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Old June 13th, 2006, 08:29 AM   #221
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Nairobi's JKIA Sh8 billion Airport Upgrade Begins

13th June 2006

*Construction work to double airport size, create four terminal units, and modernising the facility

*A 2nd runway has been decided against, until another 10-15 years





The state of the 28-year-old Jomo Kenyatta International Airport has for long drawn mixed reactions from thousands of travellers who pass through East Africa's largest airport everyday.

While some view it favourably, others feel a lot more needs to be done to upgrade the airport to meet international standards.

Even though the airport was recently voted the best in East Africa, the Kenya Airports Authority, which manages the airport, will soon launch an ambitious mordernisation programme.

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transport and Communication, Dr Gerishon Ikiara, believes that with the planned rehabilitation and expansion of the airport, many more awards will be won.

Dr Ikiara says the design for the new-look airport, expected to cost between Sh7billion and Sh8.4 billion, done by a Canadian firm, has been completed.

"Though the process delayed we ensured we received input from interested parties in the aviation industry," the PS said.

The project will be funded by both the Government and the World Bank, with the State meeting 70 per cent of the total cost and the bank paying the balance.

Plans abandoned

Plans to move the domestic unit to the old Embakasi Airport were abandoned after experts proved the expansion and rehabilitation could be done without transferring part of the airport.

"We realised the transfer might create a big logistical problem and that is why we abandoned the idea," the PS said.

Dr Ikiara says tenders for the first phase of the reconstruction programme, which will focus on the apron to create more parking space for aircrafts, has been advertised.

"We have already closed it and we shall soon start evaluating the applications and award the best bidder," he adds.

In fact the whole project will see the terminal expanded from 25,662 to 55,222 square metres to enable it handle more than double its capacity, currently four million passengers per year.

The JKIA, initially designed for 2.5million travellers, carters for about four million people per year, making it one of the most congested in East Africa.

But the Government says this will not be for long. Terminals one and two will undergo complete refurbishment, while the third one will be expanded to handle international traffic.

Terminal four will be constructed to handle both international and domestic flights, which will necessitate new taxiways and more space for vehicles.

Currently units 1 and 2 are mainly used for international flights whereas the third one is for domestic flights.

Parking space

Expansion of the apron which will be completed in two phases. The first phase will increase aircraft parking space from 200,000 to 300,000 square metres.

Two areas for shops will be constructed. Arriving and departing passengers will not share the same concourse and will be completely separated from each other.

According to the design, departing passengers will go through shopping malls and walk around corridors lit by the natural light, thanks to the fibre-glass overhead.

The pick-up area in the arrivals section, on the other hand, will have an all-weather teflon-coated woven fibreglass depicting a thorn tree.

The waving bay will be covered by bullet-proof glass and will house spacious lounges where passengers can relax.

To make it truly African, pictures depicting the country's diverse ethnic groups and culture will adorn the walls, right from the corridors to the exit.

The design also shows that a new three-storey car park with a capacity to accomodate more than 1500 vehicles will be constructed.

This should ease parking problems that has been a major bother for passengers using the airport.

Dr Ikiara says the three-year project will allow Kenya acquire the Category One security status issued by the Federation Aviation Authority of the United States.

"This will allow Kenya Airways fly to the United States and vise versa for US airlines," he added.

Currently, the national carrier is not allowed to fly to the United States, only its Dutch partner, KLM, can. This is because the country has not been issued with Category One security status.

To enable the country acquire it, incoming passengers must be separated from out-going ones - which is currently not the case.

There are eight gates at the airport shared by arriving and departing passengers. The two groups also buy souvenirs at the same duty-free shops, unlike many top airports in the world.

However, Dr Ikiara promises that once the project is complete, incoming and out-going passengers will no longer rub shoulders.

In the era of terrorism, adequate security must be put in place and that is why the Government plans to instal automated security checks and systems.

Walls that can withstand bomb explosions will also be put up in some areas.

Computerisation, which is part of the project, will enable passengers browse the Internet while waiting for their flights.

On whether to construct a second runway, the PS says studies done, revealed that the old one was capable of serving the country for between 10 and 15 years.

"The use of the runway is below 60 per cent and we don't see the need to construct another one," Mr Ikiara adds.

The PS says the use of the runway is far below capacity compared to those in South Africa, Britain, the US among others.

Dr Ikiara says the upgrading of the JKIA will provide better amenities for customer comfort apart from improving the image of the airport.
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Old June 17th, 2006, 05:49 PM   #222
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Man foiled trying to hijack S.Africa plane

JOHANNESBURG, June 17 (Reuters) - A man, believed to be armed, tried to hijack a South African Airways (SAA) domestic flight on Saturday but was subdued before he could enter the cockpit, the airline said.

"It appears a passenger threatened a crew member with some sort of weapon demanding access to the cockpit," SAA spokeswoman Jacqui O'Sullivan said in a statement.

The incident occurred on a flight from Cape Town to Johannesburg. The plane turned back to Cape Town where a 21-year-old man was detained, police spokeswoman Bernadine Steyn told reporters.

A passenger on the plane told Reuters the man was believed to be a foreign national but the motive for his actions was unclear.

SAA and police gave no further details.
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Old June 21st, 2006, 04:28 AM   #223
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Zimbabwean student up on hijack charge in South Africa

JOHANNESBURG, June 19, 2006 (AFP) - A young Zimbabwean student on Monday appeared in a South African court charged with attempting to hijack a plane on a flight between Cape Town and Johannesburg over the weekend.

Tinashe Rioga, 21, was subdued by an off-duty pilot and passengers after he allegedly held a hypodermic syringe to an air hostess's throat Saturday on a South African Airways flight.

"He has been charged with attempting to seize an aircraft in flight and assault with the intent to do grievous bodily harm," a senior state prosecutor, who asked not to be named, told AFP.

The mid-air drama unfolded Saturday as the Boeing 737-800 took off from Cape Town international bound for Johannesburg, weekend papers reported.

About 35 minutes into the flight, Rioga who is believed to be a student at a Cape Town university, grabbed an air hostess and held the syringe to her neck, demanding access to the cockpit.

The slightly-built Rioga was then tackled by an off-duty pilot and passengers and knocked unconscious before being handcuffed and the plane turned back to Cape Town.

Rioga said Monday he would like the court to assist him in initially applying for legal aid.

"My family will finalise arrangements," he was quoted by the SAPA news agency as saying.

Magistrate David Tomisi postponed the case to June 26 for further bail information and Rioga remained in police custody.
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Old June 25th, 2006, 11:07 PM   #224
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Ground crewman's legs severed by jumbo jet in Johannesburg
25 June 2006

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) - A British Airways jumbo jet parking at Johannesburg's airport Sunday ran over a member of the ground crew, severing the man's legs.

The South African Press Association reported that witnesses said the man passed out while he was attempting to position wheel chocks on the Boeing 747. The agency said the plane then ran over the man, severing both legs.

The airline said in London that it had launched an investigation into the accident.

Flight BA55, with 283 passengers on board, had just arrived from London Heathrow. Passengers were kept on board for about an hour while the scene was cleared.
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Old June 29th, 2006, 07:08 PM   #225
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Air Zimbabwe flight makes emergency landing at Victoria Falls
29 June 2006

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) - An Air Zimbabwe plane experiencing engine failure burst two tires during an emergency landing at the northwest resort of Victoria Falls, state-run media reported Thursday.

An unspecified number of passengers complained of minor injuries during Wednesday's landing, according to The Herald, a government mouthpiece.

The new Chinese-built plane, which seats up to 32 people, was headed from Victoria Falls to the capital, Harare, when it was forced to land.

The cash-strapped national carrier has suffered a series of woes. Some of the airline's planes are nearly 30 years old, and passengers mistrust the safety record of its newest acquisitions, three small Chinese MA60 turboprop planes used on domestic routes since last year.

Two of the planes were grounded earlier this year while awaiting spare parts and servicing because the airline was unable to clear US$12 million (euro9.4 million) in arrears, airline officials said. They were brought back into operation this week.

Zimbabwe is in the midst of its worst economic crisis since independence from Britain in 1980. The seizure of thousands of white-owned commercial farms for redistribution to black Zimbabweans, combined with successive years of drought, has crippled the key agriculture sector. The country suffers acute shortages of hard currency, fuel, spare parts and other imports.
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Old June 30th, 2006, 06:20 AM   #226
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Nairobi's airport is very nice. It's the hub for a SkyAlliance carrier.
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Old July 3rd, 2006, 07:15 PM   #227
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Nigeria's aviation reforms need more transparency, experts warn.
By DANIEL BALINT-KURTI and DINO MAHTANI
3 July 2006
Financial Times

Urgent aviation reforms commissioned by the Nigerian government in the wake of two fatal passenger airline crashes last year will not succeed without more transparency in the industry, civil aviation experts say.

Flying in oil-rich Nigeria can be a hazardous undertaking. Africa's most populous nation has seen annual air traffic double in the last six years to about 8m passengers and is attempting to transform itself into a regional hub since last year's launch of Virgin Nigeria, a joint venture between Virgin Atlantic and Nigerian institutional investors. But last year's crashes of two passenger aircraft belonging to other local airlines, killing more than 220 people, "highlighted systemic failures" in Nigerian aviation according to Roland Iyayi, director of the government's airspace management agency.

The first crash last year was not discovered for 15 hours.

In the case of thesecond, more fire hydrants at the airport could have helped to save dozens of lives, says Mr Iyayi.

Even international airlines are subject to Nigeria's creaking airport management systems as Air France discovered last year when one of its aircraft ploughed into a stray herd of cows on an international runway shortly after landing.

Olusegun Obasanjo, Nigeria's president, who sacked several senior aviation officials after the crashes, blamed corruption. "The greatest bane of the aviation industry is corruption. Corruption leads to death and we're not having any more of it.

"There's a lot of corner cutting, and corner cutting at the expense of precious lives of Nigerians," he said last year.

Since the crashes involving Bellview and Sosoliso, two of Nigeria's regular passenger carriers, the government has initiated several emergency measures to address the lack of confidence in the sector.

The government grounded several airlines for inspection, started recertifying national aviation staff and called for the assistance of international crash experts, regulatory bodies and even donors.

Mr Obasanjo also committed Dollars 150m (Euros 117m, Pounds 87m) to be used to upgrade safety equipment and standards at the country's four mainairports.

The aviation ministry has also proposed new laws increasing the minimum capital base of airlines between 25- and 100-fold to just under Dollars 4m for local airlines and Dollars 15m for inter-national carriers, in an effort to consolidate the industry.

But according to Capt Dung Pam, chairman of the influential Nigerian Aviation Safety Initiative (Nasi), some of the policies are "chasing shadows, are myopic and not thought through".

The grounding of aircraft could not have led to rigorous safety checks, given the quality of repair facilities and staff on the ground. While many Nigerians welcome extra spending to upgrade safety equipmentat airports, the usefulnessof the capital requirement policy has been questioned by aviation experts.

Nasi argues that since many Nigerian airlines are close to insolvency, the government must either encourage mergers and control of the industry by foreign capital or adopt a state-led approach by providing loan guarantees to airlines. Without a comprehensive auditof the airlines, a capital requirement policy on its own cannot consolidate the industry, says Nasi.

Critics of the government say half-baked policymaking persists because of a lack of accountability in decision-making.

Despite a slew of economic reforms in Nigeria, government bodies often spend inefficiently.

One government aviation agency has authorised almost Dollars 1m to clear bush and grass within the perimeter of the inter-national airport of Lagos, which is the country's commercial capital. Critics also say politics and policy are often mixed together.

In 2004, the government revoked the licence of Slok Air, another local airline owned by a state governor particularly vocal in his distaste for Mr Obasanjo. The airline had failed to update its list of operational aircrafts - an offence normally punishable by a fine. Meanwhile, powerful vested interests continue to exert their will despite Mr Obasanjo's attempts to give the sector a radical overhaul.

The government has failed to make public the findings of a report on another passenger aircraft that crashed four years ago killing almost 150 people.

It has also appeared to be unwilling to prosecute senior government officials indicted by a judicial committee set up by Mr Obasanjo to investigate the events that led to the failure of Nigeria Airways, the country's former flag carrier.

Nigeria's aviation sector is expected to complete an internationally sponsored audit this year that could give the country a clean bill of health under international benchmarks.

If Nigeria qualifies, reluctance by the US government to open its skies to Nigerian airlines, such as Virgin Nigeria, may diminish, say analysts.
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Old July 4th, 2006, 06:25 PM   #228
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S.Africa Airways yr op profit down 70 pct on fuel

JOHANNESBURG, July 4 (Reuters) - Annual operating profit at state-owned South African Airways [SAA.UL] tumbled by 70 percent due to soaring fuel prices and a strike, former parent Transnet said on Tuesday.

Operating profit for the 12 months to March slid to 300 million rand ($42.71 million) from 1.0 billion rand the previous year, state transport group Transnet said when releasing its own results.

The airline, which was transferred out of Transnet to the government at the end of March, will release detailed profit figures on Thursday, but Transnet provided some figures during a presentation of its own results.

"It (profit) pulled back this year to 300 million primarily due to increased costs," said Transnet Chief Financial Officer Chris Wells.

Fuel costs surged by 51 percent, while a strike that lasted nearly a week in July 2005 and lower yields also hurt profits, he added.

SAA revenue rose 12.5 percent to 19.6 billion rand, but 600 million of the gain was due to an additional release of provisions for air traffic liability of 600 million rand, Wells added.

The flag carrier reported a 240 million rand operating loss in the first half, mainly due to high oil prices and the strike that cost it 100-150 million rand.

Following the removal from Transnet, the airline's management reports to the Department of Public Enterprises.
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Old July 9th, 2006, 06:17 PM   #229
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Five dead in DR Congo plane crash: new toll

KINSHASA, July 8, 2006 (AFP) - Three Russians and two citizens of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) died when a cargo plane crashed in the east of the country, an airport spokesman said, giving an updated toll on Saturday.

"The three Russian crew members, a Congolese agent and a Congolese passenger died. They were the only people on board. There were no survivors," Bikoro Nakaziba, director of Goma airport in the North Kivu region told AFP.

Charred corpses were pulled from the Antonov 12 plane, operated by the DRC private company Mango Airlines, after it crashed near Sake, a village around 20 kilometres (12 miles) from Goma, the regional capital.

Nakaziba said the cause of the crash was not known but the black box flight recorder had been recovered and its data would be examined.

The United Nations-backed Okapi radio station said the plane had undergone engine failure and struck a hill as it lost altitude. Its heavy cargo of vehicle parts and oil drums then caught fire on impact.

Air accidents are common in the DRC, where fleets consist mainly of old and poorly maintained Soviet-built aircraft, some of which fly unlicensed. In 2005, 65 people died there in around 20 accidents of planes run by private companies.

Most DRC plane companies are banned from entering European Union airspace because they have featured since March on an EU air safety blacklist.
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Old July 9th, 2006, 08:50 PM   #230
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Kenya Airports Authority collects KES1.2bn in revenue




Revenue collection at the Kenya Airports Authority crossed the Sh1.2 billion mark in the last financial year, the first time in the parastatal’s history.

This has been attributed to sealing of loopholes in procurement, hiring of qualified staff and stricter revenue management. And for the first time also, KAA has paid a divided of Sh100 million to the Treasury.

In an interview with Smart Company at its offices, Managing Director George Muhoho, said: “KAA has continued to perform well over the past three years; financially, the company is doing very well and has recorded remarkable results.”

Before he took over in March 2003, he said, the authority had been doing poorly and had recorded a loss of Sh340 million for the 2002/03 financial year, down from the previous year’s figure of more than Sh400 million.

In 2004/05 KAA recorded a pretax profit of Sh1.2 billion and Mr Muhoho is upbeat on future performance, figuring a profit of Sh1.3 billion in the year to June 30, 2006.

“The secret to our success has been team work, KAA has recruited very good and qualified management staff from the private sector,” he said

Mr Muhoho said the authority’s expenditure has dropped, with cost cutting measures being effected while the return on investment has gone up.

“In the past the ration of the expenditure verses the revenue collected was higher,” he said. “In the financial year 2002/03 there was a deficit but the following year, we were able to make 70 per cent collection. We spend less and save more, that is why our return on investment has also gone up from 2 to 7.36 per cent,” he said.

The MD said the new performance contracts would not just assist in revenue collection but also enhance the quality of services.

“They are not just to ensure that we meet the targets of revenue collection but also enhance the quality of our products. KAA has also instilled more discipline in its procurement system. There is a professional management that has been engaged. We have also reviewed contracts with all our tenants who are paying on time for the rented space at the Kenya Duty Free Complex,” he added.

He said the authority has been saving money to finance a number of development projects. Plans are in top gear for the ground-breaking ceremony of the expansion of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, which has seen traffic increase tremendously over the last three years.

“We have collected a lot of money and as a result we have received a lot of goodwill from banks who are willing to lend us money for the programme. The ground-breaking ceremony will take place early next month and at the end of the project we will have JKIA competing at world-class standards.” KAA is working to improve its taxiways and runaways, construct terminal buildings as well as seeking ISO 900O certification to enhance the quality of its services.

“It is important for people to know that our mandate is to look after nine airports, but the work of maintenance lies with the Roads and Public Works Ministry, which has it in its budget. However, they can contract us to do the work,” he said.

The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Transport and Communication, Mr Gerrishon Ikiara, praised Kenya Airports Authority for its improved performance and for having met most of its targets.

“This is the third schedule the contracts are being signed in the public service and all state corporations, among them Kenya Airports Authority, which were making loses for over 10 years have recorded profits,” he said. Kenya Ports Authority, which was indebted to the tune of more than Sh200 million, made a profit of more than Sh4 billion, Mr Ikiara said.

In last year’s contracts, corporations were asked to develop service charters, outline commitments, obligations and working culture.

The contracts also aim at ensuring that productivity and service delivery are enhanced.
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Old July 10th, 2006, 07:00 PM   #231
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Air Madagascar jet's engine fails, but lands safely

ANTANANARIVO, July 10 (Reuters) - A long-haul Air Madagascar flight carrying about 200 people had to make an emergency landing after its right engine failed moments after taking off, the airline said on Monday.

No one was hurt in the incident involving a Boeing 767-300 jet which was bound from the capital Antananarivo to Paris late on Saturday night, the company said.

"Three minutes after takeoff of flight MD050 on Saturday 8th July, the technical team noticed a problem affecting the right engine of the aircraft," the airline said in a statement.

It adding that the pilot succeeded in turning the plane around and flying it safely back to Antananarivo on the remaining engine.

State-owned Air Madagascar said the pilot had to jettison some of the plane's fuel so as not to exceed the safe weight limit to fly on one engine. All 181 passengers and 12 crew were safe, it said.

Since its inception in 1962, the airline has had two serious air disasters, both on domestic flights.

In 1967, a Douglas DC-4-1009 plane crashed near Antananarivo, killing 42 people; in 1981, a Twin Otter crashed in the northeast, killing 19.
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Old July 12th, 2006, 04:17 PM   #232
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Direct U.S.-Nigeria flights to resume after 3 years
By Tume Ahemba

LAGOS, July 11 (Reuters) - A U.S.-based airline will start New York-Lagos flights next week, three years after a dispute between Nigeria and the United States halted direct flights between the two countries, an aviation official said on Tuesday.

North American, a unit of World Air Holdings Inc. , has secured a permit to fly direct to Lagos after Nigeria apparently backed down in a dispute with Washington over flagship airline Virgin Nigeria [VA.UL], a diplomatic source said.

"I can confirm that the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority has given North American a technical permit to fly to Nigeria and they will begin operations next week," a spokesman for the authority said.

Virgin Nigeria, 49 percent owned by Briton Richard Branson's Virgin Group and 51 percent owned by Nigerian investors, was set up after the liquidation of state-run Nigeria Airways, which used to fly from Lagos to New York and London.

Last year, the United States barred Virgin Nigeria from flying to New York citing Branson's interest in the airline. Washington argued it would be unfair to permit a partly British-owned airline to benefit from the U.S.-Nigeria open-skies agreement.

Nigeria countered by banning Continental Airlines from flying the same route.

The Lagos-New York route is very popular and when flights are available they are usually packed.

The diplomatic source said the dispute over Virgin Nigeria had still not been resolved.

New York-based North America, a charter and scheduled passenger airline, said it would offer three weekly round trips with its Boeing 767-300ER aircraft, which has 30 business class and 176 economy seats. The airline currently flies to Ghana and the Gambia.

"Lagos is a logical addition to the North American Airlines system," the airline's chief marketing officer Rob Binns said in a statement.

North American had already tried to fly to Lagos in 2003, after Washington lifted a 10-year ban on direct flights to Nigeria, but that was called off after a few months following the collapse of a partnership with little-know Rite Time.
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Old July 16th, 2006, 06:14 AM   #233
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Islamists re-open Mogadishu airport after 11-year closure

MOGADISHU, July 14, 2006 (AFP) - Islamists who control the Somali capital, Mogadishu, on Friday re-opened its bullet-scarred international airport, closed 11 years earlier after the failure of a United Nations peacekeeping operation and Somalia's descent into anarchy.

A ceremonial first flight carrying Arab League officials landed at the long-shuttered airport to collect an Islamist delegation and fly it to peace talks in Sudan with Somalia's largely powerless government.

"We are very happy to witness unforgettable moments like today," said Sheikh Shariff Sheikh Ahmed, head of the executive committee of the Supreme Islamic of Somalia, whose forces seized the capital from US-backed warlords last month.

"We tell everybody that Mogadishu International Airport is open for international planes," he told reporters at a ceremony to mark the departure of the chartered Arab League turbo-prop aircraft.

Despite his enthusiastic comments, it remained unclear if any other aircraft, commercial or otherwise, would take advantage of the facility's re-opening.

The runway has been damaged by mortar and artillery shells that warlords and rival militia lobbed at each other in fighting that persisted throughout much of the last decade. There are no lights and the control tower has been looted and destroyed.

The Islamists took control of the airport, next to the city's main port in southern Mogadishu, last week, after they routed the warlords. the fight for the capital lasted four months and claimed at least 450 lives.

The airport was abandoned in 1995 after UN peacekeepers made a humiliating withdrawal from Somalia at the height of bloody clan fighting that had forced a US mission to leave a year earlier.

Prior to that it had been the home base of the now-defunct national carrier, Somali Airlines, which owned fewer than a half a dozen planes and collapsed in 1991 when creditors and insurance firms moved in to repossess its assets.

Somalia was plunged into anarchy that year after dictator Mohamed Siad Barre was ousted. More than a dozen efforts to restore peace since then have foundered.
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Old July 16th, 2006, 06:15 AM   #234
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North American Airlines to begin New York-Nigeria flights

LAGOS, July 14, 2006 (AFP) - North American Airlines will next week begin scheduled non-stop flights between Nigeria and New York, an official at the Nigerian aviation ministry said on Friday.

"North American Airlines has been officially cleared to operate flights into and out of Nigeria," Sam Adurogboye, spokesman of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, confirmed to AFP by telephone.

He said the first flight would take place on July 17 but declined to give further details.

The airline's website ( www.flynaa.co ) said the company, a subsidiary of World Air Holdings Inc, would on Monday launch a scheduled service between Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, Nigeria's commercial capital, and New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport.

It would operate three weekly flights each way, using Boeing 767-300ER aircraft.

Lagos will be the third African city served by the airline, after Accra and Banjul, the website said.

The airline is the only US airline operating a non-stop scheduled service between Africa and the US, it added.

The launch of the service is set to coincide with the start of a four-day summit in the Nigerian capital Abuja to discuss investment and the expansion of the private sector in Africa.

Twelve leaders from Africa and the Caribbean have confirmed they will participate in the seventh Leon H. Sullivan summit, whose theme is "Africa: a continent of opportunities -- building partnerships for success".
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Old July 31st, 2006, 06:56 AM   #235
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First commercial flight takes-off from Mogadishu airport after 11 years

MOGADISHU, July 30, 2006 (AFP) - The first-ever commercial flight took off from Somalia's Mogadishu International Airport early Sunday, two weeks after the facility was reopened after 11 years of closure during the conflict that wracked the Horn of Africa nation.

Locally operated Jubba Airways landed at the bullet-scarred airport from United Arab Emirates (UAE) at 6:30 am (0330 GMT) carrying cargo, but took off later with passengers to the same destination, they said.

"The plane arrived from the UAE, but flew back carrying passengers," said Libaan Abubakar Sharif, one of of the officers in the company.

"We will from now start using the international airport. The airport is better because it can handle large aircraft," he added.

Commercial flights in Mogadishu and other regional Somali towns have been relying on smaller airstrips and other flat grounds with no air-control facilities.

Several onlookers gathered at the airport, which was reopened by the Islamists on July 14, as airline staff offloaded cargo and let in passengers.

Last week, two Russian-made Ilyushin 76-cargo planes, bearing the emblem of Kazakhstan, a former Soviet state that frequently charters its planes, landed at the same airport, but delivered cargo for the Islamic militia, who control the capital and much of southern Somalia.

Government officials said the planes delivered weapons from Eritrea, but the Islamists refused to confirm the claim.

The airport's runway has been damaged by mortar and artillery shells that warlords and rival militia lobbed at each other in fighting that persisted throughout much of the last decade. There are no lights and the control tower has been looted and destroyed.

The Islamists took control of the airport, next to the city's main port in southern Mogadishu, earlier this month, after they routed the warlords. The fight for the capital and the northern town of Jowhar lasted four months and claimed at least 460 lives.

The airport was abandoned in 1995 after UN peacekeepers made a humiliating withdrawal from Somalia at the height of bloody clan fighting that had forced a US mission to leave a year earlier.

Prior to that it had been the home base of the now-defunct national carrier, Somali Airlines, which owned fewer than a half a dozen planes and collapsed in 1991 when creditors and insurance firms moved in to repossess its assets.

Somalia was plunged into anarchy that year after dictator Mohamed Siad Barre was ousted. More than a dozen efforts to restore peace since then have foundered.
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Old August 30th, 2006, 12:52 AM   #236
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Morocco raises airport security on militant threat

RABAT, Aug 29 (Reuters) - Morocco has stepped up security at its airports after discovering that the wives of two pilots at national airline Royal Air Maroc (RAM) had been funding a radical Islamist cell, state news agency MAP reported.

"The Interior Ministry revealed on Tuesday the proven implication of three Moroccan women, two of them married to RAM pilots, in the terrorist enterprise led by the Ansar El Mehdi cell recently dismantled by the security services," MAP said.

The three women had given financial support to the group's leader and other members of the cell so they could carry out acts of terrorism, it said.

It gave no names for the women and did not say whether they had been arrested or charged.

After a meeting of top interior ministry and transport officials, the government decided to tighten security at airports and improve coordination between airport services, MAP added, without providing further details.

The government said on Aug. 7 it had busted the previously unknown Jammaat Ansar El Mehdi (El Mehdi Support Group) cell, arresting over 40 group members and seizing explosives, propaganda material and laboratory equipment.

It said the group was planning to declare a holy war in the northeast of the country, attack tourist sites and assassinate people who symbolise the state.

The authorities say they have dismantled more than 50 militant cells with more than 2,000 members since May 2003, when the normally peaceful country was shaken by a series of bombings in the economic capital Casablanca that killed 45 people.

Rights groups say hundreds of the people arrested since 2003 have faced ill-treatment or unfair trials, something the government denies.

The Casablanca attacks were blamed on Islamists who brainwashed bored, impressionable youngsters in the slums that surround the city.

But evidence is growing that such militant groups are becoming more sophisticated and well organised.

The government said the Ansar El Mehdi cell had set up local branches in several Moroccan towns, recruited military personnel able to handle explosives and planned to fund its holy war with bank robberies, hold-ups of money transport convoys and forged bank notes.
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Old August 31st, 2006, 12:32 PM   #237
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Chinese firm signs Sh2.6bn contract to expand Nairobi Airport

Kenya Airports Authority has signed a Sh2.6 billion contract with China Wu Yi company for expansion of the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, whose capacity is overstretched.

The 10 month-project is the first phase of Sh10 billion expansion programme of the airport. The project has been divided into three phases to avoid disruption of the airport’s operations.

The contract the authority signed yesterday covers the first phase which includes the construction of an apron – the paved area immediately in front of airport buildings, on which aircraft are loaded and unloaded – taxiways and extension of the fuel hydrant system.

Capacity

When Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) was built, the airport was expected to handle 2.5 million passengers annually, but the traffic has almost doubled, with 4.2 million passengers passing through it last year.

Kenya Airports Authority managing director, George Muhoho, said that on top of the Sh2.6 billion, the authority has added Sh15.9 million to the contractor as contingency fees.

Out of Sh2.6 billion, the authority and the contractor have agreed that the authority shall pay 30 per cent of its equivalent in the US dollars to facilitate the purchase of any equipment they need to import and other costs that are not local and the remaining 70 per cent in shillings.

"This indicates that a lot of the actual expenditure of this project is going to be local in terms of material and manpower," Mr Muhoho told reporters at his Nairobi office.

The authority chairman Erastus Mwongera appealed to the contractor and consultant–Queen’s Quay Architects International–who is supervising the project, that no part of the project should lag behind.

"We want the project to be ready in 10 months, and there will be no option for whatever," he said. We cannot afford to wait a day beyond the 10 months that we have given.

China Wu Yi general manager for Kenya, Wan Dongsheng said although the deadline was tight, he was confident his company would finish the project on time. "We are delighted to be given the opportunity to join endeavours of upgrading an international airport to the international standards and develop into regional hub," he said.

Mr Mwongera said it was critical for authority to improve the airport so that Kenyans can fly direct to the United States, Latin America, Australia and other destinations. "We have no business making stopovers, which are expensive for all of us to stop in Europe, and we want to go the way of South Africa: you can fly from Johannesburg, or Durban to anywhere," he added.
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Old September 13th, 2006, 04:08 PM   #238
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Kenya Airways to launch direct flights to France

NAIROBI, Sept 13 (Reuters) - Kenya Airways is to start direct flights to Paris from late October, hoping to tap into customers in the French-speaking countries in eastern and central Africa flying to France, the airline said on Wednesday.

"The introduction of the new route will not only create a new mark in the airline's growth but will also open up other parts of Europe to travellers from the region," the airline said.

Kenya Airways will offer three flights a week to the Charles de Gaulle Airport, it said.

Kenya Airways, one of Africa's few profitable national carriers, is 26 percent-owned by KLM, the Dutch arm of Air France .

It has a fleet of 18 aircrafts and hopes to take delivery of three new planes before January 2007. The airline has ordered six Boeing 787 Dreamliners to be delivered between 2010 and 2012.
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Old September 13th, 2006, 07:58 PM   #239
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(from Kenya's largest news agency: the Nation)






Kenya Airways to launch Paris flights on October 26


Kenya Airways yesterday continued its roll-out of routes, announcing direct flights to Paris, France from October 26 this year.


The national airline will have three flights a week to Charles de Gaulle Airport from Nairobi every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

In a statement to newsrooms, the airline said it believes the strength of the new route lies in the flexibility it offers its customers in eastern and central Africa to fly directly to France as well as connect to mainland Europe and other parts of the world.

Equally passengers from France will now be able to fly directly to Nairobi and connect to any part of Africa using the Kenya Airways network.

"The launch of direct flights to Paris is in line with Kenya Airway’s expansion programme that is geared at delivering services to key cities in Europe, Asia and Africa through scheduled and efficient connections," said Kenya Airways (KQ) commercial director Hugh Fraser.

The new route opens up most of Europe to travellers from eastern and central Africa, offering a supplementary connection point for passengers travelling to other destinations beyond the continent. Currently Kenya Airways uses Amsterdam and London as its connection hub in Europe.

KQ is currently the fastest growing airline in Africa, pursuing a strategic route expansion and fleet modernisation programme. During the first quarter ending June 2006, Kenya Airways announced a 12 per cent increase in passenger traffic on all its routes.

It is set to receive three new-generation Boeing 737-800 aircraft, and a Boeing 777 before January 2007. It has also placed orders for six new Boeing 787 Dreamliner planes to be delivered between 2010 and 2012.


It became the first airline in sub-Saharan Africa to win the key IOSA (IATA Operational Safety Audit) certification , beating a 2007 deadline set by IATA (International Air Transport Association).

In other aviation news, Air Mauritius yesterday reported a 59 per cent drop in profits for the 2005-06 financial year to Sh679 million ($9.3 million), stung by increased fuel costs.

The liberalisation of Mauritian air space and a mosquito-borne disease hitting tourism also presented new challenges for the Indian Ocean island's airline, according to its annual report.

"The decline in operating performance was mainly due to the high increase in fuel costs," the chairman's statement said.

The company said jet fuel costs now account for 34 per cent of the airline's total operating costs, up from 26 percent in the previous year.

Mauritian plans to increase tourism by 10 per cent per year to two million tourists by 2015, have included a series of agreements on access to the country's airspace.

"This means increased competition for Air Mauritius, at a time when the industry is already experiencing declining yields," said Sanjay Bhuckory, the airline's chairman.
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Old October 1st, 2006, 08:38 AM   #240
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Kenya Airways adds Brazzaville to African routes

Publication Date: 9/27/2006

Next month is a busy one for national airline Kenya Airways (KQ).

Starting October 6, the airline will have twice-weekly flights to Brazzaville, capital of the Republic of Congo (not to be confused with the Democratic Republic of Congo, formerly known as Zaire) and the city of Cotonou in Benin.

The Brazzaville-Cotonou route brings to 30 the number of cities covered by the airline in Africa. Cotonou is the 11th city in West Africa covered by KQ. The flights to the two cities will be on Tuesdays and Fridays with the first stop being Brazzaville. KQ also plans to start flights to Charles De Gaulle International airport in Paris, France from October 26.

"The commercial viability of these routes is very promising, with both countries showing strong economic performance and increasing business activity, resulting from growing oil exploration and extraction activities in the area," said commercial director Hugh Fraser.

The Republic of Congo (also known as Congo Brazzaville) is experiencing relative calm and political stability since 2003.

Business travel to the country is a key plank of the new Brazaville-Cotonou route. Congo holds oil reserves of over 1.5 billion barrels, and is sub-Saharan Africa's fifth largest oil producer after Nigeria, Angola, Gabon, and Equatorial Guinea.

The country is also the third largest natural gas producer in Africa. Its other exports include sugar, cocoa, coffee and diamonds.

"All these natural reserves have proved an irresistible attraction to foreign investors, and as the leading African airline, we intend to provide the most efficient and reliable connections for all those travelling in and out of Brazzaville," noted Mr Fraser in a statement.
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