The African Airlines Association (AFRAA) 49th General Assembly was held in Kigali from 12-14 November and was also attended by TIACA’s Secretary General, Vladimir Zubkov, who came back with some what he states as “mixed feelings.“
Rethinking strategies for airline profitability in Africa
The above was the main theme of the conference.
Vladimir does not want to be seen as openly critical, but had what we think some very valid remarks to offer. He noted that discussions were lively and informative and the organization of the event was very good.
However, it seems that he was quite disappointed at the distinct lack of emphasis given to air cargo in Africa at this very important event. Mr Zubkov who also took part in panel discussions at the meeting is also concerned in what he terms as contributing factors left out in discussions which could well affect as much as 20% of the participating carriers profits in the future.
In his weekly paper to TIACA members, Vladimir Zubkov went a step further by showing his disappointment of the presentation by Seabury Consulting, which was titled “Adopting the right airline business model in Africa.“. He states that there was no mention whatsoever of what role the air cargo industry in Africa could or should play in this scenario.
An embarrassing faux-pas it seems on Seabury’s part who themselves are quite versed in putting out air cargo scenarios in other areas.
e-Commerce not tabled either
Africa is undoubtedly an important air cargo market and one which has had it’s ups-and-downs during the past decade. There is much work to be done still in streamlining African infrastructure and systems in order to offer a far more attractive air cargo product throughout the region. One of the important issues to surmount is to actually get African carriers into a common line of thinking as far as air cargo transport and distribution is concerned. Mr Dubkov also points out that there was no mention of the e-Commerce role for the future in Africa, apart from some comments on airline ticket sales and on-board use of smart phones.
We feel it is good that Vladimir has pointed the above issues to his members, many of which are African companies.
It seems that something good has emerged from this as TIACA and AFRAA have set up an MoU in which both agree to work on strengthening cooperation on aviation matters in air cargo and mail safety, security and facilitation. This MoU also includes aiming for paperless systems and discussions on how to best liberalize market access for air cargo.
It would have been nice if these items had been part of the recent AFRAA General Assembly meeting. However, we feel it’s an admirable initiative on the TIACA General Secretary’s part.
John Mc Donagh
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