Tag Archives: JNB

Ethiopian to help to re-launch Zambia Airways

Ethiopian Airlines Bombardier DHC-8-402 (Q400) ET-ARM (msn 4472) FAB (SPA). Image: 931591.

Ethiopian Airlines (above), the largest Aviation Group in Africa and SKYTRAX certified Four Star Global Airline, has announced that it has finalized shareholders agreement with the Government of Zambia for the re-launch of Zambia Airways.

Copyright Photo Above: Ethiopian Airlines Bombardier DHC-8-402 (Q400) ET-ARM (msn 4472) FAB (SPA). Image: 931591.

Above: The logo of the first Zambia Airways.

The Government of Zambia will be the majority shareholder with 55% and Ethiopian will have 45% stakes in the airline.

Mr. Tewolde Gebremariam, Group CEO of Ethiopian Airlines remarked: “In line with our Vision 2025 multiple hubs strategy in Africa, we are very happy that the discussions with the Zambian government have been crowned with success.

The launching of Zambia Airways will enable the travelling public in Zambia and the Southern African region to enjoy greater connectivity options, thereby facilitating the flow of investment, trade and tourism, and contributing to the socioeconomic growth of the country and the region. As an indigenous and truly Pan-African airline, we firmly believe that it is only through partnerships among African carriers that the aviation industry of the continent will be able to get its fair share of the African market, currently heavily skewed in favor of non-African airlines, and play its rightful role in availing efficient air connectivity within Africa as well as with the rest of the world. ” The airline is meant to initially serve national and regional destinations before embarking on international flights.

The Government of Zambia will be the majority shareholder with 55% and Ethiopian will hold 45% in the airline. The establishment of multiple hubs in Africa being an overarching strategy of Ethiopian under its Vision 2025, the national flag carrier currently operates hubs in Lomé (Togo) with ASKY Airlines and Malawian in Lilongwe (Malawi).

The first version of Zambia Airways operated from 1964 to 1967.

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Above Copyright Photo: Zambia Airways McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30 N3016Z (msn 48266) ORY (Christian Volpati). Image: 920872.

Zambia Airways aircraftv slide show:

The company was reorganized and restarted as the second version in 1968 and operated through 1995 (above).

There was also a Zambian Airways which operated from 1999 to 2009 (below).

Copyright Photo: Zambian Airways Boeing 737-244 9J-JCN (msn 22588) JNB (Rob Finlayson). Image: 924351.

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South African to rationalize their domestic route network, Mango to grow larger

Mango (South African Airways) Boeing 737-8BG WL ZS-SJK (msn 32355) JNB (TMK Photography). Image: 913072.

South African Airways Group airlines, South African Airways (SAA) and Mango, its low-cost subsidiary, announced plans to rationalize their route network for improved efficiencies and optimal aircraft utilisation through a revised airline brand schedule. This will see additional Mango operated flights for the domestic market.

The rationalization program follows an earlier announcement in September, where the airline announced network changes as part of the progressive implementation of its turnaround plan. These initiatives form part of the Five-year turnaround plan to return the business to commercial sustainability in the shortest time possible.

Both SAA and Mango currently offer 200 return flights per week between Johannesburg and Durban and 278 return flights per week between Johannesburg and Cape Town.

Photos above: SAA. The Mango cabin.

To enhance efficiencies and to provide more diverse offering to customers, whilst responding to demand, the two airline brands will ensure seamless implementation of the revised schedule with effect from January 15, 2018. Once fully implemented Mango will operate 132 return flights on the Johannesburg – Durban route and 116 return flights on the Johannesburg – Cape Town route per week. SAA will operate 68 return flights between Johannesburg and Durban, and 162 return flights between Johannesburg and Cape Town.

The SAA group will continue to offer customers the option to travel on the product of their choice, making it much more convenient for them to choose their preferred service and schedule.

The changes will be reflected in all the SAA and Mango distribution systems with effect from 12 December 2017.

Mango flights will operate on Boeing 737-800s and SAA will discontinue operating Airbus A340-600s on the Johannesburg – Cape Town route.

South African Airways Airbus A340-642 ZS-SNF (msn 547) JNB (Paul Denton). Image: 923668.

Above Copyright Photo: South African Airways Airbus A340-642 ZS-SNF (msn 547) JNB (Paul Denton). Image: 923668.

Members of Voyager, SAA’s frequent flyer programme, will continue to earn Miles on Mango operated flights if booked on the SAA code and will continue to enjoy the SAA baggage allowance, lounge access and a seamless transfer on to the regional and international network services of SAA. Voyager members can also spend their Miles on Mango operated flights, by utilising Miles or a combination of Miles and a range of payment options.

Top Copyright Photo: Mango (South African Airways) Boeing 737-8BG WL ZS-SJK (msn 32355) JNB (TMK Photography). Image: 913072.

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Airlink to acquire Safair, the brands will remain separate if approved

Airlink (South African Airlink) BAe RJ85 ZS-SSJ (msn E2385) JNB (TMK Photography). Image: 920116.

Airlink and Safair, two independent South African aviation groups, on Tuesday, November 28, 2017 will apply to South Africa’s Competition Commission for approval to unite under the common umbrella of the Airlink group of companies.

The proposal sees the Airlink and low-cost FlySafair (below) airlines and Safair’s other businesses, including humanitarian aid flights, continuing to operate separately under their unique brands.

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Above Copyright Photo: FlySafair (Safair) Boeing 737-4Y0 ZS-JRD (msn 24917) JNB (Rob Finlayson). Image: 928163.

The airlines will retain their respective products, aircraft fleets, management and leadership teams. Employees will be secure with no job losses because of the consolidation.

“Airlink’s acquisition of Safair, which is financially robust and profitable, makes good business sense. It presents opportunities to reduce our combined costs, position ourselves for growth while at the same time increasing connectivity and choice while making air travel accessible and affordable for our customers across Southern Africa,” explained Airlink CEO and Managing Director, Rodger Foster.

“Our combined networks will enable us to connect 37 destinations in nine Southern African & Indian Ocean countries and St. Helena. This will stimulate and enable trade, tourism, economic growth and social development in those markets we serve,” added Foster

“Coming under a single umbrella will create economies of scale that will enable both airlines to share costs, optimise assets and remove systems duplications.  This will position the new Airlink Group for future growth,” said Elmar Conradie, who will remain as Safair CEO.

In addition, the proposed new ownership structure will see Airlink continue to meet – and in future exceed – South Africa’s Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment targets.

The Safair purchase will not affect Airlink’s existing SAA franchise partnership, which continues to deliver traffic and business to SAA and Airlink while their customers benefit from the value, convenience and connectivity the arrangement provides.

As part of its continued commitment to the aviation industry within South Africa, Safair shareholder ASL Aviation Holdings will become a minority shareholder of the Airlink Group of companies.  ASL Aviation Holdings is a global aviation group with 6 European and 2 Asian airlines in addition to its South African interests.

More details will be provided when the Competition Commission has made its determination, which we anticipate will be during Q1 2018.

About Airlink

Airlink was established in 1992 and is the leading regional airline in Southern Africa. It has a route network of 37 destinations in nine African countries and St. Helena..

About Safair

Safair Operations was established in 1965 and has been a leader in the provision of specialised aviation services for the past 52 years. In 2014 the company launched FlySafair, a low-cost carrier competing in South Africa’s domestic market.

Top Copyright Photo: The remaining RJ85s should be replaced and retired by late 2019. Airlink (South African Airlink) BAe RJ85 ZS-SSJ (msn E2385) JNB (TMK Photography). Image: 920116.

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Bottom Copyright Photo: Safair Boeing 737-3Y0 (F) ZS-SMJ (msn 23500) SHJ (Michael Stappen). Image: 905778.

Safair Boeing 737-3Y0 (F) ZS-SMJ (msn 23500) SHJ (Michael Stappen). Image: 905778.

Airlink to replace its Avro RJ85s with new Embraer E170s and E190s

RJ85s to be replaced with new Embraer E170s and E190s by 2020

Airlink, Southern Africa’s largest independent regional airline, is joining the E-Jet operator’s family. The airline is acquiring five E-Jets – three E170s and two E190s, from ECC Leasing, a wholly-owned Embraer subsidiary. Airlink will start to receive the aircraft in the first half of 2017.

Airlink already operates a large fleet of ERJ aircraft – last December, the airline started to add 11 further ERJ 140 jets to its fleet. By the end of the fourth quarter of 2017, the airline will be operating 30 ERJs, comprising all three types – ERJ 135, ERJ 140 and the ERJ 145.

Rodger Foster, CEO of Airlink, said, “This is the beginning of the implementation of a well planned growth and modernization strategy for Airlink that includes replacing our current fleet of Avro RJ85s over the next three years. The strategy calls for a total of 13 E-Jets, and we are in the process of sourcing the balance of the fleet requirement – an additional 8 E190s – from the market.”

Copyright Photo: Airlink (South African Airlink) BAe RJ85 ZS-ASY (msn E2316) JNB (Michael Stappen). Image: 906856.

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Cathay Pacific operates the last Boeing 747 passenger flight

Cathay Pacific operates the last Boeing 747 passenger flight on October 1, 2016

Cathay Pacific Airways, as planned, operated the last Boeing 747 passenger flight on October 1, 2016 when the pictured Boeing 747-467 B-HUJ (msn 27595) operated flight CX543 from Tokyo (Haneda) back to the Hong Kong base.

Cathay Pacific has operated the Boeing 747 Jumbo since August 4, 1976 when Boeing 747-267B VR-HKG (msn 21746), named “Hong Kong”, entered revenue service.

According to the airline, the 747 passenger fleet spent 3.1 million hours in the air.

Cathay Pacific will continue to be a Boeing 747 freighter operator.

Copyright Photo: Cathay Pacific Airways Boeing 747-467 B-HUJ (msn 27595) JNB (Paul Denton). Image: 911399.

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Star Alliance to expand its network with lower-cost “Connecting Partners”, Mango to be the first

Mango (South African Airways) Boeing 737-8BG WL ZS-SJP (msn 32358) JNB (Christian Volpati). Image: 911556.

The Star Alliance has issued this statement:

Star Alliance logo

To expand network reach via low-cost and hybrid airlines, Star Alliance launches a new model. South African airline Mango to be first airline to implement.

Star Alliance is set to expand its network reach with the launch of its Connecting Partner Model. Under this new concept, routes operated by “low-cost” and “hybrid” airlines will be able to connect to the Alliance network. This will allow customers of Star Alliance member carriers to select from an even wider choice of destinations and flights.

“With this innovative concept, we are breaking new ground. We see a definite trend of convergence between the ‘traditional full service’ and ‘low-cost’ business models in the airline industry,” said Mark Schwab, CEO Star Alliance. “At the same time, our customers are telling us that they need access to markets where we do not yet provide ideal coverage. In many cases network carriers are not in a position to fill this gap and hence working with future Connecting Partners will allow us to provide an extended network to our travellers.”

Connecting Partners will be carefully assessed for their fit into the existing Star Alliance network. While these selected airlines need to comply and adhere to the high operating standard required by the Alliance, they will not become a member of the Alliance itself.

Customers travelling on an itinerary which includes a transfer between a Star Alliance member airline and a Connecting Partner will be offered Alliance benefits such as passenger and baggage through check-in. Moreover, Star Alliance Gold Card holders will enjoy a tailored set of privileges in line with the different product offerings of the individual Connecting Partner.

Connecting Partners will enter into bilateral commercial agreements with selected Star Alliance member airlines, which may include additional Frequent Flyer Programme based privileges.

Innovative and multi-award winning South African low-cost airline Mango has been selected as the first airline with which Star Alliance will be implementing the new concept.

“We are delighted to be working with Mango as we marry traditional and low-cost or hybrid airlines for the first time in our Alliance’s history. The airline’s innovative and progressive style makes it an ideal candidate for launching our new Connecting Partner concept. We aim to have first customers using this new offer as of the third quarter of 2016,” adds Schwab.

Mango’s first flight took to the skies on November 15, 2006. Since then, the airline has grown its fleet from four to 10 Boeing 737-800 aircraft, operating between South Africa’s key domestic points as well as between Johannesburg and Zanzibar. The carrier remains the only African airline to offer on-board Wi-Fi. In addition, Mango has been recognised for its Customer Service Excellence by various awards, including the World Travel Awards and Skytrax.

“Innovation and a relentless pursuit of excellence are the cornerstones of Mango and fundamental to our culture as a business,” says Mango CEO Nico Bezuidenhout. Mango celebrates a decade in aviation next year and the carrier has recently become the largest low-cost airline in South Africa by passenger volume. “Participation in the development of, and ultimately becoming the launch Star Alliance Connecting Partner airline, wedges-in with our medium to long term business objectives,” he added.

Bezuidenhout said that while the Connecting Partner product flies in the face of convention, the common ground for the concept relates directly to the bottom line. “Becoming a Connecting Partner will give any low-cost or hybrid airline a competitive advantage that immediately grows market share while creating greater choice for travellers,” he said.

Copyright Photo: Christian Volpati/AirlinersGallery.com. Mango will be first carrier admitted under this new program. Boeing 737-8BG WL ZS-SJP (msn 32358) arrives at the Johannesburg base.

Mango aircraft slide show: AG Airline Slide Show

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Comair to retire its last Boeing 737-300 by December

Comair Limited (British Airways franchise) (Johannesburg) has issued this update on its financial situation and fleet plans. The company has added additional Boeing 737-400s and last month it added the first first of four new Boeing 737-800s. This will allow Comair to phase out the last Boeing 737-300 by December 2015.

Read the full report:

Comair Limited logo

In the absence of revenue growth in the domestic passenger market and despite a challenging financial year, JSE-listed Comair Limited has announced continued profitability for the 12-month period ending June 30, 2015. Revenue remained consistent at R5.89 billion (2014: R5.90 billion), with a 1% saving in operating costs. Profit for the year amounted to R219 million (a net reduction of 17%, mainly as a result of two non-cash flow items). Cash from operations remained healthy at R646 million.

Comair reported a very strong profit in the first half of the financial year, supported by an unprecedented collapse in the oil price. The second half saw two new competitors enter the market with very aggressive, but more than likely unsustainable pricing. As a result, any savings achieved on the price of fuel were returned to customers by way of significantly reduced ticket prices, which led to a reversal of the revenue growth experienced in the first six months.

Comair CEO Erik Venter said despite the new capacity in the market, Comair maintained its passenger volumes, largely due to the strength of the kulula and British Airways brands and the company’s ongoing attention to service. “We continued to focus on our customers through the application of service metrics, feedback surveys, customer journey mapping, and extensive investment in training programmes for front-line staff. Operating performance therefore remained good, with on-time performance exceeding our threshold target of 85% across both the British Airways and kulula.com brands.”

The two non-cash flow items which resulted in decreased profits were the additional depreciation of R79 million provided on the retiring Boeing 737-300 fleet, and the year-end revaluation of R51 million to the dollar-based funding applicable to one Boeing 737-800.

Cash of R147 million was invested in three previously leased Boeing 737-400 aircraft and two pre-owned Boeing 737-400s, all for operation in the British Airways fleet. These aircraft have replaced the 737-300 fleet which will be fully retired by December. The newer aircraft afford improved fuel efficiency and reduced maintenance demands, while at the same time improving passenger comfort. Cash on hand at year-end was R849 million, much in line with the prior year balance of R868 million.

Venter said the black economic empowerment transaction concluded by Comair and the Thelo Consortium in 2007 matured in September 2014, and created realised value of R152 million for the participants. The “A” shares arising from the transaction were converted to ordinary shares, and the weighted effect of the additional shares amounted to a reduction in the 2015 earnings per share of 3 cents. Comair continued to invest in transformation initiatives, and thereby maintained its level 4 B-BBEE score.

Commenting on the year ahead, Venter said Comair remained concerned about weak economic growth and the consequent impact of overcapacity in the domestic aviation market. “Fundamentals dictate that a correction in market capacity is very likely. The new visa regulations applicable to South Africans traveling with children, as well as to foreign tourists, have impacted negatively on our cross-border tourist destinations, and we are actively participating in achieving a more favourable dispensation in this regard.”

“We are nevertheless confident that there is scope for further growth in our profits. Comair is focused on implementing technology solutions to enhance customer satisfaction, operating performance and drive revenue generating opportunities. We are also developing new applications to enhance both the ground and air experience that will facilitate more efficient operating procedures. Furthermore, the ongoing upgrades to the fleet will continue to improve efficiency while at the same time-enhancing the revenue potential per flight.”

In August 2015 we took delivery of the first of the next four new 737-800’s from Boeing, the remaining three of which will be delivered in late 2015 and 2016. The delivery of the eight Boeing 737-8 Max aircraft remains scheduled for 2019 to 2021.

Top Copyright Photo: Felix Gottwald/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-33A ZS-OAI (msn 24030) departs from the Johannesburg hub.

British Airways-Comair aircraft slide show: AG Airline Slide Show

Airline Aircraft Type “Endangered Species List” (airline aircraft types to be retired in the near future)

Click on the mosaic photo below for the full list, individual photos and the expected retirement target dates – the list will be constantly updated. All additional information or corrections are always welcome.

Endangered Species List Mosaic 9.22.15