Algerian flag carrier Air Algerie signed a purchase agreement last month covering three new ATR 72-600s. Valued at $74.1 million at current list prices, the contract calls for a cabin configuration featuring 68 passenger seats and first delivery during this year’s fourth quarter. The airline plans to start service with the first airplane by the end of the year and induct the others “through 2015.” Now flying 12 ATR 72-500s primarily on domestic and short regional routes, Air Algerie already ranks as the largest ATR operator in Africa.
African Airlines Association
The FAA notified Ethiopian aviation officials last week that their country had passed the agency’s five-day-long safety audit, allowing that African nation to retain its Category 1 safety status. The FAA allows foreign-carrier flights to the U.S. only from countries that pass audits measured against ICAO standards. Ethiopian Airlines currently flies to Washington, D.C., and plans to inaugurate service to two other, as yet unnamed, U.S. cities.
In late October Air Seychelles announced its purchase of three 19-seat Viking Air DHC-6 Twin Otter Series 400s as part of a plan to renew its domestic fleet for services between Mahé and Praslin, as well as other islands in the archipelago, including Bird, Denis and Frégate. The airline expects to take all three turboprops by mid-2015 but holds an option for earlier delivery if aircraft become available. It now operates one Viking Twin Otter Series 400 and three aging de Havilland Canada-built Series 300s, all of which it plans to replace with the newly ordered airplanes.
There were no survivors among the 34 people on board a Mozambique Airlines Embraer E190 that crashed in Namibia’s Bwabwata National Park on November 29. The aircraft was en route from the Mozambique capital Maputo to Luanda, Angola, where it was due to land at 2:10 p.m. local time. Embraer dispatched a technical team to the crash site, where accident investigators started work on November 30.
International Air Transport Association director general and CEO Tony Tyler has said that over the past decade the aggregate safety results for airlines adhering to the association’s Operational Safety Audit standard are superior to those of carriers that do not use the system. His remarks came at last week’s annual African Airlines Association general assembly in Mombasa, Kenya. Tyler also said in 2012 there was not a single hull loss of a Western-built airplane by any of IATA’s 25 African member airlines.
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.
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.
Bombardier Aerospace has signed a letter of intent to authorize Ethiopian Airlines of Addis Ababa to perform line and heavy maintenance on Q400 turboprops, the manufacturer announced last month. The parties expect the agreement to take effect this month.
Ethiopian Airlines’ overhaul and repair facilities at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa employs an all-Ethiopian workforce of more than 750 licensed technicians and support staff.
An Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 787 parked at London Heathrow Airport caught fire Friday afternoon, forcing the closure of the airport and sending Boeing shares plummeting on the New York Stock Exchange.
The airport suspended all takeoffs and landings while emergency teams sprayed the airplane with fire retardant, but reopened within an hour and a half.
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