Airlines should be differentiated by product, not cost, we need ‘more connectivity, not more airlines’ in Africa and SAATM is “the light at the end of the tunnel” for the Continent – insights from the CAPA Middle East & Africa Aviation Summit

CAPA – Centre for Aviation attempted to address the big questions impacting aviation across the Middle East and Africa as part of more than ten hours of agenda content at its CAPA Middle East & Africa Aviation Summit.

Here’s some of the key insights and observations from delegates during the event at the Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Centre (DICEC) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

flyadeal success due to market gap, growth of digital economy: CEO
flyadeal CEO Con Korfiatis attributed the airline’s success to the “white space” it was able to fill in the “true” low cost segment in Saudi Arabia. Mr Korfiatis also attributed flyadeal’s achievements over the last 18 months to the development of the digital economy in the Middle East, which progressed “incredibly quickly” in recent years.

fastjet CEO: ‘The time is now’ to improve aviation in Africa
fastjet Group CEO Nico Bezuidenhout called for action to improve the aviation sector in Africa, stating: “The time is now and something has to be done holistically”. He added: “We need more connectivity, not more airlines”.

Embraer GM: SAATM ‘the light at the end of the tunnel’, but barriers to travel remain in Africa
Embraer GM special projects Africa and Middle East Hussein Dabbas described the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) as “the light at the end of the tunnel” but noted there are still many barriers of entry to African travellers. Mr Dabbas highlighted the lack of visa on arrival schemes for travel within Africa and said such restrictions are “a way of stifling the growth of Africa”.

London Stansted Airport CEO: ‘An airport and an airline have to work hand in hand’
London Stansted Airport CEO Ken O’Toole stated LCCs are going to drive aviation growth and the costs of operating at airports will help determine where that growth occurs. He also commented: “An airport and an airline have to work hand in hand”.

LOOK OUT…Exclusive executive interviews from Dubai will be published on CAPA TV in the coming weeks, as well as full coverage of the agenda sessions.


African governments ‘very active’ in aviation, an issue for the industry: fastjet CEO
fastjet Group CEO Nico Bezuidenhout stated African governments are generally “very active” in aviation, which is an issue for the industry. Mr Bezuidenhout said some countries, such as Mozambique, have more “regulatory maturity” than others. He said governments moving from being airline operators to being providers of infrastructure would be a step in the right direction.

Astral Aviation to receive first cargo drone by Jun-2019
Astral Aviation CEO Sanjeev Gadhia stated the first drone under the carrier’s cargo drone project will arrive in Kenya by Jun-2019. The carrier will then undertake three to six months of pilot projects. Mr Gadhia expects commercial cargo drone operations to “significantly” reduce delivery times to end clients by avoiding the “barrier” of customs processes at airports.

Jazeera CEO: Lack of secondary airports in Middle East a challenge for LCCs
Jazeera Airways CEO Rohit Ramachandran stated LCC operations in the Middle East are more difficult due to the lack of secondary airports, which are an important part of the LCC model in other regions.

Etihad Airways VP: Airlines need to be innovative to maintain stable profit margins
Etihad Airways VP revenue management Dieter Westermann stated airlines need to be as innovative as they can to ensure profit margins are stable. He said innovation must come from within the organisation and there are a lot of opportunities. Mr Westermann said aviation as an industry is generally open minded about innovation, but is held back by legacy systems.

Successful innovation depends on willingness to change: Sabre VP
Sabre VP travel solutions Middle East and Africa Dino Gelmetti stated achieving innovation comes down to a company’s willingness to change. He said lessons in retailing are likely to mainly come from outside the aviation industry.

Travelport: Middle East airlines to be live with NDC in 2019, African airlines not before 2020
Travelport global head of new distribution Ian Heywood stated some Middle East airlines are likely to be live with NDC API distribution in 2019. African airlines are not forecast to commence NDC API distribution before 2020.

Airlines should be differentiated by product, not cost
fastjet Group CEO Nico Bezuidenhout stated “all carriers should be low cost carriers”, noting that all airlines aim to be cost efficient and the difference should be between premium and value product propositions.

MORE INSIGHTS…
CAPA – Centre for Aviation members were able to see live updates from the CAPA Middle East & Africa Aviation Summit and have access to over 100 briefs from the event. Find out more about how a CAPA membership provides a front row seat to global aviation news, analysis and data as it happens, with access to a comprehensive suite of tools that can be customised to your needs.