An overview of latest industry developments
Dusit signs multi-property deal in Africa
Thailand’s Dusit International has entered into an exclusive agreement with South Africabased eLan Property Group to manage several hotels and resorts in southern Africa and the Indian Ocean. Under the agreement, Dusit will initially manage five hotels and resorts - two in South Africa, two in Mozambique and one in Mauritius – but this will rise to nine properties with a total inventory of around 1,400 rooms in future. Dusit will also work with the eLan on a regional hospitality education project, details of which are currently being finalised.
SAA launches Ghana-Washington DC flights
South African Airways (SAA) has celebrated its inaugural flights between Accra, the capital of Ghana, and Washington DC. The new service landed at the US capital’s Dulles International for the first time on 3 August, where it was greeted with a water cannon salute. SAA will now operate the route four times a week (Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays) using a 317-seat, two-class Airbus A340-600 aircraft. The flight will continue onwards from Accra to Johannesburg. SAA also operates three weekly Johannesburg-Dakar-Washington DC flights.
Marrakech hotels suffer from tourism
Hotels in Marrakech have been impacted by a slowdown in visitor arrivals recently, due to attacks on tourists in North Africa. Hotel consultancy firm HVS reports that following an 11% increase in revPAR in 2013, to EUR135 (US$148), the country started seeing a decline towards the end of last year. And in Q1 2015, room nights at the Moroccan city's hotels declined 12% year-on-year. HVS also notes that "a number of large corporate congresses" have been cancelled or relocated from the city, despite the fact that Morocco remains a largely safe destination.
Ethiopian adds flat-bed seats to all Boeing 777s
Ethiopian Airlines has completed a project to upgrade the interiors of its entire fleet of Boeing 777 aircraft. The carrier has now retrofitted all 10 of its twin-aisle B777s, including six B777-200LRs and four new B777-300ERs, with flat-bed business class seats that recline the full 180 degrees. Other modifications included rearranging the layout of the cabins and reworking the aircraft's in-flight entertainment systems. The project was undertaken by Ethiopian's in-house Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) team in Addis Ababa.
flydubai adds Eritrea to route map
flydubai has announced plans to launch flights to Eritrea. Direct services between Dubai and the east African country's capital city, Asmara, will commence on 25 October 2015. The route will be operated four times a week (Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays) using a Boeing 737 aircraft. The move marks the latest step in flydubai's African expansion; the low-cost carrier has recently commenced flights to Burundi, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Somaliland. Asmara becomes the 18th destination to join flydubai's network this year.