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  L  Air Botswana commits to IATA gender diversity pledge 
January 21, 2020. Sunday Standard

Air Botswana has signed up to IATA's 25by2025 campaign which is designed to address gender imbalance in civil aviation. Committing to this gender diversity pledge makes Botswana the second African country to sign up to this campaign. The other African airline is TAAG Angolan Airlines.
    25by2025 is a global campaign for IATA member airlines to improve gender balance, especially female representation, in the aviation industry by 25%, or up to a minimum of 25% by 2025. By signing to this gender diversity pledge, Air Botswana will report annually on key diversity metrics, increase female representation in senior positions and under-represented areas and increase female nominations from their airlines for IATA governance roles to a minimum of 25%. Read the original article...

  L  Let’s grow tourism: Airline sustainability is key for 2020 
January 17, 2020. Denise Slabbert, Southern & East African Tourism. 

The biggest challenge facing the airline industry in Southern Africa this year is sustainability and determining and implementing strategies that return airlines to profitability (or maintain profitability), under very difficult current trading conditions. So says Chris Zweigenthal, CEO of the Airlines Association of Southern Africa (AASA).
    “Airlines will need to find means to reduce costs, increase productivity and increase aircraft utilisation and yields in an environment where economic growth in South Africa (0.5%) and within the Southern African region (3%) is lower than the rest of Africa and currently lower than the global average,” he told Tourism Update. Read the original article...

  L  SAA ups its wildlife protection game 
January 9, 2020.Boitumelo Masihleho, Southern & East African Tourism. 

South African Airways (SAA) has elevated its fight against the illegal trade in wildlife by being certified for the latest the Illegal Wildlife Trade module of the IATA’s Environmental Assessment (IEnvA) programme. 
    As part of its new status, SAA will increase awareness, training and co-operation with law enforcement. All employees will have the opportunity to be trained in methods to detect smugglers and their activities and to report these to the relevant authorities. 
    SAA Acting CEO, Zuks Ramasia, said: “We can all do our part to stop this scourge that subjects our wildlife to cruel methods of smuggling or to death at the hands of poachers. SAA is committed to making a difference and protecting our wildlife.” Read the original article...

/ 2019 news

  L  'SAA business rescue a better option than liquidation and catastrophic collapse'
December 7, 2019. Samora Mangesi for Channel Africa news. 

The Airlines Association Of Southern Africa's (AASA) Chris Zweigenthal weighs in on the possible outcome of SAA's business rescue.  
Beleagured national carrier South African Airways (SAA) announced on Friday that it is officially under business rescue.  
    The move's been welcomed by AASA as a means to provide some security and clarity for the industry.  
    AASA CEO, Chris Zweigenthal says the other option on the table was liquidation, which could have meant a "catastrophic collapse" of SAA, in turn affecting the operation of other airlines. Read the original article...

/ 2019 news

  L  Air transport is a key industry, SAA has a big impact, says industry body 
December 6, 2019. Carin Smith, Fin24

President Cyril Ramaphosa's decision to have SAA placed under immediate business rescue should provide some security and clarity for South Africa's air transport, trade, logistics, travel and tourism sectors, according to AASA.    
    AASA would like the business rescue scenario to give the aviation and related industries a chance to adjust and adapt - ensuring that those they serve are provided with sustainable, competitive, capable, reliable and safe services. Read the original article...

Industry and Economic Implications of an SAA Business Rescue 
December 5, 2019. Johannesburg, South Africa.

The Airlines Association of Southern Africa (AASA) notes President Ramaphosa’s decision to have South African Airways (SAA) placed under immediate business rescue, a move that should provide some security and clarity for South Africa’s air transport, trade, logistics, travel and tourism sectors. 
    While AASA may not comment on SAA’s business or its shareholder’s decision, it is important to consider them within the industry and broader socio-economic contexts within which the sector subsists. Read the ful. statement here.

  L  Call for cool heads as crippling SAA could sound death knell for SA tourism 
November 19, 2019. Mwangi Githahu, Fin24

...Chris Zweigenthal, AASA CEO, urged unions and management in the air transport sector to "apply cool heads and to explore all options available to avert a secondary strike, which could perpetrate a national crisis”. 
    Zweigenthal said: “The air transport and tourism industries represent around R140 billion in gross value added to South Africa's economy, and accounts for 3.2% of the country's GDP. It also supports about 472000 jobs and their extended families, whose livelihoods, directly and indirectly, would be impacted across the entire economy.” Read the original article...

  L  Secondary airline strike could be severe blow to economy, warns industry body 
November 18, 2019. Carin Smith, Fin24

A secondary strike in South Africa's aviation industry could lead to a national crisis, the Airlines Association of Southern Africa warned on Monday.       
    AASA has, therefore, called on unions and management in the air transport sector to apply cool heads and to explore all options available to avert a secondary strike.    
    "Our sector is an invaluable asset to the country and vital to our already fragile economy and those of the entire region," AASA CEO Chris Zweigenthal said in a statement. Read the original article...

  L  Battle for talent as over-40s dominate aviation industry - expert 
October 18, 2019. Carin Smith for 

Significant jobs growth is forecast in the aviation industry, but the challenge will be finding and nurturing new talent, Vees Lochan, chief operating officer of the Airline Association of Southern Africa said on Friday. 
     "Aviation is one of the fastest growing industries in the world. By 2037 the population of Africa will increase by the size of the present population of China," he said at the annual general meeting of the Airline Association of Southern Africa (AASA) hosted by Air Austral in Reunion. Read the original article here...

  L  African airlines have allowed foreign firms to 'eat their lunch' – acting SAA CEO 
October 16, 2019. Carin Smith for 

African airlines allowed foreign companies to "eat their lunch", according to Zuks Ramasia, the acting CEO of flag carrier SAA. 
    "The most important thing is for us as Africans to open up and give each other the freedom to do intra-Africa travel.
    "Instead, we allowed the international carriers to come in and be more active in our region," she said last week at the annual general meeting of AASA hosted by Air Austral in Reunion.  Read the original article here...

  L  Government to scrap the controversial birth certificate regulation 
October 15, 2019. Caxton Central for Vryheid Herald. 

The Minister of Home Affairs, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, has confirmed that the government is set to abolish the unabridged birth certificate travel rules. 
    Motsoaledi confirmed this change during an interview with Moneyweb Radio and said that unabridged birth certificates will no longer be required for overseas tourists travelling to South Africa with children. Read the original article here...

  L  AASA CEO ASATV interview: Challenges facing African airlines         
October 14, 2019. Peter Ndoro interviews Chris Zweigenthal for Aerospace Africa TV.

  L  Unabridged birth certificate requirement expected to be completely scrapped for foreigners - as soon as this week
 October 14, 2019. Carin Smith for 

The Airline Association of Southern Africa has been advised that President Cyril Ramaphosa recently instructed the Department of Home Affairs to completely rescind the controversial unabridged birth certificate requirement for foreign minors travelling with foreigners to South Africa.   
    "The South African government has acknowledged the negative impact of visa regulations - including the unabridged birth certificate requirement - on tourism," said AASA CEO Chris Zweigenthal at the organisation’s annual general meeting being hosted by Air Austral in Reunion.  Read the original article here... 

  L  'It seems I am always on standby' – acting SAA chief 
October 12, 2019. Carin Smith for 

It has been a tough period for airlines in southern Africa and the rest of the continent, acting SAA CEO Zuks Ramasia said on Friday.
    She was one of the opening speakers at the annual general meeting of the Airline Association of Southern Africa (AASA) hosted by Air Austral on the Indian Ocean island of Reunion. She was appointed as the flag carrier's interim head in June after Vuyani Jarana stepped down. Read the original article here... 

  L  New AASA Chair and Deputy Chair elected at 49th AGA​  
October 12, 2019. AASA news. 

The Airlines Association of Southern Africa (AASA) would like to congratulate Zuks Ramasia, South African Airways (SAA) Acting CE0 and AASA Deputy Chair, and Wrenelle Stander, Comair Limited Joint CEO and AASA Executive Committee member on their election as Chair and Deputy Chair, respectively, of AASA for 2019/2020. 

  L  Low-cost airlines can boost SA economy - aviation official 
October 11, 2019. 

Low-cost airlines can be a booster for SA's economy, according to Airline Association of Southern Africa CEO Chris Zweigenthal. 
    Speaking at the organisation’s annual general meeting, hosted by Air Austral in Reunion on Friday, Zweigenthal said low-cost airlines already occupy about 65.4% of South Africa’s domestic market - and that numberis growing. Read the original article here...

  L  Boeing crash raises serious questions on certification in Africa - aviation official​ 
October 11, 2019. Carin Smith for 

The tragic loss of the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX this March raised serious questions – including about certification in Africa, Chris Zweigenthal, CEO of the Airline Association of Southern Africa said on Friday.  
    "Historically, Africa’s safety record was dire, but remarkable progress was made over the past decade and it should no longer hold us back," he said at AASA’s annual general meeting hosted by Air Austral in Reunion. Read the original article here...  

  L  Sustainability, Economic Growth, Focal Topics at 49th AASA AGA 
October 9, 2019. Linden Birns for AASA news. 

Impediments to the success of African carriers and the economies they support will be the focus of discussion at the Airlines Association of Southern Africa’s (AASA) forthcoming 49th Annual General Assembly.​ 
    Over 200 delegates are expected to attend the assembly, which will be hosted by Air Austral in Reunion, from 10-13 October 2019. They represent airlines, governments, regulators, airports, airspace management services, ground handlers and various service providers, financiers as well as aircraft and engine manufacturers and allied sectors. Read more... 
Media contact:  Linden Birns, Plane Talking, PR Advisor for AASA. Email: 

  L  Southern Africa airlines need liberalisation and scale to achieve sustained profitability
July 26, 2019. Blue Swan Daily. 

The Airlines Association of Southern Africa (AASA) is hopeful the region’s anemic passenger growth rate will accelerate under South Africa’s new administration. AASA also continues to push for a Single Africa Air Transport Market (SAATM), which if finally implemented should help airlines in southern Africa pursue faster growth, build up scale and improve profitability.
    Most airlines in Southern Africa – as well as Africa overall – have struggled to achieve profitability. AASA believes low average profit margins is the biggest issue confronting airlines in Southern Africa. Read the original article...

  L  South Africa: SAA Signs Codeshare Agreement With Brazilian Airline
July 8, 2019. Southern Times. 

South African Airways (SAA) has signed codeshare and frequent flyer agreements with Brazilian airline Gol - Linhas Aéreas (GOL), which came into effect on Thursday. 
    SAA acting Chief Executive Officer Zuks Ramasia said the airline is pleased with the agreement which is of strategic importance. 
    "We are extremely pleased with this agreement which comes at an opportune time and gives strategic impetus to our strategy of growing partnerships globally to offer our customers more travel options. It is an important step in the execution of our strategy and gives our customers, through our direct flights to Sao Paulo, a number of further travel options to explore Brazil," said Ramasia. Read the original article here...

  L  'Game changer for Africa' as leaders launch 'historic' free trade deal
July 7, 2019. AFP/News24. 

African nations officially launched a landmark trade agreement at the African Union summit in Niger on Sunday, with the long sought-after agreement hailed as a historic step towards "peace and prosperity" across the continent.
    After 17 years of tough negotiations, the AU launched the "operational phase" of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) in what AU commission chairperson Moussa Faki had described as a "historic" moment.
   "An old dream is coming true, the founding fathers must be proud," said Faki, adding that AfCFTA would create "the greatest trading area in the world". Read the original article here...

  L  Mozambique, Zim sign air transport agreement 
July 1, 2019. Southern Times. 

Maputo - The national airlines of Mozambique and Zimbabwe can now fly between the two countries without any barriers, under an agreement signed in Maputo last week by Mozambican Transport Minister Carlos Mesquita and his Zimbabwean counterpart, Joel Matiza.  
    The agreement allows the two airlines to fly from one of the countries to the other without any kind of limitation. 
    According to Joao Abreu, the chairperson of the aviation regulatory body, the Civil Aviation Institute of Mozambique (IACM), the agreement is in line with the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM), a project of the African Union which seeks to create a single, unified air transport market in Africa, and to liberalise civil aviation across the continent.” Read the original article here... 

  L  Airline Networks & Hubs: SA shows potential despite constraints 
June 28, 2019. ETNW news. 

AIR access from South Africa into Africa and the rest of the world is improving steadily, despite continued lack of intra-regional connectivity and visa constraints. Airlines Association of Southern Africa CEO, Chris Zweigenthal, says there should be no obstacles to increasing capacity from South Africa, which has unlimited Third and Fourth Freedom frequency arrangements (basic international services) with most African states and reciprocal bilateral frequency regimes intercontinentally where there is spare capacity.
    “However, SAA is the only South African airline that operates long-haul flights and, with its current focus on turnaround and a consolidation of its network, a significant expansion of its operations is not expected in the short-term,” says Chris. Read the original article here...

  L  SA aviation: A tale of 2 airline industries, says CEO
June 15, 2019. 

It is concerning that there are basically two sets of airline performances in Africa – one group, mainly privately owned, are doing fairly well, while others are battling to achieve sustainability and profits. This is how Chris Zweigenthal, CEO of the AASA summarises the industry. 
    "We cannot directly get involved in issues related to the grounding of airlines, but it is very important for us to try and see if we can work with the authorities to try and improve relationships," he told Fin24 at the 75th IATA AGM taking place in Seoul, South Korea. 
   One area AASA is currently focusing on is the new carbon tax applicable in SA from June 1, 2019. 
    "We work with the airlines to make sure they correctly calculate the correct carbon tax applicable," said Zweigenthal.
    He foresees that most airlines will try to absorb the added cost due to the carbon tax and try not to pass it on to consumers in the form of higher fares. Read the original article here...

  L  Aviation industry surprised, disappointed at SAA CEO's resignation
June 2, 2019. 

Aviation industry players were surprised to learn of South African Airways CEO Vuyani Jarana's resignation. Jarana tendered his resignation to South African Airways (SAA) board chairperson JB Magwaza in a letter dated May 29, 2019.
    Chris Zweigenthal, CEO of the AASA was just as surprised to hear of Jarana’s resignation. "I worked with him as CEO of SAA and a member of the AASA executive committee and his vision has always been one of implementing a turnaround strategy which would ultimately turn SAA into a sustainable profitable airline," Zweigenthal told Fin24. 
    "The work he was doing was contributing to the overall wellbeing and sustainability of the airline industry in the region." 
    Zweigenthal emphasised the importance of having a healthy aviation industry. "It does not help if our airlines go through tough times. We are disappointed to hear of his (Jarana’s) resignation, but thank him for what he has done for the industry," he added. Read the original article here...

  L  [podcast] Certain African countries hesitant to open up their skies
April 30, 2019. Samora Mangesi for Channel Africa news. 

Some African countries which signed the Single African Air Transport Market agreement, are still hesitant to open up their skies despite a commitment to do so. This is according to Chris Zweigenthal, Chief Executive Officer of the Airlines Association of Southern Africa. Zweigenthal was speaking at the AviaDev conference held in Cape Town, South Africa last week. Listen to Samora Mangesi's interview with Chris Zweigenthal here.

  L  SA aviation leader honoured with lifetime award
April 26, 2019. 

Airlines Association of Southern African CEO Chris Zweigenthal was honoured with the 2019 Ato Girma Wake Lifetime Award in recognition of his contribution to the air transport industry. The award was presented to Zweigenthal at the AviaDev Africa 2019 aviation development conference in Cape Town on Friday. Read the original article here...

  L  Chris Zweigenthal receives the Ato Girma Wake Lifetime Achievement Award for services to aviation at AviaDev
April 26, 2019. Linden Birns for AASA news.  Cape Town, South Africa.€“ 

Airlines Association of Southern African (AASA) CEO, Chris Zweigenthal, was today named the recipient of the 2019 Ato Girma Wake Lifetime Award in recognition of his contribution to the air transport industry.
    The award was presented at the AviaDev Africa 2019 summit in Cape Town today by the International Air Transport Association’s Special Envoy to Africa on Aeropolitical Affairs, Raphael Kuuchi. Read more...

  L  [video] Aviation Special: The Need for Aviation to Achieve Sustainable Growth in Africa
April 25, 2019. CNBC Africa news. 

The topic for this CNBC Africa Special is The Need for Aviation to Achieve Sustainable Growth in Africa. According to IATA, current trends in air transport suggest passenger numbers will grow to 8.2 billion travellers globally in 2037. 
    CNBC Africa’s Michael Mugisha speaks to the following panel of three aviation experts about the sustainable growth challenges facing Africa: Ato Girma Wake, legendary former CEO of Ethiopian Airlines (and current board member) and RwandAir;  Adefunke Adeyemi, Regional Head, Member and External Relations, Africa and Middle East of IATA; and Chris Zweigenthal, CEO of AASA and the recipient of AviaDev's 2019 Ato Girma Wake Lifetime Achievement Award.

  L  African countries still hesitant about open skies - expert
April 26, 2019. 

Some African countries which signed the Single African Air Transport Market agreement are still hesitant about it, according to Chris Zweigenthal, CEO of the Airlines Association of Southern Africa.
    Zweigenthal was speaking at the AviaDev aviation development conference in Cape Town on Thursday. He said many states indicated they are not ready for the liberalisation of the aviation industry in Africa, because they do not yet have a reliable local carrier. Read the original article here...

   L  AviaDev 2019: African aviation leaders confirm their participation   
April 5, 2019. AviaDev news. 

The final preparations for AviaDev are now underway. Don't miss this crucial chance to have scheduled meetings with the route planners and airlines for Africa, all with one common goal - to increase the connectivity to, from and within the continent. Download the programme for more information about the conference.

  L  Airlines plead for exemption from carbon tax
March 12, 2019. Linda Ensor for Business Day, South Africa. 

The airline industry made a strong plea in parliament on Tuesday to be exempted from the proposed carbon tax saying it will undermine its competitiveness.   
    The tax only applies to economic activities which emit greenhouse gases within South Africa and will therefore not apply to international airlines. 
    AASA CEO, Chris Zweigenthal, argued that the failure to exempt domestic flights from the tax would undermine competitiveness of domestic airlines, reduce the return on investment for taxpayers from state-owned airlines SA Airways and SA Express and reduce the return on investment for local private sector airlines. Read the original article here...

  L  Aviation Africa Summit 2019: Flying Forward Together
February 27 - 28, 2019. Aviation Africa, Kigali, Rwanda. 

The fourth edition of the Aviation Africa Summit & Exhibition saw more than 800 delegates from 71 countries converge on the Kigali Convention Center.
    The audience included government ministers, air chiefs of staff and directors general of civil aviation authorities with representatives from 35 African nations. Industry is well supported in the exhibition hall with 100 exhibitors including Host Sponsors Nexus & Wyvern, Platinum Sponsor Gulfstream and Gold Sponsors Bestfly and Airbus.
    Chris Zweigenthal, represented AASA at the Aviation Africa Summit Session held on Wednesday 27 February. The topic was: Growth or survival? Developing strategies beyond survival for regional cargo and passenger markets. The panelists included: Sanjeev Gadhia, CEO, Astral Aviation (Kenya) ; Chris Zweigenthal, Chief Executive, Airlines Association of Southern Africa (South Africa); Rui Carreira, CEO, TAAG (Angola); and Fadimatou Noutchemo Simo, Director Strategy & Development, Cronos Airlines (Equatorial Guinea). The panel was moderated by Victoria Moores, Air Transport Editor, African Aerospace & Air Transport World (UK). Read more about the Summit here...

  L  Chris Zweigenthal to receive the Ato Girma Wake Lifetime Achievement Award at AviaDev
February 23, 2019. AviaDev Africa news. 

Chris Zweigenthal, Airlines Association of Southern Africa (AASA) CEO,  is to receive the Ato Girma Wake Lifetime Achievement Award at the AviaDev Africa Conference to be held from 24 to 26 April 2019 in Cape Town.
    The Ato Girma Wake Lifetime Achievement Award for an outstanding contribution to route development in Africa is a coveted award named in honour of the Godfather of African aviation, Ato Girma Wake. It is with great pleasure that we announce that the recipient of the 2019 award will be Chris Zweigenthal, CEO of AASA. 
    The climax to the conference will be a one-on-one interview between Ato Girma and Chris, which will explore the origins of Chris’ passion, his journey and will allow him to share what he has learned with the community.
Register to attend the AviaDev Africa "We Soar as One" conference here.

  L  ERA hosts 2019 global Heads of Airline Associations
January 25, 2019. AASA news. Brussels, Belgium. 

At a meeting held on 24 January 2019 and hosted by the European Regions Airline Association (ERA) at Eurocontrol Headquarters in Brussels, airline associations from all over the globe met to exchange information, discuss key issues affecting the aviation industry, and to promote a healthy, safe and growing aviation market. 
    “This event was an important step towards further growing the close relationship between ERA and other key airline associations for the great benefit of the airline industry. This highly-productive meeting has reaffirmed the importance of working closely with our partners and contributes to the valuable strategic work by all associations in representing the global aviation community,” said ERA Director General, Montserrat Barriga.
    AASA's CEO, Chris Zweigethal, attended and presented his thoughts on the industry skills shortage and his views on how the associations can work together to create an action plan to attract, recruit and retain more pilots and technicians. Read more...