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Jambo Jet a new airline in East Africa

Following yesterday's blog posting giving a quick summary of the state of play of East African Aviation, today we have learnt of plans by Kenya Airways to launch, Jambo Jet, which will be a new low-cost regional airline.

Local news reports suggest that the airline will compete aggressively with low-cost specialists like Fly540 in an effort to increase market share from the increasingly affluent Kenyan middle class, as well as from the international tourist markets

We'll bring you more news as soon as it reaches us...

Flights in East Africa

Flights in East Africa .. Currencies are sliding but the airlines are growing !

The current global economic crisis hasn't passed East Africa by and the two dominant currencies of the region, Kenyan and Ugandan shilling have slid by 15 and 12% respectively against the US dollar since Christmas 2010 and even the stringer Tanzanian shilling hit an all time low against the dollar early in July 2011.

In sharp contract the airlines of the region are prospering.

As the primary long haul carrier into East Africa, Kenya Airways is regarded by all as a global success story. It is profitable, with a surplus of over $40 million in its last financial year and growing both in terms of its fleet (now over 60 aircraft), passengers carried (over 3.00 million per annum) and destinations served (Kilimanjaro, Nidjamena, Ougadougou, Abuja, Beirut, Port Louis, Asmara and Jeddah are all new on its network for 2011).

Close behind in terms of the importance of indigenous airlines with long haul routes is Ethiopian Airlines. This developing carrier is about to join the prestigious STAR Alliance where its will benefit from closer co-operation with its African neighbours, SAA and EgyptAir.

Alongside an increasing number of long haul routes into both Nairobi and Addis Ababa, regional carriers are also expanding. Kenya in particular has seen low cost carrier, Fly540, make many more destinations available and affordable with AirKenya and Jetlink Express now serving both safari camps and major regional cities with regular, punctual flights.

In Tanzania, the stand-out carrier is Precision AIr, which is rapidly growing into one of the best regional carriers in Africa, plus has its sights set on a stack market floatation laster this year. Air Tanzania is currently not flying but AirKenya's sister company, Arusha based, Regional Air Services has an operation focussed on providing exactly what is needed to get international passengers safely to many of the fabulous Tanzanian game parks in competition with smaller airline, Dar es Salaam based, ZanAir.

The two national carriers of Rwanda and Uganda have different ownership structures. Rwandair is 100% government owned whilst Air Uganda is owned by the parent company of European airline, Meridiana. Both have similar high ambitions to become leading players in the region.

Air Burundi is no longer flying, but Djibouti's, Daallo Air is prospering with a management team based in Dubai.

Just on the radar is Eritrean airlines, relaunched in July 2011 with a new Airbus A320 and plans to grow its fleet and route network rapidly over the next two years.

Once proud Sudan Airways is currently banned from flying into Europe but still maintains scheduled services within Sudan plus flights to 14 destinations across Africa and the Middle East.

In addition there are many smaller carriers serving one or two niche routes or offering on demand services to fulfil local demand.

What is fuelling the growth ? Increased Tourism is a factor, as is more worker migration across the region and an increase in disposable income for a part of the population disposed to fly. Plus there is significant investment in the infrastructure - from large scale plans for new international airports, like the one due to be built in Kigali - to more and better facilities at many second city airports and game park landing strips.

Alternative Airlines is a specialist in arranging flights in East Africa and we have close ties with many of the airlines mentioned above. We make no secret of our love for the region, its people and the unique opportunities it has for the informed traveller to experience something unique - from viewing shy gorillas to climbing snow clad peaks surrounded by African bush; from photographing feeding lions to meeting people with smiles that will capture your heart.. East Africa is somewhere that must be high on your list of places to visit.

Rumour of new services from Durban (South Africa) to London Gatwick

South African airline, Comair, which flies under the British Airways franchise brand and has the low cost carrier, Kulula, has indicated that it is looking to start long haul services between its base in Durban's King Shaka International Airport and London Gatwick.  This would be a significant boost to tourism in this beautiful part of South Africa and would to some extent replace the low cost seats lost on the route between S.A. and U.K. when the independent airline Nationwide failed three years ago in April 2008. Currently South Africa Airlines, Virgin Atlantic and british Airways fly direct services between London and South Africa with many cheaper indirect flights operating through the major Middle Eastern and European hubs. Watch this blog for more news as the plans become firm and ticket prices are announced !

Air China takes lead in Global Airline matters

It's a sign of the changing nature of the global airline business when the important 68th Annual Conference of International Air Transportation Association (IATA) and the World Civil Aviation Summit is to be hosted by Air China and held in Beijing, China in 2012. Air China is already the most profitable airline in the world and features on World Brands 500 list.The chinese outbound market is growing..and growing .. and growing but also we are see impact of Chinese carriers  using their chinese hubs to interline passengers from west to east, for example we are now seeing great fares on Air China for flights from Europe to Australia. The last decade has seen the rise of the Middle Eastern hubs, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha for example but the next decade may seen these suffer more and more competitive pressures from Chinese airports. To get the best fares passengers will need to stay flexible about choice of carrier, open-minded about stop-over or connecting airports and most importantly checkout more than the obvious choice of airline... and that's where we come ! As well as providing a great choice of regional flights, more than ever before we will be pursuing more deals from more "Alternative Airlines' on more unusual routings. Happy Flying !

Air Niugini Low Fares

We have just made available new low fares from London to Port Moresby from February 2011 combining Global carrier Malaysian with regional airline, Air Niugini
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