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Old October 27th, 2005, 05:31 PM   #141
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Egypt to present report on Flash air crash next week

CAIRO, Oct 26 (AFP) - Egyptian authorities will next week release a draft final report into the January 2004 crash of a Flash Airlines plane in the resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, the official MENA news agency reported Wednesday.

"The 1,000-page draft contains full information about the aircraft, crew and the performance of instruments before and during the crash," said the head of the Egyptian crash investigation committee, Shaqir Qalada, quoted by MENA.

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

A definitive report will be published after a 60-day period for France and the United States where the doomed Boeing 737 was manufactured to make their comments on the findings, according to Qalada.

He said the Egyptian investigation had determined a series of incidents "which happened at the same time and led to crash of the aircraft", without giving further details.

An initial report published by Egyptian authorities in November 2004 detailed the flight's final moments before the plane crashed into the sea but it remains unclear whether machine or human error was to blame.

The flight was chartered by Egypt's Flash Airlines company which has since gone bankrupt.
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Old October 28th, 2005, 02:07 PM   #142
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Kenya Airways half-year profits rise, oil a threat

NAIROBI, Oct 28 (Reuters) - Kenya Airways posted a rise in profits for the first half of its financial year, but warned on Friday that high oil prices and competition could depress profits in the second half.

The airline, one of Africa's best performing airlines, said after-tax profits jumped to 2.2 billion shillings ($29.90 million) in the six months to September from 1.5 billion in the same period the previous year.

Income was boosted by a 23 percent increase in passengers to 1.2 million, the most Kenya Airways has carried in any six-month period, due to its use of bigger Boeing 777 planes and growth in tourism in the region.

But high oil prices, an appreciating local currency and the increased cost of financing two new Boeing 777s, delivered in April and June this year, weighed on profits.

The airline, which is 26 percent owned by Air France-KLM's Dutch arm, said it was "cautiously optimistic" about the reminder of the financial year, albeit with concerns over a potential increase in competition as well as continuing high fuel prices.

"The cost of jet fuel still remains the greatest threat to profitability, while part of this cost is likely to be passed to customers by way of fuel surcharges, the airline will still have to absorb the balance," Chairman Evans Mwaniki said in a statement to shareholders.

Kenya Airways has faced tough competition from airlines such as British Airways and Emirates.

More competition is seen from a small local airline expected to start operations in November.

The airline lost 320 million shillings on foreign exchange in the six months to Sept. 2005, compared with a gain of 139 million shillings the previous year, due to a continued strengthening of the Kenyan shilling.

The currency has gained 6.7 percent against the dollar since the beginning of the year, supported by robust inflows from the tourism, horticulture and tea sectors amid depressed demand for dollars from the corporates.

"The loss on the foreign exchange is mainly due to the impact of the depreciating USD (U.S. dollar) to the Kenya shilling on the USD denominated deposits," the airline said.
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Old October 29th, 2005, 06:57 AM   #143
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Somali warlords threaten to shoot down planes in airport row

MOGADISHU, Oct 28 (AFP) - Warlords in control of the lawless Somali capital threatened Friday to shoot down planes that obey a new directive from the war-shattered nation's transitional government not to use airports they run.

Mogadishu warlord Musa Sudi Yalahow, who serves as trade minister in the splintered administration, said the bar on flights into the airstrips was an illegal attempt by embattled President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed to undermine his foes.

"This is aimed at undermining Mogadishu," he told AFP. "Any plane which diverts its flight because of this announcement will be punished. Our anti-aircraft weapons will not be silent and any plane that undermines it will be downed."

"This is not to attack anybody, but is aimed at protecting the value of the Somali capital and to protect the interests of the people," said Yalahow, who said he spoke on behalf of other Mogadishu-based warlords opposed to Yusuf.

He did not explain how they would shoot down aircraft which avoided the territory they controlled.

The threat came after Yusuf's faction of the government, which is based in Jowhar about 90 kilometers (55 miles) north of the capital for security reasons, announced it would no longer allow flights into two warlord-controlled airports.

The ban affects Mogadishu's Daynile airport on the outskirts of the capital and the El-Ahmed airport in Merka about 100 kilometers (60 miles) south and takes effect November 1, officials said.

The transport ministry, under control of Yusuf's allies, said it had taken the move as part of efforts to boost the penniless government's near non-existent tax base as revenue from the airstrips in question currently goes to warlords.

"The ministry of transport has ordered flights not to land at the Daynile and El-Ahmed airports," it said in a statement released in Jowhar and sent to authorities in neighboring countries.

"Instead, flights will be diverted to other airstrips at which the government is able to collect tax," it said.

An official in Jowhar said the notice had been sent to civil aviation authorities in Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Yemen and United Arab Emirates from where most flights into Daynile and El-Ahmed depart.

The official said the five other nations had agreed to enforce the ban as part of a broader package of measures aimed at strengthening the fledgling government.

Somalia has been without a functioning central administration since the 1991 ousting of strongman Mohamed Siad Barre.

Yusuf's government is the latest in more than a dozen attempts to restore stability to the nation but a dispute over the seat of the administration has left it virtually powerless.
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Old November 1st, 2005, 12:16 AM   #144
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After crash, Nigeria bans air ticket transfer, racketeering

LAGOS, Oct 31 (AFP) - The Nigerian government on Monday banned the transfer of airline tickets and all forms of racketeering at the nation's airports in the aftermath of this month's plane crash in which all 117 people on board were killed.

"We will no longer tolerate touting of air tickets at the airports or allow the use of tickets that do not bear passengers' names," the director general of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Fidelis Onyeyiri, told state-run NTA television.

"Some touts buy tickets in advance and create unnecessary scarcity in order to make profit. This will no longer be allowed. A lot of anomalies were discovered after the latest incident (crash). Many people did not travel with tickets bearing their names," Onyeyiri said.

These anomalies make it difficult for accident victims' families to lodge insurance claims, he noted.

Meanwhile, the NTA reported that excavation work began Monday on the fuselage of the Abuja-bound commercial plane that crashed in the village of Lisa on the northern outskirts of Lagos on October 22.

Members of the public, including journalists, are being barred from the exercise to dig out the main body of the Bellview 737 jet which was thought to still hold the black box and the bodies of some of the victims.

The work is being supervised by a team of US accident investigators, the television said.

President Olusegun Obasanjo said in Abuja on Sunday that the government would erect a remembrance garden at the site of the crash "with the names of all the victims of the unfortunate accident inscribed, indelibly inscribed. Lest we should forget."

The president attended a memorial service in Lisa last Thursday.
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Old November 2nd, 2005, 01:58 AM   #145
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Nigerian plane skids off flooded runway

LAGOS, Nov 1 (AFP) - A Nigerian passenger plane was damaged as it skidded off a waterlogged runway on landing at Lagos airport Tuesday, an aviation offical said, reviving safety fears about 10 days after a deadly crash.

"At about 11:00 am (1000 GMT) today, an Associated Airlines plane coming from Benin City ran into bad weather on arriving in Lagos. It landed on the flooded tarmac and skidded, damaging its front nose tyre," said Sam Adurogboye, a spokesman of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).

"All the 17 people on board the plane are safe," he told AFP, adding that after "the collapse of the wheel, it got stuck on the tarmac and blocked it. The tarmac was blocked for about an hour and 25 minutes before it was cleared to allow for the free flow of traffic."

Adurogboye said an investigation had been launched into the cause of the crash, but he could not confirm a television news report that the pilot had ignored an order from air traffic control not to land because of the water on the runway.

The Shorts SD-3-60 passenger turboprop which was damaged can carry 19 passengers and is 18 years old, Adurogboye said.

The incident was one of a series involving Nigerian planes in recent months.

On October 22 a Bellview Airlines Boeing 737 passenger jet bound for Abuja crashed in the village of Lissa, just north of Lagos, killing all 117 passengers and crew on board.

Aviation experts were Tuesday still investigating the scene of that crash.
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Old November 3rd, 2005, 04:41 PM   #146
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Morocco signs deal with Boeing to buy five planes

RABAT, Nov 3 (Reuters) - Moroccan flag carrier Royal Air Maroc (RAM) said on Thursday it had signed a deal with Boeing to purchase five long-haul Dreamliner aircaft for $650 million.

"The contract on buying the five planes was signed on Wednesday in Casablanca. The first plane is due to be delivered in October 2008," the airline said in a statement.

RAM will use the five aircraft for its long-haul flights to Canada and the United States.

The airline selected Boeing in a tender it launched in June to buy the planes as part of drive to renovate its Boeing-dominated fleet of 32. RAM said the Dreamliner jets will help it save on fuel costs.
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Old November 3rd, 2005, 07:43 PM   #147
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Old November 4th, 2005, 12:20 AM   #148
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Plans for Second Runway at Nairobi put before Parliament

2nd November 2005


Story by NATION Team /Parliament
Publication Date: 11/2/2005



The Government plans to build an alternative runway at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to cope with emergencies.

Transport assistant minister Andrew Ligale said the project was suggested after an accident on October 1 in which a cargo plane crashed-landed, forcing the Kenya Airports Authority to suspend the use of the sole runway for eight hours.

He denied claims by Mr Jimmy Angwenyi (Kitutu Chache, Ford People) that the airport was closed for 24 hours to local and international flights.

Asked why the authority needed eight hours to clear the runway, Mr Ligale said the plane was loaded with 110 tonnes of fresh produce bound for Amsterdam.

Mr Angwenyi accused the assistant minister of misleading the House, saying he was on a trip to South Africa on the day of the accident and his flight to Nairobi was delayed for 48 hours.

"Can the minister tell us why it had to take eight hours just to clear the runway after the cargo plane crash-landed at the end of the runway?" Mr Angwenyi asked.

Mr Davies Nakitare (Saboti, Narc) asked the assistant minister to explain if the delay was caused by inefficiency on the part of the KAA.

"JKIA is the busiest airport in Africa. What plans are there to cater for such emergencies?" he asked.

Mr Ligale denied claims that the authority was inefficient and blamed the delay on the heavy cargo that had to be offloaded.

Mr Angwenyi said he was surprised to watch a television news bulletin showing airport workers physically clearing the huge aircraft from the runaway.

"The Government is not serious about JKIA. Can we be told what was the real cause of the long delay in clearing the cargo plane?" he asked.

Meanwhile, Finance minister David Mwiraria said 145 parastatals had been privatised in the past decade.

But he was unable to tell Mr Mwandawiro Mghanga (Wundanyi, Ford People), how man employees had been retrenched or the total amount of funds raised from the bidders.

Mr Mwiraria said the list was long and that a number of the affected corporations such as Kenya Cashewnuts had been closed.

The minister singled out Kenya Airways as the most successful of the privatised parastatals that had not only made huge profits, but had increased the number of employees over the years.

Mr John Sambu (Mosop, Kanu) demanded a breakdown of the number of employees retrenched and the total revenue collected by the Treasury after selling the corporations.

"Is he in order to say that I was in government at that time therefore I should know the answer?" he asked.

Reported by Owino Opondo and Odhiambo Orlale
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Old November 5th, 2005, 02:15 AM   #149
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France lifts flight ban on Cameroon Airlines

PARIS, Nov 4 (AFP) - French civil aviation authorities on Friday lifted a flight ban on Cameroon Airlines (Camair), imposed in mid-September for safety reasons.

"We consider that they have carried out the required audit, which has allowed us to remove them from the list of banned companies," said a spokeswoman for the national aviation authority, the DGAC.

The DGAC banned Camair flights on September 16 after tests of its aircraft revealed a number of safety shortcomings -- notably poor tyre maintenance, badly secured loading areas, and outdated navigation documentation.

The French authority had asked Camair for an audit of its operating conditions by September 15, but the company had failed to comply.

Camair passed an agreement with France following the ban which has allowed it to continue flights to the country using chartered aircraft from other airlines.
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Old November 6th, 2005, 09:30 AM   #150
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First Choice returns to Mombasa, Kenya

Flights were suspended after a terrorist attack in 2002





Tourism received a major boost yesterday when a charter flight arrived at Moi International Airport, Mombasa, with 258 visitors.

The charter company, First Choice Airways of the UK, resumed its flights to the coastal town after suspending them for the past five years following the terrorist bomb attack on Paradise Hotel, Kikambala, in 2002.

Maasai traditional dancers welcome 258 tourists at Moi International Airport, Mombasa, yesterday. The visitors had arrived on board a First Choice Airways flight from the United Kingdom.
Photo/Jack Owuor
The firm's Kenya area manager, Mr Jon Hilton, said Kenya's tourism attractions were extremely popular in Europe, with more of his company's partners expressing the desire to fly in their clients.

"We are extremely happy with the resumption of our flights to Kenya after the five years of absence," he said. "This shows that Kenya is a top tourist destination, and it is very popular in Europe at the moment."

Mr Hilton said his company had invested about Sh60 million in marketing four leading tourism destinations across the world, including Kenya.

"First Choice has set aside £0.5 million for marketing purposes in Europe of our main destinations, including India, Mexico, the Maldives and Kenya. "

"We have already started seeing signs from our partners that more tourists will be coming to Kenya this year," he said.

Mr Hilton said building a dual carriageway from the airport to the Mtwapa creek on the North Coast would improve the infrastructure and attract more tourism investors.

"The rehabilitation of roads in Mombasa will go a long way to attract more European investors to the local economy, and this will tremendously contribute towards rebuilding confidence of many players in the tourism industry," he said.

Tourism minister Morris Dzoro braved the chilly early morning weather to welcome the visitors amid chants and ululations from Maasai warriors and other leading tourism interested parties.

The minister treated the visitors to palm juice, while traditional dancers entertained them.

Leading interested parties who accompanied the minister, included Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers Coast chairman Mohammed Hersi, Kenya Association of Tour Operators vice-chairman Michael Muriithi and the chairman of the Hotels and Restaurants Authority, Mr Zul Harunani.

Mr Dzoro said the country was committed to diversifying its tourism by moving into new areas such as eco and cultural tourism which, he noted, were not yet exploited.

"Besides our efforts towards developing our roads infrastructure, we are committed to exploring new tourism attractions in the country such as historical tourism," he said.

"These new attractions will give impetus to existing traditional attractions such as beaches and wildlife."

Somak Safaris who are handling the tourists’ holiday, said there will be two charter flights every fortnight from December 21.

The operations director, Mr Joash Olum, said tourism was recovering, and urged the Government to step up marketing to maintain the momentum.

"The industry is picking up quite well, and we urge the Government to keep its promise and ensure that the state of the infrastructural facilities is always maintained at high standards," he said.
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Old November 7th, 2005, 03:41 AM   #151
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Egypt French jet crash report clears pilot

CAIRO, Nov 6 (AFP) - A preliminary report into the January 2004 crash of a Flash Airlines plane into the sea near the resort of Sharm el-Sheikh exonerates the pilot of any error, an Egyptian official told AFP Sunday.

"The (draft) report was submitted to the French and American sides for their remarks. A final report will be published two months from now," said the head of the Egyptian crash investigation committee, Shaqir Qalada.

While he would not detail the probe's findings, he said that "any wrongdoing by the pilot has been discarded."

The crash of the doomed US-made Boeing 737 off the coast of the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh three minutes after take-off killed 148 people, including 134 French nationals.

An initial report published by Egyptian authorities in November 2004 detailed the flight's final moments before the plane crashed into the sea but was unclear whether machine or human error was to blame.

The flight was chartered by Egypt's Flash Airlines company which has since gone bankrupt.
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Old November 7th, 2005, 03:41 AM   #152
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Lagos airport closure leaves thousands stranded

LAGOS, Nov 6 (AFP) - The closure of Lagos international airport for runway repairs on Sunday left thousands of passengers in Nigeria's economic capital stranded.

"The airport is closed since 7:00 am (0600 GMT) and should reopen at 4:00 pm (1500 GMT), an official from the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) told AFP.

Repairs to the runway lighting and tarmac were being carried out, the official said.

"Thousands of passengers are stranded as no plane can land or take off. The other runway is on repair for a long time and cannot be used."

The closure comes two weeks after a Bellview Boeing 737 crashed north of Lagos soon after take-off, killing 117 people.

On its Internet site ( www.ba.com ), British Airways warned passengers: "Due to runway problems at Lagos airport there is some disruption to our schedule."

Those with non-urgent travel needs were asked to contact the airline.

Flights had been rearranged "in agreement with the Nigerian authorities", an official from another international airline in Lagos said.

Schedules had already been altered to allow maintenance work overnight Friday but then more substantial work was undertaken, the official added.

Murtala Mohammed airport has relied on a single runway for domestic and international flights for over a year as the second runway has long been closed for maintenance.

Most international airlines fly to Lagos, as well as the federal capital Abuja and Port Harcourt in the south, the centre of the country's oil industry.

But the west African state has been plagued by a series of catastrophic air disasters, including a plane crash at the northern airport of Kano which killed 149 in May 2002.

On July 6 this year, an Air France Airbus A330 hit a cow as it landed in Port Harcourt, after a herd strayed onto the runway.

On September 5, the head of Nigerian airline Virgin Nigeria called on the authorities to improve air travel security, capacity and services.
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Old November 7th, 2005, 04:25 PM   #153
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Lagos airport reopens after repairs of runway

LAGOS, Nov 7 (AFP) - Nigerian aviation authorities have reopened the Lagos airport after carrying out some repair works at the runway, officials said Monday.

Thousands of local and foreign travellers were stranded at the weekend following the closure of the runaway for several hours to enable authorities to fix the faulty runway.

"We have resumed normal flight operations. Planes are now landing and taking off from the airport," a spokeswoman for the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria told AFP.

She said the temporary closure was to ensure safety of both local and foreign travellers in the Nigerian airspace, which has suffered some mishaps in recent weeks.

A Nigerian passenger plane was damaged as it skidded off a waterlogged runway on landing at Lagos airport on Tuesday, barely two weeks after after a Bellview Airlines Boeing 737 passenger jet bound for Abuja crashed in the village of Lisa, north of Lagos, killing all 117 passengers and crew on board.
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Old November 8th, 2005, 05:26 PM   #154
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Another air mishap averted in Nigeria

LAGOS, Nov 8 (AFP) - Another air mishap was averted in Nigeria as a private commercial plane developed engine problem on take-off from the country's capital Abuja, a company spokeswoman said Tuesday.

"It was a minor incident involving our aircraft. There was a bird strike as the plane attempted to take off," a spokeswoman for AeroContractors airline told AFP.

She said a bird entered one of the plane's engine compartments, forcing the pilot to abort the Lagos-bound flight on Monday.

"We cancelled the flight because of the safety of our passengers. No-one was hurt and we inspected the aircraft to ensure nothing was damaged," she said.

She said more than 100 passengers were on board.

The Nigerian aviation industry has a bad safety record and minor accidents are relatively common.

Last Tuesday, a passenger plane was damaged as it skidded off a waterlogged runway on landing at Lagos airport.

On October 22, a Bellview Airlines Boeing 737 passenger jet bound for Abuja crashed in the village of Lisa, north of Lagos, killing all 117 passengers and crew on board.

In July alone three airliners were damaged on landing on the poorly surfaced runway at Lagos while an Air France jet ploughed into a herd of cows as it touched down in southern oil city of Port Harcourt.
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Old November 9th, 2005, 08:59 PM   #155
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Moroccan airline says to add 40 aircraft by 2012

CASABLANCA, Nov 9 (Reuters) - Royal Air Maroc (RAM) will double its fleet to 80 aircraft by 2012, its chairman and CEO Mohamed Berrada said late on Tuesday at a conference organised by the French Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Morocco.

"Our strategy for 2006-2012 aims at turning RAM into a group that will be a vehicle of growth for Morocco," he said.

Berrada, a former finance minister, said RAM would "expand its fleet from 40 currently to 80 planes by 2012", but did not say whether the jets would be bought or leased, nor whether Boeing or Airbus would be the supplier.

RAM currently operates a Boeing-dominated fleet.

Berrada said RAM's passenger traffic rose 20 percent to about 4.5 million this year to the end of October, but he said he sees RAM future in diversifying its operations at home and expanding its presence in Africa and elsewhere.

RAM already owns a maintenance business, a training academy and a call centre, as well as hotels in Morocco.

Berrada said diversifying business would cushion RAM against cyclical swings in travel activity, which is sensitive to factors like terrorism or diseases such as bird flu.

Berrada also said RAM plans to expand its presence within Africa by setting up more joint-venture airlines, citing Cameroon as a possibility. RAM has a majority stake in Air Senegal International.

He said RAM passenger traffic in Africa grew by 30 percent in 2004 and more than 70 percent so far this year and he expected the steady growth to stay at around 70 percent in the two following years.

RAM plans to invest about 2 billion dirhams ($219 million) a year for the next six years, having invested around 7 billion in the 2001-2005 period, he added.

He forecast RAM group revenues would be 12 billion dirhams this year, rising to 25 billion in 2012.
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Old November 11th, 2005, 06:41 AM   #156
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S.African Airways says improves workers terms

JOHANNESBURG, Nov 9 (Reuters) - South African Airways (SAA) has raised workers' allowances by up to 19 percent and extend employment for pilots by increasing the retirement age from 60 to 63 years in a bid to mend relations with staff following a crippling strike early this year.

But Chief Executive Officer Khaya Ngqula said on Wednesday the 35 million rand ($5.18 million) package would not have a negative impact on efforts by Africa's largest airline to save 1.6 billion rand on wages and other costs over 18 months.

"It's not very significant at all in terms of the capital, but for our people it's a lot of money. We are trying to give incentives to our people, the savings that we have spoken about will achieved," Ngqula said in response to a question.

Workers at the state-owned airline were on strike for nearly a week in July to demand higher salaries, improved benefits and working conditions. SAA declined to give figures but economists estimated the flag carrier lost about 25 million rand per day.

The strike was resolved after both sides agreed on a 5 percent increase on pensionable salaries, medical aid and housing allowances backdated to April 1, 2005.

Under the new package, cabin crew on international routes will get a daily allowance of $107 from $90. Daily allowances for cabin staff on domestic routes have been raised to 150 rand from 135 rand. Allowances were last reviewed five years ago.

Ngqula said SAA would next year move away from annual wage negotiations in favour of multi-year agreements to ensure the stability needed for the airline's turnaround.

He acknowledged that labour relations at the airline had been deplorable and blamed the situation on management's focus with profitability, following a pretax loss of 8.7 billion rand in fiscal 2003/04.

APPEASE PILOTS

It reported an operating profit of 935 million rand in fiscal 2004/05.

"Profitability cannot be sustainable if our workers are not happy. That is the challenge we have responded to and we know that efficiency and productivity will increase," said Ngqula.

SAA moved to appease pilots who have previously threatened to strike, extending their retirement age to 63 from 60 years and appointing a former pilot to oversee their operations.

Ngqula said SAA was also considering setting up a low cost airline in response to stiff competition from budget carriers, who have grabbed 25 percent of the domestic market share.

Budget airlines have ignited an airfare war, with tickets to some destinations costing less than what is charged by buses.

"We have to come up with an appropriate response ... to save jobs and the airline," said Ngqula.

He said SAA did not feel threatened by Virgin Nigeria entering the South African market next month.

SAA's strategy is focused on establishing a dominant position on the continent, its major source of revenue, and tapping the South American market.

"We are ready. What we will not be getting into is a price war. We are quite comfortable that we will be able to hold our ground," said Ngqula.

The airline is considering buying Airbus's new A380 superjumbo aircraft. But there are concerns that it would not be fully utilised and SAA is also looking at products from Boeing as an alternative, he said.

"Our board has looked at the issue. We are viable enough to buy one if we need to. We are very cautious. It is a huge investment," said Ngqula.
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Old November 14th, 2005, 01:35 AM   #157
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Nigerian air crash: site probe ends without answers

LAGOS, Nov 13 (AFP) - Nigerian and US air accident investigators ended their inspection of the site of an airliner disaster on Sunday but still have no idea why the plane crashed and killed all 117 people on board, an official said.

Recovery teams have yet to find the flight's data recorders, three weeks after Bellview Airlines flight 210 from Lagos to Abuja lost contact with air traffic controllers and plunged into a cocoa grove minutes after take-off.

"We couldn't find the black box. Nothing has been found which indicates the cause of the crash," Ibrahim Farinloye, spokesman for the Nigerian federal government's National Emergency Management Agency, told AFP.

"The US experts will continue to work with the little, little part of the aircraft that we found," he said, referring to a team of American investigators from both the US government and the manufacturers of the ill-fated Boeing 737.

Asked to comment on Nigerian press reports that local experts were beginning to take seriously the idea that the jet was brought down by a bomb attack or sabotage, Farinloye said simply: "Nothing is ruled out."

On October 21 the crowded passenger airliner took off on a scheduled domestic flight between Lagos and Nigeria's capital Abuja in a powerful electric storm. Air traffic control lost contact three minutes later.

Almost 24 hours afterwards, Nigerian television journalists found the wreckage of the 24-year-old two engined aircraft on the outskirts of the farming village of Lissa a short drive north of Lagos.

Wreckage and dismembered corpses were spread over a wide area and in some cases buried deep in the ground by the force of the impact. Witnesses said that the jet appeared to have exploded in mid-air prior to plunging to earth.

More than 900 people have died in Nigeria over the past 12 years in more than 30 aviation accidents.

Since last month's fatal crash one plane has been damaged while landing on Lagos's badly maintained runway and another has aborted its take-off from Abuja after sucking a bird into its jet engine.

International airlines have threatened to cancel their lucrative Lagos flights unless the government improves safety at Lagos, where only one runway is serviceable and where ground radar is turned off at weekends.
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Old November 15th, 2005, 07:13 PM   #158
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Qatar Airways Maiden Flight to Nairobi, Kenya Today

Kenyan born manager leads new crew to Kenyan skies





When it comes to making manoeuvres for business in the local airline industry, Fatma El-Maawy probably knows all the tricks. It explains why she has taken her latest job as the area manager of Qatar Airlines – the newest entry to Kenya's crowded skies – in her stride.

"I know that it is already big, being the only five-star airline that flies to Africa, but I will make sure that it offers jobs to Kenyans and make it the preferred carrier locally," she says.

Not that she will be cruising against any mild corporate turbulence. Besides taking charge of the airline's entire operations in the country, Fatma is expected to see to it that Qatar's flag-carrier delivers an attractive travel package and steer it to growth.

But experience, management skills and pride are clearly on her side. She cut her teeth at Kenya Airways, where she was recruited as a management trainee in 1985.

"We were the first lot of management trainees and that was when the airline wanted to grow and decided to get graduates to help improve its workforce," recalls Fatma.

It was while at the national flag-carrier that her creativity and ambition became evident. She was appointed the coordinator of the newly launched Hajj package, targeting Muslims going for the annual pilgrimage.

"When I joined, Muslims going for Hajj in Mecca used every other airline but Kenya Airways, and so I started attracting travellers to the airline. Being a Muslim myself helped a lot," she said.

Fatma also takes pride in introducing KQ's first holiday package to promote domestic tourism.

"I always wanted to be the best I could be and that included my place of work. I wanted to make it a place I would be proud to be associated with and that saw me again introduce the Msafiri Club (for regular flyers)," Fatma says.

Just like her other projects, it remains a success to this day. Her efforts did not go unnoticed. She was given the responsibility of handling the Middle East route. But 11 years later, the airline asked all employees to reapply for their positions. Fatma was not offered her job back, like many others, and she decided to move on.

But luck was on her side. Four weeks later, a job with Emirates Airlines came knocking.

"Although I never got the position I was while at Kenya Airways, I took it up. It is good once in a while to take a step back and reassess where one wants to go," recalls Fatma.

The entry of Emirates to Kenya meant stiff competition against Kenya Airways, her former employer.

"I was handling Mombasa and Nairobi routes. The competition was high, but after a while, we brought up sales by 10 per cent and started eyeing Arusha where I got several agents before I went to Dar es Salaam and Entebbe. Everywhere I went, the airline got new routes," says Fatma.

Emirates expanded to Zambia, Lagos and Congo. Fatma was appointed sales manager in charge of the Indian Ocean Islands, West and Central Africa – overseeing operations from Arusha.

But since her family was in Kenya, she would fly to work in the morning and back home in the evening for a full year, something she says took a toll on her and her family.

"It was really good but I did not have time to be with my family. The strain was really big but we managed to pull through," she says.

After nine-and-a-half years, she decided to take a break from the airline industry. She joined her husband at the family business, Auto Village, a car repair shop.

But two months later, another airline job surfaced.

"At Emirates, I had reached the ceiling and I felt that it was time to move on. When Qatar Airlines had an opening, I felt there was room for growth," she added.

Born in Mombasa to a family of eight, the mother of three says that her upbringing and growing in a large family initiated her into the competitive spirit. Even when she was young, she never let anyone to underrate her.

Her childhood dream to become a doctor was shattered when she failed in physics. Although her high school grades were good enough for admission to the faculty of law at the University of Nairobi, she missed the deadline for registration in the early 1980s.

Eventually, she settled for a degree in economics and Arabic. After college in 1984, she got a job at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where she worked for one year before joining the airline industry.
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Old November 21st, 2005, 04:42 AM   #159
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Cape Verde has no plans to privatize national airline TACV: president

LISBON, Nov 19 (AFP) - Cape Verde has no plans to privatize its flag carrier TACV, the president of the west African island nation said Saturday in an interview published in Portugal.

"The privatization process is practically complete. There is talk about the air carrier but TACV is strategic to Cape Verde and we are not going to privatize it for now, despite the pressures to do so," President Jose Maria Nves told weekly newspaper Expresso.

TACV, founded in 1955, is detained entirely by the government of Cape Verde and has about 750 employees.

The airline has played a key role in the development of the tourism industry in the former Portuguese colony, a key motor of economic growth since the early 1990s.

TACV transported some 560,000 passengers last year, 345,000 domestically and 215,000 internationally.

It has a fleet of three ATR 42 turboprops and two Boeing 757-200-ER jets which cover destinations in Europe, Africa as well as North and South America.

Cape Verde gained independence from Portugal in 1975 and began privatizing its economy in the 1980s.

It has sold off banks, an insurance company, the electricity company, the port, and the main foodstuff marketing company.

The number of visitors to the archipelago, located some 500 kilometres (300 miles) off the coast of Senegal, has increased seven-fold over the last decade to more than 180,000 a year.
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Old November 21st, 2005, 04:43 AM   #160
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Nigerian president accuses aviation officials of corruption

LAGOS, Nov 19 (AFP) - Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo has accused aviation officials of corruption, threatening to bring in foreigners to clean up the department, after a series of aviation accidents including a crash that claimed the lives of 117 people, according to press reports Saturday.

"I want to say that part of the problems with the aviation in Nigeria is human. All the parastatals (state agencies) are corrupt from top to bottom. But we are going to fight it, whatever it takes," Obasanjo reportedly told a meeting of ministers and senior officials on Friday.

"Life is too precious and too sacred to be played with. I have told the minister (aviation minister Babalola Borisade) that if we are not prepared to get Nigerians to man the civil aviation department, I'm ready to bring in expatriates from abroad."

Concerns about Nigeria's air safety record were highlighted by the October 22 crash, shortly after take-off from Lagos international airport, of a Bellview Airlines Boeing 737 which killed all 117 passengers and crew on board.

Ten days later, a turbo-prop passenger aircraft was damaged as it skidded off the waterlogged runway at the airport.

More than 900 people have died in the west African country over the past 12 years in more than 30 aviation accidents.

In July, three aircraft were damaged landing on the poorly surfaced runway at Lagos while an Air France jet ploughed into a herd of cattle as it touched down in the southern oil city of Port Harcourt.

International airlines have threatened to cancel flights unless the government improves safety at Lagos, the country's biggest city, where only one runway is serviceable and where ground radar is turned off at weekends.
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