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Old July 18th, 2005, 11:58 PM   #101
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Cairo air traffic controllers threaten strike

CAIRO, July 16 (AFP) - Air traffic controllers at Cairo's international airport are threatening to strike on August 4 if a number of grievances, particularly over salaries, are not resolved, a union statement said Saturday.

Two similar actions in April and May severely disrupted traffic at the airport.

The controllers are unhappy with the 30 percent pay rise they received at the beginning of the year. Starting salaries are now 1,500 Egyptian pounds (250 dollars) a month, rising to 4,500 pounds with several years' seniority.

Controllers also receive productivity bonuses.

They also want two of their colleagues, including the head of the union, to be reinstated after being sacked because of the last strike and for salary cuts imposed on eight others because of their calls for a strike to be lifted.

A general assembly of the union, which represents some 600 controllers, voted to walk of the job for four hours on August 4 unless their demands are met.
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Old July 19th, 2005, 08:43 AM   #102
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Oman Air stops flights to Zanzibar
19 July, 2005

MUSCAT — Ziad Karim Al Haremi, Oman Air CEO, has announced that effective from today and till further notice, Oman Air, the national carrier of the Sultanate of Oman, shall stop all scheduled flights to Zanzibar International Airport. Oman Air will continue to operate non-stop flights to Dar-Es-Salam.

“Due to this unexpected operational situation, Oman Air regrets to its valued passengers any inconvenience that may be caused and the same time assures Oman Air’s commitment to safeguard the passengers’ liabilities,” he added. Al Haremi confirmed that Oman Air would take any measures that would help eliminate the impact of this decision. Such measures included the possibility of refunding the price of the issued ticket or providing transportation from Dar-Es-Salam to Zanzibar for which Oman Air operates five weekly scheduled flights. More information on this can be had from any of the offices in 20 Oman Air destinations.
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Old July 19th, 2005, 08:46 AM   #103
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Bitou issues ‘developer’ of airport a final ultimatum
20 July, 2005

Indications are that the Bitou Council is losing patience with developer Willie Malan and will soon be taking action to relaunch the future of Plettenberg Bay’s airport which has been stalled for more than a year.

Because of the continuing delays and uncertainty, a number of Garden Route entrepreneurs and business groups have had to put their plans on hold.

The Pretoria-based attorney who is advising the council, Phatudi Maponya, said Malan “has not played ball with the council”.

“If my client (the council) is not happy by the end of July, we will cancel the deal,” said Maponya.

However, according to DA councillor Johan Brummer, Malan’s bid has already “lapsed”.

Brummer said that, in terms of a decision taken by the council on June 29, the bid had lapsed because a 10-day extension granted to Malan to come up with a business plan and other documents had passed.

DA councillor Pierre Koep has also said that, because Malan did not comply with the council’s demands for a business plan and various other documents by July 10, the bid would have to be revoked.

However, Malan said he was not concerned and was confident “things will be sorted out” when he met senior Bitou officials and Maponya.

Municipal manager George Seitisho has confirmed Malan has requested a meeting with municipal officials and Maponya. But Brummer said the council’s decision, confirming a decision by the mayoral committee, was specific: after July 10 the bid would lapse.

“They (senior council officials) can meet him if they want to, but in terms of the council’s decision, it’s too late. Only the council can change that decision, and it can only reconsider its decision in six months,” Brummer said.

(The Herald)
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Old July 19th, 2005, 08:52 AM   #104
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TAAG Angola orders up to nine Boeing jets
July 19, 2005

TAAG Angola Airlines reached a definitive agreement with Boeing for the purchase of two 777-200ERs and four 737-700 Quick Change aircraft.The agreement also includes options for an additional 777-200ER and two more 737-700QCs. According to Boeing, the firm order is valued at roughly $649.6 million at list prices and approximately $990 million with options included.

The aircraft will be delivered next year, with the first 777-200ER and 737-700 scheduled to arrive in July. They will replace the current fleet of two 747-300s and five 737-200s.
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Old July 19th, 2005, 07:13 PM   #105
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Remains of Egyptian crew buried 18 months after Flash crash

CAIRO, July 19 (AFP) - The remains of the 13 Egyptian crew members who died in the January 2004 crash of a Flash Airlines aircraft packed with French tourists were buried Tuesday, an AFP correspondent reported.

The crash off the coast of the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh three minutes after take-off had killed a total of 148 people, including 134 French.

During a brief ceremony, the remains of the men and women were grouped in two separate coffins and laid to rest in a crypt at a burial site some 50 kilometres (30 miles) west of Cairo.
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Old July 19th, 2005, 11:27 PM   #106
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Major Changes Underway in Aviation, Says Obasanjo

Taken from ThisDay Online News Source:

By Ndubuisi Francis, 07.18.2005

(Abuja, Nigeria) President Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday expressed his administration's resolve to embark on a complete restructuring of the aviation sector, saying that to jump-start the process, a comprehensive management audit is imminent.

Obasanjo who spoke on the need to take bold and proactive steps in building and maintaining an aviation infrastructure that meet global standards of safety and industry best practices, noted that "too often have we been criticised for failing to rise to the occasion as a nation in areas where we posses comparative advantages."

In an address presented by the new Aviation Minister, Babalola Borishade at the formal launch of new national flag carrier, Virgin Nigeria at the Presidential lounge of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, Obasanjo said that his administration will not shy away from the challenges associated with the reforms of the aviation sector.

"We must endeavour to build and maintain an aviation infrastructure that meets global standards of safety and industry best practices. Too often have we been criticised for failing to rise to the occasion as a nation in areas where we posses comparative advantages. We therefore intend to engage in the restructuring of the entire sector with emphasis on institutions responsible for the formulation and implementation of policies.

"Government will not shy away from the challenges associated with the reforms of the Nigerian aviation sector, with the objective of improved infrastructural development and service delivery. We will work tirelessly towards creating the right environment for Foreign Direct Investment.

"We will begin in earnest to mobilise required expertise to undertake a comprehensive management audit of the aviation sector. This will commence with a functional review of the Ministry of Aviation towards sharpening its capacity for strategic policy intelligence. We will reinforce the ministry's capacity for result-oriented monitoring, evaluation and performance reporting using modern management techniques

The president noted that "we plan to evolve a ministry and agencies adequately equipped and properly staffed to respond to the magnitude of private sector activities that will establish Nigeria in the leadership position in this sector."

Obasanjo affirmed that his government would achieve this transformation through a deliberate and constructive collaboration of efforts between all the industry stakeholders, including policy makers, regulator, service providers and operators.

"We all have a common goal of achieving a rapid and successful transformation of the physical and institutional infrastructure from its present form to international standard. We believe that this joint effort will go a long way in improving our image and reinforcing the gains we made in the areas of debt relief, market liberalisation and institutional reforms", the President said.
On Virgin Nigeria, Obasanjo who spoke against the backdrop of defunct national carrier, Nigeria Airways, noted that state enterprises suffer from fundamental problems of defective capital structure, excessive bureaucratic control or intervention, inappropriate technology, gross incompetence and management as well as blatant corruption and crippling complacency which monopoly engenders.

These shortcomings, he said, inevitably take a heavy toll on the national economy, adding that it was therefore in the realisation of this that his administration resolved to positively redress the situation as successive ministers of aviation were charged with the task of midwifing an exclusively private sector funded flag carrier for the country.

He observed that the birth of a carrier in any nation of the world is typically a challenging and onerous task and becomes even more challenging in a kind of environment like Nigeria that is undergoing major reforms at different fronts.
Obasanjo said the launch of Virgin Nigeria was another remarkable stride in the reform effort, adding that it was therefore with a sense of fulfillment that he was flagging off "the nation's new and totally privately owned flag carrier."

"Today, we are proud beneficiaries of the birth of a world class carrier. This feat involves on the one hand, significant investment from one of the world's most enterprising and successful airlines-Virgin Atlantic Airways-and a group of top quality Nigerian institutional investors on the other. This is truly one of Nigeria's finest hour.

"It is our determination to continue to grow the private sector and sustain the momentum for wealth creation, employment generation and poverty reduction. We have now struck a happy medium of achieving these objectives of having a world class Nigerian airline flying the national flag with its operational, commercial and administrative headquarters located in Nigeria and partnered by a first class world renowned airline.

"Let me state at this juncture that the birth and floating of a flag carrier itself does not capture the overall objective of our aviation policy. This administration is determined to sustain the tempo of rapidly developing the aviation sector and capitalise on the multiplier effect on investment output and employment. It is therefore imperative that we develop new and collaborative initiatives to sustain this process", he said.

He expressed the hope that just like Singapore and Emirates of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, Nigeria will use the development of hubs in Lagos and Abuja to attract a significant amount of international trade and investments from the west and central African regions to boost her earnings and strategically position the economy in the global aviation industry.

The President said that it is expected that one million passenger throughput would create about 7000 additional jobs in any market and generate an economic impact of about U$650 million.

"Therefore, the development of our airport infrastructure and the elevation of the Lagos Airport into a truly international hub is not just an economic necessity but it is central to our strategic objectives within the next 24 months. Achieving these goals will not only help our domestic airlines but also foreign carriers to develop the confidence required, to enhance our image and economic interest.

"It is not our intention to promote a national carrier that will just dominate our domestic routes. Our expectation and indeed our vision is that Virgin Nigeria will quickly establish itself as a champion on regional routes and a force in the international arena", Obasanjo said.

In his address, Chairman of Virgin Atlantic Airways, Sir Richard Branson, expressed appreciation for the support of the people and government of Nigeria in the launch of Virgin Nigeria, "which, as the name suggests, is a synergy of the globally renowned Virgin brand and the resilience of the Nigerian spirit."

Branson said he was proud to say that the results of the commencement of operations by Virgin Nigeria on June 28 have started manifesting, adding that in terms of employment, for instance, about 200 Nigerians have already been engaged.

The number, he said, is expected to rise to about 1,000 in the next few months, stressing that in terms of actual flight experience, Virgin Nigeria is currently focused on achieving its goal of creating a new dawn of air travel in Nigeria which would offer passengers both value-for-money and the quality of service to rival the best international airlines.

Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala recalled that it was in April last year that Obasanjo put together a presidential task force, with her as the chairman, to see to the birth of a national flag carrier.
She noted that what made it possible for Virgin Atlantic Airways to emerge as the preferred choice was the way it approached the issue of giving Nigeria a national flag carrier.

The minister said that it was the intention of the government to impact significantly on the overall economy, adding that aviation industry has become the economic mainstay of some countries, citing Ethiopia as an example.

Last edited by skipperBill; July 19th, 2005 at 11:33 PM.
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Old July 20th, 2005, 01:22 AM   #107
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Egyptian charter cleared for flight after passengers refused to board over safety concerns

PARIS, July 17 (AFP) - An Egyptian charter plane resumed flying Sunday after aviation authorities at Charles de Gaulle airport examined the aircraft that around 100 French passengers had refused to board in Egypt over safety concerns, airport officials said.

The plane, a McDonnell-Douglas aircraft owned by the Egyptian charter company AMC Airlines, was declared sound by France's civil aviation authority DGAC and took off with 83 passengers bound for Luxor, Egypt, the DGAC said.

French authorities grounded the aircraft after it arrived in Paris late Saturday upon hearing about the complaints of the passengers, who spent an extra night in Luxor rather than fly with AMC. Fifty other tourists did however board the plane bound for Paris.

The protesting passengers are now scheduled to return to Paris late Sunday on a plane with Star Airlines, airport officials said.
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Old July 20th, 2005, 03:19 AM   #108
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Emirates Airline offers $70 duty-free vouchers to Tanzanian customers
19 July 2005

The international Emirates airline has launched a unique offer of rewards for all its customers in Tanzania, the airline’s Area Manager, Khalid Al Serkal, has said in Dar es Salaam.

He said that the airline, which operates daily flights between Dar es Salaam and Dubai, would reward all its economy class passengers with a $70 duty-free, free shopping vouchers.

The shopping voucher could be redeemed at all Dubai airport duty-free shops.

’Offering free shopping vouchers is one of a long series of value added offers that we present to our clients,’ he said.

Serkal said that the Dubai duty free shop was in state-of-the- art shopping complex located at the centre of Dubai International Airport.

Last year the airport proved to be a remarkable year for the Dubai duty- free shops with sales surpassing all records to across $500 million.

The half-billion-dollar milestone represented a 32 per cent increased over the previous year and underlined the operation’s global status among the top three airport retailers in the world, he said.

Since its launch in 1985, Emirates Airline has received more that 250 international awards in recognition of its efforts to provide unsurpassed levels of customers service.

Earlier this year the airline was adjudged the Best International Airline and Best Economy Class carrier in East Africa by travel and lifestyle, East Africa’s leading travel publication noted.

* SOURCE: Guardian
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Old July 20th, 2005, 05:02 PM   #109
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60 dead in Equatorial Guinea plane crash: president

MALABO, July 18 (AFP) - Sixty people were killed when a Russian-built Antonov plane crashed in flames in Equatorial Guinea shortly after takeoff from the capital Malabo, President Teodoro Obiang Nguema said Sunday.

In a radio message to the nation, Obiang declared a three-day period of national mourning following Saturday's crash which, he said, had killed mostly young Equatorial Guineans and women.

The plane, which went down on a domestic flight in thick jungle, "was completely destroyed, burned and there were no survivors," national radio announced earlier, playing somber music as it reported the news.

Thousands of distraught family and friends besieged Malabo airport and later the hospital after the confirmation of the crash.

"Our people are going through the worst moments of grief, consternation and sadness ever known in their history," Obiang declared.

"This tragedy affected many families to whom we send our condolences ... and our solidarity," the president continued.

At first the government had said a total of 55 people were on the ageing 48-seater Antonov-24, while the operating company, the private airline Ecuatair, said its records showed there were 35 passengers and 10 crew.

Airport sources said crews in the west African country are often bribed to take additional people on board.

The radio said many of the victims were Malabo college students going on holiday from the island of Bioko where the capital is situated to their homes in the continental part of the country.

The funerals of the 60 victims would take place on Monday, television said quoting official sources. A presidential decree said flags would be flown at half-mast during the mourning period, starting at midnight (2300 GMT Sunday).

President Obiang called for an inquiry into the causes of the accident to "take eventual measures that would avoid similar events in future."

It took rescuers until Sunday to reach the crash site in a remote area some 30 kilometers (18 miles) from Malabo, as they had to skirt the 3,007-meter (9.923-foot) high Mount Basile which overlooks the capital and slog several hours through the jungle.

Bad weather, including nonstop rain, made the operation even more difficult.

Some of the remains of the dead, charred beyond recognition, were taken in plastic bags to the main hospital in Malabo.

Authorities quickly abandoned an impromptu identification process when after holding up the purse of a female victim, the crowd surged forward, prompting clashes with police.

It took the government some 24 hours to officially confirm the crash, and until Sunday afternoon to announce that no one had escaped with their lives.

"They didn't want to alarm people before they knew what had happened to the plane," a transport ministry official, who did not want to be named, said.

Officials have now have set up a crisis unit, including several government ministers, charged with overseeing the salvage operation, identifying the dead and reporting on developments.

An eyewitness said Saturday that he saw the aircraft go down shortly after takeoff at 10:00 am (0900 GMT) from Malabo for the city of Bata on the Equatorial Guinea mainland.

The wreckage was not located until eight hours later near the district of Baney, the government statement indicated.

The plane skidded over trees for a distance of about a kilometer (half a mile) before it crashed, according to aerial photographs, the statement added.

Ecuatair, which is among a handful of companies serving domestic routes in the west African country, has only one other plane, a Soviet-built Yak-40.

Most of the planes, piloted mainly by Russians, Ukrainians and Armenians, are Soviet-era aircraft that often no longer meet international flight standards and are not allowed to land at airports in other countries in the region.

Several international organizations ask their employees not to use the airlines.

In April Equatorial Guinea authorities grounded another local company, the Union de Transportes Aereo de Guinea Ecuatorial, for safety reasons after a series of technical breakdowns.

Equatorial Guinea, with a population of just over one million, is in the midst of an oil boom, and has seen double-digit growth since the mid-1990s.
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Old July 22nd, 2005, 12:51 AM   #110
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Zimbabwean planes grounded by fuel, spares shortages

HARARE, July 21 (AFP) - Zimbabwe's national carrier has cancelled several flights this week because of a shortage of fuel and spares, a state-run daily said Thursday.

"A critical shortage of Jet A1 fuel has hit Air Zimbabwe forcing it to cancel some of its domestic and international flights," The Herald newspaper said.

"Some flights were suspended while some are operational as usual," the newspaper quoted Air Zimbabwe spokesman David Mwenga as saying.

Mwenga refused to name the flights which were either cancelled or delayed but The Herald quoted an official as saying Air Zimbabwe had suspended some flights to its premier tourist destination, the Victoria Falls, as well as flights to London and South Africa.

The newspaper reported that a London flight that was scheduled for Wednesday afternoon was delayed for more than eight hours as officials scrambled to get fuel.

Zimbabwe has been experiencing fuel shortages in the last five years blamed on shortages of hard currency.

The shortages reached their peak in the last two months.

The Herald reported that two Air Zimbabwe planes failed to take off two weeks ago because of shortages of spares while another was grounded as it was said to be overdue for routine maintenance.

Air Zimbabwe officials told the newspaper that spares for the planes had been phased out by the manufacturer, Boeing.

Following sanctions and isolation by western countries over the political crisis in the country, Zimbabwe has adopted the "Look East" policy, fostering close relations with Asian countries, particularly China, Malaysia and Singapore.

In April, Air Zimbabwe took delivery of three MA60 passenger planes from China's state-owned AVIC aircraft manufacturer.

The planes came weeks after Zimbabwe bought trainer jets from China.
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Old July 23rd, 2005, 02:14 AM   #111
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South African Airways operations badly hit by wage strike
Fri Jul 22, 2:06 PM ET

CAPE TOWN (AFP) - South African Airways operations were badly hit as crew and cabin staff launched an open-ended strike for higher pay, leading to 75 percent of its flights being cancelled and causing mayhem at airports.

"Since this morning, out of 96 scheduled flights, SAA cancelled 72 domestic, regional flights and international," SAA said in its latest update on the strike.

Ten of the cancelled flights were destined for faraway locations such as Mumbai, Sao Paulo, Lagos, Nairobi, and Port Louis in Mauritius.

Two leading unions launched the strike early Friday to press their demand for an eight percent wage increase instead of the five percent offered by SAA management.

"At this stage we advise our customers to postpone their travel arrangements where possible over the next few days," said SAA chief operations officer Kyrl Acton.

Several thousand passengers were left stranded around the country after cabin crew and ground staff downed tools from early this morning.

In Cape Town, members of the Under-18 French rugby team were among those milling around the airport as several hundred passengers were left stranded.

"Its been a good tour for us so far but now this is really a problem," said Under-18 rugby chief of the delegation Guy Piera, adding that he was not sure when his team was likely to get a flight to Johannesburg.

The French side has been touring South Africa since July 15 and was due to fly to Johannesburg where they were expected to play a match against a Pretoria school next week.

A southern Cape businessman from George, near Cape Town, walked into the strike after returning from a trip in Canada.

"Its hopeless, the whole thing stinks and I have no other words to describe it," J.A. Visser said as he waited for a connecting flight to George.

Another passenger, Advocate Jaga, told AFP: "This strike has affected everyone badly. It is very frustrating especially when there is no one to assist you."

Other passengers resorted to reading novels and newspapers as they bottled their frustration.

A disgruntled businessman in Johannesburg airport said he would not be flying SAA again, an AFP photographer reported.

"They have been so unhelpful that I am shifting my loyalty to one of the competitors," he said as many others around him voiced similar sentiments. Long queues were seen at airports all over the country.

A group of American tourists started shouting in Johannesburg airport, Africa's busiest, when they were informed that their flight to Zambia had been cancelled.

"Why didn't you put it on the flight information screen?" they screamed when upon going to the information desk they were informed that their flight to Lusaka had been cancelled.

An incoming passenger from Singapore said he thought there was a "revolution" in South Africa and people were fleeing, the SAFM radio channel reported.

Among the victims of Friday's protest was South Africa's fast-pace bowler Makhaya Ntini who missed a date with Nelson Mandela to attend an event linked to ongoing celebrations marking the icon's 87th birthday.

The airports where flights have been disrupted include the eastern seaboard cities of Durban, Port Elizabeth and East London and George near Cape Town.

The South African Transport and Allied Workers Union, one of two unions participating in the strike, said they did not know when the protest would end.
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Old July 23rd, 2005, 02:42 AM   #112
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SAA Cancels Flights As Strike Starts
July 22, 2005

South African Airways (SAA) cancelled most of its domestic and international flights on Friday, causing chaos at major airports across the country, as ground staff began a strike over wages.

"SAA has cancelled some of its domestic flights following industrial action by cabin crew and ground staff from early this morning," SAA spokeswoman Sarah Uys said in a statement.

SAA management and unions said late on Friday there were no immediate plans for talks to end the strike.

The carrier said that by early afternoon about 75 percent of its scheduled flights had been cancelled, including flights to a number of African cities such as Lusaka in Zambia and Nairobi in Kenya.

Other cancellations included flights to Sao Paulo and Mumbai, it added.

SAA cabin crew and ground staff went on strike from early on Friday after unions and management failed to reach agreement on wages at a final meeting on Thursday. The union is demanding an 8 percent annual wage increase while SAA is offering 5 percent.

Leon Grobler, spokesman of the United Association of South Africa, said the union was seeking a meeting with SAA management and added that the strike would continue until an agreement was reached.

"We will strike over the weekend. It's impossible to call off the strike at this stage when there is no reasonable offer on the table," Grobler said.

The union's umbrella federation approached the national ministry of labour to facilitate a meeting with SAA management, but no talks were planned.

"They (SAA) are saying they will only interact with us when we call off the strike," Grobler said.

The national Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration said in a statement SAA management and the union had rejected intervention.

Local media reported that passengers waited in queues of up to 200 metres (yards) at Johannesburg Airport while at Cape Town some passengers took to sleeping on their luggage on the airport floor. All outbound SAA fights from Durban were cancelled, South African Press Association reported.

"We have been waiting here since 7 o'clock this morning. The flight was supposed to leave at 9am but it hasn't gone yet," Emily Schwarz, a member of a British school netball team, said at Cape Town airport shortly before noon.

"I am quite annoyed because we have a game tomorrow (in Durban) and now it doesn't even look like we will get there until tomorrow. Does this happen often?"

The Australian national rugby team -- in South Africa to play the Springboks in the final game of the Mandela Charity Cup on Saturday -- had to charter a special flight from Cape Town to Johannesburg for the game due to the extensive delays.

But others said they understood the SAA staff action.

"It is quite annoying to have to stand here in queues but you can sympathize with the union... the company has just reported big profits," Manie Wessels said while waiting for a flight to Johannesburg.

UASA argues that SAA can afford an eight percent raise after it disclosed a ZAR966 million rand (USD$146.2 million) net profit for the 2004/05 financial year earlier this month. It suffered a ZAR8.6 billion (USD$1.3 billion) loss the previous period.

(Reuters)
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Old July 23rd, 2005, 07:22 AM   #113
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Oman Air cancels flights to Zanzibar over shoddy airport: officials

ZANZIBAR, July 22 (AFP) - Oman Air this week cancelled its flights to Tanzania's offshore island of Zanzibar as a result of poor airport conditions, officials said on Friday.

"Oman Air has cancelled its operations in Zanzibar because of the poor condition of our airport, mainly after developing potholes in the runway. This is a big business loss to us," Zanzibar Communication and Transport Minister Adam Mwakanjuki told reporters here.

Mwakanjuki did not specify when the airline stopped flying here.

The minister said work on the runway would start next week at a cost of 500,000 dollars, which is part of the World Bank's 9.5 million dollar project to revamp the airport.

The cancellation has dealt a blow to Tanzania's semi-autonomous island, "specifically at this high season when tourists are visiting Zanzibar," Mwakanjuki explained.

The tourism sector contributes about 21 percent to the island's annual revenues.
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Old July 24th, 2005, 03:39 AM   #114
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Sunday July 24, 3:32 AM
Strike forces South African Airways to cancel all international flights

JOHANNESBURG (AFP) - South African Airways said it had suspended all international flights because of a strike by its staff that began on Friday morning.

"SAA has cancelled all its regional and international flights until further notice following industrial action by the airline's cabin crew and ground staff," the national carrier said in a statement.

It called on passengers to postpone their travel plans or make alternative arrangements.

The company said it had no option as "cabin crew failed to turn up for duty" and it did not have the necessary personnel to comply with aviation safety regulations.

On Friday, the airline was forced to cancel 75 percent of all international and domestic flights.

Labour unions are demanding an eight-percent wage increase instead of the five percent offered by SAA.

The secretary general of the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union, Randall Howard, told AFP the strike was considered a success and would continue.

"The strike is well supported. As long as the SAA management remains arrogant, the strike will continue. There are no negotiations at the moment."
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Old July 25th, 2005, 12:40 PM   #115
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Zanzibar govt acts over poor state of airport
25 July 2005

Zanzibar International Airport is to undergo emergency repairs to stave off a mass boycott of the facility by airlines.

Zanzibar Minister of Communications and Transport Adam Mwakanjuki said at the weekend that the government had taken measures to have the airport’s runway repaired.
He spoke just days after Oman Air suspended its flights into and out of Zanzibar due to the poor state of the airport.

Mwakanjuki said more airlines would stop using the airport if emergency repair work that would bring it up to acceptable standards would not be carried out in the near future.

He added that the government had contracted the Kenyan construction firm, SS Mehta, to repair the runway and taxiways at a cost of US$500,000 (550m/-) before major repairs were carried out.

The emergency repairs would involve the filling of cracks and potholes on the runway and taxiways including levelling of the surfaces.

Mwakanjuki said the tender for major rehabilitation work had already been floated after the government terminated its contract with the Chinese company, Chico, earlier this year.

Several companies had expressed their interest in undertaking the work, the minister said and added that it would not be long before a contractor was picked in accordance with ompetitive bidding procedures specified in the World Bank’s guidelines.

The rehabilitation is to be financed by the World Bank ranging to the tune of US$9.5m.

Mwakanjuki said cancellation of Oman Air flights was a blow to Zanzibar in that the decision was made during the current high tourist season.

He added that the airport had to be repaired before other airlines flying into Zanzibar followed suit and decided to suspend their flights.

’We have to meet the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) requirements and this is why the government is doing all it can to ensure that the airport is repaired as soon as possible,’ Mwakanjuki said.

He, however, scoffed at reports that the airport was in a ’very bad’ state and that services offered at the facility were equally poor.

He said: ’We cannot deny the fact that our airport needs to undergo extensive rehabilitation, but it seems that reports about its state are being grossly exaggerated.

’Reputable carriers, such as Kenya Airways and South African Airways, are still using the airport and this shows that the safety of passengers and aircraft has not been compromised.’

Mwakanjuki also added that US First Lady Laura Bush and Former US President Bill Clinton would not have visited Zanzibar had the airport been in a ’terrible’ state of disrepair.
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Old July 25th, 2005, 12:43 PM   #116
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British Airways diverts Lagos flights to Abuja
25 July 2005

WITH public confidence waning on the Lagos airport, the British Airways yesterday diverted its flight 075 coming into Nigeria to Abuja.

A Lufthansa aircraft had on Saturday skidded off the Murtala Muhammed International Airport Lagos, after running into a pot hole on touch down.

A source told The Guardian last night that the flight diversion was to ensure safety of its passengers and crew.

And the returning flight for the diverted plane to Abuja, according to the airline, will be tomorrow evening out of Abuja, instead of Lagos.

It was learnt that the boycott of the Lagos airport will continue till tomorrow after the bad spot may have been rectified.

The management of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), according to a source, inspected the bad portion of the runway yesterday with some technical team of British Airways and some other foreign airlines.

The Lufthansa A330-300 aircraft on Saturday skidded off the Lagos Airport runway, after its front tyres burst due to some pot-holes on the only functional runway of the airport.

The aircraft's front tyres were said to have burst shortly after touch down on the runway 18L.

A pilot said the control tower was already alerting pilots on the part of the runway that was bad to avoid any mishap.

The bad state of the Lagos airport runway has been on the front burner in recent times.

The project was awarded to PW and work on it was scheduled to be completed in March this year.

Aviation Minister, Prof. Babalola Borishade, will today inspect some of the facilities at the Lagos airport.

The British Airways had to make an arrangement with Aerocontractors and Virgin Nigeria to fly their passengers out of Lagos to Abuja today for the delayed flight.

All expenses will be borne by the British carrier, according to its officials.
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Old July 25th, 2005, 04:49 PM   #117
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Fourth day of strike at South African Airways

JOHANNESBURG, July 25 (AFP) - Two unions on strike at South Africa's national airline on Monday rejected a new offer by management, taking the stoppage into its fourth day and leaving thousands of passengers stranded.

South African Airways management over the weekend sweetened its offer of a five percent annual wage increase with a five percent increase on housing and medical benefits as well as a once-off 1,600-rand (240-dollar, 198-euro) bonus.

"The offer has been rejected and the strike continues," said Leon Grobler, chief operating officer of the United Association of South Africa (UASA), which represents SAA's ground and cabin crew.

Several thousand passengers have been stranded around the country after about 5,000 SAA staff walked off the job on Friday at all South Africa's major airports demanding an eight percent wage increase.

The national carrier suspended all international flights Saturday, but some flights resumed on Sunday and Monday, said SAA spokeswoman Sarah Uys.

"Eight planes have left for international destinations like London, Frankfurt, Zurich, Washington and Atlanta, while six flights have left from Cape Town and one from Johannesburg on our domestic routes," Uys told AFP.

"All our flights on routes in Africa, for instance, remain suspended," she added.

Uys said the airline would do a cost calculation once the strike was over, but UASA estimated that the airline had lost about 200 million rand (30 million dollars, 24 million euros).

Grobler said UASA was entering negotiations with management later Monday and planned to bring a new proposal to the table.

"We are hopeful that we will move closer to a settlement once management has seen our proposal," Grobler told AFP.

Ronnie Mamba, spokesman for the South African Transport and Allied Workers' Union (SATAWU), said his union would be willing to negotiate a salary increase around the seven-percent mark.

"What we don't understand is that last year, SAA made a huge loss and we got a six percent increase. This year, they had a turnaround of one billion rand and they are offering five percent," Mamba said.

"We have worked our backsides off to help with this turnaround. To then be offered five percent makes everybody a bit despondent," he said.
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Old July 26th, 2005, 08:07 PM   #118
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Equatorial Guinea allows flights to resume after plane crash

MALABO, July 26 (AFP) - Equatorial Guinea has given the green light to all airline companies to resume passenger flights between Malabo and Bata, after some aircraft were grounded following a July 16 air crash, national radio reported Tuesday citing a government statement.

Prime Minister Miguel Abia Biteo Borico had suspended passenger flights on Soviet-built Antonov and Yak planes after an overloaded Antonov aircraft went down shortly after takeoff from the capital Malabo, killing 60 people.

No details of the government's inquiry into the crash were released.

Since the suspension of the antiquated planes, only two companies, the national carrier Air Guinea and the Canadian airline Air Service based in Gabon, maintained fights between Malabo on the island of Bioko, and Bata, the economic capital on the continental part of this west African nation.
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Old July 28th, 2005, 06:53 PM   #119
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South African Airways 'back in business' after crippling strike

JOHANNESBURG, July 28 (AFP) - A nearly week-long strike at South African Airways (SAA), Africa's biggest airline, which left thousands of passengers stranded, ended Thursday with the signing of a six-percent pay deal.

"The difficult process that we started off resulted in the parties having reached an agreement," said mediator Edwin Molahlehi, who was called in to break the deadlock.

"They are signing, all of them," Molahlehi told reporters after 12 hours of marathon negotiations between SAA management and two unions representing 5,000 staff.

SAA cabin and ground crew went on strike last Friday, staging the worst labour action in 71 years at the airline and keeping both international and domestic flights on the tarmac.

SAA chief executive Khaya Ngqula said operations were expected to return to normal by Saturday after having to cancel most flights over the past days, causing mayhem at airports and leaving thousands of passengers in the lurch.

"Starting today we are back in business and expect to be fully up and running by Saturday," Ngqula said.

Flights were still disrupted on Thursday, including those destined for Europe and to African destinations.

"We still have a problem with Europe and at least one flight, the one to Italy has not taken off," said SAA spokeswoman Sarah Uys.

Six other flights including to destinations like Harare and Nairobi were also cancelled, while some 25 domestic flights managed to take off.

SAA declined to give a figure of how much the strike had cost, with Ngqula saying Thursday that "this is a competitive airline and nowhere in the world do airlines give figures."

But one union, the United Association of South Africa (UASA), said the carrier had already lost about 200 million rand (30 million dollars) by the start of the week, or around 25 million rand in revenue per day.

SAA's ground and cabin crew belonging to UASA and the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU) walked off the job amid demands for an eight-percent annual wage increase. SAA was offering a five-percent pay hike.

Over the weekend, SAA management sweetened its offer with a five percent increase in housing and medical benefits as well as a one-off 1,600-rand (240-dollar, 198-euro) bonus.

SATAWU leader Randall Howard said his members were not fully satisfied with the agreement, but added: "We can live with the results under the circumstances."

"It's been an extremely difficult strike. From the reports back from our members I think there was a feeling that they should have achieved more," said Howard, whose union had some 3,600 members on stoppage at airports around the country.

"I can't stand here in front of you with honesty and say that we have reached an unanimous decision. It was very difficult to persuade our membership," he said.

UASA accepted the six percent offer late Wednesday said its workers would be returning to their jobs on Thursday.

"UASA accepted the settlement by the majority of its members. In a strike situation there are no winners," added UASA spokesman Leon Grobler at the press conference.
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Old July 28th, 2005, 06:54 PM   #120
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South African Airways fined in competition probe

JOHANNESBURG, July 28 (Reuters) - South Africa's competition watchdog on Thursday fined South African Airways (SAA) 45 million rand ($6.8 million) for abusing its dominant position by operating an illegal incentive scheme for travel agents.

The fine, the biggest yet from the Competition Tribunal, came as SAA [SAA.UL] struggled to reach a deal with two unions to end a strike which has crippled Africa's largest airline for almost a week.

Budget airline Comair , part-owned by British Airways , and Nationwide Airlines had both filed complaints over SAA's incentive scheme, and the country's competition authorities last year declared that the payments were anti-competitive.

The tribunal, in its final verdict on Thursday, said the incentive schemes "were unlawful and a prohibited practice", meaning that Comair and Nationwide will be able to take SAA to court if they can prove they suffered damages.

The tribunal noted that both Nationwide and Comair operated their own incentive schemes, but that neither had the dominant market position of SAA and were therefore unable to use the schemes to exclude rivals.

"Because the market share of SAA's rivals was so much smaller it would have been prohibitive for them to have compensated travel agents on their lower volume of sales to match SAA's incentives," the tribunal said in a statement.

"The tribunal found on the evidence that the override schemes gave travel agents a compelling commercial incentive to sell tickets of SAA in preference to that of its rivals, and secondly, to a significant extent, they were able to influence customer preferences."

The tribunal added that while it had no direct evidence that consumers suffered through SAA's practices, it could be inferred that because competitors suffered significant decline in growth customers ended up facing both higher prices and less choice.

The tribunal said the 45 million rand fine represented 2.25 percent of SAA's domestic ticket sales through travel agents in 2000/01. The maximum possible fine would have been 200 million rand, or 10 percent of SAA's annual turnover.

SAA was ordered to pay the penalty within 20 business days.

The order came as SAA sought to reach a final deal with two striking unions which have grounded an estimated 75 percent of the airline's flights since workers walked off the job on Friday.

Unions representing SAA ground staff and cabin crews had demanded an 8 percent annual increase, while the airline had offered a 5 percent increase.

Analysts said the strike was costing SAA about half of its daily turnover of 50 million rand ($7.49 million), and could have an increasingly serious knock-on effect on South Africa's tourism industry.
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