Category Archives: Airline News

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.

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.

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.

More Problems with the Boeing 787 Dreamliner

Boeing was one the luxury aircraft brand of choice of many airlines worldwide. However, the aircraft company has been experiencing a number of problems with the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, its flagship aircraft, which have sullied the company’s reputation and allowed its major competitor, Airbus, to take a large chunk of Boeing’s market share.

The problems began with reports of fires breaking out on brand new Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft, which were suspected to have been caused by faulty batteries. As a consequence, many Boeing 787 Dreamliners were not allowed to be flown which an investigation into the problem was being undertaken.

The latest problem identified with the aircraft, is related to its fire extinguisher system, after a wiring defect was discovered in the fire extinguisher systems on three Boeing 787′s operated by Japanese airline All Nippon Airways.

This is obviously particularly concerning, given that there is now a fault which causes fires to erupt, and another fault which may undermine the ability to extinguish such fires.

The aircraft manufacturer has undertaken to investigate the matter and to take steps to resolve it, but the damage may already be done in the sense that the issue is likely to have placed another nail in Boeing’s coffin, and will make it more difficult for the company to salvage its reputation and regain lost market share.

Blind Deaf Priest Turned Away by British Airways

It has been reported that a South African born priest who is currently living in the United Kingdom,  Cyril Axelrod, was not allowed to board a British Airways flight because he is deaf and blind and was not travelling with another person to assist him. News about the blind deaf priest turned away by British Airways has since dominated the headlines, and has brought British Airways a great deal of negative publicity.

Axelrod has reportedly been travelling to various destinations worldwide without an assistant or chaperon, as he has been issued a Medical Card by British Airways PLC which confirms that despite his medical condition and disability, he can travel unaided.

Axelrod has been deaf since birth and later lost his sight, and as a result, it is necessary to communicate with him by tracing letters on his hands.

He has been a prominent activist for the rights of blind and deaf persons for a number of years.

The policy applied by British Airways would result in Axelrod having to incur the costs of an additional flight ticket for an assistant to travel with him.

He is currently in South Africa developing a training program with the Deaf Federation of South Africa, and he has reportedly claimed that the incident was highly humiliating and degrading.

The incident resulted in him missing a mass in Johannesburg.

The incident is likely to result in numerous airlines including British Airways reviewing their policy on disabled passengers.

A fine balance must be struck between the safety considerations that arise when a deaf and blind passenger travels on a flight, and the right not to be unfairly discriminated against. It is clearly a complex task achieving this balance, and it will be interesting to see how airlines handle such scenarios in the future, in the wake of the incident with Axelrod.


Mango Airlines Cabin Crew Fired for Theft

Mango Airlines has fired 24 members of its cabin crew, following an investigation into allegations that members of the Mango Airlines Cabin Crew staff have been fraudulently appropriating money through the in-flight catering service offered to passengers on the low cost airline’s domestic flights.

The airline became suspicious when it was discovered that it was not making as much as was expected from the catering service, and as a result, placed investigators in its flights to get to the bottom of the issue.

The investigation lasted several months, and during this time, investigators managed to capture footage of cabin crew appropriating money from the sale of coffee, tea and other beverages.

While the exact amount of money that was appropriated is not known, the airline has stated that it believes the amount to be significant. Meanwhile, the trade union representing the cabin crew staff who have been fired, has denied that the cabin crew have, in fact, committed the alleged fraud.

Emirates Private Jet Service

Have you ever dreamed of having your own private jet and living the life of the rich and famous? Emirates Airlines has launched its new Emirates private jet service which allows travellers to experience what it’s like to have one. Dubbed Emirates Executive, the service operates worldwide using the ultra luxurious Airbus 319 aircraft.

The aircraft seats 19 passengers, and trips can be tailor-made to suit almost any requirements. It includes private suites with seats that recline to a completely flat position, and a large lounge area which has a work space, a rest area, couches and two large flat screen TV’s which feature over 1 500 channels. There is also high speed internet connectivity on the aircraft, and for the business traveller, video conferencing facilities are available.

The suites also feature a full-sized shower and under floor heating to maximise passengers’ comfort levels.

Passengers area treated to a range of culinary delicacies, with an extensive menu of food and beverage options on offer.

Luxury comes at a cost, and while the cost of a trip on Emirates Executive depends on the tailor-made package that the customer requires, it is certainly going to be out of reach of all except the most affluent travellers.

SAA and Jetblue Airlines South Africa Agreement

South African Airways and United States airline Jetblue Airlines South Africa have concluded a code share agreement which will allow both airlines to sell tickets on each others’ flights. This will afford travellers between South Africa and the United States more options and cost savings.

Jetblue Airlines is based in New York, and the deal has been entered into but cannot be effective until the necessary regulatory approval is obtained from the South African and American aviation authorities. It is, however, unlikely that such approval will not be forthcoming from the South African authorities, given that SAA has entered into code share agreements with various other airlines in the past without the authorities preventing this.

The code share arrangement will allow South Africans to travel on flights from OR Tambo International Airport to John F Kennedy International Airport and Washington Dulles International Airport, and onward to other destinations in the United States, using a single flight ticket purchased from either airline. South Africans will be able to book these tickets in the flysaa website.

This will avoid the need to make separate travel arrangements with each airline for various legs of the journey.

SAA and Jetblue operate from adjacent terminals at John F Kennedy International Airport, which will make it extremely easy for passengers to change planes during a stopover in New York, before moving on to a further destination.

SA Express to Offer Free Baggage Wrapping

There are plans for SA Express to offer free baggage wrapping to passengers on their domestic and regional flights in South Africa. Baggage wrapping is available to all passengers on domestic and international flights originating from OR Tambo, but other airlines do not cover the cost of the service, requiring passengers to pay in the region of R50 to have one item of baggage wrapped.

Statistically, wrapped baggage is reportedly 87% less likely to be stolen from, and theft from baggage has become a huge issue for airlines, particularly at South African airports.

Recently, President Zuma’s wife alleged that jewelry valued at around half a million Rand went missing from her baggage at OR Tambo International Airport, while thousands of ordinary travellers endure the loss of valuables such as electronics, cameras and cellular phones in similar circumstances.

SA Airlink will initially offer the free baggage wrapping service for a three month trial period, and will offer it to passengers in Durban, Bloemfontein, Cape Town and Johannesburg.

While it is unlikely to eliminate theft, it may assist in decreasing the incidence of theft suffered by passengers, which would leave a bad taste in any passenger’s mouth and may even deter passengers from flying with a particular airline in the future.

SAA takes Delivery of New Aircraft

South African Airways placed an order for 20 new Airbus A380 aircraft back in 2010, and they have finally received delivery of the first two of the 20 aircraft.

The new aircraft will assist SAA to improve its financial position and expand its offering in the Southern African region. The airline has been experiencing a number of financial challenges which have been reported on in the media, and there have also been reports of labour unrest, with flysaa ground staff having embarked on a strike last month.

The new Airbus A380 planes will increase the airline’s capacity, and improve customer experiences on flights in the region.

The aircraft can accommodate 24 passengers in business class as well as 114 economy class passengers, and will be the replacement of the airline’s current fleet of older Boeing 737-800 aircraft.

The Airbus A320 is the best selling single aisle aircraft in the world, and nearly 10 000 have already been ordered by airlines worldwide. The A320 carriers are also designed to be more cost efficient than earlier models, and with the high fuel prices that airlines are currently subjected to, this is important from a profitability and efficiency perspective.