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.