Zimbabwe’s breath-taking Victoria Falls played host to over 300 airline industry leaders who gathered to discuss the future of the industry at the AFRAA AGA. This year’s edition, held under the theme ‘Managing the Survival and Market Recovery of African Airlines’, focused on the solid growth rates in Africa, that while positive, have yet to meet their full potential.
I moderated an extremely interesting panel discussion on ‘The use of technology to achieve cost reduction and enhancement of revenues’. During the panel, key members of the African airline industry talked about how success in today’s world requires a strong focus not only on cost efficiencies but also – and particularly – on revenue maximisation. From my vantage point, airline revenue growth is frequently driven by delivering a unique customer experience which differentiates one airline from another and helps build customer loyalty and brand value. At Amadeus, our solutions portfolio is designed to address these primary business objectives.
During the CEOs Roundtable, a pressing question was asked: How can African carriers harness the opportunities in Africa to recapture leadership of African skies? Panellists delved into the specifics of the issues preventing African airlines from sustainable growth and discussed how to overcome the challenges being faced by African airlines. According to the panel, these challenges include inadequate infrastructure, high industry costs, taxes and charges, and lack of adequate government support.
The Yamoussoukro Declaration, calling for the liberalisation of access to air transport markets in Africa, was also a topic of hot discussion. Airline CEOs had a positive overall outlook on adoption of the declaration with 15 countries on board to open Africa’s skies. Attendees agreed that this was just one way for African carriers to regain market share. Other suggestions included, fleet renovation, new visa rules, and improvement to airport infrastructure among others.
There was certainly a call for partnership in the air. A potential African alliance where airlines would join forces to increase their competitiveness was heavily discussed and debated by the CEOs in attendance. One CEO recommended that carriers should rely first on their management to make big decisions like this rather than their respective governments.
Overall, the assembly further reinforced the need for teamwork amongst industry players and the importance of technology in working towards a single African sky.
Have a look at our Fly Africa blog series for insights on the experiences and strategies of our partners in Africa