Managing Demand, Supply To Sustain Airline Operations In Africa
How to achieve a workable equilibrium between demand and supply for financial sustainability and operations of airlines in Africa, was a topic for discussion at as panel session during the 24th Anniversary celebration of the Yamoussoukro Decision at the YD Week organized by African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC), which was held at Transcorp Hilton, Abuja from November 13 to 16, 2023 under the theme, “Africa Wants To Fly.”
The Chief Executive Officer of Asky, Mr. Esayas Woldemariam Hailu said the price of airline tickets could be influenced by charges going to governments and other stakeholders, including travel agents, who also require incentives. This he said, eventually affects demands to travel by air and so, there has to be an intensive negotiation by airlines with suppliers, vendors, handlers and other stakeholders, so the airlines can sustain operations.
“We have to be very careful in negotiating with all of them so that we maintain our sustainability,” he said.
He further stated that because airline is an economic stimulator and occupies a position in the global economy, anything that affects one part of the globe affects the other and so, the emerging trends, call for among other things, more salaries, better welfare for workforce and other measures to keep the airline going.
The Ground Operations Manager of Air Peace, Mr. Ayodeji Adeyemi advised African airlines to adopt a process for managing change and prioritize operational efficiency, adding that change comes with a cost. He added that African airlines need to collaborate in order to sustain operations.
The Executive Manager, Corporate Services at Airlink, Mamhla Tshetu said the airlines “need to do a lot of ground work because what we do on the desk is different from what is on ground considering that Africa is still more of a cash society.”
This implies that getting passengers to patronize airlines in Africa still goes beyond online activities and the airlines must take cognizance of this fact to sustain operations.
The President of Airports Council International (ACI), Africa, Mr. Emmanuel Chaves noted at a different session that the business model of some airports in the continent is a challenge as poor airports infrastructure affects airlines’ sustainability.
“The airports are busy but the airport fees are consumed by government. This does not motivate additional investment at the airports. Most airports in Africa have access to capacity that has not been used,” he said.
This no doubt, affects demands of airport users and customers of airlines.