L News & Industry Affairs / AASA / 2021
December 14, 2021. AASA news release.
Johannesburg – The Airlines Association of Southern Africa (AASA) is relieved that sense has prevailed and the UK has decided to relax the travel restrictions that were hastily imposed on South Africa and other Southern African countries following the announcement of the identification of the Omicron variant by South African scientists last month. Download this full news release [pdf]...
It was clear from the start that restrictions, the intentions of which are debatable, were counter-productive and ineffective. We trust that policy makers and political leaders will take their lead from science and harmonise their adoption of measures for safe air travel that are recommended by the WHO and its UN sister body, the International Civil Aviation Organisation. At the same time, governments that have imposed restrictions on air travel ought to provide financial relief to airlines, their service providers and employees who have all been negatively affected by these restrictions. Aaron Munetsi, AASA CEO
A number of southern African countries are likely to abandon their national carriers as a result of the coronavirus crisis but an integrated holistic aviation market can keep national airlines afloat, Airlines Association of Southern Africa CEO, Aaron Munetsi said.
Across the African continent in general, passenger traffic volumes continued to be low due to the inconsistencies in the messaging regarding border closures, health protocols and continued surge in Covid-19 infections in some countries.
Newly appointed CEO Munetsi told African Airlines Association SkyConnect Leadership Dialogues that the southern African aviation industry needs to be coordinated and leveraged on available resources.
“How do we coordinate our development activities in southern Africa? Aviation cannot be a standalone. We have 6 countries in Southern Africa that are landlocked. They have to be an integral part of the entire process of developing an integrated aviation industry,” he said. Read more...
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Wednesday that travel restrictions imposed over COVID-19 that isolate any one country or region as "not only deeply unfair and punitive - they are ineffective." Read more...
November 28, 2021. News24.com
During his Sunday night address, President Cyril Ramaphosa said South Africa will remain on Alert Level 1.
President Ramaphosa expressed deep disapointment at the decision of several countries to prohibit travel from a number of Southern African countries following the identification of the Omicron variant.
"We call upon all those countries that have imposed travel bans on our country and our Southern African sister countries to urgently reverse their decisions and lift the bans they have imposed before any further damage is done to our economies," he said. Read more...
November 27, 2021.
The Airlines Association of Southern Africa has slammed the UK's red list decision. It comes after the new Omicron variant was detected in SA, Botswana, Hong Kong, and Belgium.The association's Aaron Munetsi says the UK should have consulted first. Read more...
November 26, 2021. AASA news release
Johannesburg – The Airlines Association of Southern Africa (AASA) notes with distress the UK government’s announcement that it will place South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Lesotho and Eswatini back onto its “Red List” of countries to which it imposes severe travel restrictions and quarantines.
While we respect every nation’s sovereign right to implement whatever measures it sees fit to combat the spread of COVID-19 variants, we urge Whitehall to reconsider what appears to have been a hasty decision, given the paucity of detailed knowledge and information on the newly identified variant, its presence and the efficacy of vaccines in limiting its potential to cause serious illness. With its announcement, the UK is delivering a body-blow to our region’s travel and tourism sector. It puts businesses, as well as tens of thousands of jobs and many more livelihoods at risk.
Aaron Munetsi, AASA CEO
“The business and leisure air travel industry in Southern Africa has only just begun to see green shoots emerge as governments have increasingly begun to relax and look to align and simplify their travel requirements and procedures. However, the UK’s unilateral step is a major set-back that sets a worrying precedent,” he added.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the commercial airline industry in South Africa supported close to 472,000 jobs across the economy and contributed $9.4 billion (approximately ZAR152.5bn at today’s exchange rate) to the country’s economy. This equated to 3.2% of GDP. The industry is also of strategic social and economic importance in all of the other countries in the Southern Africa Development Community.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused disarray to air travel and tourism worldwide. Southern Africa’s connectivity with the rest of the world fell by 80% as a result of travel restrictions. Total domestic, regional and inter-continental demand had recovered to about 40% of pre-COVID traffic levels by the start of November 2021 with domestic and regional traffic leading the comeback. Prior to the UK’s “Red List'' announcement today, long-haul traffic to and from Southern Africa was forecast to return to 2019 levels by 2025. Download this full news release [pdf]...
November 3, 2021. CNBC Africa News.
Last month SA's Competition Commission published a report on the competitiveness of the African airline industry showing that it costs African airlines significantly more to fly around the continent than it does for their global counterparts.
November 2, 2021. CapeTalk/702 radio/Early Breakfast with Africa Melane.
AASA has warned that without government intervention, a commercially viable, economic and environmentally sustainable southern African air transport industry will remain unattainable. Despite confidence gradually returning, demand for air travel to, from and within southern Africa is currently 45% down on pre-Covid-19 levels. Listen to Africa Melane interview Aaron Munetsi, AASA CEO.
November 1, 2021. Club of Mozambique News.
The Airlines Association of Southern Africa (AASA) supported positive actions to address climate change, AASA CEO Aaron Munetsi assured in his keynote address to the association’s virtual AGM on Thursday. Read the original article...
Our industry does not exists in a vacuum. We should be applying our minds to addressing the very real threat posed by global warming. As a services industry which proclaims to put customers first, we need to also be alive to the harmful commercial implications that any perceived foot-dragging on our part might have in the form of consumer boycotts or by customers voting with their feet.
Aaron Munetsi, AASA CEO
L AASA Member News & Notices
October 28, 2021. AASA news release
Johannesburg – Members of the Airlines Association of Southern Africa (AASA) voted to extend the terms of the current Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson for the next 12 months.
FlySafair CEO, Elmar Conradie, will continue to serve as AASA’s Chairperson, while Air Botswana CEO, Agnes Khunwana will remain as AASA’s Deputy Chairperson.
Both were unanimously re-appointed during AASA’s 51st Annual General Assembly, which was held online today. They have been serving in those positions since March 2021.
“Elmar and Agnes are both highly-respected industry executives committed to the long-term sustainability of the region’s air transport sector. Their appreciation of the commercial and operational realities of the airline industry in the region is invaluable in guiding the ongoing advocacy engagements between AASA and government policy-makers and regulators throughout the Southern Africa Development Community,” said AASA CEO, Aaron Munetsi.
AASA’s 2021 virtual annual assembly was attended by over 175 delegates representing airlines, airports, air navigation and weather services as well as manufacturers, suppliers and other industry stakeholders.
Plans are being made to return to staging an in-person event for AASA’s 52nd Annual General Assembly in 2022, which will be sponsored by Airlink. Download this full news release [pdf]...
October 28, 2021. AASA news release
Johannesburg – Without urgent and coordinated government interventions, a commercially viable, economic and environmentally sustainable Southern African air transport industry will remain unattainable, warns the Airlines Association of Southern Africa (AASA).
AASA cautions that although confidence is gradually returning, demand for air travel to, from and within Southern Africa is currently 45% down on pre-COVID-19 levels, making it the second most affected region in the world after South-East Asia (-70%).
External pressures, such as the rising price of jet fuel, which has increased by over 116% over the past 12 months, as well as the political and socio-economic upheavals in the region, have also put the squeeze on the industry. Download this full news release [pdf]...
We are in a fragile and vulnerable space and we urgently require governments to use the levers at their disposal to provide the relief that airlines need if they are to continue to provide the connectivity between markets that is the lifeblood of every modern, sophisticated and aspirational country. Aaron Munetsi, AASA CEO
The aviation sector is facing the most devastating crisis since World War 2 – and the most likely route to helping southern Africa's regional airline industry survive is opening up the skies. This is according to Aaron Munetsi, new CEO of AASA.
Munetsi believes the biggest opportunity for aviation in southern Africa is intra-regional air service connectivity. He says this is imperative for the SADC's overall economic recovery and future growth – having a commercially sustainable air transport industry that can connect and carry people and products between the region's markets and beyond. AASA is advocating for close coordination and cooperation between governments and industry - regardless of who owns the entities involved.
The framework for liberalising Africa's skies has evolved from the Yamoussoukro Declaration of 1988 to the Single Africa Air Transport Market (SAATM) of 2018, which now has 35 signatories. The post-pandemic restart is the perfect opportunity to kick-start the SAATM. It is essential to energise the African Continental Free Trade Agreement which supports and promotes the free movement of people, goods and services across the African continent. This will generate additional trade, promote employment, stability, security and unlock the broader GDP benefits that unimpeded intra-African air connectivity will bring for each country and its communities.
Aaron Munetsi, AASA CEO
Munetsi foresees that AASA will continue to play an ever-increasing role in raising concerns and proposing solutions through interaction with all key stakeholders, including air transport policymakers and regulators. Read the original article...
L AASA 51st AGA
Join us on 28 October 2021 at 12h00 - 15h00 (SAST)/10h00 - 13h00 (UTC) for the AASA 51st Annual General Assembly Zoom online session.
The 51st AGA's focus is Regional Recovery and Sustainability and will feature premier aviation stakeholders from our Southern African region addressing future opportunities, collective initiatives for growing Southern Africa's aviation industry, and environmental sustainability.
For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org
L AASA Member News & Notices
Mr Munetsi takes the helm from Wrenelle Stander who is leaving the industry body to take up a new position with Wesgro, promoting and developing tourism and economic development in the Western Cape.
“Aaron is reputed for his industry knowledge and formidable network of relationships that he has built over his more than 30 years of commercial and aeropolitical experience in the airline industry. He has worked in Southern, Eastern and West Africa as well as the Middle East for airlines in the public and private sector, with industry bodies and as a consultant on aeropolitical affairs, all of which make him a natural fit and a great asset for AASA as its new CEO,” explained AASA Chairperson, Elmar Conradie.
“I am looking forward to leading AASA and building on the solid base that has been prepared by my predecessors and the team. I intend to apply my broad industry experience to finding common ground with policy makers, legislators, regulators and our industry partners in developing solutions to the key issues facing airlines throughout the Southern Africa Development Community,” said Mr Munetsi.
Mr Munetsi holds diplomas and certificates in marketing, strategic management and leadership from the University of Zimbabwe, University of Witwatersrand Graduate Business School and the Gordon Institute for Business Studies.
He held several commercial management positions at South African Airways, including Regional Manager for Africa and the Middle East and as its Acting Chief Commercial Officer. For 10 years, he served on the board of Nigeria-South Africa Chamber of Business and After leaving SAA in 2018 he joined the African Airlines Association for a stint as its Director: Government, Legal and Industry Affairs. For the past year he has been working as an aeropolitical and business strategy advisor to airlines. Download the media statement...
All vaccinated South Africans will soon be eligible for a digital vaccination certificate.
On Friday morning, Health Minister Dr Joe Phaahla said, “We have commenced with the development of the digital vaccination certificate which will be protected from fraud.” He said the new certificates will be uploadable on a smartphone and will be printable too.
“This is in line with the World Health Organisation’s initiative to attempt to standardise vaccination proof all over the world,” he said, “and in a matter of a week this should be available to those who are vaccinated in South Africa.”
Mr. Chris Zweigenthal is the immediate-past CEO of the Airlines Association Of Southern Africa (AASA). In this valedictory interview with Aviation & Allied Business Journal, he relives the progression of the industry over the decades of his service, and offers insights on the way forward for the industry in Africa amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
Q: As the industry evolves with new technology alongside Africa’s young population, what is your expectation in Africa’s aviation development?
A: The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us that our industry needs to embrace new technology, digitization and systems, leading to a self-service, touchless airport and passenger handling environment. African aviation must follow this global trend if it wishes to compete within the global industry. This will require a necessary investment by all stakeholders but should deliver appropriate returns through increasing numbers of a new generation of passengers who embrace such technological development. Read the full interview...
Domestic aviation markets in Southern Africa will recover to 2019 levels by 2023 and international travel by 2024, says the new CEO of the Airline Association of Southern Africa (AASA), Wrenelle Stander.
Stander foresees that recovery of aviation in Africa will take time and will be determined by the political economy, as well as the pace and depth of governments' responses to the Covid-19 crisis. Read more...
We agree with the assessment by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) that international passenger demand will only return to 2019 levels in 2024. Similarly, Africa's airline market of 115 million passengers is unlikely to recover overnight. Wrenelle Stander, AASA CEO
The Airlines Association of Southern Africa (AASA) has done a solid behind the scenes job of fighting for the promotion and rights of southern African airlines. In July 2021, long serving CEO Chris Zweigenthal retired and Wrenelle Stander has stepped into the hot seat - in this, the most difficult of times. But Wrenelle is supremely qualified, and AASA may consider itself fortunate to have acquired her talents. Read the full interview in SA Flyer Magazine here...
In honour of August being Woman's month in South Africa, we are profiling a number of women who have excelled in various aspects of aviation. Read the full profile in SA Flyer Magazine here...
Recovery has been hampered by a slow start to vaccination campaigns in SA and many other countries in the region.Targeted interventions by the state such as tax waivers and wage subsidies will be crucial to revive the airline industry after it was dealt a blow by the Covid-19 crisis, says Wrenelle Stander, the newly appointed CEO of the Airlines Association of Southern Africa, the industry body that represents all carriers in SA and the region.
The health crisis has grounded many airlines throughout the world and left most employees in the sector without an income. Before the pandemic, the local industry supported close to 500,000 direct and indirect jobs and contributed 3.2% to SA’s GDP. Read more...
Access to funding and cash is what the airline industry needs, but we appreciate that governments throughout the region face competing fiscal demands. Wrenelle Stander, AASA CEO
L AASA PRESS RELEASE/COVID-19
Johannesburg. The Airlines Association of Southern Africa (AASA), renewed its call for governments across the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to accelerate vaccination programmes and to provide urgent financial relief to the entire air travel and tourism sector - regardless of ownership - without which economic recovery and future growth will be set back by years.
Airlines provide all-important social and economic connections throughout our region and around the world, but COVID-19, associated travel restrictions, the accompanying economic crisis and shifts in the way people are working, have been a devastating quadruple whammy for the entire airline industry, including domestic markets, of which South Africa’s is the largest in Africa...Download the full press release [media outlets]...Johannesburg. The Airlines Association of Southern Africa (AASA), announces that its Chief Executive Officer, Chris Zweigenthal, will retire from the organisation at the end of August 2021.
Mr Zweigenthal joined AASA in February 2002 as Deputy Chief Executive and was appointed CEO in March 2009. His retirement is for personal reasons and he will relocate to the USA to be closer to his children and grandchildren.
“Chris is a legend in the Southern African air transport industry and is widely regarded for his tenacity, calm diplomacy and energetic work ethic. While we have confronted - and continue to face - serious challenges, the airline industry in Southern Africa is deeply indebted to Chris for the constructive engagement and goodwill that he has fostered across the sector. especially with government regulators, policy makers, legislators and state-run infrastructure service providers throughout the Southern African Development Community. We wish Chris and his family a well-deserved retirement. He will leave big shoes to fill,” said AASA Chairperson, Elmar Conradie. Download the media statement...
L AASA Member News & Notices
It is my great pleasure to advise that at the AASA Business/General Meeting held on 17 March 2021, Mr Elmar Conradie, Chief Executive Officer of FlySafair was elected Chairperson of AASA, and Ms Agnes Khunwana, Chief Executive Officer of Air Botswana, was elected Deputy Chairperson of AASA. On behalf of us all, I congratulate both Elmar and Agnes on their election, and wish them well during their tenure in these positions. We as the AASA team look forward to working with them, the Board and the Executive Committee to achieve the mandate given to us by you our Members to work in your mutual best interests on all the issues, initiatives and projects where we are involved and need to become involved.
The above election was brought about through the resignation of Ms Wrenelle Stander as Chief Executive Officer of Comair and Chairperson of AASA on 30 November 2020. Wrenelle had been elected as Chairperson of AASA at the 2020 AASA Annual General meeting held on 8 October 2020.
Air Botswana General Manager, Ms Agnes Khunwana, has been appointed Deputy Chairperson of the Airlines Association of Southern Africa (AASA).
A press release from Air Botswana says the appointment was made during the recent AASA business meeting. AASA works with captains of the industry and other senior government officials on matters of policy, regulations, safety as well as matters affecting profitability and sustainability of member airlines.
As an aviation executive, Ms Khunwana brings to the AASA board a trove of executive leadership experience gained since joining Air Botswana in 2015. Read the original article...
While the news that lockdown restrictions have been eased and the country has to lockdown level 2 has been welcomed, there are still questions over the president’s plans to end the lockdown. Read the original article...
President Cyril Ramaphosa has urged those who remain unvaccinated to get vaccinated as he announced an easing of Covid-19 restrictions on Sunday night. The president said following consultation and scientific advice, the country would move to risk-adjusted level 2 from Monday. Read the original article...
South Africa's International and Domestic Air Service Licensing Councils enshrined in the Air Services Licensing Act No. 115 of 1990 have been defunct since March 2021.
These Councils provide the following vital service to the industry:
- Enables airlines to connect communities, markets and businesses - without them economic recovery will be delayed and more jobs lost.
- Ensures fair competition for all South African airlines.
- Promotes choice, accessiblility and affordable air transport.
- Safeguards impartiality, which is crucial in South Africa where government is the rule-maker, referee and a competing player.
The South African Department of Home Affairs has advised AASA in formal communication that it has commenced with the implementation of its electronic visa system (e-Visa). The system will be released in a phased approach starting with Kenya and Cameroon. Visit the DOH website for more information on visas...
In the domestic market, supply currently outstrips demand
SA's airlines, which have been haemorrhaging money since March last year amid stringent travel restrictions, are in for a tough ride for at least the next year to 18 months, with survival odds favouring those that have access to cash and can cut fixed costs.
Wrenelle Stander, the new CEO of AASA, says as it stands, airlines find themselves "in a holding pattern" doing what they can to survive. Read the original article...
They (South Africa's airlines) have to have access to cash while they are in this holding pattern. In addition, they would have hopefully cut their fixed costs so they are not burning as much cash. Wrenelle Stander, AASA CEO
How long will it take for SA’s aviation industry to get back on its feet and just how much damage has been done?
L AASA Member News & Notices
L MEDIA STATEMENTJohannesburg. The Airlines Association of Southern Africa (AASA), announces that Wrenelle Stander has been appointed as its new Chief Executive Officer, with effect from mid-July 2021.
Ms Stander takes over the reins from Chris Zweigenthal who is retiring from the industry body he has served with distinction for over 19 years. “Wrenelle, whose career includes extensive leadership experience in the public and private sectors of the air transport and energy industries as well as in the South African Government, is the ideal choice to lead AASA and represent its members in its engagements on matters of common interest. As a former AASA chairperson, she is also familiar with the association and the kinds of issues it takes up,” said Mr Zweigenthal.
“Finding the sweet spot in the nexus between government and industry is the thread that has strung together my various roles in the energy and aviation industries and one that is crucial to the vital role that AASA fulfils in representing the air transport industry throughout the Southern African Development Community region,” explained Ms Stander.
“Wrenelle is widely respected throughout the Southern African air transport industry and her ability to navigate and further enhance our relationships with all stakeholders will be a tremendous asset for AASA and our industry, especially as we grapple with the slow and painful recovery of the COVID-19 pandemic and the devasting impact that related travel restrictions have had for air transport, tourism, trade, jobs and livelihoods in our region,” said AASA Chairperson, Elmar Conradie. Download the media statement...
LAASA welcomes this endorsement of the proven effective bio-security measures implemented by airlines and airports.
Transport minister Fikile Mbalula said on Tuesday the government is not considering halting airline operations under alert level 4 lockdown as it has been advised they are not superspreaders.
The aviation sector and airlines are not superspreaders. People need to travel for the economy to function. SA Transport Minister, Fikile Mbalula
- The Covid-19 pandemic has led to airlines looking for new sources of revenue.
- Governments should balance the need for Covid-19 health measures with the impact these will have on a country's socioeconomic situation, suggests an aviation expert.
- Forward booking for SA's airline industry appears flat for the next few months, conference participants heard.
Airline traffic in SA is still nowhere near pre-Covid-19 levels and cash preservation will remain priority for airlines, according to Chris Zweigenthal, CEO of AASA.
Airlines have had to change business model amid huge uncertainty. They have had to take difficult decisions to reduce costs, including looking at unpaid leave or retrenchments. Furthermore, predicting recovery of the market and how to plan and schedule flights is a challenge because the coronavirus pandemic is so unpredictable, often leading to changes in regulations at short notice. Chris Zweigenthal, AASA CEO
The impact of the second wave in December and beginning of January reduced passenger numbers on domestic flights and even more so in the international market. So, the numbers for January and February were much lower than in December. March is, however, showing a bit of an improvement. Read the original article...
One factor hampering local airlines is that international feed to domestic flights has slowed
The recovery of SA’s airline industry has been derailed by the resurgence of Covid-19 and the subsequent introduction of stricter government measures to curb the spread of the deadly virus, local industry players say. Read the original article...