With the proposed introduction of a pan-African passport in 2018, global travel technology provider, Sabre Corporation, has said that air travel in Africa will rise by 24 per cent.
The new passport which was unveiled on July 17, 2016 and presented to the heads of states attending the 27th summit of the African Union in Kigali, Rwanda, is expected to ease free movement of people, spur economic growth and development as well as promote intra-African trade.
In its recent publication, Sabre Corporation which surveyed travellers from four countries – South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya and Egypt- with those having flown in the past 24 months, said they would spend 24 per cent more with the introduction of the passport (from $1,100 to $1,500 annually).
However, despite a willingness among travellers to spend more on flights, Sabre said travel in Africa still remains inaccessible to the majority, with only 23 percent of those surveyed having travelled abroad at all in the last two years.
When asked what prevents them from travelling more, Sabre reports that 32 per cent said travel is too expensive; 31 per cent said it is difficult obtaining visas; 30 per cent said it is too difficult to book travel while 28 per cent said there are no flights to their chosen destination
Travellers also expressed a number of gripes about their current experiences when travelling with 27 per cent saying the check-in process takes too long; 22 per cent complained about confusing check-in procedure; 20 per cent complained about food served on aircraft while 19 per cent said there was not enough to do at the airport
“The results suggest that while travel is inaccessible to many and is difficult for those who do travel, there is a still a strong desire to travel more.
“Additionally, most of the pain points can be addressed by airlines, and these tweaks could make all the difference to travellers. African carriers currently face tough competition from international rivals that control 88 percent of African airspace but, as demand for travel increases, African airlines have a real opportunity to win the lion’s share of bookings by addressing the pain points of travellers and going the extra mile to improve their experience,” said Sabre’s vice president, Europe, Middle East and Africa, Airline Solutions, Dino Gelmetti,
Like many other travellers globally, Africans also expressed a strong interest in experiencing a travel journey that was more personalised and appealing to their taste.
Respondents said that they would be willing to spend up to $104 per trip on an airline’s extra products and services – such as excess baggage, cabin class upgrades, and special food and beverage – if it improved and personalised their journey.
“Airlines, globally, currently pocket an average of just $16 per passenger on ancillaries, so the fact that African travellers are prepared to spend six times more than that represents a significant retail opportunity for carriers on the continent.
“Airlines will flourish if they invest in technology that can make sense of customer data and use it to offer passengers the right product in the right context at the right time. This technology, which empowers airlines to mirror the personalised shopping tactics already mastered by the online retail industry has been proven to increase ancillary revenue by an average of 10 per cent, and is being used by some of the world’s most forward-thinking carriers,” said Gelmetti.