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NEWS Update


More effective slot management needed in Mexico


Mexico has been told it should manage airport slots more effectively to make the most of its booming aviation industry. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) says applying global standards to the way slots are handled would help the country boost competition, make the most of its infrastructure and help the sector remain competitive. IATA officials claim a recently


proposed slot system by Mexico’s Federal Economic Competition Commission (COFECE) deviates from recognised international standards in a number of ways. It was critical of the proposed auctioning of slots to the highest bidder, fearing it would limit competition by preventing less well-established and smaller air carriers from entering or expanding. This could reduce consumer choice and potentially increase fares. COFECE has also suggested the


confiscation of 10% of existing slots from air carriers at congested airports, which IATA says will weaken route networks, reduce traveller options and hit airlines financially. New rules suggesting slots be withdrawn if airlines miss punctuality targets would hit long- term planning, said IATA, while the imposition of a “use-it-or-lose-it” threshold of 85% is inconsistent with the global standard of 80% utilisation to retain a slot.


Global air cargo on the up


The global airfreight market has recorded its strongest first-half year performance since the financial crisis of 2010, underlining a boom in world trade. Data from the International Air


Transport Association (IATA) revealed air cargo demand, measured in freight tonne kilometres (FTKs), was up 10.4% in the first-half of 2017 compared with the same period of 2016. The figure is almost three times the average growth figure of 3.9% over the last five years. While capacity, measured in available freight tonne kilometres, also grew by 3.6%, the data shows demand outstripping supply – good news for carrier yields. The sustained growth of airfreight demand is consistent with an improvement in global trade, with new global export orders remaining close to a six-year high. The future also looks optimistic, with demand forecast to rise by 8% in the third quarter of 2017.


IATA’s director general and CEO Alexandre de Juniac said: “Air cargo is flying high on the back of a stronger global economy. That’s great news after many years of stagnation. “And, even more importantly, the


industry is taking advantage of this momentum to accelerate much- needed process modernisation and improve the value it provides to its many customers.” All regions experienced positive


freight growth in the first half of 2017, with carriers in Asia-Pacific and Europe accounting for two-thirds of the increase in demand. In percentage terms Africa was the biggest winner. Carriers saw volumes up 31.6% in June 2017 and a capacity increase of 7.6%. Much of the demand was on Asian routes, with trade up by almost 60% in the first five months of 2017.


• To find out more about freight, turn to page 131


New JV airline for Benin and Rwanda


The governments of Benin and Rwanda have signed a memorandum of understanding to establish a new joint-venture airline. Based in Cotonou, Benin, the


proposed carrier will operate routes to west and central African capitals Abidjan, Brazzaville, Douala, Libreville, Bamako, Dakar and Conakry. “This will enable us to achieve our plans for the country’s aviation industry in order to make Cotonou a hub for the sub-region,” said Hervé Hehomey, Benin’s minister of transport and infrastructure. “Our second dream will become


reality with the establishment of the national carrier of Benin through the Rwandan experience, thus contributing to the development of our aviation and tourism sectors.” The announcement came as


10 ISSUE 5 ROUTES NEWS 2017 routesonline.com


RwandAir, the national carrier of Rwanda, launched its new hub in Cotonou. It plans to base two Boeing 737s in the city. RwandAir will continue operations


from Kigali International Airport to Cotonou and provide access to East and Southern Africa, the Middle East and Asia to the joint airline. In May 2017, RwandAir started its


second long-haul route with flights to London Gatwick, operated by its new Airbus A330 fleet. Since then it has also commenced non-stop flights from Kigali to Brussels. All returning flights from Brussels to Kigali are via London. The airline has expanded rapidly


in recent years, increasing annual capacity by 45% from 2013 to 2016.


• To read a full report on RwandAir’s future, turn to page 34


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