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Air Algerie Incurs USD130 Million Loss Due to COVID-19

Algerian Finance Minister Ayman bin Abdul Rahman said that Air Algerie has incurred losses estimated at USD130 million due to the suspension of flights during the coronavirus pandemic.

During a meeting on evaluating the consequences of the pandemic and its impact on the economy, chaired by Algerian Prime Minister Abdulaziz Jarad, Bin Abdul Rahman said that maritime transport losses have exceeded USD700,000.

He further announced allocating more than USD500 million to fight the pandemic.

Jarad noted that the country was undergoing a tragic and unprecedented economic condition ensuing from the structural crisis by former governments, the collapse of oil price, and the impact of the novel coronavirus.

He affirmed that Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune was committed to backing the affected institutions, whether public or private. In addition, he noted that the precautionary measures have struck various economic sectors mainly commerce, hospitality, and construction.

Jarad called for an objective assessment of COVID-10 repercussions, noting that the economic and social revival would occur through establishing balanced institutions and achieving a purchasing power for households to support the economic dynamic.


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Morocco's RAM increases frequency of domestic flights

Morocco's flag carrier Royal Air Maroc (RAM) has increased as of Monday the frequency of its domestic flights, with nine flights per week on the Casablanca-Dakhla route and a domestic network including 12 connections and 45 frequencies per week, the company announced in a press release.

RAM which is gradually strengthening its offer on domestic flights which resumed on June 25, will ensure from this Monday nine frequencies per week on the Casablanca-Dakhla route instead of seven and one frequency per day on the Casablanca-Agadir route, instead of four frequencies per week.

RAM will also increase frequency of the Casablanca-Oujda connection which passes from three to five frequencies per week, the press release says, adding that the program of domestic flights now includes twelve regular connections operated at the rate of 45 frequencies per week.

Thus, eight routes connecting Casablanca to other cities of the Kingdom have been scheduled. These are Casablanca-Dakhla (9 frequencies per week), Casablanca-Laayoune (7 frequencies per week), Casablanca-Oujda (5 frequencies per week), Casablanca-Agadir (7 frequencies per week), Casablanca-Errachidia ( 2 frequencies per week), Casablanca- Ouarzazate (3 frequencies per week), Casablanca-Tetouan (2 frequencies per week) and Casablanca-El Hoceima (2 frequencies per week). Also, four lines connecting towns and cities have been programmed. They mainly concern Agadir-Laayoune, Agadir-Dakhla, Laayoune-Dakhla and Tetouan-El Hoceima with 2 frequencies per week.

This program may evolve gradually, the source notes, adding that the company is mobilized to adapt it in real time according to demand.

In addition, and in accordance with the recommendations of public authorities and international standards, RAM has adopted health precautionary measures to safeguard the health and safety of its customers and staff.

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Virus-hit African Airlines Resume Service, But for How Long?

As South Africa’s coronavirus caseload hit the 300,000 mark this week, South African Airways got some good news: a reported government financial commitment to bail out the struggling state carrier, whose flights have been grounded because of the coronavirus since March.

Other African airlines are also getting a COVID-19 reprieve, resuming service as borders and airspace slowly reopen — despite fears the pandemic has yet to peak in Africa and may resurge elsewhere.

But the overall air transport landscape is grim. If the coronavirus has hit the global airline industry hard, it has dealt an outsized and potentially fatal blow to a number of African companies.

"Many African airlines were already in trouble before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the continent,” said Alex Vines, Africa program director for London-based research group Chatham House. “And obviously COVID has made things worse for them.”

Massive, widespread losses

Experts predict the fallout will translate into billions of dollars and millions of jobs lost across Africa — also affecting industries ranging from tourism to African roses and string beans exported to foreign markets.

The impact goes beyond business, affecting long-standing ambitions for closer regional trade and political ties on a continent where travel — both among and within countries — has long been a major obstacle.

“From my viewpoint, there won’t be many companies that will be able to emerge from this crisis,” Cheikh Tidiane Camara, the former European director for defunct pan-African airline Air Afrique, told Radio France International, adding: “It will necessarily generate a recomposition of the African airspace.”

Small, large companies affected

Those reeling are small companies like Air Zimbabwe, a single-plane carrier that's $300 million in debt, The Associated Press reported. But major airlines are also hurting, including Kenya Airways, Royal Air Maroc and Lome-based regional carrier ASKY Airlines, whose fleet of nine aircraft is still grounded.

In April, the International Air Transport Association warned African airlines could lose $6 billion in revenue this year, along with about 3 million aviation and related jobs continentwide. The African Airlines Association offered an even darker assessment of $8 billion in losses.

Even industry star Ethiopian Airlines is hurting, reporting revenue losses of up to $550 million between January and April.

For its part, South African Airlines' financial reprieve could be short-lived, some believe. The company, which filed for bankruptcy protection last December, hasn’t made a profit since 2011.

"Airlines that were struggling before the pandemic will likely end up filing for bankruptcy or seek bailouts," the U.N. Economic Commission for Africa warned, according to an Associated Press report.

A number of these airlines have tried to fill critical local but also regional transport holes. Eight-year-old ASKY, for example, founded at the initiative of West African governments, operates across several West and Central African countries.

An ASKY flight from Dakar to Abuja might take much of the day and involve at least one change, but the service has amounted to a sea change.

“It has always been a big problem having to travel across the continent,” said Vines of Chatham House. “It has sometimes been more efficient to cross the Sahel to Europe and fly back down than to wait for an unpredictable flight that crosses the continent.”

Free-trade zone

COVID-19's impact on regional air carriers and hubs may also affect African ambitions for a massive $3.4 billion continental free-trade zone, he said, intended to link the continent’s 1.3 billion people.

“It was moving forward as an African ambition,” Vines said. “COVID has significantly slowed it down.”

Old dilemma

Africa's transport dilemma — and efforts to overcome it — is decades old.

It brought 11 newly independent West and Central African nations together in 1961 to form Air Afrique. The goal was a pan-African carrier, standing as a symbol of African sovereignty and unity.

It went bankrupt in 2002 after years of decline, brought down by reported mismanagement and corruption, along with a post-9/11 decline in the airline industry.

Still, Air Afrique’s goal has not been buried. Today, travelers face many more options than just a decade or two ago, although some airlines are still dogged by safety concerns. Besides regional company ASKY, a number of other mostly national carriers, including Ethiopian, Kenyan and Royal Air Maroc, connect major capitals. Air Senegal, Air Cote d’Ivoire and Rwandair have been born or revamped.

Alongside traditional international carriers like Air France and Brussels Airlines, others are nosing in, including Turkish Airlines and Qatar Airways.

Now, with borders opening back up, a growing number of African carriers are resuming service.

Senegal opened its airspace this week, welcoming its first international flights. Its national carrier hopes to resume weekly flights to Paris, Marseille and Barcelona in August and — despite heavy financial losses — launch new routes to London, Geneva and eventually the U.S.

Ethiopian, Kenyan and Moroccan carriers count among others taking off since July or earlier, along with those from Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Tanzania and Zambia.

More virus cases

How long they will keep flying, however, is uncertain. Coronavirus cases are ticking rapidly upward in Africa, with health officials braced for worse to come.

Other regions, including Europe and the United States, fear or are experiencing a resurgence of the virus, potentially reshuttering borders and impacting international travel.

“We may see very limited reopening for humanitarian and business reasons and then closing again,” analyst Vines said. ”And I think that a number of African airlines will perish through this.”

The fallout, Vines said, could mean passengers crossing Africa may again be traveling to Paris, London and Doha for onward connections. But along with a more competitive business model, it could also open opportunities for surviving carriers to grab greater market share.

"I think a well-run, effective airline can prosper in Africa," he said. "And I think that’s what the post-COVID learning will be."


African Airlines Resume Services - NTV Kenya


Stowaway who fell from plane heading to Heathrow Airport still to be identified


BINANI Set to Float Domestic Airline

As aviation authorities prepare for full resumption of flight operations in the country, BINANI Group of Companies is set to join the league of Nigeria’s domestic airlines.

The new carrier, branded BINANI AIR, according to our source, has already forwarded its application to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) for operational licence.

Political associates from Adamawa State and indeed the North-east geopolitical zone are said to be excited at the giant strides of BINANI Group of Companies.

Their excitement, according to a source, was borne out of the pedigree and determination of the founder of BINANI Group, Senator Aishatu Binani.

Although with her new role as a senator, she has relinquished active interest in the group, nevertheless she has set a lasting legacy for the companies.

The North-east zone has at date no registered indigenous carrier.

The Managing Director of the Group, Mrs. Aminatu Chiroma, a United Kingdom-trained system analyst, is believed to be working round the clock and is presently at the final stage of negotiations with a number of international airlines.

The airlines across the globe are from the US, the Middle East, Asian Countries and with two prominent African Airlines for Partnership.

According to findings, BINANI Air will be made up of 80 per cent shareholders’ investment, creating a record of value addition in attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) for Nigeria.

It was gathered that apart from Lagos-Yola, Kano, Maiduguri and Port Harcourt, the airline will operate to Bauchi and Gombe States to fill in the gap for needed air service especially for the North-east geo-political zone.

Speaking about the plan, a representative of the company who spoke to THISDAY on the condition that his identity is not revealed said: “We are happy at the intention of the company.

“The plan to start the airline is coming at a time when travelling for business to other parts of the country is increasingly becoming difficult as a result of insecurity, hence it is a welcome development that will be greatly appreciated by the people of Adamawa and the North-east at large.

At NCAA, THISDAY was asked to come back after the resumption of flights. The officer contacted said: “Don’t you see how busy we are trying to meet our target of resuming full commercial flights in the country soon?”

Commercial air operations have been shut down in most countries, including Nigeria, since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is believed that some airlines and other businesses may not survive or return to business, hence the reason why BINANI Group is moving ahead to fill in the gaps and offer prospective passengers the right choice they need.

By: Chinedu Eze



Qatar Airways seeks £3.9bn from boycotting countries

he arbitration comes after Qatar earlier this month won a procedural dispute before the United Nations’ highest court.

Long-haul carrier Qatar Airways said it has launched international arbitration seeking at least five billion dollars (£3.9 billion) from four boycotting Arab countries for blocking its flights from their airspace and their markets.

The move comes years into a simmering political dispute between the nations.

The Doha-based carrier did not elaborate where it initiated international arbitration against Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, all of whom launched a boycott of Qatar in June 2017 that continues today.

In a statement, the airline said the arbitration involved three separate agreements Qatar had with the boycotting nations: the Organisation of the Islamic Conference Investment Agreement, the Arab Investment Agreement and the bilateral investment treaty between the State of Qatar and Egypt.

“The decision by the blockading states to prevent Qatar Airways from operating in their countries and flying over their airspace is a clear breach of civil aviation conventions and several binding agreements they are signatories to,” Qatar Airways chief executive Akbar al-Baker said in a statement.

“The blockading states must be held accountable for their illegal actions in the aviation sector, which includes a failure to comply with their obligations under bilateral agreements, multilateral agreements and international law,” he added.

The arbitration comes after Qatar earlier this month won a procedural dispute before the United Nations’ highest court, which allowed the International Civil Aviation Organisation to rule in a case Doha brought before it over the boycott.

The four Arab nations cut ties with Qatar in 2017 in a political dispute fuelled in part over Doha’s support for Islamist groups that they view as terrorists.

They also launched an economic boycott, stopping Qatar Airways flights from using their airspace, closing off the small country’s sole land border with Saudi Arabia and blocking its ships from using their ports.

Efforts to end the crisis, mediated by Kuwait’s now-hospitalised 91-year-old emir, have so far failed to resolve it.

The crisis, as well as the coronavirus pandemic, has deeply hurt Qatar Airways, which competes with Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways and Dubai-based Emirates as major east-west carriers.


Kigali International Airport to reopen by August 1st

South Africa

South Africa’s Pravin Gordhan Says SAA Money Yet to Be Found

United Kingdom

Air Transat to set to resume from Gatwick Airport

Canadian airline Air Transat (TS/TSC) will resume flights from London Gatwick Airport (LGW/EGKK) tomorrow following a prolonged grounding due to the Coronavirus Pandemic. Flights betwen London Gatwick in Toronto will get undewway again tomorrow using the airlines brand new Airbus A321neoLR aircraft.

The news is welcome for London Gatwick which is still reeling from the loss of Virgin Atlantic and British Airways.

Air Transat is Canada’s third-largest airline and connects Gatwick with Toronto three-times-per-week from Thursday 23rd July.

According to the Air Transat website, seasonal services to Montreal resume on 24th July.

By: Nick Harding


Ryanair Gets Ready To Bid For Munich And Frankfurt Slots

Manchester airport reopens Terminal 2

Virgin Atlantic staves off administration with £1.2bn funding deal

KLM Grows Impressive UK Network With New Southampton Link

United States

American Airlines Strengthens Its Commitment to Safety With Expanded Face Covering Requirements and Enforcement

New policy requires face coverings in all airport areas, bans customers who refuse to comply

FORT WORTH, Texas — American Airlines will require all customers over the age of 2 to wear face coverings at airports and on board, strengthening the airline’s commitment to keep customers and team members safe. This requirement will become effective on July 29, 2020. Due to safety risk of asymptomatic COVID-19 transmission by individuals without face coverings, all customers must wear a face covering from the time they enter their departure airport and not remove it until they exit their arrival airport. This updated policy expands American’s face covering requirement to include all areas of the airports at which American operates, including Admirals Club lounges, as well as on board all American flights and does not allow for exemptions for those over 2 years old.

“According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention one of the best ways we can slow the spread of COVID-19 is to wear a face covering,” said Alison Taylor, Chief Customer Officer of American Airlines. “Customers and team members have been clear that they feel more safe when everyone is wearing a face covering. In light of this important feedback, we are expanding and enhancing our requirements onboard and at airports.”

The only time face coverings may be removed at the airport or on board is when the customer is eating or drinking. Those unwilling to comply with this face covering requirement at any time during their journey with American may be barred from future travel for the duration of this face covering requirement.

Clean Commitment

American’s more stringent face covering policy is a part of the airline’s Clean Commitment to provide customers peace of mind while traveling. This Commitment includes partnerships with leading health and safety institutions to support American’s efforts by providing guidance on health matters and cleaning procedures. The airline has implemented multiple layers of protection for customers that include clean airports and airplanes and looking out for the health of team members.

During the check-in process, customers are asked questions to certify that they have been free of coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms for the past 14 days. At the airport, American has created a new touchless check-in experience for customers, allowing them to proceed to the gate without touching the kiosk screen, even if they are checking a bag. The airline also expanded the use of plexiglass barriers and the frequency of cleaning in airport areas under its control, including gate areas, ticket counters, passenger service counters, baggage service offices and team member rooms.

Customers on many flights receive sanitizing wipes or gel, and American has limited food and beverage delivery to reduce interactions between flight attendants and customers. Every aircraft is disinfected, including hand-cleaning seat buckles, seats, tray table and other surfaces. American also applies an electrostatic spray inside the aircraft every seven days, which kills 99.9999% of viruses and bacteria within 10 minutes and lasts for 14 days. All mainline aircraft and the majority of regional jets use HEPA Filters. On all of American’s aircraft, the air in our cabins is refreshed every two to four minutes which is similar to hospital standards.

The airline continues to work with the Global Biorisk Advisory Council for GBAC STAR accreditation for its fleet of aircraft and customer lounges. American is the first airline to seek GBAC STAR accreditation and expects to receive the designation by the end of 2020.

Source: American Airlines

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