SPECULATION GROWING OVER EASYJETS STELIOS INVOLVEMENT ON AFRICAN LCC
Over the past weeks was speculation growing in Eastern Africa about a potential involvement by former EasyJets top executive Stelios Iannou, said to consider joining hands with Lonrho to develop and implement a viable low cost carrier model for Africa, using jet aircraft to connect major cities on the continent.
While some efforts have been made in recent years to establish local LCCs, this concept has not taken root as was expected and the financial strength of such Pan African airlines like Ethiopian or Kenya Airways have successfully held against such competition by setting fare levels on key routes to not just match their competitors but actually offer lower fares, while at the same time using their frequent flyer programmes to ensure brand loyalty through reward schemes the LCCs do either not have or do not as effectively use.
Information obtained points to a possible signing of a deal next week, which could be held either in the UK or a select location in Africa, possibly Nairobi, as the East African aviation market could be the first to be targeted by a new airline set up.
Regional aviation stakeholders expressed surprise when contacted over this potential development and were swift to point to the cut throat operating environment which exists in the East African skies claiming almost in unison this is not Europe, any newcomer will find the going here very tough, very competitive and very challenging. Adds this correspondent in closing that this will indeed be the case, as past failures amply demonstrate, though Stelios and Lonrho combined will undoubtedly try to re-write aviation history and duplicate European successes in Africa, supported by deep pockets and a vision backed up by long experience. Watch this space.