African airline industry is still facing a number of challenges inhibiting its profitability, including poor airline connectivity across the continent, issues of monopolism of many airports, the Yamoussoukro declaration which is not fully implemented and lack of support from governments, according to actors in the sector.
Speaking during a press conference in line with the ongoing 49th African general assembly of African Airlines Association (AFRAA) held in Kigali on November 13, 2017, Dr. Elijah Chingosho, the secretary general of AFRAA said that it is difficult for people to make money when there is still a monopoly among airline players and suggested airline consolidation model.
“How can you make money in that environment? And then in Africa there are so many monopolies, … there is so many things that need to come in place for our airline to be profitable, many of these are not in place that is why year after year global airlines make good money when Africa gets losses,” Chingosho noted.
“Airlines need to be consolidated, and for them to do so, we need industry fully liberalized,” he added.
He said that even if they might not merge they can be closer to do maintenance together, training and share the management to make the industry a success.
Capacity building, good leadership are key
First and foremost, Chingosho said, there is need of good leadership in many African airlines.
“People tend to focus on technical issues like technicians, pilots and so on, but in all that you need good leadership, [it] is on top, which means you really need to train flight organizations not just on safety and security operations,” he said.
“So, airlines are commercial entities; we need people who know issues such as freight management,” said Chingosho.
Giving examples of strategies which should be applied to provide responses to issues affecting the sector, Chingosho said “We need to have big plan, we need to have the strategy of tax reduction, we need to have strategy of revenue management, strategy of getting the right people (human resources strategy).”
He highlighted that there are so many common airline industries that need to all be impressed internally, “ but outside we need our governments to support so that the industry in Africa merge at the global average,”
Rwandan airline growth
RwandAir Chief Executive Officer, Col. Chance Ndagano said that RwandAir’s portfolio is on the rise driven by the demand.
“We will continue growing but the growth will be driven by the demand,” he said.
RwandAir has currently reached out to more than 24 destinations across the continent and twelve aircrafts.
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