Africa

Tag Archives for Africa.

Qantas 747 flies with five engines

In an exciting manoeuvre, last Wednesday, Qantas flight 63 took off from Sydney, Australia to Johannesburg, South Africa with five engines on the 747 instead of the usual four. The extra engine was not used to power the flight. It was merely being transported to Johannesburg to be swapped with a defective engine on a 747 which then operated QF64 back to Sydney. I never knew that the 747 could be used in this way. Its wing, apparently, has anchor points under it, which allow for a supporting strut to be attached.  A winching mechanism added to the strut  lifts the extra engine…

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And the best airline is… Ethiopian?

There are few airline success stories from the continent of Africa. The wreckage of national carrier after carrier is strewn across the landscape. For example, Nigeria where I lived, has had a revolving door of carriers. South African Airways, once the strongest African carrier is bleeding cash as it limps along with an ageing fleet. Kenya Airlines announced a massive deficit and is facing an uncertain future. I have been following closely 70 year old Ethiopian Airlines. I noted their joining of the Star Alliance in 2011 and their status as one the 787 launch customers in 2013. The airline has…

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Kenya Airways Falters

I love Africa. The smells, the vibrancy and the people have captured my heart since I lived there as a child. African aviation, therefore definitely absorbs my interest and attention from the days I used to fly Nigeria Airways (now defunct). Back then East African Airways flew to Uganda and Kenya from many of the airports I travelled through and I wondered at this airline’s livery and slogan: “Fly among friends“. Sadly they collapsed in 1977 with debts of $US120million to be replaced by three airlines; one of which is Kenya Airways. These days that loss would…

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Air Algerie flight down

What a weird week. I have just heard of the reports that Air Algerie flight ‪#‎AH5017‬ with 116 people onboard has crashed in Niger. The aircraft reportedly lost contact 50 minutes after take-off and is likely to be carrying many French passengers. The MD83 was  flying  from Ouagadougou,Burkina Faso, to Algiers, Algeria and was operated by SwiftairS A . Swiftair is a Spanish airline which operates scheduled and charter, passenger and cargo flights in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.  This adds to a horror week in Europe with MH17, Asia with TransAsia 222 and now Africa. More people have died in plane crashes this week than…

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787 fire update- is the plane troubled?

The jury seems divided between those who see Boeing’s 787 as a plane experiencing teething problems or an aircraft that is “doomed”. The media headlines have described the plane as “plagued”, and even “troubled”. This week, US aviation regulator, The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) published an airworthiness directive advising all carriers to remove Honeywell emergency locator transmitters (ELT) from their 787s. Last week, the FAA suggested airlines should inspect the units on their 787s for pinched wires in the casing and/or evidence of heat or moisture. United Airlines is the only US carrier currently flying…

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Ethiopian expands through Malawi

Some good news from Ethiopian after their 787 fire. Ethiopian Airlines is determined to stake its claim as Africa’s most significant airline. It announced last week that it has finalised a 49 percent equity shareholding deal in the new Malawian Airlines. 20 percent will be held by the Malawian Government and 31 percent by Malawian private investors.   The Republic of Malawi (known as Nyasaland until 1963) is bordered by Zambia to the northwest, Tanzania to the northeast, and Mozambique on its east, south and west. The country is separated from Tanzania and Mozambique by Lake Malawai. The capital is…

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Fastjet falters

Africa is a continent crying out for a decent transportation network. The railway systems are largely fragmented and crumbling. The top nine airlines in Africa carry fewer passengers a year than Delta alone does in two months. Trade, tourism and travel are all hampered by an inadequate infrastructure. Enter fastJet with the vision of  a series of low cost airlines throughout Africa all using A319s, all sharing  brand, marketing and infrastructure. With a pedigree as impressive as Easyjet‘s  Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, a chunk of cash and the backing of Lonrho PLcwho already invest in 18…

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My Bucket List

I am moving to a new job in 2013 which will require me to travel less! Nonetheless, my bucket list for my life is: Visit 99 countries (currently 57) Visit (not transit through) all 50 US states (currently 46) Alaskan Cruise Walk across Hadrian’s Wall in England Yellowstone National Park Five major New Zealand hikes (currently 2: Milford and Queen Charlotte) Camino de Santiago Walk Hadrian’s Wall walk, UK Iguazu Falls ( have been to Victoria and Niagara Falls) Berlin Marathon (if I am going to run that far, I am going to do it…

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No time for 1time?

  The South African airline industry has had a very colourful and interesting selection of carriers. Now they really seem under pressure. Earlier in 2012,  airline Velvet Sky went into liquidation. The action was launched by oil company BP over unpaid bills. At the end of August, the carrier 1time which is estimated to have 15 per cent of the SA market,   filed for “Business Rescue” . This arrangement protects the airline from any creditor forcing it into liquidation while the new management team  tries rescue the carrier. 1time (which means in South Africa: “for real!” has…

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The 787 heads to Ethiopia

This one snuck up on me. Ethiopian Airlines will take delivery of its first 787 on Tuesday 14th August (next Tuesday). A crew will fly the new plane from Washington, D.C. to Addis Ababa on Thursday, August 16, 2012. The plane’s maiden flight the following weekend dubbed “The Dream Tour,” will be on August 18, 2012, with a sightseeing flight to Mount Kilimanjaro for around 270 invited guests, consisting of Ministers, Ambassadors, other VIPs, Ethiopian ShebaMiles [Frequent Flyer] Gold Members and media. Jealous! The first Ethiopian Dreamliner conducted its first test flight on Monday, July 9,…

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