Timeline of Major Aviation Developments in Africa in 2018
In more ways than one, 2018 was a memorable year for African aviation and African airlines with a mixture of positive and negative aviation developments.
Africa in 2018 had its share of aviation developments - some good, some bad and some ugly. Here, Afritraveller’s Chidozie Uzoezie takes a look at the timeline of some of the major aviation developments in Africa in 2018.
January 31: Nigeria's Air Peace took delivery of its first Embraer 145 aircraft. The 50-seater narrow-body aircraft was one of the six Embraer 145 jets the airline had acquired.
February 22: Ethiopian Airlines acquired Africa’s first Airbus A350 XWB simulator. The simulator is fitted with a full electrical motion system which delivers improved performance while providing energy savings and environmental benefits.
February 23: Nigeria’s Air Peace took delivery of its first Boeing 777-200ER aircraft, becoming the first and only Nigerian airline to procure and register the aircraft type in the country.
April 11: On a sad note, an Algerian military plane carrying about 200 people crashed killing all onboard. The Russian-made Ilyushin Il-76 plane crashed shortly after taking off from Boufarik Airport outside the capital Algiers.
June 6: Ethiopian Airlines took delivery of its 100th aircraft, a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. The new aircraft ferried medical supplies from the Boeing delivery centre in Seattle, USA to St Paulos Hospital in Addis Ababa.
June 25: Nigeria’s Air Peace decorated her first female Captain, Sinmisola Ajibola. Sinmisola who comes from a family of pilots, joined Air Peace in February 2017 as a Senior First Officer.
July 5: Air Peace operated its first all-female flight. The flight was commanded by Capt. Sinmisola Ajibola, who was assisted by Senior First Officer Quincy Owen. The Cabin Crew was made up three other women.
July 8: Air Tanzania took delivery of its first Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner and its first wide-body airplane, becoming the fourth airline in Africa to fly the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
July 18: Nigeria unveiled its new national airline - Nigeria Air - at the Fanborough Air Show in London. The new national carrier was going to fly to 81 routes. But sadly, the project was suspended two months later.
September 13: Nigeria's Air Peace ordered 10 brand new Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft from Boeing, making it the first airline in West Africa to purchase the fuel efficient narrow-body aircraft.
September 28: On a sad note, Bello Baba Ari, a Nigerian Air Force pilot died after ejecting from a Nigerian Air Force F-7NI jet that crashed in Abuja, Nigeria. He was practicing for the country’s independence celebration.
October 2: Kotoka International Airport Accra, Ghana received the first-ever scheduled A380 service to Ghana. The Emirates Airbus A380 was commanded by an African, Ghana-born Capt Solomon Quainoo.
October 28: Kenya Airways commenced its first ever non-stop flight between Kenya and the United Sates with the launch of Nairobi-New York service.
December 14: Air Namibia operated its first all-female international flight. The A330 flight from Windhoek to Frankfurt, was commanded by Captain Cornerlia Hahn who was assisted by First Officers Carol Hein and Eunice de Groot. Nine other women made up the cabin crew.
December 20: On a sad note, 6 people were killed after a chartered plane crashed in Kinshasa, Congo DRC. The Antonov 26 crashed as it was about to land after delivering election material to Tshikapa, Congo.
December 21: Green Africa Airways ordered 100 Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft valued at $11.7 billion. The order which is split into 50 firm and 50 options, is the largest aircraft deal from Africa.
December 23: Africa's and Air Tanzania's first Airbus A220 touched down in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The brand new A220-300 arrived Tanzania following a delivery flight from Montreal, Canada via Accra, Ghana.