Air freight news – Post date: June 2nd, 2020.


Finally, the time has come when we have more options to plan next week’s exports from Africa and the Caribbean to European countries. European countries are easing lockdown measures and allowing people to fly. For example, for Belgium restrictions will be over on 7 June, which means that certain airlines will restart operations for non-essential flights. However, as suggested by the EU, the borders will remain closed to citizens from third countries until 15 June. So it is likely that airlines will start to operate on a reduced schedule from that date. The latest analysis by Seabury Consulting doesn’t show a substantial change from last week, although it already shows a sustained growth of passenger freight capacity.

The global capacity still has a decline of 26% compared to last year’s capacity, a 2% improvement compared to last week, but it still shows a 57% decline in capacity from Africa to Europe compared to last year.

We will probably see a considerable reduction when data for the second week of are released. For the moment, airlines are focused on adapting their aircraft to increase the amount of cargo and to prepare measures for carrying passengers when border restrictions are lifted.
Important news this week is the increase in the number of routes and frequencies from Air France KLM and also from Turkish airlines, and also the return, little by little, of Brussels Airlines in the African market schedule to restart operations on 15 June. For this week we have gathered and simplified the use of our cargo flight information in one database. Please allow macros in order for the file to work properly. Download the Excel file here.

145% air freight charges hike affects Ghanaian fruit and vegetable exports

In Ghana, a 145% hike in air freight and cargo charges for fresh fruits and vegetables is adversely impacting farmers and exporters (Fresh Plaza, 1 June). President of the Vegetable Exporters and Producers Association of Ghana (VEPEAG), Felix Kamassah, told that exporters were charged $1.10/kg of fruits or vegetables by passenger flights prior to the Covid-19 outbreak, but they now pay $2.70/kg via cargo flights in the wake of the flight restrictions. Agencies that work in Ghana for the cargo flights say the flights have to pay landing and ground charges and so cannot do much about the air freight charges on the fruits and vegetables.

Where the industry does a maximum of 90 tonnes of exports a week, at $2.70/kg exporters are parting with $243,000 in charges a week, which converts to GH¢1,397,250 a week and GH¢5,589,000 a month. Prior to Covid-19, then at $1.10/kg, exporters were paying $99,000 (GH¢569,250) per week. This represents a 145.5% increase in air freight charges.
Kamassah stated that “in Ethiopia, the export agency has an arrangement with Ethiopian Cargo and Logistics Services which is owned by airline (Ethiopian) to the effect that exporters pay subsidised charges. Our counterparts in other parts of Africa are paying far less than we do here.”

Brussels Airlines to resume flights with a downsized schedule

(Brussels AirlinesEuropeRoutes)
Brussels Airlines is preparing to resume passenger flights next month with a significantly reduced schedule after a 12-week suspension due to the ongoing travel restrictions amid the coronavirus outbreak (Airlinerwatch, 25 May). The company will restart flying operations on 15 June, and plans to reach 59 destinations in 33 countries in Europe, Africa and the US by August. Hard-hit by the crisis, the Lufthansa subsidiary announced earlier this month it is planning to cut a quarter of its workforce as part of a cost-cutting plan.

Information for individual airlines and services

Air France KLM Martinair Cargo: Air France has started to increase the number of flights to some of its destinations, notably Abidjan and Bamako six times a week, also Cameroon once a week with stops in Yaoundé and Douala. Also one extra flight a week for Burkina Faso starting this week. Full cargo flights from Air France to Réunion Island and Madagascar are supposed to be once a week, but the day has not been announced yet. As announced a couple of weeks ago, if there are no available flights from Air France or KLM, it is also possible to contact their local office in order to apply to the KickCharter programme (pilot): if there is enough demand to fill a flight it is possible that AFKLM will create a charter flight to that city in order to consolidate cargo from different producers.

Lufthansa – Brussels Airlines: Has again published a tentative schedule of flights for Brussels Airlines that will start flying again from 15 June. The company is facing big financial problems and pilots have proposed to reduce their salary and their work schedule by 45% in order to keep working. Hopefully this schedule will be maintained, Brussels Airlines is a big partner in bringing fresh products from Africa to Europe. Please check the Excel file for all destinations available within Lufthansa Group.

Quatar Airways: Full freighters that were coming from Lagos to Brussels and Entebbe and Nairobi to Liege are announced up to June. They are increasing their cargo capacity from Nairobi and Johannesburg via Qatar. Entebbe remains with the same schedule. For updated schedule check the file download.

Emirates: Is increasing the number of flights, Senegal, Guinea, Kenya, Uganda, Sudan, among other origins with a connection in Dubai that relays with major airports in Europe including Brussels, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Paris, London, Madrid, Zurich, Milan, Vienna and Maastricht.

Kenya Airways: has converted four aircraft into cargo, mainly connecting Nairobi to Brussels and London, but without a regular schedule. You must contact their local operator in order to see availability. Prices reported at 3 euros per kilogram.

DHL: No difference from last week’s service. DHL is registering a growth of ecommerce flows of 36% of domestic volumes and 28% of cross-border commerce in comparison with the daily reports for February (Aircargo News, 15 May). Temporary suspension of services remains to the following destinations: Cuba, Guinea Bissau, Mayotte, São Tomé and Principe, Seychelles. The remaining destinations are still served, but with extended delivery times that can be up to 7 additional business days for Sudan, Zambia or Zimbawe. Also from 1 April there is an emergency situation surcharge (fixed charge per shipment) as follows:
Chargeable weight (kg) | Charge
Up to 2.5kg | No charge
2.51–30kg | €2.50
30.1–70kg | €15
70.1–300kg | €50
>300.1kg | €200

Ethiopian Cargo shows some scheduled flights from Lagos and Lomé to Brussels and Liege, however those flights are not confirmed, and some of them are cancelled. Ethiopian Cargo remains the biggest fleet on the African continent, with many alternative connections. It has increased its cargo fleet by modifying some of its passenger wide-body aircraft. Currently Ethiopian is making changes in its passenger airplanes to transform some of them to cargo and increase its service capacity. Ethiopian Cargo went from servicing 10 destinations at the beginning of the year to serve more than 70 destinations currently.

FedEx and TNT – Some of the restrictions ended on 31 May, however their service in Africa remains very limited. Detailed information is available here.

Logistics operations by country

Based on the Bolloré Logistics report, World Food Programme report and Logistics Cluster report, COLEACP is developing its own summary of the situation reported by some of our partners.

Below we list only those countries that have provided updated information to these reports since the beginning of May. Additional information from COLEACP partners is marked (* ):

Angola 31 May

Air freight: Since 20 March all domestic and international flights have been suspended. Restriction policies implemented in both Congo and Angola do impact corridor PNR/CAB’s capacity to operate. The usual regular freighter Liege to Luanda is still operating, and a contingency pan has been set through two freighters/week ex Lisbon to Luanda (provisional schedule). In addition to these, Air France is planning to organise flights from Paris to Luanda on 28 April, 15 May and 16 June. Lufthansa will resume operations three times a week from 17 June.

Benin 31 May

* Air freight: Air France is serving Cotonou four times a week and Ethiopian Airlines operates one passenger flight/week).

Botswana 11 May

Air freight: No inbound or outbound cargo and no bookings accepted by the airlines. Trucking to JNB. Charter flights ex JNB possible for essential goods.

Burkina Faso 31 May

Air freight: is operational. Cargo flights are still operated. Bolloré Logistics managed to do a first charter flight on 1 May. A contingency plan has also been set through RAM Freighter on 4 May. Contact Bolloré to check future charters.
* Air France is operating twice a week to Paris.


The Ministry of Health has announced that no lockdown measures are intended to be taken in future.
Air freight: All passenger flights have been suspended – measure extended until further notice. Cargo flights, sanitary evacuation, humanitarian aid and diplomatic flights are not concerned by this government measure and are still operating for some origins/destinations.

Cameroon 31 May

Air freight: All international passenger flights have been suspended, putting more constraints on capacity. Cargo flights still operate (DHL) but in a reduced capacity. A contingency plan has been set up through the Cargo Magma option available on day 4 via Paris hub.
* We were informed of very limited capacity on airfreight available to Europe. Ethiopian, Kenya Airways and Rwandair are still operating from Douala. Air France is resuming operations once a week from Douala and Yaoundé.

Central African Republic 21 May

Air freight: All passenger flights have been suspended, putting more constraint on capacity. Cargo flights are still operated by DHL. A contingency plan has been implemented through the BSA cargo option with Allied on Day 3.
* Air France announced a passenger cargo flight once a week for the following 2 weeks.

Chad 31 May

Air freight: All passenger flights have been suspended until 15 May, putting more constraint on capacity. Cargo flights are still operated by DHL.
* Air France is going to operate twice a week to Paris.

Côte d’Ivoire 31 May

Air freight: Cargo flights still operated.
* Air France has between 5 and 6 wide belly passenger cargo per week, Brussels Airlines is resuming operations partially from this week.

Democratic Republic of the Congo 31 May

Cargo flights are still operated by DHL, Turkish Airlines and Ethiopian Airlines. Air France also has one flight per week and Brussels Airlines will resume operations from 22 June.

Djibuti 31 May

Cargo flights are allowed, but face delays. Air France confirmed flights up to week 22, not yet confirmed for weeks 23 and 24.

Ethiopia 21 May

Ethiopian cargo flights still operating, but cargo capacity reduced due to flight cancellations and high congestion at Addis Ababa.
* Lufthansa will resume operations from 15 June, three times a week.

Gabon 21 May

Air freight: All passenger national and international flights have been suspended except for Air France flights organised occasionally by the French Embassy, putting more constraint on capacity. Cargo flights are still operated by Express via Accra, Allied, Stabo and Ethiopian Airlines. Any shipment to Libreville must be subject to mandatory agreement from Bolloré Transport & Logistics minimum 3 days prior loading. Airport staff is operating with minimum services and focusing on essential activities with a slow resumption of other activities in Libreville.

Ghana 31 May

Air freight: All passenger flights have been suspended since 22 March until at least 31 May. The lockdown was lifted on 20 April.Cargo flights are still operated (Bolloré WARA service ex LGG weekly, (DHL, Turkish and Allied) but delays are to be expected. Domestic flights will resume after 1 May with Kotoka International Airport reopening to serve internal flights to Tamale, Takoradi and Kumasi. This does not apply to emergency flights, humanitarian flights, technical landing for refuel and medical evacuation flights. Airline crew will undergo mandatory quarantine during their rotation/rest period. Border closure extended until 31 May.
* Air France is operating again with cargo passenger cargo flights twice a week and Turkish also twice a week.

Guinea Conakry 31 May

Air freight: All passenger flights have been suspended. Cargo flights are still operated but very restricted.
* Emirates started operations from 16 May and Air France from 22 May. Possibly Brussels Airlines will resume operations in Guinea from 2 June (please confirm with airline).

Kenya 20 May

Cargo flight allowed but experiencing significant handling capacity reduction, delays are expected. Strict screening of crews.
* Different cargo possibilities are available for departure from Nairobi including passenger cargo modified aircrafts and several full cargo flights. It is by far the most served airport in the region.

  • KLM Airfrance Group 3 wide body belly 2 to Paris and 1 to Amsterdam and 2 full freighters per week to Amsterdam (Martinair)
  • Network Airlines 100T B747 4 times a week. No more space available
  • Qatar 3 full freighters per week (A330 F) through Doha hub; possibility of direct flight to Liege and Brussels
  • Emirates 2 passenger freighters per week through Dubai hub
  • Kenya Airways 4 passenger freighters to Amsterdam and London
  • Ethiopian Airlines
  • Etihad 3 freighters (Boeing 77X) per week to their hub in Abu Dhabi
  • Turkish Airways

Madagascar 21 May

Progressive deconfinement from 20 April. State of health emergency extended until 17 May.
Air freight: For air travel, as announced last week, all PAX (passenger) flights are suspended and only Air France and Turkish Airlines serve Madagascar via their weekly cargo flight.

Mali 21 May

Air freight: All passenger flights have been suspended. Cargo flights are still operated. First Bolloré charter flight arrived on 24 April, the second arrived on 26 April.The third flight operated successfully on 3 May. Contact Bolloré Logistics to book a space in charter flights.


Country lockdown was suspended.
Air freight: All international flights are suspended except:

  • Flights carrying health personnel, essential health equipment and emergency relief items
  • Flights carrying returning Malawi citizens and residents or general cargo, both of which will be handled on a case-by-case basis.

Ethiopian now has two cargo flights per week transporting essential cargo.

Mauritania 31 May

Air freight: Air France starts with one flight per week.

Namibia 31 May

Air freight: Limited flights.
Eurowings will resume operations from 17 June to Germany.


Air freight: All passenger flights have been suspended. Cargo flights still operated once a week with Air France.

Nigeria 31 May

Nigeria will extend a ban on all passenger flights by 4 weeks as part of measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus (Reuters, 6 May). Essential and emergency international flights, as well as all domestic flights, are exempted. Exemptions include flight related to humanitarian aid, medical and relief flights and technical stops where passengers do not disembark.
* Some flight possibilities for cargo were detected:

  • Ethiopian direct flights to Brussels and Liege
  • DHL direct flight to Brussels
  • Qatar direct connections to Brussels and Liege
  • Air France
  • Emirates
  • Turkish
  • Lufthansa will resume operations from 7 June to Frankfurt

Republic of Congo 31 May

Cargo flights are still operated by Allied, Magma and DHL. A contingency plan has been set up through the BSA cargo option on Allied available on day 1 via CDG hub.
* Air France has a flight next week to Point Noire and another this week to Brazzaville.

Rwanda 31 May

* Rwandair and Ethiopian are operating for cargo. Rwandair is operating one flight a week to Brussels and London, but it is not a fixed schedule.

Senegal 21 May

Air freight: Turkish and Air France cargo flights restart twice a week (Turkish on Wednesday and weekend; Air France on Tuesday and Sunday).
* Lufthansa is offering connections to South America and Germany. Also, Air Senegal and Air Burkina propose regional connections. Emirates also is offering one flight through Senegal. Senegal offers the possibility to export to South America with Lufthansa (Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay). Brussels Airlines will resume operations from 17 June.

South Africa 31 May

Air freight: No PAX flights. This is the airport with most freighters available (Etihad, Emirates, Qatar, Turkish, Martinair, KLM, Virgin Atlantic, British Airways among others). Lufthansa will resume operations from 16 June. Trucking to Durban/Cape Town/Namibia/Botswana where no flights operating. Charter flights ex JNB possible, non-essential goods requires CIPC certificate and letter from customers.

Sudan 31 May

Air freight: Cargo flights are operational: Turkish, Emirates and Ethiopian Airlines.

Togo 31 May

Air freight: Suspension of all flights except Ethiopian Airlines (import and export) and DHL.

Tanzania 31 May

* Cargo flights are available. KLM confirmed twice a week.

Uganda 31 May

Cargo flights operating with limited volumes. Plane crews will stay in government facilities during transit.
* Cargo connections available from Emirates, Qatar to Brussels, Liege, Doha and Dubai. Turkish Airlines and Ethiopian.

Zimbabwe 31 May

* Cargo flights available Martinair 3 times a week.

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