Private carrier Khalifa Airwayson 18 December announced the launch of a once-weekly passenger service between Algiers and Johannesburg. The service is the sole direct air link between Algeria and South Africa, and the airline says it is aimed primarily at business travellers.
The service, which will depart from Algiers on Mondays and return the following day, will use Airbus A340 aircraft.
Khalifa began operating domestic flights and services to France and Spain in 1999, using leased aircraft. In early 2001, the airline signalled its ambition to expand its business considerably when it placed a $1,700 million order with Europe's Airbus Industriefor 18 aircraft: three A340-500s, five A330-200s and 10 A320s. The first aircraft are for delivery in 2004 (MEED 6:4:01). The company has also ordered 10 ATR 72-500 turboprops. Its passenger fleet currently comprises four Boeing 737/400s, two Boeing 737/800s, seven A310/300s, four ATR 72/500s and four ATR 42/320s. It also operates freight services with a fleet of A310 B4 cargo planes.
Most of Khalifa's flights serve destinations within Algeria. However, the airline also flies to several Spanish and French cities, and has recently begun flying to Dubai. The airline says it aims to expand its services to include London, Milan, Frankfurt, Rome, Jeddah, Cairo, New York, Philadelphia and Montreal.
Local press reports say that Khalifa has started discussions about a possible merger with national carrier Air Algerie.
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