Hawassa becomes the 20th domestic destination for Ethiopian Airlines, which has announced that it will begin four weekly flights from April 16, 2016.
Ethiopian’s Q-400 aircraft will make the 40 minute flight every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.
The Airline has pledged to offer international standard services for domestic travellers at the lowest possible cost. This will not only boost the region’s growing investment and tourism industry but will enhance the socio-economic relations of the state with others. Domestic and international travellers will be able to easily make flight transfers to and from Hawassa.
The city is the capital of the Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples State and is one of the best tourist destinations in Ethiopia. Its attractions include one of the seven lakes of the Great Rift Valley as well as its diverse cultures and languages.
Hawassa’s 457 million Br Airport is yet to be inaugurated officially in the same week that Ethiopian Airlines will make its maiden flight to that destination.
Opening this route is part of the Airline’s Vision 2025 which includes the establishment of Ethiopian Express as a strategic business unit for the delivery of essential air connectivity. The new service is expected to attract the business community, public sector personnel, university students and lecturers as well as tourists.
Africa’s air safety last year was better than over the five-year period 2010–2014, the International Air Transport Association (Iata) reported recently. While the hull loss rate for jet airliners was down, that for turboprop airliners showed a dramatic decline. The jet hull loss rate in Africa in 2015 was 3.49 per million flights, compared with a rate of 3.69 for 2010–2014, while the turboprop hull loss rate was 4.53, compared with 18.20 for the preceding five-year period. There were four commercial hull loss accidents in sub-Saharan Africa last year. Two involved jets and two involved turboprops. Neither jet accident saw any fatalities, nor did one of the turboprop losses. Unfortunately, the other turboprop loss did result in fatalities. In addition, there were two accidents involving jet aircraft in the region which did not result in hull losses but did cause fatalities. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a runway excursion by a freighter aircraft caused eight fatalities on the ground. Over Senegal, an airliner collided with a smaller jet serving as an air ambulance while the airliner suffered only moderate damage and nobody onboard suffered any injuries, the smaller jet disappeared (its wreckage has not yet been found) and is considered lost and all seven people onboard are presumed dead.
“African safety is moving in the right direction,” affirmed Iata director-general and CEO Tony Tyler. “In 2015, we saw improvements, compared to the five-year accident rate for both jet and turboprop hull losses. Nevertheless, challenges to bringing Africa in line with global performance remain. One valuable tool to assist this effort is Iosa (Iata Operational Safety Audit). The 32 sub-Saharan Africa airlines on the Iosa registry are performing 3.5 times better than non-Iosa operators in terms of all accidents (3.62 per million flights versus 12.99). States should make Iosa a part of the certification process.” “Governments in the region also need to accelerate implementation of International Civil Aviation Organisation’s safety-related standards and recommended practices (SARPS), according to the Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme,” he added. “As of the end of January 2016, only 21 African States had accomplished at least 60% of implementation of the SARPS.” Worldwide, the jet hull loss rate last year was 0.32, which was up on the 0.27 of 2014 but still 30% better than the figure of 0.46 for the five-year period 2010–2014.
A loss rate of 0.32 works out to one air accident every 3.1-million flights. Iata member airlines suffered a jet hull loss rate was 0.22 (or one accident for every 4.5-million flights). This was in accord with the 0.21 figure for 2010–2014 but up on the 2014 figure of 0.12. However, the Iata loss rate was 31% better than the global rate. All 262 Iata member airlines have to be on the Iosa registry (another 146 airlines which are not Iata members are also on the Iosa registry). Regarding turboprops, the hull loss rate in 2015 was 1.29 per million flights. This was a significant improvement on the 3.95 figure for 2010–2014. Regarding the other regions, last year, Asia-Pacific had a jet hull loss rate of 0.21, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS – former Soviet Union, except the Baltic States) 1.88, Europe 0.15, Latin America and the Caribbean 0.39, the Middle East and North Africa 0.00 (yes, zero), North America 0.32 and North Asia also 0.00. The turboprop hull loss rate for Asia-Pacific was 2.07, for CIS 0.00, for Europe also 0.00, for Latin America and the Caribbean also 0.00, for the Middle East and North Africa also 0.00, for North America 0.51 and for North Asia 25.19.
Two points: the five-year 2010–2014 average for turboprop hull loss rates for the CIS was 17.83, so that region also enjoyed a significant safety improvement; and, as there are relatively few turboprop flights in North Asia, a small number of accidents there cause a big increase in the statistics. It should be noted that the loss last year of Germanwings Flight 9525 and Metrojet Flight 9268, which together cost 374 lives, are not classified as accidents, as they were deliberately perpetrated. Flight 9525 was crashed by its suicidal copilot and Flight 9268 was destroyed by a terrorist bomb.
The two operational domestic airlines in the country, Starbow and Africa World Airliners (AWA), have received the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) certificate — a measure of the sound safety, management and quality control systems of the two operators.
The IOSA is the benchmark for global safety management in airlines. All IATA members are registered and must remain registered in order to maintain IATA membership.
About 24 airlines operate within the West African sub-region with a relatively young population of about 300 million. However, though operational efficiency and safety is high among various airlines in Ghana and the sub-region, just five airlines are IATA-certified.
Aside from the two Ghanaian carriers, Nigerian airlines Arik and Aero, and Lomé-based Asky Airlines are the other IOSA certified airlines.
According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) — the global trade association for the airline industry with over 250 member-airlines which comprise 84% of total air transport — the IOSA programme is an internationally recognised and accepted evaluation system designed to assess the operational management and control systems of an airline.
The attainment of IOSA certification means that indigenous carriers can now compete favourably with their peers in the sub-region for big-ticket international-organisation clients.
It will also make it possible for them — Starbow and AWA — to enter into commercial agreements with foreign carriers like KLM, Lufthansa, BA, Tap Portugal, Emirates and others to handle passengers travelling on itineraries that require multiple airlines.
For instance, passengers travelling from Frankfurt in Germany to Kumasi via Accra or from London to Takoradi through Accra. Domestic carriers can partner foreign airlines to operate the domestic end of such travellers’ itineraries.
“We intend to deepen our partnership with South African Airways (SAA) given the attainment of IOSA certification. One of the things that was preventing us from doing the code share was getting this IOSA certificate. So once we have it, we are working at deepening it so we have a better code share,” said Samuel Thompson, Chief Operations Officer of AWA.
“Our current fleet is not very suitable for the regional flights so we are looking at getting something bigger, like a medium-haul aircraft with a seat range of about 120-160, then we will start doing Lagos, Abuja, Monrovia and Freetown. We will still do what we are doing and improve on our safety, management systems, and our quality management systems,” he added.
Mr. Eric Antwi, the Chief Executive Officer of Starbow — whose company received its IOSA certificate in September 2015, noted that: “When this is through it will increase our business with other airline service providers who will give us passengers and vice versa.
“We are happy to be among the listed airlines which include major intercontinental and regional carriers that have successfully gone through this rigorous auditing process.”
The IOSA certification audit is an internationally recognised and accepted evaluation system designed to assess the operational management and control systems of an airline, with emphasis on universally accepted best practices in the Airline industry.
IOSA uses internationally recognised audit principles and is designed to conduct audits in a standardised and consistent manner.
Transport infrastructure and services for intra-continental travel have been cited as a key constraint limiting the growth of tourism in Africa by the 2015 Africa Tourism Monitor, an annual report on tourism in Africa.
The report, a publication of the African Development Bank (AfDB), says although many major airlines fly to Africa from North America, Europe and Asia, once visitors reach the continent, they encounter difficulties in intra-Africa travel from East to West, and North to South.
“One of the major challenges to travel in Africa is stringent and restricted air service markets, designed to protect the share held by state-owned air carriers.”
The Yamoussoukro Decision or “Open Skies for Africa” adopted at the start of the millennium to deregulate air services on the continent are yet to be implemented though the latter alone is believed to be capable of creating 155,000 new jobs and contributing $1.3 billion to the continent’s GDP if implemented by only a quarter of African countries.
“Some [African] countries have not signed up to the Yamoussoukro Decision, or have failed to fully ratify it, while others that are signatories have not yet implemented it.”
“Another factor that has curtailed its implementation is that some African countries have entered into Economic Bilateral Partnership Agreements (EBPA) with airlines from other continents, which conflicts with the spirit of the Yamoussoukro Decision,” the report says.
The tourism action plan also launched in 2004 under the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) has also not been implemented.
Other major challenges to tourism in Africa in 2015 were security issues, especially in North Africa, Mali and Kenya, and the outbreak of Ebola which created “a climate of fear” that spread to many other African countries far away from the source of the outbreak.
The report indicates that, of the 80 countries for which travel warnings were issued by the US State Department, 30 were located in Africa.
According to the report, many of Africa’s iconic species – animals that attract tourists from across the globe – are on the brink of extinction; poaching and illegal trade in protected species have reached unprecedented levels and authorities need to strengthen their data production in this area.
Overall, the report says the tourism sector in Africa is growing. In 2014, a total of 65.3 million international tourists visited the continent – around 200,000 more than in 2013.
Additionally, from 13,700 rooms in sub-Saharan Africa’s hotel chain development pipeline in 2011, there are now 49,715 rooms in the development pipeline, with 53 per cent of them in West Africa.
Nigeria leads the continent with an incoming 8,563 rooms in 51 hotels, followed by Egypt with 6,440 rooms in 18 hotels, and Morocco with 5,474 from 31 incoming hotels.