TIR December17.pdf - Page 14



News Digest
Fastjet aims for expansion
CEO Nico Bezuidenhout is on the lookout for viable international
partnerships – ‘and we can’t ignore Cape Town,’ he says
BY SARAH CORNWELL
FASTJET will work with
other international carriers to
expand its global network and
reach, while it consolidates a
new base in the growth market of Mozambique.
The domestic operation
in Mozambique, in partnership with Solenta Aviation,
launched last month.
Flights between Maputo
and Nampula will operate
daily. Beira will also operate
daily, with a twice daily service on Sundays. Flights to
Tete will operate on a Monday, Wednesday, Friday and
Sunday.
Chief Executive Officer
Nico Bezuidenhout said Mozambique represented value
for money as a leisure destination with opportunity to
grow corporate sales.
The carrier still has plans
for an operation in South
Africa but “would have to
comply with ownership and
control restrictions,” he said.
With 13-million domestic
sectors per year, “we will
be entering the South Afri-
can market one way or another, in due course… [And]
the southern tip of Africa is
growing as a hub… we cannot ignore Cape Town.”
Fastjet’s new executive
team, most of whom were
together at South African
Airways, had stabilised the
airline and reduced costs.
The workforce and f leet
and Mozambique represent
growth for the business. We
are geared for it.”
Other positive changes include a new reservations system and partnership with EJets in Tanzania, which will
provide more fuel efficiency
benefits.
Fastjet has cemented its
relationship with Emirates
“[I] understand the market we
operate in. My time [at SAA and
Mango] taught me, even in those
two companies, that you have to
speak to your customers differently. They seek different
things…”
– Nico Bezuidenhout
size were reduced, board
cha nge s we re ma de a nd
fastjet’s head office was relocated to Johannesburg.
Mr. Bezuidenhout said the
Mozambique start-up signified the start of a new growth
phase.
“We a re i n a posit ion
where Tanzania is prof itable; Zi mbabwe is ca sh
flow-positive… South Africa
and other new partnerships
will be agreed in the coming
months. Another GDS agreement was being finalised and
announced in the next three
to four months.
Most of fastjet’s business
in South Africa comes via the
trade and 40 percent of seats
in Zimbabwe and 35 percent
in Tanzania are booked by a
travel agent.
Air France/KLM latest to
impose GDS booking fee
AIR FRANCE/ KLM is following other major European
carriers with a distribution
surcharge on GDS bookings
from April 1 next year. The
new fee will be added to
each sector and is intended to
cover the cost difference between GDS and direct sales
but will not apply to travel
agency direct sales and bookings via NDC connection.
British Airways, Iberia
and Lufthansa Group carriers have already applied GDS
surcharges for non-direct,
non-NDC sales.
Air France/KLM claimed
Mr. Bezuidenhout said he
had drawn from his experience at Mango and two terms
as Acting Chief Executive
Off icer at South Af rican
Airways. “[I] understand the
market we operate in. My
time [at SAA and Mango]
taught me, even in those two
companies, that you have to
speak to your customers differently. They seek different
things…”
He said SAA was full of
“good people” and felt “sorry
and sentimental” about some
of the changes to the flag carrier’s shrinking network.
He was confident about
the case for a full-service
low-cost product in Africa
but said budget long-haul international flights required a
unique set of circumstances.
Competition from the Gulf
carriers also had to be considered.
“You are effectively competing with a low-cost [carrier] as soon as you fly over
the Middle East. Emirates’
price point is so low… [But]
it wanted to take back control
of all of its sales channels by
embracing IATA’s NDC and
that using the IATA standard
would allow it to create more
personalised sales offerings.
While retailers have been
critical of the charges, new
partnerships are being established to enable retailers to
bypass the additional cost.
Last month, the Flight Centre Travel Group was among
the first to confirm a new
multi-year distribution deal
with BA and Iberia and the
Lufthansa Group has said it
is working on its first TMC
partnerships in South Africa.
“There is a mistake made
in this industry, where pilots are portrayed as profit-hungry people sitting in
the front of an aircraft. Yes,
while their demands are quite
rough sometimes, they are
part of an employee group
that wants to be a part of the
growth…”
Fastjet is working on product development to capture
more premium business and
recently introduced flexible,
bundled fares.
“In Africa, you don’t have
a massive middle class market. You have the haves and
the have nots. It is also true
that rich people remain rich
because they know how to
get a good deal... if I can give
them what they want at the
front end of this aircraft…
we are likely to become a
more credible trade partner
to travel agents.
“Our objective is to make
air travel more affordable,”
said Mr. Bezuidenhout.
erations Officer at Quintica,
a UK-registered firm that
streamlines and automates
business processes.
Tourvest Chairman Robert
Gumede said Mr. Edmond
was leaving the company
with a highly competent management team and praised
his role in its “phenomenal
growth” into a major global
tourism group.
The Flight Centre Travel Group opened its 12th Cruiseabout store last month, in Hyde Park, and said it was
expected to become a flagship store in the near future.
ve
e
in
nl
O
December 2017
West Africa medium-haul
north-bound to Europe, you
don’t have a disruptor. It is all
about the angle on the map…
The majority of the cost benefit of a low-cost versus fullservice carrier comes from
turning an aircraft around.
The moment an aircraft is
airborne, the cost model is
the same.”
Businesses in Africa face
other challenges, he maintained. Protectionism, training and skills development
are crucial but the issue of
withholding of funds could
derail a business. “Airlines
go under because they can’t
pay their next fuel bill. Markets like Nigeria, to a lesser
extent Mozambique, have
this challenge.”
Mr. Bez uiden hout said
there was only room for three
to five flag carriers in Africa
and said the continent had to
make a concerted effort to
develop pilot pools to cater
for future demand.
Li
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BA international’s mixed fleet cabin crew have
accepted a pay deal from the airline, ending
their long-running dispute.
ok
Bo
are now available.
TIR Southern Africa
British Airways has added two flights between
PE and OR Tambo every day except Saturday.
Sean Joubert to head Tourvest
SEAN Joubert has been appointed Tourvest’s Chief Executive Officer when Tommy
Edmond retires at the end of
the year.
He is currently Chief Op-
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