Africa’s good news website Elicit Africa reports the skies over Africa will be abuzz with airlines flying new routes to and across the continent in 2017. South Africa will receive a large part of the action.
New services include:
- Air France will offer year-round flights between Paris-CDG and Cape Town International, effective from March 26. At the moment the airline offers a seasonal, thrice-weekly service between the two cities. The all-year service will operate every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.
- In early January 2017 RwandAir will revert to nonstop flights to Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport. This change will facilitate easy onward travel to Cape Town and Durban.
- Ethiopian Airlines, probably the fastest-growing carrier in Africa, has stepped up its service to Southern Africa by starting to fly to Cape Town 10 times a week from 2 December (2016), seven of which are non-stop Boeing 787 flights. London bound Cape Town passengers now only have a 2 hour stopover in Addis Ababa.
- Air Seychelles announced direct flights to King Shaka International Airport north of Durban in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province starting 30 March. The new Durban route will be operated twice a week with an Airbus A320. When launched it will become the airline’s second route to South Africa after Johannesburg to where the airline now flies five times a week as opposed to the four direct flights up to mow.
- Qatar Airways announced a major upgrade of its Doha to Cape Town service with the introduction of a 412-seat Boeing 777 on the route to replace the airline’s 254-seat B787. The switch means an additional 158 seats per day from Doha to Cape Town, with connections from Beijing, Dubai, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, London, Melbourne, Paris and Perth. Qatar Airways has been serving Cape Town from the Doha hub since 2005, starting operations with four weekly flights via Johannesburg. The airline says it needed to upgrade the service steadily as demand increased.
- Fastjet, Africa’s low cost carrier is relocating its head office from London Gatwick to Johannesburg in early 2017 with the expectation that that the new CEO, Nico Bezuidenhout, will be eying the South African domestic market, where for the past decade – before joining Fastjet – he successfully managed Mango, South African Airways’ low cost carrier.
Other highlights for African aviation in 2017 includes:
- Air France has also announced that it will start direct flights from Accra, the capital of Ghana in West Africa, to Paris-CGG three times a week from 28 February. Air France is expanding on one of the most important markets on the African continent through traffic to and from Europe and North America. Currently, the Accra-Paris route is managed through a partnership between Air France and KLM via Amsterdam.
- RwandAir will also launch flights to Harare in Zimbabwe by mid January combined with flights to Lusaka in Zambia in a standalone triangular service routing. RwandAir is also the introducing a long haul services to Mumbai and later in 2017 to London.
- From April Ethiopian Airlines will introduce flights into the new Victoria Falls International Airport from Addis Ababa.
- Ethiopean Airlines also will introduce a new service of five weekly flights to Oslo via Stockholm from 26 March using the B787 Dreamliner. The inclusion of Oslo in the Ethiopian network is part of the airline’s Vision 2025 programme of connecting Africa with the major world economic and financial centres.
- Air Seychelles will be flying to Paris four times a week from March 2017 and it is also rumoured that their next European destination will be Dusseldorf in Germany from Mahe, the largest island in the Seychelles archipelago.
- Qatar Airways announced late in November that two of its 15 new worldwide destinations for 2017 will be to the West African cities of Libreville in Gabon and Douala in Cameroon.
All routes as per ElicitAfrica.com on 5 December 2016.