The Nairobi based African Airlines Association has recently met with several member airlines to discuss a greater alignment of the respective schedules, aimed at improving connectivity for passengers travelling across the African continent.
Working in partnership with international service provider Sabre, AFRAA brought amongst others Kenya Airways, RwandAir and South African Airways together, to start a process of optimizing schedules in the future for the benefit of travelers in need of faster connectivity and avoiding costly layovers.
AFRAA and Sabre have reportedly signed a Memorandum of Understanding to implement an African route network development vision, some of which appears to have been discussed amongst member airlines also at the recently concluded Routes Africa meeting in the Seychelles.
Like with the joint fuel purchasing programme, AFRAA is banking on member airlines seeing the benefit of cooperating in such areas while continuing to compete, promoting a change of mindset amongst top airline executives to look beyond their own carrier and find benefits and synergies by cooperating where possible.
Sabre reportedly posted a team to Nairobi to consult towards that end for AFRAA and participating airlines, using the experience Sabre has as a major CRS for global airlines.
Amongst some of the proposals floated at the Routes Africa meeting are suggestions that suitable partners team up with code shared flights, under which one airline would operate the service but still giving the partner the opportunity for sales and revenues by booking passengers on code shared flights.
Cooperation through special fare agreements and MoUs between suitable partner airlines too will be looked upon and the next session on the topic is expected to bring more AFRAA members on board, once the potential benefits have been quantified and the commercial advantages for participating carriers can be demonstrated with financial projections. Watch this space for regular and breaking aviation news from the vibrant African airline industry.