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Airlines Africa

Airlines Africa March 5, 2012

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Serving the Airline Industry and Airline Professional Across Africa exclusive

Airlines Africa interview

Ethiopian Unveils New Website

Korongo Airlines Gains Approvals to Launch Service in the DRC A new airline is just a few weeks away from launching service in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Korongo Airlines, based in Lubumbashi, has finally received the necessary authorizations from government authorities to begin service. The startup process began back in April 2010, an incubation period of two years by the time they take to the air—a long time even by DRC standards. “Why so long?,” asked Christophe Allard rhetorically. Allard, Korongo Airlines’ CEO explained, “We faced blocking in the DRC from the Congolese authorities because they were wrongly influenced by some

competitors that were not willing to see a new airline starting operations in the DRC. Especially a new airline that will operate with new operational standards and in compliance with ICAO international standards.” “This was a long and very difficult process to go through, but thanks to the commitments of our shareholders, a commitment to success and a strong belief in the project we were able to work our way through this, protect the infrastructure we have built shelter our employees,” said Allard. “We built up to more than 200 employees and we never went Continued on Page 3

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Ethiopian Airlines has unveiled an enhanced and user friendly website reaffirming its commitment to keep up with the needs and interests of its customers. The features of the new website include: enhanced display of flight schedules; real time flight arrival and departure information; super competitive special fares are displayed in the customers choice of home page for direct booking and ticket purchases; all inclusive destination tour package prices are availed for direct booking and purchases; on-line check-in capabilities; revamped corporate website with country specific pages where customers can easily access country specific information, and enables Sheba miles members to transact directly on mileage credits, redemption and access to their mileage account. Tewolde Gebremariam, CEO said, “We are delighted to enhance our website to improve our customers’ experience in doing business with Ethiopian. The newly designed website will complement our global call center and Ethiopian offices around the globe to give our valued customers more choices to interact with us”

Don’t let another minute pass without being a part of the airline community of Africa. Whether an airline or an industrial supplier, the African Airlines Association is waiting to partner with you. www.afraa.org March 5, 2012


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Airlines Africa The Airstream International Group has arranged the sale of another ERJ-145, this time to Air Taraba of Nigeria. The aircraft, previously operated by UK airline FlyBe, has been repainted by Airbourne Colours in Bournemouth and will be operating internal routes within Nigeria,

Air Taraba of Nigeria has acquired a Former FlyBe ERJ-145

Egyptair Optimizes Network With NetLine/Plan Revenue System In pursuit for achieving the highest network planning revenues and customer satisfaction, Egyptair has opted for NetLine/Plan, the IT provider’s solution to manage the route network. This enables the national airline of Egypt to raise the revenue and earnings potential of its network and increase profitability by up to five percent. With the modern technology and user-friendly architecture of NetLine/ Plan, Egyptair can adapt its schedules to market demand. NetLine/Plan generates optimal schedules by simulating new connections and forecasting passenger flows, costs and revenues. This will make it possible for the airline to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the network and act accordingly. NetLine/Plan gives Egyptair the ability to modify its flight plans in order to increase the overall capacity utilization of its aircraft. The airline can also generate additional demand by offering optimized transfer connections and codeshare flights. Finally, the solution offers significant economic benefits through increased revenues and improved load factors. More than 50 airlines around the world have already opted for a NetLine solution. “Egyptair is looking towards applying the best solutions for network planning optimization. We are looking for innovative ways for improving profwww.airlines-africa.com

itability and reduce operational costs,” Captain Ayman Nasr, Egyptair Airlines chairman and CEO commented. “Our positive experience with solutions from Lufthansa Systems encouraged us to opt for a NetLine product to optimize our network planning. NetLine/Plan gives us even better control over our growing route network and our cooperation with partner airlines,” said Yasser Elramly, vice president commercial at Egyptair from his side.

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“With Egyptair we can fully implement the integration of several systems to optimize the overall benefit. NetLine/ Plan and the SchedConnect codeshare management system already being used by Egyptair are part of our Integrated Commercial Platform [ICP] that covers all of an airline’s network and revenue management processes.” explained Peter Ahnert, senior vice president regional management Middle East and Africa at Lufthansa Systems. Besides these planning solutions, Egyptair is also already using the Sirax AirFinance platform and the Lido/Flight flight planning solution.

Jeff McKaughan Publisher jeffm@airlines-africa.com 1- 443-243-1710 For details on advertising, please contact the publisher. Airlines Africa P.O.Box 236 Forest Hill, MD 21050 USA March 5, 2012


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Korongo Airlines Gains Approvals Continued from Page 1 through a retrenchment process.” “Proving that you need to be patient in Africa and the DRC and with the support of our shareholders, we were able to explain, to the highest levels of authority in the DRC, that this project would be good for the country.” A certain fact is that safety and security issues are huge in the DRC— accidents are the tangible markers of those problems. The severity of the problems led to the blacklisting (despite the controversial practice of blanket blacklisting by the European Union) of airlines from the DRC. “What we explained to the authorities is that by allowing a new airline to start to international standards it will give a very strong and positive sign to the international community of the DRC’s commitment to safety and security.” “In early January [2012] one of

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our main shareholders Group Forrest International lead by its chairman George Forrest had an open meeting with President Kabila,” said Allard. “He had the opportunity to explain Korongo Airlines, its plans and how it would benefit the country. President Kabila himself gave the green light for the project which led to the final authorizations being issued. In the middle of January we received the renewal of our operating license. One week after that we received the authorization to import the aircraft and on January 31, we received approval of our startup timetable for our domestic and international network.”

The airline is working quite hard with the local civil aviation authorities to get the aircraft imported to the country and authorized to fly in the Congolese sky. Korongo is planning to start service with about a six-week lead time in the middle of Spring of this year. The aircraft—a 737 and BAe146— are fully ready, recently going through a C check, have been painted in the Korongo Airlines livery but they are still being operated by Brussels Airlines on their European network. “We are waiting to much closer to our start date to bring the aircraft

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into the DRC,” said Allard. “We don’t want to have them on the Congolese ramp for too long before we have the certificates in place and ready to start flight operations. If they are here too long without flying we would have to institute some kind of storage and preservation processes which are expensive and difficult to carry out. Our plan is to focus on launching the sales both in DRC and in South Africa and put our extensive distribution strategy in place before we bring in the aircraft and start the operation a few days after.” Interestingly, Allard explained that while this is a sound business decision, there is the consideration of what impact not having the aircraft incountry would have on the credibility of the carrier. “Many people only believe in a project when they see the aircraft. To counter this, we will be starting the sales earlier than initially thought just to give tangible evidence in the reality of the airline.” “We are quite different from other projects in the DRC in that while some previous projects had an aircraft, they lacked organization and capability to run and manage an airline,” Allard explained. “Things are quite different with Korongo. We have a very complex organization which we are very proud of and we will show this to the market—demonstrating that we are indeed different from the others.” Korongo has one major shareholder, Airbel. Airbel itself has two shareholders—Brussels Airlines holds 50.5% and George Forrest himself holds 49.5% of the shares—together they own 70% of Korongo Airlines. The remaining 30% are in Congolese hands with private investors. In addition to being a major shareholder, Brussels Airlines is also Korongo Airlines’ strategic partner for all operational aspects through an ACMI agreement. Forrest looks after the building up of the infrastructure and relationships with the local authorities because of his and his company’s very long history in the country. They started business in the DRC in the 1920s so they have a lot of experience built up over the years. “This partnership is the perfect mix www.airlines-africa.com

to get Korongo Airlines in the air,” exclaimed Allard. Startup funds for the carrier are in hand. “Since our start in 2010 we have been investing heavily in our company infrastructure including recruitment and training of our staff,” said Allard. “We invested about 60% of what we had initially planned so we are quite far into the process. For example, we have a hangar and maintenance infrastructure in Lubumbashi. Our infrastructure is fully ready now with the staff in place, ready and trained— including our maintenance personnel. Our distribution channels are fully ready as are the aircraft.” “Our initial investment of $12 million is meant to cover the first development phase of the airline, this will include the Lubumbashi-Kinshasa domestic route and internationally to Johannesburg. Service to Kolwezi and Mbuji Mayi will follow shortly after. The startup funds do not take into account the funds necessary for the ACMI agreement. “We are looking at other destinations within the DRC as well as regional destinations in other countries,” said Allard. “We want to position Korongo Airlines as the number one Congolese carrier. On top of it, Brussels Airlines is part of

the Lufthansa Group so we want to position ourselves as well on the African map and serve those carriers, both of which are part of the Star Alliance, as the number one commuter carrier offering connections throughout central and eastern Africa which will also help open DRC onto its neighboring countries.” An important step in the process of becoming the number one Congolese carrier is to be a good citizen Of the approximately 200 employees, 97% are Congolese. Being known as a Congolese label is very important to the airline. “Again, we show that you can be a Congolese airline and still do things properly and that our people are fully capable of working along the highest standard as long as they receive proper training,” said Allard. In explaining the service product, Allard said, “We will distinguish ourselves in the market.” While many carriers in the region have to spend time communicating about safety and security. “We will position Korongo Airlines in a way that we will not have to communicate all the time about security. Just by looking at our staff, their training, the way they behave, the uniforms, the quality of the advertising, billboards, people will feel

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comfortable that they are dealing with professionals and people that know about the airline business. Second we will be related to Brussels Airlines. We intend to offer tail-to-tail operation between our two airlines. People coming from or going to Brussels Airlines aircraft to/from our aircraft will experience the same quality in terms of service, inflight products and so on. By having this same experience, adapted to our domestic market, they will know that they are with a professional airline.” “In terms of pricing and fare flexibility most of the people in the region are use to rigid, single fare products,” explained Allard. “By offering a full-fledge fare structure we will be offering a fare and product for every segment in the market. This is all supported by a broad and comprehensive distribution system.” “We will be available in Galileo and Amadeus GDS which is first time in the DRC that a domestic carrier will be offering such a distribution channel,” said Allard. “It makes life much easier for the travel agencies and individual passengers. The travel agency will not have to come first to Korongo Airlines to purchase their ticket before giving it to the passenger. So the product will be easily available throughout the industry.” The aircraft will be owned and operated by Brussels Airlines and under the regulatory oversight of the Belgian Civil Aviation Authority in close cooperation with their Congolese counterpart, Korongo Airlines being a Congolese registered airline. The aircraft will be flown by Brussels Airlines’ flight crews with Korongo Airlines’ own cabin crew trained up to Brussel Airlines standards and consistent with their European network requirements. The aircraft will be maintained by Brussels Airlines in the Korongo Airline facility in Lubumbashi up to the A Check in compliance with EASA part 145 standards. For higher checks they will be carried out in Johannesburg by a EASA-certified partner. “Everything is done along international standards, said Allard. “The market is expecting an airline like www.airlines-africa.com

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this as they are fed up with dealing with traveling all across Africa to go from Lubumbashi to Kinshasa. Thanks to Korongo they will now be able to do so.” As for fares, Allard described his view of the monopolistic position of airlines in Africa. “For instance you have a South African airline as the only carrier on the LubumbashiJoburg route with an average fare between $1600 and $2000 for a return ticket. This for just a 2-hour flight. By positioning ourselves on the route we are securing Congolese reciprocity on the route with a Congolese airline meeting all international standards. This is something that the mining companies and other industries in the DRC are looking for. Air transport is sometimes the only communication

means that you may have throughout the country so we are very keen to connect the difference provinces and to push forward development of the country. A lot of people are looking for us.” Summarizing, Allard explained that his main objective is to establish Korongo as a Congolese domestic and regional carrier that would be the first to operate along international rules. With a strong commitment to ensure reciprocity along different routes out of the DRC, reduce the monopolistic actions of strangers to the country and to further work on recruitment and transfer of expertise to the local communities—we are going to focus on doing things right—this is our duty. “Our goal is to be the driving force to bring DRC off of the EU blacklist.”

Founded in the mid-nineties by MIT computer science graduates, ITA Software, a Google-owned compnay, has pioneered a new generation of travel technology. ITA recently announced that a US-based regional carrier, Cape Air, is the launch customer of their new airline platform. The platform contains software required to run a passenger airline, including a reservation system, inventory control system, departure control system, and more. “ITA’s airline platform was built from scratch using modern, modular, open technologies, which makes it more flexible and beneficial for travelers and more scalable for airlines of any size,” said Sean Carlson, Google’s manager, global communications and public affairs. “We built its platform to support all types of airlines and are excited to have debuted this platform and we look forward to discussing opportunities to help other airlines interested in providing their customers with a similar experience.” ITA’s new platform contains the software applications that support a passenger airline. The components include: • reservation system that manages the selling of seats and services,

maintains passenger travel information, and controls the issuance of tickets including exchanges and refunds • inventory control system that defines and controls the number of seats and auxiliary services available and the prices for each • departure control system that manages the passenger boarding process, including check-in and security requirements • websites that makes it easy for passengers to shop, buy, and make changes to their travel plans

New Airline Platform Developed by Google for Any Sized Carrier

Today, ITA Software is used by some of the world’s most successful travel companies, including American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, Continental Airlines, Cape Air, Bing, Kayak, and Orbitz. To its customers ITA is a partner in innovation, helping them slash costs, simplify their business, and improve customer service. CEO of Cape Air, said, “It has been about the smoothest technology rollout as I have ever seen. It went so smoothly in fact most customers probably didn’t notice.” March 5, 2012


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AVIATION SUPPLIERS AND STAKEHOLDERS C O N V E N T I O N

Harnessing Aviation Growth Opportunities in Africa Safaripark Hotel, Nairobi, Kenya, March 7th - 9th 2012 Registration deadline-29th Feb 2012

Website: www.afraa-asasconvention.com Email: mkahonge@afraa.org, sylvia@events-solutions.co.ke Tel: EMS +254 020 2393620, AFRAA +254 020 2320144

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March 5, 2012


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Astral Aviation Expands its DC-9 Cargo Network to Include Mogadishu Following the positive outcome of the London Conference on Somalia and the improvement of security in Mogadishu, Astral Aviation has announced the commencement of a scheduled freighter service from Nairobi–Mogadishu, effective March 14, 2012, which will operate on Day 3 on the DC-9 freighter with up to 15 tons of capacity for cargo. According to the CEO, Sanjeev Gadhia, Astral will be the first freighter airline to provide a schedule service into Mogadishu which is expected to provide an alternate to the limited belly capacity and sea-freight options that currently exists into Mogadishu, which will be complemented with connectivity from Europe, Middle East, Asia and

South Africa via Astral’s GSA’s, interline partners and Freight Forwarders. Prior to the commencement of the schedule service, Astral had operated various charters for relief cargoes between August 2011 and January 2012. According to the Operations Director, Michael Mutahi, the risk factor of flying into Mogadishu has been significantly reduced due to the improved security in and around the airport. Further-

South African Airways to Study Its Carbon Footprint and Develop a Long-Term Strategy

The scope of a recent South African Airways tender will provide the carrier (excluding SAA subsidiaries) measurements and metrics of SAA’s global greenhouse gas emissions— its carbon footprint. This is expected to include carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, unburned hydro carbons, and nitrous oxide. SAA expects to receive a comprehensive report endorsed by an internationally recognized and accredited carbon footprint provider with a report detailing initiatives that SAA can execute quickly to reduce our carbon footprint and gain carbon credits by utilizing existing registered program of activities or clean development mechanism www.airlines-africa.com

projects. The primary project office for this tender must be situated at Airways Park in Johannesburg. The appointed service provider will be expected to: • Plan the measurement of the carbon footprint of SAA to scope 1 and scope 2 standards, including all infrastructure, facilities and carbon emissions from operations and operations support activities; • Plan the measurement of the carbon footprint of SAA to scope 3 standards; • Implement and execute the carbon measurement plan in a reasonable time period (less than six weeks);

more, the airport is being managed by a professional company, SKA Arabia, who have the equipment, personnel and the fuel to provide an efficient service which has surpassed our expectations. The Mogadishu route is the sixth schedule destination on Astral’s intraAfrican network which includes Juba, Mwanza, Dar-es-salaam, Entebbe and Kigali. • Develop a comprehensive carbon footprint report for SAA’s carbon footprint including a graphical and user friendly format that can be utilized for the annual report or marketing purposes and including the following breakdown; geographic locations; departments; carbon sources and impacts; carbon footprint report for each SAA route; • Execute an annual carbon audit for 2012 and 2013 that includes a measurement of all the factors measured in the initial carbon footprint report and provide a new certified carbon footprint report annually; • Provide a comprehensive report on initiatives that SAA can implement immediately to reduce our carbon footprint and generate carbon credits at minimal cost. March 5, 2012

Airlines Africa March 5 2012  

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