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.