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ASKY Airlines is a passenger airline which was founded in 2008 by Ethiopian Airlines. The carrier commenced operations in Jan-2010. ASKY Airlines is based at Lomé-Tokoin Airport, Togo, and operates scheduled services to destinations throughout West and Central Africa.
Location of ASKY Airlines main hub (Lome Airport)
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South African Airways (SAA) is planning to expand its regional international network further as the flag carrier reduces its focus on the domestic market and tries to turn around its highly unprofitable long-haul operation.
SAA is increasing capacity to several existing destinations in Africa and plans to launch more new regional international destinations by the end of 2014. SAA also still hopes to open a base in West Africa, which is a key component of the carrier’s new business plan and will enable several destinations to be served which would not be viable non-stop from Johannesburg.
SAA is also looking at growing its budget brand Mango in the African market through potential joint ventures. But the group expects Mango’s existing South African operation to focus mainly on the domestic market, which SAA views as becoming increasingly price conscious and therefore unable to support its mainline full-service product - with the exception of the two main trunk routes.
Germania is “very satisfied” with the performance of its Western African subsidiary Gambia Bird which launched a regional and international aviation network nearly a year ago with the aim of making Banjul an air transport hub for the sub-region.
Germania MD Andreas Wobig reportedly stated in Sep-2013 that Gambia Bird has allowed the group to better manage its capacity, noting that while charter operations in Europe are characterised by overcapacity and price pressure, the African continent is a key growth market
Gambia Bird plans to increase its winter timetable after making seasonal adjustments during the summer low season, which included moving one of Gambia Bird's two A319s to Germania’s Manchester base allowing the group to make maximise fleet utilisation.
Ethiopian has gained the early upper hand over its neighbouring rival Kenya Airways in the race to become the biggest carrier in Africa over the next decade or so. Both airlines launched ambitious, once in lifetime, growth strategies since the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) which they hope will deliver dominance over the other and their geographically advantaged East African hubs.
Ethiopian came through the GFC relatively unscathed and with its record of 12 consecutive years of profits intact. The carrier stated in Jul-2013 that it expects to report a record profit for 30-Jun-FY2013 driven by a 20-25% increase in revenue and passenger numbers, despite disruption caused by the three month grounding of the 787-8 fleet due to issues relating to the aircraft's batteries.
In contrast Kenya Airways slumped to a USD92 million loss after tax in the financial year ended 31-Mar-2013, as the European economic downturn drags on and geopolitical uncertainty surrounded a number of general elections in Africa, including in Kenya, which caused a sharp drop in demand.
Arik Air, Western Africa’s largest carrier, looks set to start delivering on some of its often repeated long-haul growth plans with the arrival the first of four A330-200s, with the second due by the end of Jul-2013.
The new aircraft are aimed at increasing frequencies on some existing services, including Lagos to New York, while also opening new routes with Sao Paulo high on the list. Arik states that other opportunities include China, United Arab Emirates and more points in Europe and the United States.
In addition Arik has placed firm orders for Bombardier CRJ1000 NextGen regional jets and Q400 NextGen turboprops as the carrier looks to expand its regional network beyond Western Africa.
But the carrier, which is heavily indebted to the government, also faces the prospect of another new national carrier being launched by the end of 2014 to provide domestic, regional and intercontinental competition.
ASKY Airlines has transported more than one million passengers in little over three years since launching operations in West Africa in Jan-2010. In that time the full service carrier, 40% owned by Ethiopian Airlines, has established an enviable market position, operating to 22 destinations with Bissau to be added from Jul-2013.
With the carrier now making a profit, management is turning its attention to expanding south in search of more lucrative routes to Angola and South Africa, while more ambitious services to Europe could reportedly be launched by 2015.
Ethiopian Airlines will extensively expand its network in 2013, adding Asian destinations as well as increasing its footprint in Africa and linking the two high growth regions to South America.
In Africa, Ethiopian added flights to Blantyre in Malawi and Ndola in Zambia on 31-Mar-2013, increasing its African network to 45 destinations, including 16 domestic points. The carrier also has begun negotiations with the Malawi Government to take a 49% strategic stake in failed flag carrier Air Malawi after being selected as the preferred bidder among eight chosen applicants.
The Asian network will be expanded with the addition of Ho Chi Minh City, Manila and Seoul Incheon in Jun-2013 operating from Ethiopian’s existing Asian hubs, Hong Kong and Bangkok. And Ethiopian will become the first African carrier to take advantage of the natural transfer traffic synergies that link the three regions, and form part of its strategy to develop its Addis Ababa base into a Dubai-style hub of Africa.