Traveling in Africa today is much easier and convenient than it was a few years ago thanks to the intra-African spread of some of the continent's carriers. But the frequency of flights is still limited and the daily spread concentrated at peak times only. Many of the airlines do not align their schedules with each other, resulting in mis-connections, long lay-overs at airports and sometimes extra costs incurred in accommodating passengers in hotels.
The African Airlines Association (AFRAA) launched an African Route Network Cooperation project with the objective of increasing intra-African flight frequencies and offering flexibility to travelers while increasing airlines revenue at minimum cost. According to AFRAA, many African carriers currently optimize their own network but have limited coordination with other African carriers. Changing this trend to a more cooperative results driven approach through schedule optimization and code-share will deliver significant incremental revenue and benefits for airlines by:
• Growing flights connectivity between African cities and between Africa and other regions by coordinating each carrier frequencies, day of operation, and departure time
• Developing the airline schedule on markets where the carriers have small or limited exposure
• Adding new destinations under the airline own code without operating the route
• Improving aircraft utilization and use aircraft resources in new markets
• Enhancing elapse time on beyond markets to increase carriers market share
• Analyzing new market opportunities by specific carrier and potential partners
• Reviewing opportunities to seasonally reduce schedules between two or more carriers in common markets
Objectives of the Project
• Coordinate and harmonise flight schedules with the view to proposing alternative cost-effective schedules that will generate increased load factors and revenue
• Improve intra-African connectivity and increase flight frequencies as well as offer flexibility to travellers
• Reduce travel time, minimise passenger layover (hotel accommodation) and assist airlines to realise synergy through collaborative network development
• Encourage cooperation through code-share, interline, Special Pro-rate Agreements (SPAs) and other such commercial arrangements
Benefits of the Project to Participating Airlines
• Airlines' schedules harmonization at various airports to facilitate connectivity and passenger/cargo transfer or exchange
• Traffic/network rationalization and profitability analysis will benefits all participating airlines
• More airlines will interline, codeshare, conduct joint operations or joint utilisation of aircraft
• Reduce passengers transit time and offer competitive service
• Minimize number of transit passengers that are accommodated by airlines
• Lower operating costs, higher load factors and increase revenues
• Stimulate incremental traffic and revenue to airlines because of convenient connections and schedules
Basic Function of the Task Force
Develop a mechanism for identifying routes with growth potential but inadequately served, rationalize the networks of operators to stimulate additional traffic and improve flight connectivity to minimize/eliminate long transit times. This project ultimately aims to encourage airlines to forge beneficial commercial cooperation .
Detailed Work of the Task Force
• Identify airlines that operate to specific airports but do not feed each other, yet have potential to mutually benefit from their flights connections
• Determine viable routes for schedules realignment and/or network rationalization
• Demand analysis: Collect actual city-pair as well as origin-destination traffic and forecast to analyze and determine actual traffic between each city-pair
• Identify technical partners that can assist in evaluating the routes profitability and scheduling realignment
• Perform costs/benefits analysis of each city-pair
• Determine the incremental revenue/costs for each city-pair
• Analyze the financial benefits airlines could potentially gain from network coordination/aligning schedules
• Sensitize airlines on the benefits (financial or otherwise) in participating in the project
• Propose solutions to any concerns that may be highlighted by airlines
• Seek airline Champions for the project
• Put together a business case for the project
Membership shall consist of network carriers interested in the project.
IT tool for Route Network project
The AFRAA Secretariat is working in collaboration with its partner Milanamos, a software company providing market intelligence and route development software for airlines and airports.
The dates for the 2016 meetings were agreed as follows:
- January 2016
- April 2016
- August 2016.
The Chairman of the Task Force is Mr. Digafie Megersa, Marketing Officer Network Planning & Commercial Cooperation, Ethiopian Airlines. The position of the Vice chair of the Committee is assumed by Mrs. Doreen Maiteri, Manager Alliances and Partnerships, Kenya Airways and Ms. Halima Oulmaati, Manager International Agreements, Royal air Maroc and the Secretary and Project Coordinator is Dr. Koussai Mrabet, Director, Commercial, Corporate & Industry Affairs of AFRAA.