EgyptAir plans to place major aircraft orders in the next two months, even as it watches losses mount since the momentous events that unseated former president Hosni Mubarak in early 2011, its CEO said, speaking at the Dubai Airshow on November 19.
The Middle East and northern Africa have become fertile areas for marketers at Brazil’s Embraer, now the undisputed leader in terms of fleet presence in the region among the world’s regional airliner manufacturers. Of course, the nearly decade-long effort to gain a foothold in a region long considered the virtually exclusive domain of widebodies didn’t yield immediate results, but Embraer’s persistence has undoubtedly paid handsome dividends.
Africa’s airlines need to wake up to competition from outside the continent, form alliances that allow players both big and small to interact for the greater good, and realize that governments are often no longer interested in protecting domestic carriers (as they see economy-boosting tourist arrivals as a more important priority), according to Nick Fadugba, CEO of African Aviation Services.
Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Civil Aviation has postponed until next February a long-awaited decision on which foreign airline it will allow to start operating domestic and international services in the country’s highly restrictive air transport market, the agency confirmed last week. Confusingly, GACA spokesman Khalid Al-Khaibary told Arab News the Saudis will grant startup licenses to whatever airline wins within four to six months, even though authorities say they expect flights to begin in April.
Stress is all around us these days. Probably nowhere more so than in the pack ’em in, move ’em out world that travel by air has become–at least for those unfortunate enough not to have access to their own aircraft or private charter.
The so-called Arab Spring political upheaval across North Africa and parts of the Middle East has also been a significant disruptor of airline business in the region. The most seriously impacted were Libyan carriers Afriqiyah Airways and Libyan Airlines, which had aircraft destroyed or damaged by NATO air strikes against the former government of the late Col. Muammar Gaddafi.
Sunaero (Hall 4 Stand B133), a French company specializing in the detection and prevention of fuel leaks in aircraft, has come to the Paris Air Show convinced that its niche activity will carry it on a wave of business growth over the next decade. The Lyon-based firm claims that the process it has developed since 1992 provides the most reliable way of protecting against leaks while minimizing aircraft downtime.
The African Airlines Association (AFRAA) has launched a three-year plan to realign activities with member carriers’ business imperatives. Developed by new AFRAA secretary-general Elijah Chingosho, the plan aims to transform the association into “a pulsating airline association” for Africa.
No one can say where, when or how the rolling political crisis in North Africa and the Middle East will end, but it already seems clear that it doesn’t spell good news for the air transport industry.
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