Casa Africa is a Spanish public organization aimed at promoting relationships between Africa, Europe and Spain. During the last months, they have held meetings with two of the main African airlines: Ethiopian Airlines and South African Airways. LaProvincia.es informed that the target of those meetings was to open new markets with the centre and south of their continent. During the conversations, Luis Padrón – Director of Casa Africa – offered the possibility of using the airports of the Canary Islands as a stop for their North America-bound flights. Especially, focused on the flights to the US in the case that the fifth freedom of the air could be applied.
With this plan, Casa Africa intends to increase connections from the Canary Islands with African countries, facilitating the mobility of workers of the 1,500 Spanish companies which are located in that continent.
Currently there are as many as 13 flights with the West of Africa. We never had such a good situation, but we also wish to inform these two airlines about all the benefits from the Canary Islands.
Luis Padrón also said that these conversations are included within the tasks of the economic diplomacy with which Casa Africa deals. Both airlines have received extensive dossiers with the scope for expansion that the Canaries could give them. The last meeting was held in Madrid, during the Ethiopian Airlines presentation of their Madrid–Addis Ababa new route. During the meeting, the possibility of using the Canary airports to make stops and collect passengers and cargo for their flights to Washington and Toronto was suggested to the airline. This option was offered to South African Airways too, for their connections with Johannesburg and New York.
In principle, Luis Padrón said these meetings had been “positive”, although he admitted it is “very difficult” for the airlines to start new routes. In this line, he said they were already informed by the South African airline that they have a base in Dakar for their flights with North America and they were reluctant to chose the Canary Islands for a hub with America.
Also, Casa Africa had meetings with other African airlines like Royal Air Maroc or Ceiba Intercontinental. One of the targets is to open a new line between Malabo and the Canary Islands with Ceiba, who are currently using Gran Canaria for their ATR aircraft maintenance at the Binter facilities.
For their part, Casa Africa held meetings with Royal Air Maroc too. This airline currently operates two weekly flights from Casablanca to Gran Canaria and Tenerife. This is one of the 13 weekly direct destinations operated in Africa from the Canary Islands. The other 12 are Agadir, Dakhla, El Aaiún, Guelmim y Marrakech, Banjul, Sal Island, Praia, Boavista, Nouadhibou, Nouakchott and Dakar.
Photo: Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 787 by BriYYZ – Flickr