Star Navigation Systems Group Ltd. announced the signing of a Sales Agreement with Astral Aviation of Kenya to purchase seven units of its STAR-ISMS®, with an option of a further three aircraft within the next 12 months.  

Astral is a cargo airline that has in business for 22 years.  It operates a variety of aircraft to 50 destinations. It has agreements with over 30 Interline Partners, along with preferential agreements with the leading global and local freight forwarders. It also has partnerships with over 25 Global General Sales Agents (“GSA”), to facilitate the consolidation of cargoes at the freighter-friendly Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (Kenya), Johannesburg (South Africa), Dubai (UAE) and Liege Airport (Belgium).

Amir Bhatti, Chief Executive Officer of Star noted: “This Astral Aviation sale is a testament of consistent marketing and sales efforts from the Star sales team. The Star Engineering team is already in Nairobi inspecting the Astral Aviation aircraft. Star has initiated work towards obtaining Supplemental Type Certificates for the B767, B757, B727 and DC9 aircraft with Astral Engineering and Flight Operations. These efforts will increase the STC base of Star for future sales of these types to other airlines. We are excited to have this opportunity to work with the Astral Team and providing them with a solution to improve safety and optimize their aircraft operations with enhanced situational awareness.

Mike Mutahi, Chief Operating Officer of Astral Aviation said: “Integrating our flight operations with the Star system will provide Astral operations new dimensions in optimizing our efforts in sustainable growth. From flight safety to engineering and maintenance to flight operations and dispatch, the Star system has the ability to provide deep and meaningful business intelligence through flight data analytics. This will help us in the long term to further optimize our operations and provide opportunities on a real time basis. This information and analysis is considered essential and crucial for all integrated operations.”


This is Star’s second freighter customer.  While many new aircraft have some form of flight ops data telemetry, none of the older aircraft that are converted to freighters do.  But the requirements for  freighter operators are the same as for any other airline.  That is, optimize ops, reduce costs and have the lowest risk possible.  It really is that simple.  Star’s solution offers an excellent retro-fit option for freighters. For Astral, which is Kenya-based and serves the African continent, the solution will catapult its ops into state of the art. The airline will have a new level of insight into the location of each aircraft, its operational status from fuel burn to predictive maintenance and the ability to optimize flight ops from both Star’s benchmarking and its own.  This is likely to make Astral Africa’s most efficient freighter operator by some margin. For airlines, any marginal advantage is crucial. 

Given the nature of the airline industry, success is copied as quickly as possible. No operator can afford to allow an advantage to a competitor that it cannot match.  We fully expect more freighter operators to realize that these retro-fit solutions are not just nice, but necessary.  The advantages outweigh the costs because the solution creates a virtuous spiral.  The more you learn about your flight ops, the more you will improve them.  This spiral drives down the real costs of the Star solution while making airline ops more efficient and robust. 

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Co-Founder AirInsight. My previous life includes stints at Shell South Africa, CIC Research, and PA Consulting. Got bitten by the aviation bug and ended up an Avgeek. Then the data bug got me, making me a curious Avgeek seeking data-driven logic. Also, I appreciate conversations with smart people from whom I learn so much. Summary: I am very fortunate to work with and converse with great people.

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