Future of African carriers lies on ‘unity’ model

Future of African carriers lies on ‘unity’ model

A Kenya Airways cargo plane at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi. Cargo consolidation was cited as an important step to improve the performance of airlines. PHOTO | FILE | NMG Regulators in Asian hubs like Singapore and Hong Kong have threatened to retaliate against European Union plans to force airlines to start using take-off and landing slots frozen during the coronavirus pandemic, a move that could oblige Europe’s carriers to fly empty seats for thousands of miles at a loss.

Authorities controlling slots at major Asian airports are ready to slap similar “use it or lose it” conditions on European carriers flying to Asia’s cities — raising the prospect of an industry trade war over the uneven impact of Covid-19.

The survival of African airlines depends on collaboration and not competition. This was the general thinking of top executives of African airlines attending a workshop on the future of aviation on the continent.

The consensus of the September 14 workshop hosted by African Airlines Association (AFRAA) was that African airlines should pursue a consolidation model and adopt the concept of “Air Afrique” that would create equitable partnerships between airlines or across a group of investments, co-operation between two or more well-matched airlines, or the formation of a new common airline.

This, airline executives believe, will enable loss-making airlines to improve their services and keep them afloat. Cargo consolidation

Ethiopian Airline Group Vice President Strategic Planning and Alliance Busera Awel said more co-operation through alliances, pooling of resources, code sharing and interlining is what African airlines need now. “We call for government and private sector collaboration to achieve concrete steps in airline consolidation in Africa,” said Mr Awel.

Cargo consolidation was cited as an important key to better airline performance, majority of which have been making losses in the past few years. Industry players evaluated case studies including South African Airways, Kenya Airways, Ethiopian Airline and discussed recommendations by Lufthansa Consulting.

Kenya Airways CEO Allan Kilavuka said it was important to learn from the consolidation cases from other parts of the world as airlines reset Africa’s aviation as a collective dream.

“Consolidation and collaboration are essential ingredients for resilience and sustainable business operations of airlines. The ripple effect of strengthened collaboration among airlines will see an increase in the industry’s contribution to the sustainable development of Africa and therefore we must elevate the tenor of discourse and make the airline industry matter in and […]

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