Comairâ€š which operates some British Airways flights as well as budget airline kulula.comâ€š plans to take a “cautious approach” to other new routes in Africa. Comair’s new service to Maputo starts operating in May.
Emiratesâ€š one of the world’s largest airlinesâ€š is offering flights on a number of routes in southern Africa and this move has caused some alarm bells to ring at Comair.
“Africa is looking a bit shaky at the momentâ€š” said Comair’s chief executive Erik Venter.
“With Emirates flying directly to Harareâ€š Lusaka and Luanda and offering flights through its hub in Dubai we have seen a drop in traffic through Johannesburgâ€š” said Venter.
Africa’s economic growth and growing middle-class have captured the attention of airlines from all parts of the world.
Struggling South African Airways and its smaller sibling South African Express are both planning to more effectively target the African market and the continent’s demand for air travel.
UK-based Fastjetâ€š which is majority owned by diversified African investment company Lonrhoâ€š has plans to be the first pan-African low-cost airline operator with hubs across sub-Saharan Africa.
“If SA wants to stay on top as transport hub and remain the gateway to the continent there are going to have to be some changesâ€š” Venter said.
“Compounding the problem created by increased competition was SA’s insistence that all passengers have transit visas to move through OR Tambo International Airport. They must also be inoculated against yellow fever, making Johannesburg less attractive than Dubai where these are not neededâ€š” said Venter.
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The Aviation Outlook Africa conference will be happening on the 25-26 June 2013. It will be bringing together airlines, airports and all commercial aviation stakeholders together to discuss importance of route developmentÂ and other important issues affecting African Aviation To get more information email Tendi at Tendekayi.Mutandagayi@terrapinn.com