Monthly Archives: October 2013

Kenya Airways Leasing Boeing 777-300ER

Kenya Airways, the national airline of Kenya, is excited to have received its first Boeing 777-300ER aircraft on lease from aircraft leading company GE Capital Aviation Services.

This aircraft is the biggest carrier in Kenya Airways’ fleet, and will provide the airline with a significant increase in passenger carrying capacity, decreased operating costs and the ability to increase its international offerings.

Kenya Airways has plans of expanding rapidly over the next ten years, and the new aircraft is central to these plans. It is a twin engine airline which provides passengers with unparalleled comfort, making it ideal for longer flights over greater distances.

The massive aircraft seats 400 passengers, including 28 business class passengers and 372 economy class passengers. It has a number of technologically advanced features including USB ports, power sockets and a state of the art in flight entertainment system.

Kenya Airways is set to receive two further Boeing 777-300ER aircraft on lease, further expanding its fleet.

With the recent Westgate Shopping Mall incident in Kenya which hit the international headlines, Kenya’s tourism market is likely to be affected, but the airline appears hopeful that their business will expand over the next few years, and that the demand from the local and international public will meet and exceed expectations, allowing for further growth.

FastJet Set to Take Off

FastJet, the African low cost airline which has already been operational in East Africa for a few months, is set to launch its first South African flight on 18 October 2013. Coincidentally, this is the date on which FlySafair intended to launch their first flight, before being ordered by the High Court to remain grounded due to not being 75% South African owned.

FastJet’s first flight route will be between Johannesburg and Dar es Salaam, the capital city of Tanzania, and the flight is set to take only two and a half hours, departing from Johannesburg at 09h15 and landing in Dar es Salaam at 11h45.

Once launched, flights on this route will take place three days per week, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. However, depending on demand, the airline intends to consider increasing the frequency of its flights on this route.

The introduction of a low cost airline for flights on this route will offer South Africans and Tanzanians an affordable means of flying between the two countries, as current airfares on other airlines are generally very expensive.

The now insolvent 1time Airline previously offered low cost flights from Johannesburg to Zanzibar, an island forming part of Tanzania which is off the Dar es Salaam costline. This was one of its more popular routes. It will be interesting to see whether FastJet decides, in due course, to offer flights to the popular island destination of Zanzibar.

Interdict Granted Against FlySafair

The High Court interim interdict granted against FlySafair, South Africa’s latest entrant into the low cost flight market, means that the airline will not be allowed to fly for the moment.

Comair brought the application in the High Court on the basis that FlySafair has more than 25% foreign ownership, contrary to regulations that require under 25% foreign ownership for any domestic airline to operate in South Africa.

FlySafair had intended to launch its services between Johannesburg and Cape Town on 17 October 2013, and has been selling tickets for these flights on its website, priced from R800 upwards. The airline has also begun marketing itself, with numerous billboards along the M1 highway advertising the airline’s services.

The High Court, in an unprecedented and unexpected move, ordered Comair to assist passengers who bought FlySafair tickets, by honouring their ticket prices with FlySafair, and transporting them between Johannesburg and Cape Town.

This move suggests that while the court considered itself bound by the regulations to prevent FlySafair from flying in these circumstances, it did not wish for innocent members of the public to suffer. It may also be indicative that the court views Comair’s legal action as a means of excluding competition in the market, and therefor as a move that does not have entirely pure motives.

It should also be noted that the interim interdict will only be in place for a limited period, and there will be return date on which the parties go to court, for the court to decide whether to make the interim order final. The court may well decide not to make the order final, particularly if there are changed circumstances with regard to FlySafair’s ownership by the time the parties return to court.

Safair has been operating as an aircraft leasing and chartered flights company for a number of years, and once it is operational, will certainly pose a threat to other airlines as it is not a fly-by-night operation, so to speak.

Air Namibia Fleet Receives First Airbus A330

In recent months, airlines around the world have taken delivery of new aircraft, and given the problems experienced by aircraft manufacturer Boeing, numerous airlines have opted instead for Airbus aircraft. Air Namibia is the Southern African country of Namibia’s national carrier, and the Air Namibia fleet has received its first Airbus A330-200 aircraft at an event in Toulouse, France.

The aircraft has the capacity to carry 244 passengers, of which 30 are business class passengers and 214 are economy class passengers.

The airline received its first Airbus aircraft in 2006, and its main international route offers flights from Windhoek to Frankfurt, given that Namibia is a former German colony and numerous German expatriates live in Windhoek and travel to Frankfurt, Germany to visit relatives. The Aircraft is not owned by Air Namibia, but is on lease to the airline.

Air Namibia also offers a number of regional flights including flights from Windhoek to Johannesburg and flights from Windhoek to Cape Town.

The A330 features advanced technology, making it reliable and cost effective to run. It has relatively low fuel consumption, and offers passengers a comfortable journey. The addition of the A330 to the Air Namibia fleet will allow the airline to expand its offerings and improve the passenger experience.