New routes and new planes are all part of a more ambitious new vision for the country airline. Five years after its revival, Air Djibouti, 30% owned by Djibouti Airport and 70% by Great Horn Investment Holdings, seems to be out of the restructuring phase and is starting to take off.
How would you assess the airline's progress since its relaunch five years ago?
Air Djibouti was relaunched in 2015 and I have been in this job for two and a half years. Progress has been made from the operational standpoint and regarding the airport itself.
As far as the airline itself is concerned, we have bought new planes, the personnel has been trained, and new routes have been opened up, including Aden, Mogadishu, Addis and, since 2 January, Jeddah. We will be adding Dubai, Nairobi and also Cairo in the near future.
We anticipate having two more routes by 2025, Paris and London, to meet the needs of the diaspora, principally the Comorian community in France and the Somali community in London.
What are your near-term goals in terms of developing business?
We want to create a hub that will act as a platform to connect the Horn of Africa. In this respect, Djibouti is well positioned in connecting the markets of the COMESA regional block. By adding new routes, we will be able to build our passenger numbers, as well as give them direct access to Jeddah and Dubai, where we see a lot of traffic involving people from the region.
By providing direct access to a hub like Dubai, we are effectively connecting Djibouti to Asia and the Middle East. For Aden, we have just obtained a licence to operate daily flights. By the summer, the period when there is the most traffic, we will have secured our slots for Nairobi and Oman, with an expected 240,000 passengers this year.
Concerning air cargo, Djibouti is already the platform for Yemen, especially for international organisations such as UNICEF and other NGOs--as well as the US, for carrying cargo to Somalia and Yemen.
That is why Djibouti has created infrastructure within the airport in terms of warehousing and other logistics services. We are also extending...