Budget carrier Air Cairo has taken the delivery of its first Airbus A320neo aircraft that will be joining Air Cairo’s all Airbus fleet consisting of 7 aircraft. The Airbus is on lease from ICBC Leasing and is equipped with CFM LEAP-1A engines.

The new aircraft will be deployed on Air Cairo’s regional and international network to serve countries across Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

This new delivery also coincides with Air Cairo’s fleet expansion and modernization plans while opening more routes and fostering closer links with countries across continents.

Air Cairo’s A320neo is configured with 186 seats in an all-economy-class cabin with passengers on-board the aircraft benefiting from the widest cabin of any single-aisle aircraft and the latest generation in-flight entertainment system.

The first A320neo aircraft conducted its Maiden flight program in September 2014 and has won over 7,450 orders from over 120 customers worldwide. Key innovations of the A320neo include latest-generation engines, Sharklet large wingtip devices and multiple cabin improvements. Together, the aircraft delivers 20% in fuel savings and CO2 reduction compared to previous generation Airbus aircraft.

By Victor Shalton Odhiambo

Kenya Airways and Congo Airways have today 22, April, announced the signing of memorandum of understanding (MOU) strengthening aviation ties between the two airlines that aims at boosting passenger and cargo businesses between the two markets internationally.

The partnership involves the areas of technical capacity building, commercial cooperation and human resource training that will help in promoting the exchange of knowledge, experts and innovation while supporting the viability of these two companies through financial collaboration in the face of the COVID-19 travel slowdown.

The MOU was signed by Kenya Airways Group Managing Director & CEO Allan Kilavuka and Désiré Balazire Bantu, CEO of Congo Airways, and was witnessed by Congo’s President Felix Tshisekedi and his Kenyan counterpart President Uhuru Kenyatta  in Kinshasa, on the last day of President Kenyatta’s three-day State visit of DR Congo

According to Kenya’s State House,  the MOU will span 2 years with viability and sustainability of the airlines a priority . It also includes a route and code sharing provision aimed at expanding the carriers domestic, African and international networks

This agreement comes less than a month after Congo signed economic, commercial and technical cooperation agreements between the DRC and Qatar including plans towards the modernization and development of airport infrastructure as well as the capacity building of Congolese professionals. This was also during a state visit, this time by Congolese Head of State, Félix Antoine Tshisekedi to Doha, Qatar

By Victor Shalton Odhiambo

Jon Howell is CEO and founder of Aviadev, Africa’s premier forum dedicated to growing connectivity to, from and within the African continent. In his own words, he has dedicated the last 10 years of his life to the world of route development, supporting organizations around the globe to improve their air connectivity with a particular passion and focus on Africa.

He says that whilst much of the connectivity that has been built over the last 25 years has been eroded by the pandemic, it will return but work must start now! He shares his thoughts in a linkedin article on why Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs) have a huge role to play in shaping a recovery of aviation and travel:

The challenge faced by the airports

Whilst airlines have received most of the press coverage about how difficult their situation is, and are also those who have received the most financial support, airports have also been hugely impacted.

In Africa, many airports do not have large enough operations to have diversified to create a decent revenue stream from non-passenger revenues. Therefore, they are dependent on revenues tied directly to aviation activities and passenger throughput. Understandably, across the continent, this revenue has declined massively since the onset of the pandemic, but airports remain vital pieces of a country’s infrastructure and still need to find the funds to ensure a safe operating environment.

To summarise, a huge amount of their operating expenses have remained whilst aeronautical revenues have dwindled.

Added to this, Many countries in Africa have not created a separate airport authority and operate with just a Civil Aviation Authority. This is an important point, as it is the airport authority that should have a commercial focus and look for opportunities to increase its revenue, not simply to work as regulator and issuer of invoices.

Top of that list of activities should be to attract an airport’s biggest customer, namely airlines as they not only deliver revenue for the airport but a much bigger impact on the destination they serve.

Kenya’s authorities have announced their plans to reopen and ease their imposed COVID-19 related domestic activity restrictions and preventive measures starting from May 1, in an effort to help the country recover from the devastating situation caused by the Coronavirus pandemic.

This means domestic air travel in Kenya is back in business with Kenya Airways and its budget carrier Jambo Jet all announcing their domestic travelling schedules.

Authorities in Kenya have started easing COVID-19 restrictions based on local infections rates and will continue applying international travel, however, entry requirements will be put in place to prevent an upsurge in the number of COVID-19 infections.

Kenya currently permits international travel with theexception of India and the UK that have been profoundly affected by the virus and are considered high risk countries.

All passengers coming to Kenya from the above named countries are required to have a valid COVID-19 vaccination certificate and a COVID-19 negative PCR test and must self-isolate on arrival for 7 days.

Other existing domestic requirements remain in force. Protective facemasks are mandatory in all indoor public spaces and social distancing mandates remain in force. Individuals are encouraged to work from home where possible. Certain industry-specific operating requirements are also still in place.

photo: aviationjoshpictorials

by Victor Shalton Odhiambo