WATM: ASECNA expands Aireon data usage to deepen ATM capabilities across Africa

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The Agency for Aerial Navigation Safety in Africa and Madagascar (ASECNA) is developing its air traffic management (ATM) capabilities thanks to an expanded portfolio of products from Aireon, a provider of space-based automatic dependent surveillance broadcast (ADS-B) services.

ASECNA plans to use AereonFLOW for air traffic flow management capabilities, to help extend visibility of flights outside its busy airspace and help better predict traffic flows planning to enter in its airspace.

“ASECNA has proven its leadership in the world for air traffic surveillance and safety,” said Don Thoma, Aireon CEO. “they were an early-adopter of ADS-B and now they are the first ANSP in Africa to plan usage of AireonFLOW,” he continued.

Already in operation with Eurocontrol, AireonFLOW provides gate-to-gate, high-fidelity ATS surveillance data, which, whcn combined with flight and airspace contextual information, enhances prediction capabilities of flow management and other relevant air traffic capacity and demand platforms.

Mohamed Moussa, Director General of ASECNA, commented: “This new capability is completely aligned with the ASECNA  strategy of a Single African Airspace. By having the ability to extend traffic visibility outside ASECNA airspace, the African continent will be aligning ATFM capabilities with Europe and the US, using state-of-the-art technologies to evolve and accommodate traffic demand, avoiding delays and reducing its carbon footprint.”

AviaDev Africa provides perfect platform to support connectivity to and within the continent

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While June has already been packed with aviation events, the end of the month will see airport and airline executives as well as suppliers heading to Cape Town for AviaDev Africa, which is set to deliver more than 300 route development meetings.

The event, which provides a perfect networking platform for airports, airlines and suppliers, such as Airbus, Swissport, Boeing, Embraer, SITA and Rolls Royce, is taking place at Century City in Cape Town, South Africa from 29 June to 1 July. This year will mark the sixth edition of the networking event which is themed: Connect. Collaborate. Change.

Commenting on the upcoming event Wrenelle Stander, Wesgro CEO and Official Spokesperson for Cape Town Air Access, noted, “We look forward to welcoming our industry delegates to Cape Town and the Western Cape. We thank AviaDev for the opportunity to showcase our world-class destination as a business hub at the forefront of essential conversations and collaborations, especially regarding increasing air connectivity within Africa.”

A comprehensive conferencing programme will be held alongside the route development meetings with sessions addressing the role of air cargo and diversifying airport revenues, building airline partnerships, financing African airlines and exploring the opportunities for OEMs. Meanwhile a pre-conference workshop specifically for airports and tourism authorities will focus on the skills needed to drive active route development and what airlines look for when placing a new route.

Underlining his support for aviation in Africa Jon Howell, CEO AviaDev Africa stated: “We have supported the industry through the pandemic with numerous digital engagements and will continue to do so, but it is clear the industry needs to meet and discuss future route development for Africa in person. AviaDev Africa provides the perfect mix between an educational programme, focused pre-arranged route development meetings and industry networking. We are confident that as a result of the event, new relationships will be forged that will deliver the connectivity that Africa deserves.”

Kenya Airways subsidiary to scale urban air mobility with 40 eVTOL order

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Fahari Aviation, a Kenya Airways Subsidiary and Eve, a start-up backed by Embraer, have agreed to scale up urban air mobility (UAM) with an order of up to 40 eVTOLs for both passenger and cargo traffic.

The agreement includes joint studies through a working group to develop and scale the UAM market and a business model for cargo drone operations in Kenya. The project is expected to start deliveries in 2026.

“Urban air mobility is the future of transport and we are honoured to be the champions of this in the region,” said Allan Kilavuka, Group Managing Director & CEO Kenya Airways. “The journey to realise the dream of eVTOL vehicles in Kenya is on course and the partnership with EVE UAM, is a key achievement for us as part of the strategy to adopt new technologies as a growth strategy for the sustainable development of Africa.

Andre Stein, co-CEO of Eve, added that this collaboration marks a new chapter of the Eve and Fahari Aviation partnership to further develop and support the ecosystem for UAM in Kenya. “Last year, we announced a collaboration to develop operational models for Fahari Aviation’s key markets and today’s announcement confirms that it is evolving successfully,” he said.


Kenya Airways subsidiary launches drone enclosure facility

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In a bid to position itself at the forefront of exploring uncrewed aerial systems (UAS) in Kenya, Fahari Aviation, a subsidiary of Kenya Airways, has launched the first drone enclosure facility in Kenya. The Fahari Drone Cage will be used for training and testing of drones and drone equipment.

The subsidiary and its new facility is part of Kenya Airways’ strategy of contributing to the sustainable development of Africa by championing new dimensions within the industry with the use of drones and uncrewed aircraft.

According to Major General Michael Gichangi, “The future of aviation is based on identifying opportunities for innovation and diversification to build a resilient business that is committed to the sustainable development of Africa.” He added: “We have over the years proved to be a leader in aviation innovation and it is this openness to innovation that has led to the establishment of Fahari Aviation and the first drone enclosure facility here in Nairobi – the Drone Cage. Through the Drone Cage, we hope to see enhanced innovation, research and development of UAS technology in our communities through interactive work across partners, corporates, universities, industries and individuals.”

A Fahari Drone Club will complement the new drone facility, providing resources to learn and practice techniques and skills for the safe operations of drones and a community for UAS enthusiasts.

Meanwhile Hawkins Musili, General Manger of Fahari Aviation added that, “The drone cage will provide a safe environment for practice and training while the drone club will provide a platform for the drone enthusiasts to grow the UAS industry in Kenya and the region.”

He also noted that “UAS are creating new opportunities for individuals and enterprises. Having a community of drone enthusiasts builds a strong foundation for us and like-minded people who want to bring out their ideas through UAS for the sustainable development of the region.”

Systems Interface installs VHF Comms and weather observation system at Somaliland’s Berbera Airport

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UK-based Systems Interface Ltd (SIL) has completed the ‘Turnkey’ contract awarded to them by Berbera International Airport Company (BIAC) in Somaliland for the design, supply, installation and commissioning of a new VHF communications system and Solar Powered Automatic Weather Observation System (AWOS).

The new systems will enhance the safety and efficiency of air traffic operations at the airport, which has recently undergone an extensive refurbishment including the installation of modern equipment and state-of-the-art communication and aeronautical facilities.

SIL’s agreement included the installation of a state-of-the-art radio communication system using Jotron radios with back-up power, as well as two solar powered weather stations comprising ultrasonic wind sensors, pressure and humidity sensors and two 10m frangible masts. It also including the deployment of data radio links from weather station to a DTN MetConsole AWOS Data Processing server in the ATC tower.

Kenya Airways route network under review in line with recovery plans

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Kenya’s flag-carrying airline, Kenya Airways is reviewing its route network as part of its recovery plans following the global pandemic.

The route network review programme will affect both local and international routes with some routes seeing increased frequency, while others will see a reduction in frequency, as well as schedule changes, suspension and the postponing of route openings. The programme will be subject to adjustment as the world continues to reopen and opportunities for growth present themselves.

Some of the current changes will include frequency of London routes throughout the winter increasing from the planned schedule of five times a week to a daily service. There will also be an operation day change for Juba-Khartoum to cater for Sudan weekends (Fridays and Saturdays) by operating on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. There will also be a reduction in frequency for the Nairobi-Kisumu link over the low season from 26 times to 17 times weekly. The Milan and Rome launch which was planned for the 8 June, 2022 will be postponed in light of reduced passenger demand as a result of slower than expected recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The service to Yaounde in Cameroon will also be suspended by the end of May, 2022.


Kenneth Kaunda Airport opens Pearl Lounge

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National Aviation Services (NAS) – one of the fastest growing aviation services provider’s in the emerging markets – has opened a Pearl Lounge at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport in Lusaka, Zambia.

The 588 sq.m. facility includes comfortable seating, food and beverages, free Wi-Fi and a children’s play area. It is part of five-year tender awarded to NAS and NAC2000 in 2021 to build and operate a departure lounge catering to passengers travelling out from Lusaka in the airport’s new terminal, which opened in August last year. The tender is in line with Zambia Airports Corporation Limited’s (ZACL’s) efforts to upgrade its international airports.

Frederick Mwalusaka, Zambian Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Transport and Logistics, applauded the joint venture between NAS and NAC200 saying: “This is a good example of local and foreign partnerships that create more quality products and services and employment opportunities in Zambia. It is the hope that such ventures within our new airport are the beginning of a new era for travel from Lusaka.”

Describing the launch as “significant,” Guy Michel Yazbek, Group Director, Lounges & Meet and Assist Services at NAS underlined that with the airport serving as a hub for domestic and international flights “the new lounge is the perfect space for passengers to relax and unwind or catch up on last minute work before they fly.” He also reiterated NAS’ commitment to Zambia and its willingness to expand its participation in the Zambian aviation industry.

The new Pearl Lounge is one of over 50 lounges operated by NAS across its network in Africa, Europe, the Middle East and South Asia. Its extended portfolio of services includes comprehensive ground handling, cargo management, technology solutions and training among others, currently serving more than 100 airline customers across more than 60 airports.



Kenya’s Kisumu Airport establishes cargo village

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Kisumu International Airport saw its first export cargo flight take off on Saturday 8 January, 2022 carrying fresh produce from Kenya’s lake region. The facilitation of export cargo flights was as a result of a public-private partnership between Kisumu Lakefront Development Corporation, Kenya Airports Authority (KAA), Kenya Airways, the Fresh Produce Consortium of Kenya and other key stakeholders.

The PPP has enabled KAA to embark on expansions and construction of air cargo facilities such as transit sheds, cold stores, specialised freight consolidation centres, warehousing for e-commerce and fumigation facilities for quality assurance of agro-perishable exports.

Commenting on the cargo launch, H.E. Prof. Anyang’ Nyong’o, Governor of Kisumu County, said: “The developments you see here today will energise boundless opportunities of horticultural, fisheries and meat products from the region by opening up new markets for farmers. The upgrade of Kisumu International Airport to include freight services and cold rooms is long overdue, and the heightened conversation from the stakeholders will go a long way in influencing policymakers and implementers.”

The establishment of a cargo village at Kisumu Airport will unite cargo airlines, freight forwarders, farmers, fish traders and airports to identify opportunities, generate new business and add additional frequencies into the market. Run by KAA, the cargo village will serve as a one-stop shop housing different stakeholders within the export customer journey.

Kenya’s Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure Housing, Urban Development and Public Works has also committed to 1.2 billion shillings for the upgrade of passenger capacity of Kisumu International Airport from the current 500,000 to around 1 million in time for the Africities Summit in May this year.

“This new venture at Kisumu International Airport will serve as a major boost to the air cargo industry by increasing cargo traffic in the region and opening up business opportunities for investors and other stakeholders between Kenya and the rest of the world,” said KAA CEO and Managing Director, Alex Gitari. “Being cognisant of the fact that air cargo is an integral component of the aviation industry, Kenya Airports Authority came up with the Air Cargo Strategy 2019-2022 whose goal is to improve its cargo handling capacity.”

Okisegere Ojepat, CEO of Fresh Produce Consortium of Kenya, added: “We are thrilled to see this collaboration and partnership that we have diligently pursued for months open opportunity for this region and the East Africa Community. The horticulture industry is committed to opening up more export opportunities for farmers and creating access into regional and global markets. With Kisumu International Airport now open for fresh produce exports, we as the industry intend to grow exports by between 12 and 20 per cent annually.

“Exporters from the region can now rely on rapid connectivity to consumer markets across Kenya Airways’ global network. Fresh produce items such as avocados, fish, chillies, pineapple, peanuts, bananas and traditional green vegetables will be the main commodities transported on the local carrier. While the cold storage facility is located in Kisumu, it is also expected to benefit farmers regionally with a focus on exports and supporting the local agricultural sector.

“We are delighted to cement our long-term partnership with all the stakeholders involved and look to enhance this initiative through growth and sustainability. The infrastructure development at key gateways such as Kisumu international Airport provides a great platform for economic development.”

Westminster Group secures screening and surveillance contract for two African hubs

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The technology division of global security solutions provider, Westminster, has been chosen to design, supply and install advanced screening and surveillance equipment to two airports in Southeast Africa.

The contract will see Westminster offer a full turnkey solution and includes the upgrading of security equipment, including new x-ray screening and metal detection equipment, as well as an advanced CCTV surveillance system and new control and command centres at both airports. Westminster will also establish an engineering presence in-country for future maintenance and support services.

Commenting on how the contract is yet another example of Westminster’s growth, Westminster CEO, Peter Fowler said: “It is yet another example of [our] growing global reach across a wide range of disciplines and demonstrates our ability to secure business in new territories. Not only does this contract open a new region for our international operations, but we believe it creates an exciting opportunity for our Managed Services division in developing a wider scope of works and long-term support services at the airports.”

Kenya Airways extends network with Juba-Khartoum link

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Kenya Airways launched flights between two Sudanese hubs (Juba to Khartoum) on 10 December, counter-rotating on an Embraer 190 and boosting its schedule to 10 times weekly, from the current seven flights from Juba and three weekly flights from Khartoum.

The expansion of Kenya’s network will provide much needed opportunities to boost business, trade and movement of aid as the region recovers from a challenging period.
“The move comes as the region continues to enhance economic cooperation to drive sustainable growth across a range of sectors, in addition to boosting business between African nations,” said Allan Kilavuka, CEO Kenya Airways.

The new service is part of the airline’s long-term commitment to growing and improving connectivity across the African continent which is critical to enhancing the movement of people and increasing intra-African trade in line with the spirit of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

“Kenya Airways is steadfast on creating free flows of trade and tourism across Africa and in other key markets because we believe our wide network and reliable services will aid in opening up opportunities across the region,” added Kilvuka.

Meanwhile, Julius Thairu, CCO at Kenyay Airways, said: “Growing our presence in Africa affirms our industry lead with products and services that address the dynamic needs of our customers. The new service between Juba and Khartoum is timely and gives us an opportunity to serve a range of travellers and grow our customer base in both Sudan and South Sudan.