July 18 was a big day for various African airlines with news affecting travel in different parts of the continent, ahead of the Farnborough Airshow in the UK.
Nigeria announced plans to revive a national airline – Nigeria Air, a new private sector led-airline in which the government would own no more than 5% and would not manage. It is planned to start flights in December with a target of serving 81 destinations. The launch was officiated by the Nigerian Minister of State for Aviation at Farnborough and he said that they were in talks with Boeing and Airbus and also financiers such as Standard Chartered Bank. The new airline was shown in the livery of new Boeing 737 Max and Airbus A330 models.
— Bashir Ahmad (@BashirAhmaad) July 18, 2018
Just a few days after leaders of Ethiopia and Eritrea announced a cease-fire and made historic visits to each other’s countries, Ethiopian Airlines made it’s first flight since 1998 to Eritrea. On the flight were many families reuniting, and former Prime Minister former Hailemariam Desalegn. The flights will be seven days a week, between Addis and Asmara and Ethiopian, which is expected to be part of some privatization program, was also reported to be planning to invest in a 20% stake in Eritrean Airlines.
— Ethiopian Airlines (@flyethiopian) July 18, 2018
A few days ago, Tanzania received its first Boeing 787 Dreamliner, which is expected to carve some routes in East Africa that are controlled by Kenya Airways and Rwanda Airlines.
The Wings Of Kilimanjaro pic.twitter.com/VjGFJpEnxg
— Air Tanzania (@AirTanzania) July 17, 2018
Also at Farnborough, Uganda Airlines signed an MOU for two A330-800 Neo planes which they would fit in a three class-layout.
Congratulations to #UgandaAirlines on your order for 2 latest generation #A330neo. We hope your passengers will love it as much as we do! https://t.co/gifDg1bjW2 #FIA18 #WeMakeItFly pic.twitter.com/quoFw5m3Ql
— Airbus PRESS (@AirbusPRESS) July 18, 2018
Earlier the same day, Uganda (National) Airlines announced an order with another manufacturer Bombardier for four CRJ900 planes.
— Bombardier Commercial Aircraft (@BBD_Aircraft) July 18, 2018
Kenya Airways continues to market new routes Mauritius, Cape Town and the new direct non-stop flights to New York that will start in October 2018.
— Kenya Airways (@KenyaAirways) July 18, 2018
South Africa Airways celebrated Nelson Mandela’s 100th birthday with some new livery on some planes.
We’re celebrating the centenary year of Nelson Mandela and his contribution to humanity. SAA branded an A320-200, A330-300, and an A340-600 with a specially designed logo and we are proud to be carrying his legacy to the world. https://t.co/FUyPQfsFWx #FlySAA #NM100 pic.twitter.com/D9PPn0PBL0
— SAA – UK ✈️ (@FlySAA_UK) July 18, 2018
The revival comes all comes at a time when African Airlines now account for just 20% of the air traffic from the continent, down from 60% in a decade as Gulf carriers have made great strides in the continent. African airlines have also struggled with financial performance and management, with only Ethiopian posting consistent profits in the last decade. And, notably, the deals announced at Farnborough lack detail on the financing aircraft, with Boeing 787’s and Airbus A330’s each having official prices of over $200 million.
Earlier, Skytrax published its list of the top 100 airlines in the world and it featured some African airlines including Ethiopian Airlines (at number 40), South African Airways (45), Air Mauritius (69), Air Seychelles (82), Kenya Airways (85) and was topped by Singapore, Qatar, All Nippon, Emirates and Eva Air. Other awards for African airlines were in categories of best airline staff service (South African Airways), best regional airline (Royal Air Maroc), best low-cost airline ( Mango) and best African airline (Ethiopian).