AFRICAN UNION OPEN SKIES PROJECT GETS BACKING FROM WAKANOW
(Posted 03rd February 2018)
As part of its efforts to significantly reduce the cost of airfares in Africa, Wakanow has affirmed its commitment to support the Single Africa Air Transport Market project, an Agenda 2063 flagship programme by the Africa Union.
The Single Africa Air Transport Market is an initiative of the African Union which seeks to create a consolidated air transport market in Africa, increased access to global supply chains and liberalize civil aviation as a driver of Africa’s economic integration agenda.
In a statement, the CEO and Managing Director of Wakanow, Mr. Obinna Ekezie, said the project will further complement Wakanow’s drive to make airfares considerably affordable for Africans and open a new vista of opportunities for African economies. Wakanow had earlier announced a historic transition from a two-week airline billing settlement cycle to pioneer a daily direct remittance and pre-paid card payment settlement which will significantly reduce the cost of travel for customers.
While commending the leadership of the African Union for the initiative, Mr. Ekezie noted that a single unified air transport market would inspire sustainable development of the air transport sector in Africa, foster job creation and revolutionize intra-African travel.
“Globally, air transport has remained a catalyst for growth, contributing more than half (55%) of international tourist arrivals in 2016. We believe this initiative by the African Union will accelerate the development of the aviation sector in the continent, and we are committed to supporting airlines to de-risk the remittance process and reduce airfares for our customers,” he stated.
Already, a joint study by IATA and AFCAC has shown that, when implemented in 12 major African countries, enhanced connectivity can generate additional 300,000 direct jobs, 2 million indirect jobs and US$1.3 billion in annual GDP.
Following the double-digit decline of 26.3% in passengers’ traffic recorded in 2017, reduced airfares will grow the Nigerian travel market and empower about 5 million more passengers to afford air travel.
As demonstrated in global markets where air transport liberalization has taken firm roots, the Single Africa Air Transport Market is forecast to stimulate turnaround time, improved frequency of travel and new routes and lower fares for the customer.
In 2016, Wakanow took a major step to invest heavily in its technology and operations infrastructure as part of measures to boost efficiency and create stronger platform to drive its pan-African expansion and further reduce the cost of travel for its teeming customers.
Only a few weeks ago did Wakanow pioneer a new payment mechanism to settle charges for air tickets with IATA’s payment platform BSP when launching daily payments, as was reported here at the time.
Wakanow today is Africa’s largest Online Travel Agency with commercial operations in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya and the UK. The company is currently undertaking a large expansion project which will result in stronger footprint across Africa, the UK and the USA. Wakanow currently process over 15,000 bookings in Nigeria monthly as the demand for African travel continues to grow.