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World Travel Market Cape Town 2014

World Travel Market is a leading travel industry exhibition which takes place annually, and is held in a different country each year. It takes place over a number of days, and features exhibitors from various travel companies, as well as seminars, conferences and other events. It has been announced that the event will be hosted in Africa for the first time next year, with World Travel Market Cape Town 2014 taking place from 2 May 2014 until 3 May 2014.

The exhibition will be held at Cape Town’s International Convention Centre, and given that Cape Town is the most popular and tourist-friendly city in South Africa (and probably in Africa), Cape Town is the ideal setting for the event which will attract thousands of international visitors and travel providers who operate on overseas travel markets.

There are likely to be numerous benefits that flow from the event, including the creation of synergies between South African travel industry players and their international counterparts, as well as an opportunity to market what South Africa has to offer to visitors as a tourist destination.

A number of exhibitors have already confirmed their attendance at the exhibition in order to secure their place at this popular event on the annual travel market calendar.

Next year’s event will be the 35th World Travel Market event, and given the number of years that it has been running and the sheer scale and popularity of the exhibition, the event is certainly one of the most well-established travel events in the world.

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.

Fastjet Flights Postponed

Fastjet was set to launch flights from Johannesburg to Dar es Salaam, the capital of Tanzania today, and has been selling tickets for the route for the past few months on its website. However, Fastjet flights on the route have had to be postponed as a result of regulatory and administrative challenges.

Passengers who bought tickets for the route will be given a full refund by the airline, but the delay will inconvenience many travellers who had planned their holidays or business trips around specific dates. In addition to receiving a refund, passengers will be given a free flight on Fastjet, as well as assistance with re-booking.

The delays were occasioned by the Department of Transport requesting additional documentation from the airline during the licensing and regulatory process, which have not yet been processed by the Department of Transport.

When the route is finally operational, Fastjet flights will operate between Johannesburg and Dar es Salaam three days per week, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Flysafair Tickets from Johannesburg to Cape Town

Flysafair is South Africa’s newest low cost airline. Flysafair tickets from Johannesburg to Cape Town went on sale this week on the flysafair.co.za website, with airfares starting from R800 for a one way flight.

Flysafair has historically been active in the aircraft leasing business, and has leased aircraft to a number of the prominent airlines in South Africa.

The airline recently decided to enter into the low cost domestic airline market on a commercial basis. However, the airline has not been welcomed by other carriers, and Comair has instituted legal proceedings against them on the basis that Comair believes that they do not meet the minimum South African ownership requirements that apply to local low cost airlines under South African law.

The legal proceedings appear to be an attempt to exclude competition from the market, which is currently dominated by Comair’s low cost subsidiary Kulula.com and SAA’s low cost subsidiary Mango Airlines.

SA Airlink Flights to Kruger National Park

It will soon be possible to book SA Airlink flights to Kruger National Park, with the airline’s upcoming launch of flights to Skukuza Airport which will become operational as from March 2014.

SA Airlink is a part-owner of Skukuza Airport, together with Lion Sands and Federal Air. As a result, it is likely that the route will not be open to other airlines, which will allow SA Airlink to enjoy a monopoly over the route. This could potentially result in passengers paying higher prices for airfares.

SA Airlink flights to Kruger National Park will run on a daily basis from OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, and Lion Sands will operate hospitality and retail services. Federal Air will operate chartered flights from the airport, and will therefore not be operating in competition with SA Airlink.

SA Airlink will also offer flights from Cape Town International Airport to Kruger National Park, with the addition of flights from Durban’s King Shaka International Airport planned at a later stage.

The development of Skukuza Airport will remove the need for travellers to fly to Nelspruit in order to get to the Kruger National Park, given that Nelspruit is currently the closest airport which is accessible on scheduled commercial flights in the area.

Mango Flights from Johannesburg to George

Bookings are now open for Mango flights from Johannesburg to George, a newly launched route for the low cost subsidiary of SAA. The George flight route are also available on Kulula.com and South African Express, and given the limited number of carriers operating on this route, flights on the route have historically been relatively expensive compared to routes where there is more competition among airlines.

The introduction of a regular flight route to George on Mango, may help to push down prices.

Mango flights to George depart from OR Tambo International Airport, and there are currently no flights to George operating from Lanseria Airport. Bookings can be made for flights departing on any date from 18 November 2013, and the launch of the George route follows Mango’s recent addition of a route for flights from Johannesburg to Port Elizabeth and flights from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth which has proved a success for the airline.

South Africa’s weird and wonderful adventures

For a variety of reasons South Africa has an extensive list of interesting adventures to choose from. On the cover of Dirty Boots, an adventure guide book for South Africa, it says over 100 adventures. When you first notice this you presume they mean over 100 different adventure companies but page to the activity index at the back of the book and start counting and too your surprise there really is more than a 100 different adventure activities to choose from.

The reasons behind this variety of activities lie mostly in South Africa’s varied geography, from mountains to oceans, deserts to thick forests and magnificent rivers and lagoons. The landscape creates an awesome playground for any keen adventurer. Another factor is the weather, think about it, if the Cape did not have the great summer winds would we have all the wind driven sports to choose from; Kitesurfing, windsurfing, sailing and blokart sailing.
What sets us apart from many other countries is the fact that we have real accessible wildlife so we can add activities to our list such as foot safaris, rhino tracking, elephant-back safaris and horse safaris.

Then there are activities that you would never expect to even find in South Africa, the one that stands out for me, is ice climbing. In the Drakensberg mountains during the winter it gets cold enough for some of the higher altitude waterfalls to freeze and there you are, you have a venue for ice climbing.

One of my favorite activities which is very unique to Cape Town, is a tour of the old underground water tunnels that use to take water from Table Mountain to the Castle, the activity is called below the surface, a great adventure for all ages with a historical and environmental significance.

So if you are looking for something interesting to do this weekend, go and browse the Dirty Boots website and I will guarantee you, that you will find an adventure that will fit your needs.