South African Airways announced it may be offered a licence to operate and manage Sierra Leone’s domestic air service (businessday.co.za, 12-Apr-2011). Sierra Leone does not have a national carrier of its own and therefore charters foreign carriers for services.
South African Airways may be offered licence to operate Sierra Leone's air service
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Ethiopian Airlines expands in West Africa with 737-800s at Togo affiliate ASKY & Lome-Newark service
Ethiopian Airlines is building up its West African operation, through expansion at the Togo-based affiliate ASKY and new long haul services from Lome to New York and São Paulo. ASKY is adding capacity to several of its 19 destinations as it takes delivery of two 737-800s, which will be the largest aircraft in its fleet.
ASKY took delivery of its first 737-800 in early Jun-2016, giving it a fleet of eight aircraft including three 737-700s and four Bombardier Dash 8 Q400s. ASKY plans to take delivery of a second 737-800 by the end of 2016, which will be used to replace one of its Dash 8 Q400s, driving a further increase in capacity.
Ethiopian resumed services from Lome to São Paulo in May-2016 and plans to launch services from Lome to Newark in early Jul-2016. ASKY is playing a critical feeder role for both long haul routes and its expansion also enables it to increase its share of the intra-West Africa market.
South African Airways seeks regional growth and new partnerships, but outlook remains bleak. UPDATE
South African Airways (SAA) is again looking at opportunities for new partnerships and network expansion. SAA is now re-engaging with Etihad following an unsuccessful initial partnership and is keen to launch new routes after the delivery of its first two A330-300s in 4Q2016.
Any growth, however, is unlikely to be profitable until SAA addresses its longstanding challenges. The airline has still not fully implemented its previous turnaround plan and urgently needs yet another capital injection.
A full and deep restructuring is required but seems impossible in the current political environment. Repeated government meddling has put SAA in an extremely challenging situation. The airline is in dire straits, and its outlook remains bleak.