As airlines in Africa continues to die untimely death with no immediate solution in sight, the former Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria(FAAN), Mr Richard Aisuebeogun has stated that for the continent’s airlines to be sustained they must have good internal management and business plan.
His presentation is coming at a time many failed airlines both privately and government owned are littering airports in Africa.
Recalled that carriers such as Ghana Airways, Air Gabon, Seria National Airline, Air Afrique, Nigerian Airways (WT), Cameroon Airlines, Chanchangi, ADC Airlines, Bellview Airlines and Air Zimbabwe have closed shop over the years.
The former FAAN boss, who said this while presenting a paper titled, “State of Aviation in Africa” at the AKWAABA African Travel Market 2016 at Eko Hotel and Suite in Lagos, said that a good business plan is crucial for all airlines.
He however, stated that delivering the business plan is the difference between successful and failed airlines big or small.
According to him, “Airlines management must be professional and must discern trends in the operating environment to adjust operation according to the dictates of the industry and operating environment, and not losing sight of the business plan”
He also mentioned safety performance, as one of the objectives airlines in Africa must aim to achieve and remain operational; adding that safety in Africa is a top priority.
Governments, he said are committed to achieving world-class safety levels in the Abuja Declaration while safety has improved but despite that Africa had the highest accident rate among regions in 2015, at 7.88 accidents per million sectors.
Aisuebeogun said that International Air Transport Association (IATA) Operating Safety Audit (IOSA) has shown the power of global standards underpinning safety operations, adding that the 32 sub-Saharan airlines on the IOSA registry are performing 3.5 times better than non-IOSA operators in terms of accidents.
IATA, he said has called on African governments to improve safety oversight and adopt IOSA together with ICAO’s safety-related Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs), adding that as at the end of January 2016, only 21 African countries had at least 60 per cent SARPs implementation.
According to him, “Airlines must strive to utilise industry certifications such as the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Operational Safety Audit (IOSA, which conforms to ICAO Standard and Recommended Practices (SARPs) to sustain their safety performance.”
The former FAAN boss posited that good internal performance makes airlines attractive to potential partners, adding that membership of helpful airline organizations such as IATA and Africa Airline Association (AFRAA), which enables Airlines gain the benefits offered to airlines like AFRAA’s Joint fuel purchase scheme, joint ground-handling scheme, among others.
One way of sustaining African airlines, he said is to adapt successful airline strategies, adding that some of the strategies below are adopted by Singapore airlines, one of the leading airlines in the world which has successful low-cost and regional and cargo and maintenance subsidiaries and operates in the emerging South East Asian region.
These strategies, he argued had worked for many successful airlines globally.
Other ways these airlines can be sustained internally because low-cost carriers spread fast because people want to pay less, citing the case of FastJet in East Africa, adding that the low-cost carrier is set up in various countries in the region and with plans to spread on the continent.
Other examples of low-cost carriers emerging in Africa include: South African Airways subsidiary, Mango Air, Fly540, Kulula.com, Kenya Airways subsidiary – JamboJet.
Royal Air Maroc and Egypt Air, he stated had also evolved low-cost subsidiaries, adding that what is crucial is however to sustain these carriers using strategies that have worked for other airlines in Europe, South East Asia among others.
To sustain these airlines, he called for a robust strategy, service excellence and excellent product, adding that all three give airline an edge in the market competition.
He posited that airlines without them hardly compete well or last long in competitive markets like Dubai.