Huge expansion of East African airline business

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Old Jan 14, 19, 8:09 am
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Huge expansion of East African airline business

Following on the news from Tanzania and Uganda, now Rwandair announced a sizable expansion to its fleet and routes.

31 destinations in Africa, Asia, Europe and North America including Addis, Guangzhou and Conakry. They recently added Abuja, Cape Town and signed deals with Togo, Ghana and Angola. They are also looking to improve their Gatwick slot and soon the US from Accra. Further they plan to add two A330-900 NEO's to the fleet.

So I'm wondering what is the global cause and effect of all these changes? If these airlines are moderately successful, will it have an impact on other airlines? Even if 90% of the passengers are government employees?

Also, if Rwandair is successful in this expansion, could joining a global alliance be in their future?
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Old Jan 15, 19, 6:17 am
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Certainly agree, Rwandair should be looking for an alliance or at least some good FFP partners with reciprocal benefits. They are becoming a real force in East Africa, but until I get reciprocal benefits from my status, I won't be flying them anytime soon. ET serves me very well for the time being, though they gutted partner earnings on lower tier tickets last year.
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Old Jan 16, 19, 2:57 am
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Originally Posted by stimpy View Post
If these airlines are moderately successful
That is a big "IF". Rwandair is a financial basket case that exists solely because of huge government subsidies.
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Old Jan 16, 19, 3:43 am
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Originally Posted by B747-437B View Post
That is a big "IF". Rwandair is a financial basket case that exists solely because of huge government subsidies.
Wasn't that how most all of the worlds top airlines began? Entirely financed by government?
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Old Jan 16, 19, 5:27 am
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Originally Posted by stimpy View Post
Wasn't that how most all of the worlds top airlines began? Entirely financed by government?
Yes, but its a different environment today. A startup in 1920 had a very different set of barriers to entry in the aviation industry than a startup in 2000 did.

I guess it depends on what your definition of "moderately successful" is.
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Old Jan 16, 19, 5:54 am
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Originally Posted by B747-437B View Post
Yes, but its a different environment today. A startup in 1920 had a very different set of barriers to entry in the aviation industry than a startup in 2000 did.

I guess it depends on what your definition of "moderately successful" is.
I know what you are saying, but I'm sure that Rwandair and the Rwandan government would say that starting an airline in Rwanda has a very different set of barriers to entry than airline startups in other regions of the world. Especially nowadays with alliances and corporate booking web portals, etc. They are not an LCC after all.

As time goes by we'll see how successful they are.
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Old Jan 17, 19, 7:36 am
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I am most certainly looking forward to more competition and cheaper airfares within the continent. Also, the opening of new airports/airport terminals. I wonder if more people will be inclined to choose ET when they open their new terminal in ADD later this year. Transfer experience in ADD is currently.. yeah.. There is room for improvement.

Do any of you have any thoughts of airline safety for these 'new' carriers? I personally would be a bit cautious about e.g. Air Tanzania - their historical safety records aren't very good, severely damaging almost every single aircraft they had in the past, I am not mistaken? ET and KQ aren't perfect either, but percentage-wise much safer than other airliners in this part of the world? I believe an ET aircraft skidded off the runway in EBB just last week.
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Old Jan 17, 19, 7:53 am
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Regarding safety, the newer airplanes practically fly themselves. And significantly reduce the possibility of pilot error. Especially the B787 and A350. So I am much less worried about those aircraft even when flying an African carrier. The last time I flew Rwandair it was on an old Dornier turboprop, landing at EBB during a storm. That was somewhat less than safe! The pilots aborted once, circled around and landed safely. Just as they were taught.
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Old Jan 17, 19, 12:56 pm
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Originally Posted by stimpy View Post
Regarding safety, the newer airplanes practically fly themselves. And significantly reduce the possibility of pilot error. Especially the B787 and A350. So I am much less worried about those aircraft even when flying an African carrier.
Pilot error in terms of poor flying skills leading to an accident is less of an issue than pilot error in terms of poor judgement leading to an accident. A pilot without proper training/experience who operates in a poor safety culture can very easily screw up even the most advanced machine! It will take most African carriers (even the most "advanced" ones like ET and KQ) at least a generation to develop the proper safety culture to truly reduce the possibility of pilot error.
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