Monday, April 26, 2010

Jimoh Ibrahim acquires Virgin Nigeria

Managing Director of Nicon Group, Lawyer and business tycoon, Mr. Jimoh Ibrahim, has bought 49 per cent shares of Virgin Nigeria from Sir Richard Branson making him the new owner of the airline. Details of the deal were not disclosed, however, Mr. Ibrahim said the take-over was part of plan to expand the aviation arm of the conglomerate.
african aviation newsThe airline, in a bid to survive, recently went through a metamorphosis changing its name from Virgin Nigeria to Nigerian Eagle and reducing its workforce. The new majority shareholder of the airline, Mr. Ibrahim has had a stint in the aviation industry before as he bought over former EAS Airline which he rebranded into the now defunct Nicon Airways.With him at the meeting was the Managing Director of Virgin Nigeria, Captain Dapo Olumide, who will retain his position. Mr. Ibrahim Noted that the turn around plan of Virgin Nigeria would be "conservative and arithmetical". We will grow gradually, he said. Though workers of Virgin Nigeria were assured of the safety of their jobs, the finance director has, however, been redeployed already.

Source: African Aviation News

Airlines in Ghana assure passengers of flights

Airlines at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) which were affected by the recent closure of the air-space over Europe, have assured and offered to fly all passengers who were grounded to their various destinations.

“The situation is due to circumstances which were beyond any one’s control. From the look of things, I believe all waiting passengers would have joined their various flights within a few days “, an airline official told the Ghana News Agency.

The recent closure of European airports for about a week, created a back-log of passengers who are now waiting to embark on their booked flights.

A number of these passengers who spoke to the Ghana News Agency, said they felt frustrated at the situation adding, they had received no concrete information on when they could board their flights.

The airline officials explained that because they had many more passengers to ferry over this time round, it was definitely going to take a little while for all the passengers to embark upon their flights.

Meanwhile, since the ban on flights in and out of Europe was lifted, the European airlines, mainly KLM, British Airways, Alitalia and Lufthanza have begun their normal flights to the KIA.

The first of these flights to arrive had much fewer passengers than usual.
Some of the passengers told the Ghana News Agency that they believed it was because many travelers were uncertain of their safety, although the skies had been officially declared safe.

At Aviance Ghana Ltd, which caters for the cargo section of the KIA, several food stuffs could not be exported as a result of the situation.

Mr. Riis Onyame, Operations Manager, Aviance Ghana Ltd, told the Ghana News Agency that foods of the soil such as vegetables as well as fresh fruits were exported in their very fresh state.

He said as a result of the situation, several of these fruits could not be exported because they had lost their freshness, causing heavy loss to exporters as well as farmers.

A source at Air-Ghana, operators of Cargolux, said over 250,000 dollars in export had been lost during the period.

Exporters of fresh greens and vegetables at the cargo section said they had made heavy losses during the period.

The losses we have made run into millions of Ghana cedis,” said one exporter to the GNA.

With the re-opening of the European air-space, fresh greens and vegetables could now be seen once more being packaged and prepared for export to the European markets.

The air-space in about 20 European countries was recently closed as a result of volcanic ash from Iceland.

The ash, a mixture of glass, sand and rock, it was feared, could damage aircraft engines. A BBC report estimated that affected airlines would have lost 200 million dollars a day during the period of the closure.

Source: GNA

Friday, April 23, 2010

Volcano Crisis Cost Airlines $1.7 Billion -IATA Urges Measures to Mitigate Impact-

International Air Transport Association

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) estimated that the Icelandic volcano crisis cost airlines more than $1.7 billion in lost revenue through Tuesday—six days after the initial eruption. For a three-day period (17-19 April), when disruptions were greatest, lost revenues reached $400 million per day.
“Lost revenues now total more than $1.7 billion for airlines alone. At the worst, the crisis impacted 29% of global aviation and affected 1.2 million passengers a day. The scale of the crisis eclipsed 9/11 when US airspace was closed for three days,” said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s Director General and CEO.
IATA noted there are some cost savings related to the flight groundings. For example, the fuel bill is $110 million a day less compared to normal. But airlines face added costs including from passenger care. “For an industry that lost $9.4 billion last year and was forecast to lose a further $2.8 billion in 2010, this crisis is devastating. It is hitting hardest where the carriers are in the most difficult financial situation. Europe’s carriers were already expected to lose $2.2 billion this year—the largest in the industry,” said Bisignani.
Mitigating the Financial Impact “As we are counting the costs of the crisis we must also look for ways to mitigate the impact. Some of our airport partners are setting industry best practice. London Heathrow and Dubai are waiving parking fees and not charging for repositioning flights. Others airports must follow,” said Bisignani.
But the larger role is for governments. Bisignani made four specific requests for regulatory relief:
  • Relax Airport Slot Rules: IATA urged that rules on take-off and landing slot allocation (use it or lose it) be relaxed to reflect the extra-ordinary nature of the crisis.
  • Lift Restrictions on Night Flights: IATA urged governments to relax bans on night flights so carriers can take every opportunity to get stranded passengers back home as soon as possible.
  • Address Unfair Passenger Care Regulations: “This crisis is an act of god—completely beyond the control of airlines. Insurers certainly see it this way. But Europe’s passenger rights regulations take no consideration of this. These regulations provide no relief for extraordinary situations and still hold airlines responsible to pay for hotels, meals and telephones. The regulations were never meant for such extra-ordinary situations. It is urgent that the European Commission finds a way to ease this unfair burden,” said Bisignani.
Bisignani also urged governments to examine ways for governments to compensate airlines for lost revenues. Following 9/11, the US government provided $5 billion to compensate airlines for the costs of grounding the fleet for three days. The European Commission also allowed European states to provide similar assistance.
“I am the first one to say that this industry does not want or need bailouts. But this crisis is not the result of running our business badly. It is an extra-ordinary situation exaggerated with a poor decision-making process by national governments. The airlines could not do business normally.  Governments should help carriers recover the cost of this disruption,” said Bisignani.
Re-Opening Air Space On Monday, the European Commission announced revised measures for handling airspace closures, following widespread criticism of their methodology.
“Airspace was being closed based on theoretical models not on facts. Test flights by our members showed that the models were wrong. Our top priority is safety. Without compromising on safety, Europe needed to find a way to make decisions based on facts and risk assessment, not theories,” said Bisignani.
“The decision to categorize airspace based on risk was a step in the right direction. Unfortunately, not all states are applying this uniformly. It is an embarrassing situation for Europe, which after decades of discussion, still does not have an effective Single European Sky. The chaos and economic losses of the last week are a clarion call to Europe’s political leaders that a Single European Sky is critical and urgent,” said Bisignani.
Source : IATA Press release:

GIA loses US$ 500,000 as a result of volcanic disruptions

Ghana International Airlines (GIA) has pegged its revenue losses so far as a result of the Icelandic volcanic disruptions at a provisional figure of approximately US$ 500,000.

The amount, the Airline says represents the cost it has incurred by way of lost-revenue for the past one week since the phenomenon begun. Globally, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) estimates that the crisis cost airlines revenues of more than 1.7 billion dollars as at Wednesday April 21.

This, the association has emphasized is devastating for an industry that lost 9.4 billion dollars last year and was forecast to lose a further 2.8 billion dollars in 2010. GIA however resumed its operations on Wednesday with its first flight from Accra to the United Kingdom at 11:30 pm after receiving clearance from the UK Civil Aviation Authority.

Speaking to CITI BUSINESS, the Chief Executive, Gifty Anna Myers says the revenue loss of 500 thousand dollars is as a result of the suspension of flights to its three destinations for a whole week. “We have three destination points, we have Kotoka International, we have Gatwick London and then we have Dusseldorf in Germany, so these three come together. And we haven’t flown in the last week to any of these destinations, so we are looking at approximately $500,000 US Dollars which we’ve lost so far.”

She says that their immediate priority for now is making arrangements for the backlog of passengers scheduled to fly on GIA rather than plans towards recovery of the losses. “We have to repatriate our passengers that’s our No 1, before we even look at what next because people are stranded, and it's not the fault of any airline operator it was caused by a natural phenomenon, but they still are stranded and we have to try and get them to their destinations, so that is our primary concern although initially safety was paramount now we have clear instructions form the UK civil aviation that it’s safe to fly.We’ve resumed and we're doing so.”

She added they are still receiving regular updates from the Air traffic Control to know their next line of action.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

African Aviation Ministers endorse 3D scanners at airports

After a three-day aviation security meeting in Abuja, Nigeria, African Aviation Ministers Tuesday endorsed the use of the controversial 3 dimensional (3D) scanners and ot her technologies at airports across the continent.

In a Joint Declaration at the end of the conference, organised by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), the ministers also recommended that states, in collaboration ICAO, should establish, approve and implement procedures, mechanisms and cooperative actions, which strengthen their capacities to assess and face ci vil aviation security threats and risks, thereby facilitating legitimate passenger and air cargo flows.

The 3D body scanner is controversial because of its capacity to see through the human anatomy.

The regional ministers meeting in Abuja was one of the five meetings ordered by ICAO in the wake of the failed attempt by a Nigerian citizen, Mr. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, to bomb a United States airline r on 25 December 2009.

The first of the conferences was held in January in Madrid, Spain, followed by a second one in February in Mexico and the third in Tokyo, Japan in March. The last one will hold in Dubai on 10 May.

Aviation Ministers from 16 African countries attended the Abuja conference.

They were joined by US Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Director-Ge neral of Airport Council International (ACI), Angela Gitttins; Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, African Union (AU), Dr. Elam Ibrahim; Deputy Minister of Transport, Canada, Mark Gregory and the Secretary-General of African Airlines Association (AFRAA), Nick Fadugba.

Source: African Aviation

Some European flights take off; London still shut

 Applause, cheers and whoops of joy rang out at airports around the world Tuesday as airplanes gradually took to the skies after five days of being grounded by a volcanic ash cloud that has devastated European travel.

But weary passengers might have to tamper their enthusiasm. Only limited flights were allowed to resume at some European airports and U.K. authorities said London airports — a major hub for thousands of daily flights worldwide — would remained closed for at least another day due to new danger from the invisible ash cloud.

And with over 95,000 flights canceled in the last week alone, airlines face the enormous task of working through the backlog to get passengers where they want to go — a challenge that certainly will take days.

Still, in airport hubs that have been cauldrons of anxiety, anger and sleep deprivation, Tuesday marked a day of collective relief.

The boards at Paris' Charles de Gaulle Airport announcing long-distance flights — which had been streaked with red "canceled" signs for five days — filled up with white "on time" signs Tuesday and the first commercial flight out since Thursday left for New York's John F. Kennedy Airport.

"We were in the hotel having breakfast, and we heard an aircraft take off. Everybody got up and applauded," said Bob Basso of San Diego, who has been staying in a hotel near Charles de Gaulle since his flight Friday was canceled.

"There's hope," he said. Basso, 81, and his son have tickets for a flight to Los Angeles later Tuesday.

At New York's JFK, the first flight from Amsterdam in days arrived Monday night.

"Everyone was screaming in the airplane from happiness," said passenger Savvas Toumarides, of Cyprus, who missed his sister's New York wedding after getting stranded in Amsterdam last Thursday. He said the worst part was "waiting and waiting and not knowing."

The Eurocontrol air traffic agency in Brussels said it expects 55 to 60 percent of flights over Europe to go ahead Tuesday, a marked improvement over the last few days. By midmorning, 10,000 of Europe's 27,500 daily flights were scheduled to go.

"The situation today is much improved," said Brian Flynn, deputy head of operations at the Brussels-based agency. "The outlook is that bit by bit, normal flights will be resumed in coming days."

The agency predicted close to normal takeoffs by Friday.

Still, an international pilots group warned that ash remains a danger and meteorologists say Iceland's still-erupting volcano isn't ready to rest yet, promising more choked airspace and flight delays to come.

Ash that had drifted over the North Sea from the volcano in southern Iceland was being pushed back over Britain on Tuesday by shifty north winds, Icelandic scientists said.

"It's a matter of wind directions. The volcano's plume is quite low actually, still below 3 kilometers (1.8 miles) near the volcano," said Gudrun Nina Petersen, meteorologist at the Icelandic Met Office.

A Eurocontrol map showing the ash cloud on Tuesday listed the airspace between Iceland and Britain and Ireland as a no-fly zone, along with much of the Baltic Sea and surrounding area. The ash cloud also spread westward from Iceland, toward Greenland and Canada's eastern coastline.

The volcano in southern Iceland is still spewing smoke and lava, but the ash plume is lower than it previously was, posing less threat to high-flying aircraft.

In Denmark, civil aviation authorities postponed a test flight Tuesday with a propeller-driven ATR 72 to gauge ash concentration, for safety reasons. There is no consensus among on how much ash is too dangerous and even quantities of ash too small to be seen by satellite can be dangerous for aircraft, scientists fear.

Jonathan Astill, head of airspace management at Britain's National Air Traffic Service, told the BBC that London airports would likely remain closed through Wednesday. Flights resumed in Scotland, but only for a handful of domestic flights.

Switzerland reopened its airspace and Germany — which hosts Europe's No. 3 airport at Frankfurt — was to reopen starting Tuesday afternoon.

Some flights resumed early Tuesday from Asia to southern Europe, and flights began flowing to Europe from Cairo, where at least 17,000 people were stranded.

Airports in central Europe and Scandinavia have reopened, and most of southern Europe remained clear, with Spain volunteering to be an emergency hub for overseas travelers trying to get home. Spain piled on extra buses, trains and ferries to handle an expected rush of passengers.

Britain sent navy ships to Spain and France to fetch 800 troops coming home from Afghanistan and passengers who had been stranded by the chaos. The trip on the HMS Albion, a 570-foot (173-meter-long) amphibious assault ship, will take 40 hours from Santander in northern Spain to Portsmouth, England.

One of the 290 civilians, Patricia Quirke of Manchester, said she and nine other families drove all night to catch the Royal Navy ride.

Still, an enormous backlog of stranded passengers remained. Hopeful hitchhikers took to European roads and the technology-savvy headed to Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites to find rides home across the continent.

Ferries on the continent have been so packed that the Viking passenger line between Finland and Sweden opened up its conference rooms so passengers could sleep on the floor.

"No one's complaining," said ferry official Thomas von Hellens. "They are just happy to get across."

Many Asian airports and airlines remained cautious, and most flights to and from Europe remained canceled.

Patrizia Zotti, from Lecce, Italy, carried her 6-month-old son on her back as she waited to finally board a flight out of Tokyo on Tuesday. While happy about getting airborne at last, she was concerned about the ash.

"I've read that the exploratory flights were safe, but I'm still a bit worried," she said.

Australia's Qantas canceled its Wednesday and Thursday flights from Asia to Frankfurt and London, as well as return flights to Asia, saying the situation was too uncertain to resume flights into Europe.

Not everyone who wanted to could get on a flight Tuesday.

Phil Livingstone, a university student from St. Helens, England spent three nights sleeping on chairs at Seoul's Incheon International Airport and living off noodles and the one meal a day authorities provided.

"Hope is high at the minute just because it's the only thing we've got," he said.

Some stranded passengers stuck stickers reading "Lost in Transit" to their chests.

Europe's aviation industry — facing losses of more than $1 billion — has sharply criticized government handling of the disruption that grounded thousands of flights to and from the continent.

But the international pilots' federation said Tuesday that a return to flight operations in Europe will be possible only if the final decisions are left to the pilots themselves, and are based on safety concerns rather than economics.

Gideon Ewers, spokesman of the London-based pilots group, says historical evidence of the effects of volcanic ash demonstrates that it presents a very real threat to flight safety.

Ash and grit from volcanic eruptions can sabotage a plane in many ways, stalling engines, blocking fuel nozzles, and plugging the tubes that sense airspeed.

Truck driver Mike Kelly, 62, and his wife Wendy, 60, of Somerset, England, decided to wait out the ash in Sydney, where their son lives, after being stuck at Singapore's Changi International Airport for five nights.

"We're heading back to Sydney today. We heard there might be another volcano explosion so we'd prefer to wait it out on a beach in Sydney," he said.

Source: Associated press___

AFRAA Responds to EU List of Airlines Banned from Europe

The African Airlines Association (AFRAA), based in Nairobi, Kenya, has expressed concern about the European Union’s latest list of airlines banned from the European airspace due to safety concerns. Thirteen of the 17 countries affected by the EU ban are from Africa, with a total of 111 African airlines “blacklisted.”
“Air safety is AFRAA’s number one priority and we are the first to admit that Africa needs to improve its air safety record. However, while the EU list may be well-intended its main achievement has been to undermine international confidence in the African airline industry,” says Mr. Nick Fadugba, Secretary General of AFRAA. “The ultimate beneficiaries of the ban are European airlines which dominate the African skies to the disadvantage of African carriers. If any list is to be published, it should be done so by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), the global regulator of aviation safety, which has a known track record of impartiality.”

According to AFRAA, the EU list has the effect of damaging the reputation and business of many scheduled African airlines whose safety records and adherence to ICAO safety standards are comparable to the best airlines anywhere in the world.

The Association contends that a detailed examination of the EU list reveals some contradictions. For example:

• The majority of the African airlines on the list have never operated scheduled flights to Europe, do not plan to do so and have no aircraft with the range to fly to any EU state.
• The list includes many airlines that only exist on paper and are not operational. The list indicates that neither the operating license nor the ICAO registration number of most of the banned airlines are known.

In contrast to the position taken by the EU on African air safety challenges, the USA introduced the “Safe Skies for Africa” initiative aimed at upgrading capacity, developing skills and providing infrastructure to improve safety. All this is being done at a time when only a few US carriers are operating to Africa. AFRAA calls upon the EU to emulate the good example of the US and launch an air safety improvement programme for Africa rather than issue a “blacklist” which has not proved to be helpful in solving the problem.

AFRAA is ready to engage the EU and other stakeholders in constructive dialogue to find an amicable solution to the air safety challenges in Africa. The Association similarly calls upon ICAO to play its role as the principal body responsible for the regulation of international civil aviation.

Source:   African Aviation

New Airport International Airport To Be Built

The Government of Ghana is to build an additional airport in the Western Region to serve the needs of the business community, especially the budding oil sector and other emerging business opportunities.

To this end, government has tasked the Ministry of Transport (MOT) to conduct feasibility studies on an identified location, which would lead to the commencement of the project early next year.

Eric Tetteh, Planning Officer at MOT, who announced this at the first meeting of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Tourism in Accra last week, said the ministry would later this month begin feasibility studies in the area.

The meeting discussed, among other issues, what the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA) that formed the membership of the Inter-Ministerial Committee were doing to improve infrastructure such as roads, airports, rail and communication facilities at tourist sites to boost patronage for the sector.

It also discussed simplification of visa processing and acquisition for overseas visitors, sanitation improvement and beautification of Accra and other urban centres, data collection on visitors to the country and the streamlining of activities for improved results.

Mr. Tetteh said the move to build the second airport in the Western Region formed part of the MOT’s policy to make the country an aviation hub.

He said the new airport would be responsible for all commercial activities in the region, while the existing one would take care of activities of the security agencies, the main reason for which it was built.

Mr. Tetteh said the Ministry was also working to position the Tamale Airport as an international one by improving its infrastructural facilities, adding that measures were being put in place to improve safety and security at the ports, a situation that would boost the confidence of tourists and investors.

He said government was also working to attract public private partnership for the project as well as construct new rail lines to tourists and commercial sites to boost investment.

Sarbah Zita Okaikoi, Minister of Tourism said government was poised to develop the country’s tourism sector to become the preferred tourist destination in Africa, which would contribute immensely to the country’s economy.

In a speech read on her behalf by Koby Acheampong, Deputy Minister of Tourism said the tourism sector offered huge potential in terms of foreign exchange earnings, revenue generation and employment creation, stressing that government was poised to develop and promote it both locally and internationally.

She said the country’s tourism sector could stimulate the growth of other sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, construction, transport, financial and ancillary services.

She however noted that this could only be achieved if stakeholders foster and strengthen necessary inter-sectoral collaboration and called on members of the committee, the private sector and other stakeholders to effectively participate in the meetings to develop the sector to create wealth.

“It cannot be disputed that the multi-faceted and multi-dimensional nature of tourism development in terms of the resource/product development, packaging and marketing is a huge task which require inter-sectoral collaboration and coordination with relevant public and private institutions and development partners,” she said.

Rojo Mettle-Nunoo, Deputy Minister of Health disclosed that government was working to re-equip the Ghana Ambulance Service by increasing its fleet to enhance emergency services in the country.

He said apart from assuring tourists of safety during emergencies, it would help promote critical emergency situations in remote areas where health facilities were not readily available.

James Agyenim-Boateng, a Deputy Minister of Information, called on MDA’s to use technology application to fast-track operations within the public sector.

He said the world was now at a technological age, adding that MDA’s must not be left out of the revolution.

Isaac Owusu Mensah, Assistant Director of the Ghana Immigration Service in charge of the Kotoka International Airport, said the GIS, in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, had put in place measures to make visa application and acquisition easy for all visitors.

Mr. Mensah said the GIS had also installed a data centre which would help to monitor people with fake documents and also provide records on the backgrounds of visitors.

Source GNA

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Icelandic volcanic ash alert grounds UK flights

All flights in and out of the UK have been suspended as ash from a volcanic eruption in Iceland moves south.

Safety body Eurocontrol said up to 4,000 flights across northern Europe would be cancelled on Thursday.

The air traffic control service (Nats) said no flights would be allowed in or out of UK airspace until 1800BST amid fears of engine damage.

The airspace restriction was the most significant in living memory, a spokesman said.

Nats suggested that the restrictions were unlikely to be lifted after 1800, saying it was "very unlikely that the situation over England will improve in the foreseeable future".

Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark were among the European countries hit.

Passengers were advised to contact their carriers prior to travel.

Experts have warned that the tiny particles of rock, glass and sand contained in the ash cloud would be sufficient to jam aircraft engines.

But the Health Protection Agency said the ash did not pose a significant risk to public health because of its high altitude.

These are some of the main knock-on effects:

* Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow airports shut
* Disruptions to and from Liverpool's John Lennon, Manchester and Newcastle airports
* Severe delays at Birmingham airport with problems reported at East Midlands, Leeds Bradford, Cardiff International and Bristol airports
* London's Gatwick, Heathrow and City airports hit
* British Airways cancels all domestic flights on Thursday and offers refunds or an option to rebook
* Flights suspended at Belfast International Airport and George Best Belfast City Airport
* RAF Sea King helicopter flies a critically ill patient from Scotland to London
* Ash threat forces Great North Air Ambulance to be grounded

One passenger at Glasgow told the BBC: "I'm meant to be going to Lanzarote. We've travelled from Oban, leaving at 3am. Now we've decided we might as well just go home and do a bit of gardening."

Others switched from plane to train, with the East Coast line extending its 1830BST London to Newcastle service through to Edinburgh.

Budget airline Ryanair said no flights were operating to or from the UK on Thursday and it expected cancellations and delays on Friday.

A spokesman for Nats, which was formerly known as the National Air Traffic Services, said: "The Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre has issued a forecast that the ash cloud from the volcanic eruption in Iceland will track over Europe tonight.

"Nats is working with Eurocontrol and our colleagues in Europe's other air navigation service providers to take the appropriate action to ensure safety in accordance with international aviation policy."

The European air safety body, Eurocontrol, said the cloud of ash had reached 55,000ft and was expected to move through northern UK and Scotland.

Brian Flynn, assistant head of operations of its central flow management unit, told the BBC: "As it moves toward the Netherlands and Belgium it will dissipate and lose intensity, like any weather phenomenon. But we don't know what the extent of it will be."

Met Office forecaster Philip Avery said the ash could take several days to clear.

He said: "It is showing up on imagery at the moment, extending down as far as the Faroes but it looks as though the wind will drag it a good deal further south.

"Nats has good cause to be very cautious about this because in about 1982 a British Airways jumbo had the unnerving experience of having all four engines shut down as it flew through a plume of volcanic ash."

There was a nearly identical incident on 15 December 1989 when KLM Flight 867, a B747-400 from Amsterdam to Anchorage, Alaska, flew into the plume of the erupting Mount Redoubt, causing all four engines to fail.

Once the flight cleared the ash cloud, the crew was able to restart each engine and then make a safe landing at Anchorage, but the aircraft was substantially damaged.

A BAA spokesman said: "Passengers intending to fly today are asked to contact their airline for further information."

The eruption under a glacier in the Eyjafjallajoekull area of Iceland is the second in the country in less than a month.

Source: BBC

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

IATA Africa news

Delta Airlines to fly direct from Accra to Atlanta

Delta Airlines, the world's leading airlines, would start direct flights from Accra to Atlanta U.S.A. on June 3, 2010, Mr Bobby Bryan, Commercial Manager of East and West Africa, announced in Accra on Tuesday.

Mr Bryan, who was speaking at a luncheon with media executives, said Delta would operate three weekly services with Airbus A330-200 aircraft.

He said Delta currently operates five weekly services between Accra and New York-JFK with Boeing767-300/400 aircraft, adding that during the peak season, this summer, Delta would introduce the new 767-400 flatbed product on certain services.

Mr Bryan said Delta carried nearly 90,000 passengers on the Accra-New York route with an average load factor of 80 per cent in 2009.

Delta carries more than 160 million customers each year to 355 destinations in 65 countries on six continents worldwide, with a mainline fleet of nearly 800 aircraft and has 70,000 employees.

Source: GNA

Friday, April 9, 2010

Air Shuttle Expands Domestic Charter Route

 Air Shuttle, a leading and reliable domestic airline operator, has announced the commencement of new regular charters between Accra and Kumasi aimed at providing world-class commercial and charter services to individuals and corporate bodies to facilitate commercial activities.

The new route, which takes effect from 30th of March, is to provide efficient and reliable flight services linking the major commercial cities and towns in Ashanti, Western, Brong Ahafo, Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions to Accra.

Managing Director of Air Shuttle Inc Ghana, Mr. Chaka Azu, said the new routes were selected to meet the safety needs of clients in order to provide an enabling environment for transacting business.

“Kumasi and Takoradi were selected as the preferred destination for Ghana operations in view of the oil and gas exploration activities as well as the huge commercial and economic markets booming in the Ashanti region”, he told B&FT in an interview.

Air Shuttle’s current operation with its Embraer 110 aircraft into Takoradi gives it approximately 32 hours aircraft utilisation per month with another 30 taken up by ad-hoc charters sustained over a period of time.  Its flight expansion to Kumasi from Accra is set to connect to Takoradi under its second phase, which will require larger aircraft. Phase three of the operation will also include flight services to Tamale, and subsequently to Wa and Navrongo.

The airline has proposed a promotional return ticket price of US$160.00 for its Accra-Kumasi route and intends to ply this route thrice a week. It is also providing services from Kumasi to Takoradi on a return price per seat of US$240.00 in its quest to ensure convenience for clients.

Mr. Azu said after the airline’s planned expansion to network the entire country next year, it will also extend its commercial and corporate services to the sub-regional market - including Monrovia, Dakar, Abidjan, Banjul, Lome , Lagos and Ouagadougou.
In a bid to ensure efficiency in booking and reservation, a web-page software was developed to facilitate seat reservation and mail ticketing. This, the Managing Director said, is in line with world-class aviation standards, meant to ensure convenience and safety to clients.
“Air Shuttle’s regular charters are programmed in collaboration with the clients and charter partners, creating convenience in connecting international flights for both personnel coming into Ghana or leaving for other destinations,” Mr. Azu added.
Since it was issued Air Operations Certificate (AOC), in August 2009, Air Shuttle’s corporate services subscription has grown to include multinationals such as Schlumberger, Cosmos Energy, Bakerhughes, Expo Gulf, and Steller Group. It has also spread its client base by extending charter services to Supermaritime, Global Energy, Ocean Rig, International S.O.S, among others.
The airline, as of March this year, has 14 charter travel and tour partners across the country and is also the only commercial operator providing flight services to and from Takoradi in the Western Region of the country.  

Source: Business and Financial Times.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

11 African Airlines banned from flying to Europe

The European Commission has decided to ban 278 airlines from flying to Europe, including 11 from African countries, according to a statement issued here on Wednesday.

African airlines banned from flying in the European skies included those from Benin, DR Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Liberia, Congo, Sierra Leone, Sao Tome and Principe, Sudan, Swaziland and Zambia.

The measure was taken on the basis of the results of safety checks carried out by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the statement said.
Source: Panapress