Monday, 1 April 2019

Interview: Philippe Bohn, Air Senegal CEO


Full article in PDF format: page 16-18 & cover

When Air Senegal began operations in May 2018, it marked the West African nation’s third attempt at a state-owned flag carrier.

The failure of predecessors Air Senegal International and Senegal Airlines would come as little surprise to anyone familiar with the challenges of African aviation.

Senegal has a relatively small air transport market: just 2.3 million passengers pass through Dakar’s Blaise Diagne International Airport, its main hub, each year. The country’s population of 16 million would be a limiting factor even in the developed world, where most people can afford to fly. In the developing world, it makes running a commercial airline all but impossible.

Yet closed skies are not an option for Macky Sall, Senegal’s president, who was re-elected in February with a mandate to further advance his Plan Senegal Emergent (PSE) – a 20-year economic and social strategy aimed at delivering long-term prosperity...

Friday, 29 March 2019

The ow factor


Full article on economist.com

As is always the case when an airline goes bust, the collapse of WOW Air, an Icelandic low-cost carrier, has left a trail of financial destruction at home and abroad. More than 1,000 airline employees have lost their jobs. Tens of thousands of customers will face a battle to recover money spent on unused tickets. Those in the middle of their trips are stranded. With a population of less than 350,000 people, Iceland’s economy is neither large enough nor diversified enough to shrug off the failure. Last year the government warned that WOW’s collapse would shrink GDP and send the krona, the local currency, plummeting...

Thursday, 14 March 2019

Boeing, FAA's inaction over 737 MAX must be probed


Full article on forbes.com

The Boeing Company and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) finally bit the bullet on Wednesday and grounded the global fleet of 737 MAXs – a new aircraft type that has suffered two catastrophic crashes in recent months despite being touted as one of the safest flying machines ever built.

America’s FAA should have been the first to ground the jet on Sunday, when prima-facie evidence pointed to similarities between the loss of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 that day and Lion Air Flight 610 on October 29th.

Instead, the U.S. regulator was dead last among respected international agencies to make the call. It waited more than 80 hours from the time of the second crash, with President Donald Trump announcing an emergency grounding Wednesday afternoon...

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

The facts have spoken: Boeing's 737 MAX needs to be grounded


Full article on forbes.com

‘If it ain't broke, don't fix it’ is one of my favorite maxims.

I find it odd, then, that Boeing has committed to making “an already safe aircraft even safer” by upgrading software on its 737 MAX series.

Coming on the heels of two major crashes by the type with glaring parallels – the first of which Boeing is already publicly linking to its existing software – the company’s narrative appears confused and contradictory...

Monday, 11 March 2019

Another brand new Boeing falls from the sky


Full article on economist.com & video summary

For the second time in five months, a virtually new Boeing 737 MAX airliner has crashed within minutes of taking off, killing all 149 passengers and eight crew aboard. On March 10th Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 departed from Addis Ababa, the carrier’s home airport, for what should have been a routine two-hour flight to Nairobi, Kenya’s capital. It fell out of the sky just six minutes later...

Thursday, 28 February 2019

Zambia's Mahogany Air eyes regional expansion via northern towns


Full article on forbes.com

Mahogany Air is looking to turn Zambia’s northern border towns of Mbala and Nakonde into transit points for Burundi and Tanzania as part of a new push into international markets.

“What we are trying to do is to fly to northern Zambia and connect to the neighbouring countries,” founder and chief executive Jim Belemu told me in a telephone interview.

“There is a lot of business that goes around those areas, but the connectivity is a problem … So we will fly to northern Zambia, Mbala, and then from Mbala we can connect to Bujumbura [in Burundi]. There is traffic which is so untapped there. Then we are also trying to fly to the Zambian border town of Nakonde and connect from there to Dar es Salaam [in Tanzania]...

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Is Kosovo about to get a national flag carrier?


Full article on forbes.com

Speculation is mounting that Kosovo, the partially-recognized Balkan state that declared independence from Serbia in 2008, could soon have a functioning national airline.

The scenario is considered possible after news broke that Leyla Ibrahimi-Salahi, a Swiss national with Kosovan ancestry, has completed a takeover of Germania Flug, the Swiss subsidiary of insolvent airline Germania. The acquisition was made through her investment company Albex Aviation...

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

The Boeing 747 jetliner turns 50


Full article on economist.com

Earlier this month, a decommissioned Boeing 747 airliner was towed down a Dutch motorway to its final destination as a novelty hotel complex. Its owners reckon they can turn the jumbo jet into a tourist attraction. They are not wrong. Sweden’s Stockholm Arlanda Airport is already using one as a hostel (its best room is the cockpit suite). In Bahrain, developers are planning to turn a submerged 747 into the centrepiece of a new underwater theme park. Having celebrated the 50th anniversary of the 747’s first flight this month, fans of the iconic jumbo jet know that it is falling out of favour with airlines. Before long, ground-based encounters will be the only way of getting up close and personal with these planes...

Friday, 8 February 2019

Malta's Medavia unveils plans for domestic Libyan airline


Full article on forbes.com

Libyan travelers should be able to fly with a new domestic airline next year thanks to Mediterranean Aviation Company Ltd (Medavia), a charter operator and aircraft maintenance firm based in the southern European island of Malta.

Provisionally named Medlib, or Medavia Libya, the new airline is in the process of applying for an Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) from the Libyan Civil Aviation Authority.

“The overall idea is to offer more frequent, reliable services between the Libyan cities,” chief executive Rammah Ettir told me during an interview at the company’s headquarters in Malta. “The services that are being offered at the moment are not really good and the Libyan travelers deserve much better...

Airbus calls time on the A380


Full article on economist.com

After a century of refining their craft, planemakers have become masters of building safe, reliable jets that bring air travel within reach of the masses. Occasionally their products win cult status among passengers. But commercial success and popular appeal rarely overlap. Concorde, the world’s only reliable supersonic passenger jet, wowed travellers for nearly three decades. Beloved by all, it was nonetheless a financial disaster that only stayed airborne because of political will and vast government subsidies. Sixteen years after Concorde’s final flight, another game-changing aircraft that passengers love to fly is facing an uncertain future: the A380...