Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Good aviation news?

An initially depressing article in The Economist on aviation ("Going South") in Africa gets interesting towards the end.

It begins with the dreadful state of African airlines, including:
"With fewer regional players, average fares have risen by 24% in two years, thanks in part to rising fuel costs and hefty take-off taxes. Tour operators are dismayed, fearing that hitherto small declines in tourist numbers will accelerate into total collapse. Many are sceptical that Air Zimbabwe will deliver on promises to resume services to London this summer. Safari companies were outraged when, in the space of five days earlier this month, Air Botswana axed and then reinstated two popular tourist routes, forcing the cancellation of around 2,000 holidays." [My emphasis]
Image c/o Wikipedia
But then cheers up significantly when it concludes with:
"FastJet, a Tanzanian airline part-owned by Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, the founder of easyJet, is ploughing on regardless. The company hopes to receive government approval for the takeover of two defunct rivals, and then to expand throughout southern Africa. For this strategy to work, the region’s governments will have to abandon protectionism and open their airports to all comers, both foreign and domestic. Politicians need to respond positively and quickly if they want to support business and tourism in this airline graveyard."
I've had fantasies for years of Stelios, a business hero of mine, coming down here and cleaning up the airline industry. Fingers crossed!

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