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Driving intra-African connectivity and cooperation through Alliance and partnership

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The African Tourism Board is currently working hard to build partnerships within the aviation industry. “Seeing Africa as one destination is perfect for any airlines wanting to partner with us”, said Juergen Steinmetz, Interim Chairman of  ATB.

When speaking to eTN, Mr. Vijay Poonoosamy echoed the importance of the Airline Industry for the African Continent and said: “I am most impressed by what the African Tourism Board has achieved in this very short time! I am delighted to support it.” Mr. Vijay Poonoosamy is  Mauritius native currently working as a director for the Singapore QI Group, and a former VP for Etihad Airways.

At the recently concluded 8th Annual Aviation Stakeholder Convention of the African Airline Association (AFRAA) Vijay Poonoosamy said when he moderated the session in Mauritius:

Africa with a population of 1.3 billion or 16.6% of the world’s population accounts for less than 4% of the world’s air transport passengers.

African air transport thus only supports around 6.9 million jobs and $80 billion in economic activity whereas globally air transport supports 65.5 million jobs and $ 2.7 trillion in economic activity.

The many barriers to the growth of African air transport include weak infrastructure, low living standards, high ticket prices, poor connectivity, high costs, poor competitiveness, visa restrictions for both Africans and non-Africans and the lack of national understanding of the significant multiplier effect of air transport.

At the AFRAA  AGA  last November, IATA DG & CEO,  Alexandre de Juniac, stated that:

“The global average profit per passenger is $7.80. But airlines in Africa, on average, lose $1.55 for every passenger carried.”

He also pointed out that:

“Fares within Africa are relatively high but Africa to the rest of the world fares are relatively low, compared to other markets of a similar sector length.  The problem is not so much high fares by international standards, but that living standards are so low on average, so buying a typical return ticket from Africa will cost almost 7 weeks of national income per person.  It costs less than 1 week’s national income per person in Europe or North America.”

Moreover, Africans require a visa for an average of 55% of the countries on our continent and only 14 out of 54 African countries currently offer visas upon arrival to African nationals.

However, Africa is at the cusp of its renaissance but whether African Air Transport will be part of this renaissance or not is up to African airlines and their stakeholders.

By 2050, Africa’s population is expected to be 2.5 billion or 26.6% of the World’s population.

According to IATA, Africa’s passenger numbers are set to double by 2035 and triple in the next 20 years with a growth of 5.4% per annum whilst the global average is expected to be less than 5% per annum over these periods.

Whether these formidable international opportunities are going to be mostly seized by non-African airlines and whether these formidable intra-African opportunities are going to be mostly missed will depend on the willingness and ability of African airlines to work and win together with the help of their Stakeholders.

To help us explore how to enhance intra-African connectivity and cooperation between African Airlines we are delighted to have as panelists

  • Raja Indradev Buton, Chief Operating Officer – Air Mauritius
  • Aaron Munetsi, Director of Government Legal & industry Affairs – AFRAA
  • Dominique Dumas, Vice President Sales EMEA-ATR
  • Mr Jean-Paul Boutibou, Vice President Sales, Middle East, Africa and Indian Ocean – Bombardier
  • Mr Hussein Dabbas, General Manager Special Projects Middle East & Africa – Embraer

A panel which reflects African aviation’s challenge with gender balance!

Win-win cooperation between African Airlines will allow for significant cost reductions through the elimination of wasteful redundancies and the leveraging of economies of scale and help drive revenues through strategic synergies.

The areas concerned are endless and include procurement, jet fuel, fleet management, spare parts and maintenance, engines, IT, Catering, training, IFEs, lounges, loyalty programs, ground handing and Treasury management.

Africa’s take off is linked to the take-off of African air transport, including African Airlines and intra-African connectivity, all of which are, in turn, linked to the willingness and ability of African airlines and their stakeholders to come together and deliver calibrated win-win solutions through smart co-opetition or cooperative competition sooner rather than later.



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