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Transport News

Mboweni’s budget unlikely to stop South Africa’s march to junk

By: Bloomberg     24th February 2020 Finance Minister Tito Mboweni’s budget this week is unlikely to convince Moody’s Investors Service that he has a credible plan to rein in government debt. Of 19 economists surveyed by Bloomberg this month, 14 expect Moody’s to downgrade the country to junk this year and nine of those say it’ll... 

Ethiopia plans to release interim jet crash report as probe continues

By: Reuters     24th February 2020 Ethiopia plans to release an interim report into a deadly Boeing 737 MAX crash, which killed 157 passengers and crew, ahead of the first anniversary of the accident next month, according to an official speaking on Saturday. "We are not ready to release the final report and so we are releasing an... 

Commercial aviation activity in South Africa seems to be recovering

By: Rebecca Campbell     21st February 2020 The latest edition of the Commercial Aviation Association of Southern Africa's Commercial Aviation Activity Index (CAAI) shows an upward trend, reported the index's author, independent economist Dr Roelof Botha. But he warned that caution was still necessary. "Aviation activity is quite... 

TFR says cable theft resulting in 21 trains a day being cancelled

By: Marleny Arnoldi     21st February 2020 Between April 2019 and January 2020, 354 227 m of overhead cables on rail lines had been stolen. State-owned freight utility Transnet and its Transnet Freight Rail subsidiary say the theft of overhead cables on rail lines had reached unprecedented levels, with, on average, 21 trains being... 

TFR says cable theft resulting in 21 trains a day being cancelled

Rolls-Royce starts manufacture of the world’s largest aeroengine fan blades

By: Rebecca Campbell     21st February 2020 UK industrial technology group Rolls-Royce has announced that it has started manufacturing the world’s largest aeroengine fan blades. These are for its UltraFan demonstrator power plant, which will be unprecedentedly efficient and sustainable. A full set of UltraFan blades will have a diameter of... 

State-owned airlines struggling in financial turbulence

By: Rebecca Campbell     21st February 2020 Two of South Africa’s State-owned airlines continue to experience tough times as they try to recover from their current deep financial crises. They are national flag-carrier South African Airways (SAA) and the completely separate regional operator SA Express. SAA is now in business rescue, and... 

Organisers aim high for defence and aerospace expo

By: Halima Frost     21st February 2020 Despite various challenges in South Africa, as well as in other Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries, the Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) Expo organisers hope to host a successful event this year, says AAD exhibition director Leona Redelinghuys. These difficulties include... 

Organisers aim high for  defence and aerospace expo
AIMING HIGH The Africa Aerospace and Defence Expo will showcase South African Air Force’s capabilities in an ever better air show this year

Denel upgraded by Fitch Ratings as it closes aerostructures business

By: Rebecca Campbell     21st February 2020 South Africa’s State-owned defence industrial group has Denel welcomed the recent decision by Fitch Ratings to affirm its long- and short-term ratings for the group, and to upgrade its outlook. Fitch affirmed Denel’s national short-term rating at “B(zaf)” and its national long-term rating also at... 

Palabora, Grindrod sign five-year magnetite handling contract

By: Marleny Arnoldi     20th February 2020 JSE-listed freight and logistics company Grindrod has entered into a five-year contract to transport five-million tonnes a year of magnetite by rail from copper miner Palabora Mining Company's operations, in Limpopo, to the Matola terminal, in Mozambique, where it will store the magnetite.... 

Commission recommends Autopax be separated from PRASA

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     19th February 2020 The Competition Commission, in its Market Inquiry Into Land Based Public Passenger Transport report, has made a number of provisional recommendations to improve the functioning of public transport in South Africa. It has recommended that Autopax, a subsidiary of the Passenger rail Agency of South... 

Development Bank's R3.5bn bailout of SAA may be depleted by early March – Gordhan 

By: News24Wire      19th February 2020 Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan has said that the R3.5-billion in emergency funding that South African Airways received from the State-owned Development Bank of Southern Africa earlier in the year may be depleted by early March. Gordhan was addressing a joint sitting of Parliament's... 

Development Bank's R3.5bn bailout of SAA may be depleted by early March – Gordhan
Photo by Creamer Media
Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan

'Speeding' Shosholoza Meyl stopped in its tracks following fatal crash

By: News24Wire      19th February 2020 The Shosholoza Meyl, a long-distance train service operated by the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA), has been ordered to stop operating with immediate effect. This follows a fatal train crash on February 12, which left one man dead and several others injured when a goods and... 

'Speeding' Shosholoza Meyl stopped in its tracks following fatal crash

Alstom in talks for $7bn buyout of Bombardier train unit

By: Bloomberg     17th February 2020 French train maker Alstom has confirmed it is in talks to acquire the rail business of embattled Canadian train and plane maker Bombardier, in a fresh attempt to bulk up against Chinese competition. Discussions are ongoing and no final decision has been made, Alstom and Bombardier said Monday in... 

DP World to upgrade, maintain Eritrean ports

By: Bloomberg     17th February 2020 The Red Sea state of Eritrea contracted DP World to upgrade its ports as regional peace brings increased business to its shores. Formerly isolated Eritrea is normalizing foreign relations after signing an historic peace deal in July 2018 with neighbouring Ethiopia, Africa’s second-most populous... 

Mboweni moots referendum on rescuing State-owned companies on Twitter

By: African News Agency      17th February 2020 After a short hiatus from Twitter, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni is once again posting prolifically, using the platform at the weekend to call for a public debate, possibly a referendum, on the use of taxpayers' money to bail out failing State-owned enterprises. "We must develop a democratic... 

Mboweni moots referendum on rescuing State-owned companies on Twitter
Finance Minister Tito Mboweni

Flight Centre resumes sales of SAA tickets

By: Bloomberg     14th February 2020 Flight Centre Travel Group, one of South Africa’s largest booking companies, said it will lift a moratorium on sales of the national airline’s tickets that it imposed in November because of concerns over its solvency. Travel Insurance Consultants, Flight Centre’s preferred insurer, reinstated... 

Latest Airbus airliner gains certification from both Europe and the US

By: Rebecca Campbell     14th February 2020 Europe-based global aerospace group Airbus has announced that its A330-800 widebody airliner has been jointly certified by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the US Federal Aviation Administration. This joint Type Certification followed 132 flights totalling 370 test flying hours,... 

Latest Airbus airliner gains certification from both Europe and the US
Photo by Airbus
The Airbus A330-800

Court dismisses bid to halt SAA job cuts as airline has not 'contemplated dismissals'  

By: News24Wire      14th February 2020 The Johannesburg Labour Court has dismissed a joint urgent application by the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa and the South African Cabin Crew Association to halt job cuts at South African Airways, ruling the airline had not contemplated dismissals.  The unions lodged the interdict... 

Court dismisses bid to halt SAA job cuts as airline has not 'contemplated dismissals'

Airbus signs memorandum with new African airline for major airliner order

By: Rebecca Campbell     14th February 2020 Airbus has announced that it has signed a memorandum of understanding with Green Africa Airways for 50 A220-300 airliners. Green Africa Airways is a Nigerian carrier, based in Lagos. This is the biggest African order to date for the A220 and one of the biggest orders worldwide for the type. “We... 

Airbus signs memorandum with new African airline for major airliner order
Photo by Airbus
A computer-generated image of an A220-300 in Green Africa Airways livery

Govt to invest R1.4bn to modernise PRASA

By: News24Wire      14th February 2020 South Africa's long-suffering train commuters can soon look forward to a smooth ride. President Cyril Ramaphosa said the government would boost the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa's (PRASA) rail network by R1.4-billion. 

Ramaphosa announces far-reaching actions to boost power generation ‘outside of Eskom’ 

By: Terence Creamer     13th February 2020 President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday announced far-reaching and practical interventions to address South Africa’s growth- and confidence-sapping electricity crisis, including several steps to “significantly increase generation capacity outside of Eskom”. He also warned, however, that... 

Ramaphosa announces far-reaching actions to boost power generation ‘outside of Eskom’
President Cyril Ramaphosa

SA Express under bankruptcy protection

By: Reuters     13th February 2020 State airline SA Express is under a form of bankruptcy protection known as business rescue, a spokesperson for the airline said on Thursday. Her comments come after SA Express lost a court battle with a contractor, logistics firm Ziegler, earlier this month. 

KfW, DBSA renew MoU

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     13th February 2020 German development bank KfW has renewed its memorandum of understanding (MoU) with development finance institution, the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA), to continue their successful collaboration on the financing and implementation of programmes. The signing of the MoU took place on... 

Local airline group Comair experiencing strong business headwinds

By: Rebecca Campbell     13th February 2020 South African private-sector airline group Comair issued, on Thursday, a “Further Trading Statement” on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange’s SENS news service. Comair operates the British Airways in South Africa and Kulula low-cost carrier brands. The Thursday release was a follow-up to a previous... 

Local airline group Comair experiencing strong business headwinds
Photo by Comair
Costing money – Comair’s first Boeing 737 MAX 8, which has been grounded for almost a year now

Union suspects there could be a 'secret plan' to sell SAA 

By: News24Wire      13th February 2020 A key union at South African Airways has said it suspects there may be a "secret plan" to sell the cash-strapped flag carrier and that "someone could be waiting in the wings" to buy the heavily indebted state-owned airline. National spokesperson for the National Union of Metalworkers of South... 

 Union suspects there could be a 'secret plan' to sell SAA

PRASA denies allegations of abuse of dominance at Jhb intermodal facility

By: Marleny Arnoldi     13th February 2020 The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) has welcomed the opportunity to present its case to the Competition Tribunal around allegations that it had abused its dominance through its bus transport subsidiary Autopax. The Competition Commission earlier this week referred PRASA and... 

PRASA denies allegations of abuse of dominance at Jhb intermodal facility

TPT boosts equipment capabilities with R2bn investment

By: Simone Liedtke     13th February 2020 Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) has already invested R2-billion to replace ageing equipment during the 2020 calendar year in response to industry calls for equipment that will improve performance across its operations. The investment included the acquisition of two mobile harbour cranes for the... 

Investigation under way following fatal rail accident in Johannesburg

By: Simone Liedtke     13th February 2020 An investigation is under way to determine the cause of the accident between a Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) Premier Classe passenger train and a stationary Transnet train between the Roodepoort and Horizon Stations, in Johannesburg, on Wednesday evening. The investigation is... 

Investigation under way following fatal rail accident in Johannesburg

South Africa, Zimbabwe to operate one-stop border post in 2024

By: Bloomberg     12th February 2020 A one-stop border post that will fast-track trade between South Africa and Zimbabwe will be fully operational at Beitbridge in 2024, according to South African Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi. The crossing is one of Africa’s busiest land borders, with about 25,000 people and 500 trucks... 

Unions file urgent court application to block job cuts at SAA 

By: News24Wire      11th February 2020 Trade unions the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa and South African Cabin Crew Association have filed a joint urgent application in the Johannesburg Labour Court to stop the business rescue practitioners of South African Airways from taking any steps to cuts jobs until they have... 

Unions file urgent court application to block job cuts at SAA

Rolls-Royce has started making the world’s largest aeroengine fan blades

By: Rebecca Campbell     11th February 2020 UK industrial technology group Rolls-Royce announced on Tuesday that it has started manufacturing the world’s largest aeroengine fan blades. These are for its UltraFan demonstrator power plant, which will unprecedentedly efficient and sustainable. A full set of UltraFan blades will have a... 

Rolls-Royce has started making the world’s largest aeroengine fan blades

Maputo port breaks record for volumes handled in 2019

By: Marleny Arnoldi     10th February 2020 The Port of Maputo, in Mozambique, handled 21-million tons of goods last year, exceeding its 2018 record of 19.5-million tons. The port handled higher volumes of chrome, magnetite and containers.  

Maputo port breaks record for volumes handled in 2019
Maputo Port

Commission asks tribunal to prosecute PRASA’s Autopax over abuse of dominance

By: Marleny Arnoldi     10th February 2020 The Competition Commission has referred the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) and its bus transport subsidiary Autopax to the Competition Tribunal for prosecution for allegedly abusing its dominance. This follows an investigation by the commission into complaints by various... 

Green transport set to overtake cars in world's major cities by 2030

By: Reuters     10th February 2020 From public transport to cycling, sustainable transport is on course to overtake driving in the world's biggest cities within a decade, according to a study released on Monday. Private car trips will drop by 10% on average by 2030 to make up less than half of all city journeys, while public... 

Astron’s Milnerton refinery meets deadline for producing very low-sulphur fuel oil

By: Marleny Arnoldi     10th February 2020 Energy company Astron Energy’s refinery has been successfully supplying ships in the ports of Cape Town and Richards Bay with low-sulphur fuel oil for the last month. The oil meets the stringent new International Maritime Organisation regulations, which had to be met by refineries globally by... 

Astron’s Milnerton refinery meets deadline for producing very low-sulphur fuel oil
Port of Cape Town

South Africa to fast-track continental infrastructure projects

By: Bloomberg     10th February 2020 South Africa will fast-track four continent-wide infrastructure projects in which it’s involved, including a $14-billion dam on the Congo river, President Cyril Ramaphosa said as the country assumed the chair of the African Union (AU) in Addis Ababa. The country will drive the Inga III power... 

SAA business rescue team defends plan to cut airline’s routes 

By: Bloomberg     10th February 2020 Administrators for South Africa’s loss-making State airline have defended their decision to cut routes as part of a turnaround plan, after objections from President Cyril Ramaphosa, government and labour unions. South African Airways (SAA) will halt service to nine international cities, including... 

SAA business rescue team defends plan to cut airline’s routes
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