African airlines seek consolidation to drive sector

With the ravaging effects of COVID-19 on global aviation, partners, and aviation experts in Africa have underscored the importance of leveraging the benefits of airline consolidation to drive air transport sustainability in Africa.


They noted that closer cooperation and partnerships would help the continent to reap huge aviation benefits.


The experts spoke at a high-level virtual meeting organised by the African Airlines Association (AFRAA), Lufthansa Consulting, and Kenya Airways in, middle of September.


A communique issued by AFRAA noted: “Air transport plays a fundamental role in Africa’s socio-economic development.


The sector is a catalyst for promoting tourism and fostering trade and regional development. However, Africa represents less than 3% of global air traffic and over the past 15 years, the continent has had the lowest level of market consolidation compared to the other regions in the globe.”


The discussion at the event  Africaexposed the reasons for few partnerships and limited airline consolidation, the challenges and benefits of consolidation, and measures for action by industry stakeholders to address the situation.


AFRAA Secretary-General, Mr. Abdérahmane Berthé –, in his remarks, stated: “The aviation sector is reeling from the impacts of Covid-19. We need to devise new approaches to doing business in the face of increasing concerns on the sustainability of African Airlines.


A crucial element in the success of African airlines is consolidation and collaboration. The engagement of States, airlines, and all the relevant stakeholders is necessary to effectively achieve the required outcomes on airline consolidation in Africa.”


Speaking during the workshop, Kenya Airways CEO, Allan Kilavuka, said: ”It is crucial to retrace and learn from the footprints of consolidation from different parts of the world as we reset Africa’s aviation towards our collective dream for flying to a better future. Consolidation and collaboration are essential ingredients for the resilience and sustainable business operations of airlines.


“The ripple effect of strengthened collaboration amongst airlines will be 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 for Africa.”


Head of Market Africa, Lufthansa Consulting, Ms. Catrin Drawer, stated: “We require to meet the challenges of the “New Normal”, a reset in our thinking and approach. We require new business models, meaningful innovations in operations, adaptive management open to change, a growing true synergistic relationship between airlines and other relevant stakeholders.


“New challenges need new solutions now and in the future to bring both resilience, and sustained success.


Thus, synergy and meaningful partnering, whether through existing contracts and alliances or new agreements, will be essential. We cannot bring back yesterday but we may together shape the future.”


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