Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Air Algerie to expand operations in Africa

Boultif (Xinhua Mohamed Kadri)
Aug. 15 (Xinhua) -- Algeria's state-run airline company Air Algerie has planned to launch new destinations in Nigeria and South Africa in a bid to expand operation in Africa.

Air Algerie CEO Mohamed Saleh Boultif told reporters on Tuesday that his company, which used to be a pioneer in sailing in Africa, is aiming to develop once more its activities on the continent. The company focuses on developing transit traffic, which is very popular in Africa, by creating a hub here at the International Airport of Houari Boumedien, he added. It has increased flights to and from some African destinations since the beginning of the year, the CEO said. Flights from Senegal's capital Dakar, for example, increased from two to five a week.

Meanwhile, Air Algerie is likely to suspend its Algiers-Beijing line due to low profitability and fierce competition from other air companies, Boultif noted.However, it is studying possibilities of opening new lines to other Chinese cities, including Shanghai, he added. As for the Algiers-New York City line, he said it would depend on the sealing of the open sky agreement between Algeria and the United States.

Air Algerie covers a network of 96,400 km, with an average of 3 million passengers and some 20,000 tonnes of freights being transported every year.Its international network serves 45 cities, mainly in Europe, the Middle East, the Maghreb, West Africa, Asia, North America, in addition to a domestic network linking 31 cities. (Xinhua)

In other Business news, the Burundi Commercial  Bank (BANCOBU) and the East African country's Telecommunications Company (ONATEL) have launched Mobicash mobile money banking product to increase the rate of access to the country's financial services currently estimated at about 4 percent.

At the launch of the new product on Tuesday, an official at the BANCOBU said that Mobicash comes to "revolutionize the money transfer system" in Burundi."The Mobicash will allow each holder of a mobile phone to do business with traders, transfer and withdraw money as well as pay bills at any time in total security," said Prosper Nyankiye, official at the Burundi Commercial Bank (BANCOBU). He said this service will contribute to the authorities' efforts to increase access of the population to financial services whose "rate is 3.7 percent" of adult people.

According to a study conducted in 2011 by the Burundian Central Bank (BRB), only 3.7 percent of Burundians aged above 18 years have access to financial services.The same survey shows that 28 percent of Burundian adult people have access to a mobile phone.  "With the launch of Mobicash, the rate of access to financial services will increase up to ten times in a very short time,"Nyankiye said. The President of Mobicash Africa also said that the new service will positively impact on Burundi's economy.Mobicash Burundi is the second mobile money banking product after Ecocash jointly launched in May 2010 by Econet Wireless mobile company and the Burundian Post Office. (Xinhua)

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