Algeria’s cabinet has authorised Air Algérie (AH, Algiers) to acquire 15 passenger and cargo aircraft with a view to expanding the state-owned flag carrier’s route network, in particular to new destinations in Africa and Asia, according to a government statement.

Chaired by President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, the Council of Ministers on May 8 approved state investments into a number of areas and projects that had been frozen due to the pandemic, from mining to fostering local production. Towards the end of the session, it agreed to “licensing Air Algérie to purchase 15 aircraft to open new routes, especially towards African and Asian countries, in addition to acquiring aircraft to transport passengers, goods, and grain.” It did not disclose which types were being studied.

It added that “approval of the new flight programme for Air Algérie, in anticipation of the summer season, will be published by an executive decree.”

The session followed a cabinet meeting on April 24 in which the president ordered a review of ticket prices for travel by air and sea, to conclude before the summer season so that Algerians can benefit from greater accessibility to travel in a way that also stimulates the country’s state-owned transport companies, local media reported at the time.

Tebboune had also called for “an immediate and exceptional solution” to all problems related to the transportation of religious tourists and a review of the structure of Air Algérie and how it operates in line with international standards. The professional and social situation of Algeria’s pilots and technicians working in the aviation field is a matter of great importance, he stressed.

Shortly before the pandemic, Air Algérie said it planned to acquire 15 new-build aircraft over the coming years and refurbish 20 of its existing fleet as part of its renewal and upgrade plan. At the start of 2022, the Algerian government said it was budgeting DZD250 billion dinars (USD1.7 billion) to acquire 30 aircraft for the cash-strapped carrier.

According to the ch-aviation fleets advanced module, Air Algérie operates a wholly-owned fleet of 55 aircraft including eight A330-200s (average age 13.5 years), twelve ATR72-500s (average age 18 years), three ATR72-600s (average age 7.1 years), five B737-600s (average age 20 years), two B737-700s (average age 5.8 years), twenty-four B737-800s (average age 12.7 years), and one B737-800(BCF) (aged 21.9 years).