Home » Africa: Global Aviation Grows With Codeshares, Partnerships, Yet Nigerian Carriers Go Solo

Africa: Global Aviation Grows With Codeshares, Partnerships, Yet Nigerian Carriers Go Solo

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Major carriers around the world are forming alliances and codeshares, but none considers Nigerian airlines good enough for partnership. OLUSEGUN KOIKI writes.

Partnerships and codeshares are springing up across the aviation world, helping airlines deliver choice to consumers and grow their businesses.
For instance, Air France-KLM-Alitalia and Delta over the Atlantic; Japan Airlines-British Airways and Finnair linking Japan and Europe; and the ANA-United JV across the Pacific.

The partnership with flydubai by Emirates has further expanded the airline’s networks by 29 destinations across three continents, even without operating to those cities.

On the continent, other major carriers like Ethiopian, Kenya, Africa World Airlines, Asky, South African Airways, Egypt Air, Air Côte d’Ivoire and a few others have either codeshare or partnership agreements.

Ethiopian Airlines in 2018, signed a codeshare agreement on Air Cote d’Ivoire. Under the new codeshare partnership, passengers originating from West African countries, especially from Lagos, Bamako, Cotonou, Accra and Lomé could board Air Côte d’Ivoire flights and enjoy fast and seamless connection to Newark on-board Ethiopian direct service to Newark via Abidjan.

Before the partnership, Ethiopian was flying to 58 cities in Africa and more than 112 destinations globally.

As a result of partnership, Air France and KLM both share same managements, office and sell each other’s tickets in Nigeria and other destinations they are operating into, thereby reducing overhead costs on the two airlines.

Just last week, South African Airways announced a partnership and codeshare agreement with Africa World Airlines and signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Ghanaian carrier.

The airline said that the deal would further improve its connectivity within the West African countries.

Mr. Vuyani Jarana and Mr, John Quan, the Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of SAA and AWA, respectively, officially signed the MoU at the Ghana Ministry of Aviation in Accra, Ghana, while Mr. Joseph Kofi Adda, the Ghana Minister of Aviation, officiated at the event.

The agreement allowed the two airlines to enhance their relationship through synergies that include code sharing, franchising and any other related projects.

These are more are the partnerships among the leading airlines around the world and Africa, but the same cannot be said of operators in Nigeria who prefer to go solo or could not have any codeshare arrangement with any foreign carriers in recent time.

The only airline that had a codeshare or partnership arrangements with foreign airlines in recent time was the former Air Nigeria.

The airline before it was acquired by Mr. Jimoh Ibrahim in 2008, had a codeshare agreement with Ethiopian Airlines and Delta Air Lines, but poor management by the new owners ensured that the carrier folded its wings.
Rather than partner with any of the country’s carriers, foreign air lines operating into Nigeria prefer seamless operations into multiple cities in the country, while they form partnerships with others within the continent.

Though, most of analysts in the sector attribute lack of corporate governance in the nation’s airlines to their inability to form partnership with foreign airlines, others mentioned government policies for the avoidance of Nigerian carriers like plague by their counterparts in the sub-sector.

Mr. Olumide Ohunayo, the Director, Research, Zenith Travels, said that the boycott of Nigerian airlines by foreign carriers was as a result of the inability of the Federal Government to play international aero politics, which included the Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) arrangements and poor economic poor economic regulations.

Ohunayo said that though, most of Nigerian airlines are members of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), but none of them is in the clearing house of IATA, stressing that this was one of the major reasons foreign carriers could not collaborate with them.

He said: “The boycott of Nigerian airlines can be attributed to government management of aero political issues, which include BASA agreements, poor economic regulations and our airlines system and processes that has not been able to attract commercial agreements from foreign carriers.

“In our quest to improve safety levels, we pushed our carriers into buying brand new aircraft in the process; the best deals were not gotten due to our poor financial rating excess cash was expended, which has made some other processes to suffer. Why are our airlines not in IATA clearing house? Why are they not participating in airline groupings? Why are they not attending international aviation business conferences and seminars? Why have they not been able to attract foreign investors?

“AWA got some Chinese investors and started with propellers before adding jet engines all from Embraer family of aircraft that we would have condemned down here. These aircraft and frequencies used made AWA lift more international passengers from our international airports than any Nigerian carrier. It’s a shame to see a Ghanaian airline lift more passengers from Nigerian airspace than Nigerian owned carriers.

“Now that the elections are over, I hope Mr. President will confirm or reshuffle his cabinet quickly so we start addressing commercial issues. Safety alone will not save the industry though, very important.”
Another analyst, Grp. Capt. John Ojikutu, observed that most of the foreign airlines flying the Nigerian routes are national carriers, not private as all Nigerian airlines.

Ojikutu noted that apart from the fact that most of the international carriers subscribed to IATA, they are also were members of various international air transport alliances.

He emphasised that before any of the foreign airlines could agree to partner with Nigerian airlines, they must be members of the global alliances, while they also be in IATA Clearing House, stressing that without this, no airline would be willing to form an alliance with them.
“Nigeria airlines must credibly be members of these groups before anyone of them can be considered for pacts with foreign airlines. As at today, outside the West African regional routes, I am not aware we have Nigeria airlines on the continental and intercontinental routes.

“Without a national or flag carrier, we are still a long way to commercial partnership pacts with any foreign airlines”, he said.
Besides, Alhaji Muneer Bankole, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Med-View Airline, in a recent interview with our correspondent in Lagos, castigated the Federal Government for allowing foreign carriers to operate into multiple designations in Nigeria, thereby engaging in more capital flights out of the country.

Bankole also said that many of the international airlines flying into Nigeria were not committed to collaborate or codeshare with any of the Nigerian carriers as a result of the windows of opportunities offered them by the government.

According to Bankole, the government should be blamed for allowing foreign carriers to have unhindered access to several cities in the country, stressing that passengers hitherto been flown by the local airlines were now been taken directly to their final destinations by the foreign carriers.

Bankole submitted that the current arrangement of multiple entries to foreign carriers would benefit the air passengers more as they would be flown directly to their cities from abroad, but noted that it was a bad business opportunities for indigenous carriers.

He dismissed the argument of the foreign carriers that they were unable to codeshare or partner with the local airlines because they were not members of the International Operational Safety Audit (IOSA), of IATA.
He did posit that Med-View for instance was a member of IATA and ran the same financial routing called Billing Settlement Plan (BSP) with almost all the foreign carriers and also enlisted on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), yet, it was not considered good for partnership by any of the foreign carriers.

He insisted that if the foreign carriers showed the commitment to collaborate with the local carriers, it would be possible, but argued that with their unrestricted access to several points in the country, they would not want to go into such agreements with any of the local carriers.

He said: “I want to say it here that there is no serious commitment from the foreign carriers because the window is not open to them to collaborate with the Nigerian carriers. The people at the helms of affairs discuss with these people without considering the impacts on the local carriers. So, they don’t carry the local carriers into their negotiations to get to what you are seeing on the screening. What we are seeing on the screen is just multiple designations to foreign carriers.

“So, the decision of the government to open the gates to every airline should be put back to the Federal Government because the job that we are creating for Nigerians are being taken away by the foreign carriers. These people are not creating anything for Nigerians and Nigeria, they are not bringing money into the economy, but rather, they are taking the money out.”

Source: independent.ng

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