Africa news in brief, July 2007

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More changes for SAA

South African Airways is axing its Paris service and grounding its Boeing 747-400 fleet as part of its ongoing restructuring. Changes at SAA began in April, when the carrier unveiled plans to cut jobs, axed its Zurich service and shelved its proposed Buenos Aires and Chicago routes. SAA also said in June it was considering spinning off non-core units and grounding its 747s. In June SAA confirmed plans to split the company into seven units, remove from service its 747s and axe its Paris service as part of a plan to achieve a R2.7 billion ($378 million) turnaround in the group's performance over the next 12 to 18 months. Separate units are being established for the mainline airline business, its loyalty programme, freight activities and airport operations.

Sudan Airways privatised

Sudan Airways was privatised in June with the entry of two new investors, Kuwait's AREF Investment Group and Sudanese firm Faiha Holding Company. The carrier says AREF Investment Group is acquiring a 49% stake and Faiha Holding Company a 21% stake. The government will retain the remaining 30% stake.

TAAG's new horizons

TAAG Angola Airlines is eyeing African carrier start-up projects in Sao Tome and Guinea-Bissau. TAAG says it is considering acquiring a 65% stake in STP Airways, a new airline the African island states of Sao Tome and Principe are looking to set up. Portuguese carrier EuroAtlantic Airways and Angolan carrier Air Gemini are also in the running for the stake. TAAG says Guinea-Bissau has proposed a similar arrangement for a new carrier called Air Bissau International.

Open skies moves closer

The African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC) has been appointed the overseeing body for the long-stalled pan-African liberalisation initiative, the Yamoussoukro Decision. AFCAC, a civil aviation agency under the Organisation of African Unity, will now be charged with organising the implementation of the Yamoussoukro Decision, which if finally enacted would allow any African carrier to operate any route within Africa without bilateral negotiations or any restrictions on capacity or frequency.

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