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AfDB, Stakeholders Chart New Course for Aviation in Africa

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The African Development Bank assembled top representatives from African airlines, aviation industry organizations, civil aviation and regulatory authorities, airplane manufacturers, financiers and development partners to discuss the future of aviation in Africa.

The Bank initiated the consultation to obtain the views of stakeholders as it prepares its action plan on aviation on the heels of the launch by the African Union of the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) initiative in January.

Alongside the main conference, two events took place, which were led by African Union Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy Amani Abou-Zeid and Symerre Grey Johnson, Head of Regional Integration Infrastructure and Trade for the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD).

The meetings captured the conference outcomes in a coordinated roadmap for SAATM implementation in Africa.

“We are keen to support practical efforts by countries, regional organizations and companies from the aviation sector to increase connectivity and reduce and open up the African skies,” Pierre Guislain, the Bank’s Vice-President, Private Sector, Infrastructure and Industrialization, said in his opening remarks.

The central aspect of SAATM is to allow member airlines to fly to airports in other member countries to achieve ‘open skies’ in Africa, thereby boosting traffic and trade and achieving double-digit growth in the industry by 2023 in line with the SAATM initiative.

Much of the discussion at the conference revolved around the practical measures needed to achieve these goals and remove persistent challenges facing the industry, including high fares, fees and charges, poor infrastructure and expensive access to finance. Air fares in Africa are two or three times those in other parts of the world for comparable distances.

Numerous suggestions on policy and solutions emerged at the two-day event including a strong recommendation for a regional approach to accelerate aviation safety and security plans, and the extension of capacity building training to all aviation technical and executive staff.

Delegates called for a greater focus on fleet size, prioritizing narrow body and regional aircrafts in aviation financing. They also called for increased government commitment, and an alignment of national frameworks to international conventions.

The meeting urged governments to adopt a more collaborative decision-making approach, with consultations at regional levels, for construction of both airport and air navigation services infrastructure.

Delegates frequently referred to a 2014 InterVISTAS study, commissioned by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which modeled the impact of an open skies agreement among 12 African countries.

Passenger traffic in those countries was projected to increase by more than 80% to 11 million passenger movements from 6.1 million. The economic effect of open skies was even more impressive. The study estimated that GDP would grow by US $1.3 billion with the creation of 155,000 jobs.

Amadou Oumarou, Director of the African Development Bank’s Infrastructure and Urban Development Department, said, “We are going to prepare an action plan, not just for the Bank but for all stakeholders. When that has been done, we shall devise the Bank’s aviation strategy framework.”

The African Development Bank has invested close to US $1 billion over the past decade in the construction and expansion of airport terminals, as well as aviation safety and aircraft financing.

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Air Peace Expands Operations to MMA2 from January Next Year

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Air Peace says it will move a part of its flight operations to the Murtala Muhammed Airport 2 (MMA2), Lagos on Jan. 2, 2019 to position itself for better service to its customers.

The airline made the announcement in a statement signed by its Corporate Communications Manager, Mr Chris Iwarah, on Thursday in Lagos.

The statement said Air Peace, which has its main hub at the General Aviation Terminal (GAT) of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, would now operate its Lagos-Akure, Lagos-Asaba, Lagos-Kaduna and Lagos-Port Harcourt NAF Base flights from MMA2.

According to the statement, the development is in line with its expansion plan and strategy to deliver a much better experience to members of the flying public using its services.

It added that the expansion to MMA2 would address the space constraints the airline was facing at the GAT.

He said: “We are pleased to announce the extension of our flight operations from our main base, GAT to MMA2, effective Jan. 2, 2019.

“We will now operate our Lagos-Akure, Lagos-Asaba, Lagos-Kaduna and Lagos-Port Harcourt NAF Base flights from MMA2.

Other new domestic routes we plan to inaugurate soon will also be done from the facility. “Other domestic flights out of Lagos will, however, operate from our main Base, the GAT.

“We are quite hopeful that the expansion of our Lagos base to MMA2 will afford us the space and convenience to deliver first-class flight experience to our loyal customers.’’

The statement noted that the expansion of the airline’s operations could not have come at a better time than the Yuletide season.

“As is the experience around this time of the year, we anticipate a great leap in the demand for air travel.

“Already, we are creating more flights to cater to the expected rise in the demand for air travel at this period. We have also opened up a good number of routes in the last one year.

“As a customer-oriented carrier, it is only strategic that we seek a better operational atmosphere for seamless passenger facilitation and exceptional customer service experience.

“This exactly is what MMA2 offers with its state-of-the-art facilities and we are indeed proud of our decision to annex it to our Lagos hub,” he said.

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Nigerians Embrace Digital Solutions to Manage their Travel – Travelport Research

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Nigerian travellers are forward-thinking and ready to embrace new technologies more readily than their counterparts from Europe and other parts of the world.

This was a major finding of the 2018 Global Digital Traveller Research, an independent global travel study conducted by Travelport, the world’s leading global commerce platform.

The 2018 survey, which covered 16,200 respondents from 25 countries including Nigeria, showed that Nigerian travellers are digital-savvy, mobile native and ready to embrace new technology for a seamless travel experience.

Nigeria ranked 5th globally in the Digital Traveller Rankings, ahead of all the European and North American countries surveyed.

For instance, Nigerian travellers are heavily reliant on their mobile phones. 85% of travellers in Nigeria were shown in the study to use their smart phones when researching their trips, and 78% use their phones to make bookings.

More than half of all travellers (66%) also said they would be lost without their smart phones, and 74% worry about their technology failing, or their phones running out of battery power.

Nigerian travellers were the most likely of those surveyed to want to share their biometrics, to facilitate a better travel experience.

Flight related mobile apps have also become a critical feature for Nigerian travellers. They use multiple apps (an average of 13.6) when researching and booking a trip. These apps are used to search and book flights (82%), for flight alerts (75%) and for mobile check-ins (74%).

Almost half of all travellers (46%) would prefer to see their trip itinerary (flights, hotels, trains, etc.) in one place, while 38% report that they find it unsatisfying to book everything separately.

45% prefer to check-in to a hotel via a mobile app. This demonstrates a clear appetite to work with travel providers which can offer a consolidated digital experience.

According to the report, not only are Nigerian travellers becoming more digitally savvy, they are actually now more discerning.

76% of them think that digital boarding passes make travel much easier, while 68% avoid hotels that charge for Wi-Fi. Clearly free Wi-Fi has gone from a marketing opportunity to an expected necessity for most travellers.

When it comes to payments, a large number (72%) of travellers in Nigeria have used a digital wallet or payment app (e.g. Apple Pay, Alipay, etc.) at some point while travelling, while 31% use them all the time.

The report shows that review sites such as TripAdvisor tend to have a big influence on Nigerian travellers (81%), with 55% of respondents saying that it actually has the greatest influence over their travel choices. For travel research, 82% of the respondents rely on videos and photos posted by friends on social media.

Guido Verweij, Travelport’s Managing Director for Africa, said: “The 2018 Global Digital Traveller Research clearly shows that demand fromNigerian travellers for digital solutions that improve their travel experience is sky high.

This is only going to escalate further in the years to come, so if you work in the travel industry and don’t already have a digital engagement plan, it’s time to get one!”

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Turkish Airlines Reached 83.4% Load Factor in October

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Turkish Airlines announces its passenger and cargo traffic results for October, with the airline reaching 83.4% load factor.

On top of the strong base effect of the last year, the growth in the number of passengers, revenue per kilometer and load factor, is an important indicator of the continued growing interest in Turkey and Turkish Airlines in the last quarter of the year as well.

According to the October 2018 Traffic Results; The passenger growth trend continued in October, thus total number of passengers carried went up by 5% reaching 6.5 million passengers, and Load Factor went up to 83.4%. In October 2018, Total Load Factor improved by 2 points, while international Load Factor increased by 3 points to 83.2%, and domestic Load Factor reached to 85.1%.

International-to-international transfer passengers (transit passengers) also went up by approximately 7%, while the number of international passengers excluding international-to-international transfer passengers (transit passengers) went up by 8%.

In October, cargo/mail volume continued the double digit growth trend and increased by 24%, compared to the same period of 2017. Main contributors to the growth in cargo/mail volume, are Domestic Lines with 42% increase, Africa with 35% increase, N. America with 30% increase, and Europe with 24% increase. Africa, N. America, Europe and Far East also showed load factor growth of 7 points, 4 points, 3 points, and 3 points respectively.

According to the January-October 2018 Traffic Results; there was also an increase in demand and total number of passengers was 10% and 11%, respectively, over the same period of last year. Total number of passengers exceeded 64 million.

Total Load Factor improved by 3 points up to 82.2%, while international Load Factor increased by 3 points reaching 82% and domestic Load Factor went up by 2 points reaching 86%. Excluding international-to-international transfer passengers (transit passengers), the number of international passengers went up significantly by 13%. Cargo/mail carried during the ten months increased by 25% and exceeded 1 million tons.

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