,” he said.
Mr Mukanga said Zambia has a history of local airlines folding but he is happy that the airline has braved the storms in the industry, adding that Government will support the growth of the airline.
Earlier, Tanzanian High Commissioner to Zambia Grace Mujuma said the airline will strengthen economic ties between the two countries.
At the same occasion, Precision Air chief executive officer Alfonse Kioko said Zambia becomes the 16th destination and is expected to launch flights to Lubumbashi in the Democratic Republic of Congo next week.
Plans are also underway to launch flights to Lilongwe and Harare outes as well..

Friday, June 22, 2012

Qatar Airways now flying into maputo in southeren africa!

Mozambique (Maputo) — Qatar Airways has announced that from November it will fly into Maputo International Airport three times a week, making it the company's twentieth African destination. The service will be operated by the airlines long-haul Boeing 777 aircraft.
In a press release the company stated, "Mozambique is another example of Qatar Airways' commitment to open up access to destinations that are largely underserved by international airlines and have great market potential".
The airline has recently launched a daily scheduled service from its Doha hub to the Rwandan capital, Kigali.
Next month it will start daily flights to Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, and in August it will begin flying to Mombasa in Kenya. These are in addition to its current routes to Dar es Salaam and Nairobi.They are also considering to start flights to zimbabwe.
According to Qatar Airways Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker, "at Qatar Airways we have a robust planning team that is always busy evaluating and researching potential markets with the underlying mission to open up new destinations that are highly underserved internationally. Whether in Africa, Europe, Asia, Middle East or Americas, we have identified great opportunities where other carriers dare not venture into".
He added, "Mozambique is a great example of a market that we believe has great potential linking up with key feeder markets in Europe, Asia and other parts of the world."
Several other companies fly into Maputo, including the Portuguese airline TAP, Ethiopian Airlines, South African Airways and Kenya Airways.
However, not all airlines have found the route to be profitable. Over the last twelve months Comair and 1Time have dropped their flights on the Johannesburg - Maputo route due to a mixture of high airport taxes in Johannesburg and aviation authorities refusing to allocate favourable flights.

Monday, April 23, 2012

SAA announces expansion with new direct flights to Maun in Botswana

South African Airways (SAA) is continuing to expand its network in Africa by launching a new daily direct flights to Maun, Botswana  from Johannesburg  on June 15.
According to Tim Clyde-Smith, SAA's Country Manager, Australasia, Maun is the gateway to the Okavango Delta, a 15,000 square kilometre area of swamp and water that is the world's largest inland delta and also the world's largest oasis.
"The Okavango Delta lies in northern Botswana on the north-eastern edge of the Kalahari Desert, and is close to the border with the Caprivi Strip panhandle in eastern Namibia," Tim said.
"Botswana is increasingly popular with Australians who are looking for a different travel experience in a region teaming with wildlife. Now, with direct services to the Delta, they can reach it in just one stop from Australia," he said.
The Delta's combination of lush wetland lying next to arid dry country makes it one of the world's most unique places to see game, in terms of the variety of dry-land and wetland species that co-exist in near proximity. Low-ecological-impact tourist camps and lodges are dotted throughout the area catering to group and individual safari visits.
SAA's service to Maun Airport (IATA code MUB) will be operated by its regional partner South African Airlink with 37-seat Embraer ERJ-135 regional jets. SA operates eight 37-seat Embraer ERJ135LR regional jets, as well as eight 83-seat Avro RJ85s and 13 29-seat BAE Systems Jetstream 4100 turboprops.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Botswana recently made a decision to allow increased flights into the country, meaning SAA can commence the new service in addition to its existing flights to Gabarone, the capital city.
The schedule for the new daily Johannesburg-Maun service will see flight SA 8300 departing Johannesburg's OR Tambo International Airport (JNB) at 11:45 am, arriving at MUB at 1:15 pm. In the other direction, flight SA 8301 will leave MUB at 2:00 pm and reach JNB at 3:40 pm.
"SAA's new service to Maun opens up a new and much more convenient way to access one of Botswana's most popular safari destinations through our partners at Airlink," Tim Clyde-Smith said.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Air Mauritius will increase flights between Cape Town and Mauritius

Air Mauritius will increase its flights to Cape Town from Mauritius, from two a week to three in November.
It will also increase the number of flights to the island from Joburg. But it will stop its service from Durban on October 26, leaving Emirates as the only airline flying overseas from Durban's new King Shaka International Airport. Its departure will be a further disillusionment for people living in Durban, who hoped for more international flights without the inconvenience of having to change planes in Joburg.
The airport was opened as one of the preparations for hosting the Fifa World Cup, despite the fact that international airlines warned that they would not use it – preferring to end their flights in Joburg to avoid having to change crews for the short onward flights to Durban, and allowing domestic airlines to carry their passengers further.
Taxes and advice
Comair considered starting a service between Durban and London/Gatwick, hoping to extend its British Airways (BA) franchise in SA to cover that route.
But it dropped the idea after research by BA – perhaps fortunately in view of the 8 percent rise in the already high air passenger duty that passengers are charged entering or leaving the UK, on top of the new EU carbon trading scheme. This effectively penalises passengers arriving on long-haul flights by forcing airlines to buy units to offset emissions of CO2 from the moment of take-off.
The combined effect of these two taxes on tourism to Britain may be disguised this year by the two major attractions – the queen's diamond jubilee celebrations and the London Olympics. It is likely that the effect on the British tourism industry next year may shock the government into dropping or severely reducing the air passenger duty.
For those who do travel to Britain this year, the British Civil Aviation Authority has some advice for all passengers. Some of it seems obvious, such as "write down exactly where you parked if coming to the airport by road", but it may be hard to remember if you left in a hurry and return days later to search in a crowded parkade.
Another, less obvious, is the warning that "code-share agreements mean that the airline you book with isn't always the one operating your flight, which may affect your rights if you are denied boarding or the service is cancelled or delayed".
Others include the fact that check-in times can differ from airline to airline. If you make a mistake you can miss your flight, and that if you don't take the outbound flight originally booked for, contact the airline immediately to ensure your return booking is not cancelled.
TAP-ing voyager miles
South African Airways and Portuguese National Airline TAP, which are both partners in the international Star Alliance, have expanded their code-share agreement.
SAA passengers who earn Voyager miles on flights with TAP from Joburg to Lisbon can now earn them on TAP flights between Lisbon and Funchal in Madeira and other domestic destinations in Portugal.
Africa's top airport
Cape Town International Airport will receive the annual Airports Council International (ACI) award for the best-performing airport in Africa on May 24 in Singapore. Awards include best improved airport and the Skytrax award for staff service excellence last year.
Deon Cloete, the airport's general manager, told a destination marketing conference last month that "it hopes to attract more airlines to fly to the city".
An African royal merger
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, which flies to Cape Town all year round, has added Luanda, the capital of Angola, to its intercontinental destinations with two scheduled services a week from Amsterdam.
KLM and Air France, which now flies to Cape Town in summer as well as to Johannesburg all year round, have merged, but with each airline retaining its separate identity. They have announced plans to devote "special attention to Africa" this year. KLM will add Lusaka to its list of destinations next month.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Ethiopian Airlines to be the first to operate 787 Dreamliner in Africa

The Ethiopian Airlines will be the first to operate the 787 Dream-liner in Africa, Ethiopian CEO Tewolde Gebremariam said.
While in Seattle to meet with Boeing executives to discuss delivery of the airline's first 787 Dreamliner, Tewolde took a special tour of the airline's first 787 to be delivered later this year, according to a statement Ethiopian sent to ENA on Tuesday.
The statement said Tewolde met with President and CEO of Commercial Airplanes, Jim Albaugh as well as 787 vice president and General Manager, Larry Loftis and other program leaders to talk about the airline's first delivery and to receive an update on the 787 program and production.
"All of Ethiopia is excited about the delivery of our first Dreamliner and the whole country can be proud of being the first in all of Africa to receive this game-changing airplane," the statement quoted Tewolde as saying.
Ethiopian Airlines was the first African airline to order the 787 Dreamliner when they placed their order for ten 787s in February 2005.
The airline currently operates an all-Boeing fleet of 737,757,767 and 777 airplanes in passenger service and a 757, MD11 and 747 in cargo operations.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Singapore Airlines will launch direct flights to Osaka

Singapore Airline's customers travelling to Osaka this August are in for a special treat.
 The airline will be celebrating 40 years of direct flights to Osaka from Singapore by operating daily Airbus A380 flights from 10 to 15 August 2012.
 The special daily A380 service, which replaces an existing daily Airbus A330 service, will be the first A380 commercial flight to Kansai International Airport.
Singapore Airlines was the first airline in the world to operate the superjumbo in October 2007. Since its inaugural flight to Sydney, the Singapore Airlines A380 has proven exceptionally popular, having flown more than 7 million customers, with strong loads on all routes it serves.
The aircraft is currently operated to ten destinations in Asia, Australia, Europe and North America. Singapore Airlines has 17 A380s in service and a further 2 on firm order.
"We are grateful for the continued support of our customers and service partners over the last 40 years of operations between Singapore and Osaka. The special A380 services symbolise our appreciation, and we are delighted to offer our customers the opportunity to experience some of our latest products on board the superjumbo," said Regional Vice President North Asia, Mr Lim Wee Kok.
The special A380 service is the latest in a series of activities to commemorate the 40th anniversary milestone. Promotional return fares from Osaka to Singapore as well as other destinations are also on offer.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Qatar Airways operate flights 14 times a week between Manila to Doha

Qatar Airways clarified yesterday that it has 14 weekly flights to Philippines between Manila and Doha, and not twice weekly as reported in The STAR on April 3.
The airline recently ended its thrice-a-week direct flights between Cebu and Qatar, which is not part of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). It was the only direct flight from Cebu to the Middle East. Passengers from the Visayas who want to fly to Doha must now go to Manila first.
The end of the direct flights from Cebu was reported shortly before the visit in Manila of Qatar's emir, Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani.
"Sheikh Hamad is the Emir of the State of Qatar and not the Emirates leader," Qatar Airways country manager Abdallah Okasha pointed out in a letter to The STAR.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Qatar Airways will start flights to Atlanta, Chicago as 787 Deliveries Begin

Qatar Airways Ltd. plans to start flights to Atlanta, Chicago, Boston and Detroit within the next year, doubling its U.S. network, as the carrier begins receiving Boeing Co. (BA) 787 Dreamliners.
A daily New York service will also be increased to three flights a day, with the addition of links via cities in Eastern and Western Europe, Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said yesterday in Montreal. The airline has daily flights to Washington and Houston.
"Qatar Airways is in the midst of a very aggressive expansion plan," Al Baker said. "The only thing that stopped us from going earlier is the delayed delivery of the 787s," he said about the U.S. flights.
The carrier has placed orders for 60 Dreamliners as it works toward boosting its global network to 170 destinations from 113 over three years. Like Dubai-based Emirates Airline and Etihad Airways PJSC, the carrier is using a Middle East hub to link markets in Asia, Europe and the Americas.
Qatar Air also plans to resume services to Rangoon, Myanmar in October, Al Baker said. The carrier's order backlog also includes 60 A350s and 10 A380s made by Airbus SAS.
Boeing began delivering 787s last year ending more than three years of delays caused by struggles with new materials and production techniques.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Singapore Airlines Adds third A380 flights to London

People planning to catch flights to Singapore later this year will have more opportunities to travel on the Airbus A380.

Singapore Airlines has announced that all three of its daily services from London Heathrow to its Changi airport hub will be operated by the A380 from 1 June.

The Airbus plane, which is currently used on two daily connections to Singapore, will replace a Boeing 777-300ER, providing an increase of 17% in seat capacity.

London became the first destination in Europe to host the Singapore Airlines A380 in March 2008, with frequency increasing from one to two services per day six months later.

The carrier also uses the aircraft to operate regular flights to Sydney, Tokyo, Paris, Hong Kong, Melbourne, Zurich, Los Angeles, Frankfurt and New York.

Singapore Airlines served as the Airbus A380's launch customer in October 2007 and has since carried more than 7m customers on the superjumbo system-wide.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Etihad Airways expands codesharing with Brussels Airlines

Etihad Airways is growing its European reach with the expansion of a codeshare with Brussels Airlines.
The agreement with the Belgian carrier now includes services to the French regional cities of Lyon, Marseille and Toulouse.
These are in addition to Brussels Airlines' services to Barcelona, Copenhagen, Gothenburg, Madrid, Oslo and Stockholm, on which Etihad Airways already codeshares.
The Gulf carrier's president and chief executive James Hogan said: "This adds three very popular destinations to the Etihad Airways network, and opens up more of Europe for our customers.
"This expansion is as a natural next step in what has been a very successful partnership since 2006, and we look forward to continuing to work with Brussels Airlines to also enable passengers from various points on their network to travel to Abu Dhabi and further afield."
Etihad operates eight weekly Abu Dhabi-Brussels flights in a two-class aircraft configuration.
The airline owns nearly 30% of Europe's sixth largest carrier airberlin and 40% of Air Seychelles.

Iberia Airline will begins Flights to Accra from Madrid in July

Accra-Ghana: Madrid-based Airline, Iberia, is set to begin scheduled flights to Accra from Madrid from July this year.

The airline will however start its operations in partnership with British Airways which merged with Iberia in 2010.

Ghana's commercial manager for British Airways James Wooldridge told Joy Business they will offer seamless travelling experience to their passengers.

He added that Iberia hopes to capitalize on the structures of British Airways to reduce their cost of operations

About 40 airlines could be operating from the Kotoka International Airport by the close of this year as four international airlines are due to start operations. They include: China Eastern Airlines, Qatar Airways, Air Canada and Royal Jordanian Airlines

United continues international network shifts and drops flights to Accra in Ghana

United is moving international capacity around its largest hubs in what appears to be an effort to maximize its network now that a crucial passenger service system cutover is complete. The IT system cutover allows United and Continental, whose merger is now complete, to fully utilize the combined networks and properly cross-fleet to operate optimal-sized aircraft in United's markets. One of the more prominent changes is the elimination of flights to Accra from United's Washington Dulles hub, which was the carrier's first point in Africa when the route was launched in 2010. Other changes include the seasonal elimination of flights from Washington to Moscow and from Newark to Rome.
The changes will support an overall revised capacity forecast for United this year. The carrier has refined its 2012 capacity guidance from an overall decrease of 0.5% to 1.5%, compared with a previous estimate of between growth of 0.5% and a drop of 0.5%. United's international capacity is now projected to grow this year by 0.3% to 1.3%, but some of that will be driven by new long-haul flights from Washington Dulles to Doha beginning in May, followed by Dulles to Manchester and Dublin.
United has just introduced flights from its Newark hub, which was a legacy Continental stronghold, to Buenos Aires. The new service is in essence a route transfer from United's Washington Dulles hub. Flights to Buenos Aires from Continental's legacy Houston hub, which is the carrier's gateway from Latin America, are remaining intact.
US DoT data show for 2011 United's load factor on the Washington-Buenos Aires pairing was roughly 70.5%, while the Houston flights recorded loads of 79%. The New York market is much larger than the Washington, DC metro market, so United saw an opportunity to increase passenger flows by moving the flights to Newark. It has a broader international footprint from Newark, which allows a wider breadth of passengers from Europe to connect to the Buenos Aires flights.
Feed to and from Latin America is becoming increasingly important to United and all US carriers operating to and from the region, since its performance has remained consistent while traffic to other regions has suffered due to economic uncertainty. IATA's figures show traffic growth to Latin America of 7.6% in January and 13.3% in February, though the association did warn February traffic levels where somewhat inflated due to the Brazilian carnival holiday occurring a month earlier in 2012.
United has said that Latin America was its best performing entity during the fourth quarter and full year 2011. United earlier reported that passenger unit revenue grew in Latin America by 11.7% year-over-year for 4Q2011 and 17.6% for the full year.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Emirates proposes more Heathrow flights

Emirates bosses are hopeful that a radical plan involving steep landing descents will allow the airline to operate more flights in and out of London's Heathrow airport, reports the Financial Times.
The Gulf carrier says it can cut noise levels on its A380 fleet by flying the big airliners into Heathrow on steeper descents and landing them part way down the tarmac to reduce the volume for nearby homes.
Aircraft are currently banned from take-off and landing at Heathrow between midnight and 6am, but Emirates hope to reduce the curfew to between 1am and 4am.
"If you can demonstrate the noise profile is much quieter, why not look at that as a means of growing capacity," Emirates president Tim Clark told the Financial Times.
He insists the plan - which would allow the jumbos to land 1km along the 4km runway - is safe, although admits it needs further development.
The British government has committed to maintaining the Heathrow curfew until 2014 while the Transport Department will later this year start to consider future operating hours.

Air France-KLM March Traffic, Capacity Rise - Update

Franco-Dutch airline Air France-KLM reported Tuesday increases in passenger traffic, capacity and load factor for the month of March and its first quarter. The company saw favorable comparisons in March, absent events such as the Japanese tsunami and the political crisis in Ivory Coast that hit last year's traffic.
Passenger traffic for the month grew 6.8 percent 18.34 billion revenue pax-kilometers or RPKs from 17.17 billion RPKs in the previous year. The company said it has restated passenger data to include the passenger business of Martinair.
Capacity, measured in available seat-kilometers or ASKs, improved 1.8 percent to 22.22 billion ASKs. Unit revenue per available seat kilometer ex-currency improved in a context of a sharp rise in the fuel price, the company stated.
Load factor for the month increased 3.8 points to 82.5 percent from 78.7 percent a year ago. The number of passengers carried stood at 6.37 million, up 6.3 percent from last year.
The European network traffic, including France, improved 7.2 percent and capacity was up 2.7 percent. Load factor increased 3 points and stood at 71.9 percent.
On the Americas network, capacity increased 2.5 percent and traffic rose 9.7 percent. Load factor increased 5.8 points to 88.2 percent.
Meanwhile, cargo traffic for the month declined 3.4 percent to 995 revenue tonne-km and load factor dropped 2 points to 69.2 percent. Capacity edged down 0.6 percent to 1,438 available tonne-km.
For the first quarter, passenger traffic grew 5.5 percent to 51.73 billion RPKs and capacity increased 1.6 percent to 63.39 billion ASKs. The number of passengers grew 5.6 percent to 17.46 million and load factor improved 3.1 points to 81.6 percent.
In Paris, Air France-KLM shares are currently trading at 3.92 euros, down 0.08 percent.

Kenya Airways to start direct flights to New Delhi

Kenya Airways has announced its commencement of flights to New Delhi the Indian Capital city, starting May 15, 2012. The much anticipated service marks Kenya Airways' 57th global destination and second in India. The launch of this new route highlights KQ's efforts to provide seamless travel and accessibility to travellers from Africa to Indian subcontinent and vice versa.
Kenya Airways flights to New Delhi will be four times a week on a Boeing 767-300. The new route highlights Kenya Airways ambitious growth plans to expand its network as part of its 10-year growth strategy. "New Delhi is the second city after Mumbai that we will be flying to India, we intend to open four more destinations in the subcontinent as part of our 10-year expansion strategy," said Dr Titus Naikuni, Kenya Airways Group Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer.
Kenya Airways remains the fastest growing airline in the continent and is pursuing a network expansion strategy that targets to link all African countries with the world, making it the airline of choice for travellers in the continent. India has been aggressively promoting trade with Africa as it seeks to gain access to the continent's emerging markets.
The new route to Delhi seeks to expand and promote the bilateral and commercial relations between India and the African region. Kenya Airways, a Sky Team Member, operates 3 flights a week from Muscat to Nairobi and offers excellent Holiday Safari packages to Kenya.

Ethiopian Airlines announces flights to Seychelles

Addis Ababa: Ethiopian Airlines announced the launch of nonstop flights to Seychelles from Addis Ababa beginning 01 April 2012.
The Airlines is pleased to begin services to Seychelles, which is famous for its beauty and the home of two UNESCO designated World Heritage Sites, according to Tewolde Gebremariam, Chief Executive Officer of Ethiopian.
The CEO underscored that the Airlines is among the leading transporters and has fulfilled the necessary safety requirements.
Ethiopian Airlines used to fly to the Seychelles 32 years ago, which was disrupted due to capacity and other reasons.
In a harsh time where many airlines companies are closing due to the rising fuel cost, Ethiopian Airlines has managed to fly to more destinations with its established cost effective system to fulfil its aim of becoming a globally leading one by 2025.
Culture and Tourism Minister of the Seychelles, Alain St. Ange for his part said Ethiopian Airlines flight to his country will ensure mutual benefits.
According to ERTA, Ethiopian Airlines has introduced complete travel packages to the Seychelles, which include airfare, multiple-night stays at a variety of properties and unforgettable activity offerings.
Seychelles would be the 41st African destination and the 66th globally for Ethiopian Airlines.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Discover the World of 7th Wonders in Zimbabwe

The Africa Travel Association (ATA) announced that registration is now open for the 37th Annual World Congress, to be held from May 18-22, in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, one of the world's top natural wonders and adventure capitals.
ATA's hallmark event on the African continent will be hosted by the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) under the auspices of Honorable Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Walter Mzembi. The theme of this year's event is "Africa Tourism: Partnering for the Future."

Among the expected 300 participants are tourism ministers and industry experts representing tourism boards, tour operators and their product development executives, front-line agents, ground operator companies, airlines, and hotels. Participants from the travel trade media and the corporate, non profit and academic sectors are also expected to attend, along with African Diaspora representatives and ATA's Young Professionals Program participants.
Zimbabwe is home to a diverse range of tourist attractions, including its own seven wonders: (1) people and culture; (2) history and heritage; (3) Great Zimbabwe (grand medieval palace); (4) Victoria Falls (Mosi-oa-Tunya); (5) wildlife and nature; (6) Eastern Highlands; and (7) Lake Kariba. Delegates will sample some of these wonders during the Host Country Day and by participating in pre and post congress tours.
The ATA International Board of Directors meeting will be held on Friday, May 18. Saturday, May 19 begins with sessions focusing on Destination Zimbabwe, followed by an opening ceremony with cultural entertainment. The next few days include ample networking, learning and professional development panels and workshops, addressing industry topics, such as community-based travel, agro-tourism, academic travel, faith-based tourism, e-tourism, marketing, branding, private sector investment, women and tourism, sustainable tourism, and African culinary products. Delegates will also participate in roundtables for tourism ministers, a media marketplace, networking events, host country day(s), and gala dinners. Zimbabwe will also organize a marketplace, featuring art, sculpture and daily excursions in Victoria Falls.
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