African Airlines summit ends with calls to embrace 'digital transformation'

Kigali, Rwanda (PANA) - The 49th Annual General Assembly (AGA) and Summit of the African Airlines Association (AFRAA) ended on Tuesday in Kigali with calls to embrace airline digital transformation characterized by an era of datafication, constant connectivity and digital work-forces.

During the four-day summit, over 100 delegates, including Global aviation leaders and several airlines representatives from across Africa, exchanged views on current challenges facing the aviation industry with airlines facing saturated markets.

One of the issues highlighted during the summit was that technology providers and airlines should work together to enhance their booking experience, and to follow a customer through their journey, offering relevant touch points and service enhancements along the way.

Participants agreed that when travellers search for a flight, unless the airline is able to convey how they differ from their competitors in terms of product, service or convenience, the customer will base their decision on the only variables they can see when searching online, which are price and flight schedule.

Increasingly, airlines are recognising that their websites are portals between their customers and their brands, embedding them with the data and content required to serve them in an increasingly data-driven marketplace, it said.

While reacting to these trends, the aviation experts stressed the importance for the airlines in looking at customers’ behavior and see what they respond to, and build up patterns in order to achieve greater and more effective use of increasingly available data.

"This is key to up-selling; if done in the right way, it can be positive for both the airline and the customer," said John Strickland, a senior aviation analyst.

During this year's summit, a number of issues that came out of the debates included the implementation of a very "heavy cost-cutting programme" through the adoption of e-commerce solutions.

In addition, the aviation leaders also emphasised the need to address some airlines' inability to fully repatriate funds during their operations.

According to IATA estimates, of the top five countries blocking the repatriation of airline funds, the majority are located in Africa - Nigeria, Sudan, Egypt and Angola.

The next session of the AFRAA annual summit will take place in Morocco in November 2018.
-0- PANA TWA/MA 14Nov2017

14 Novembro 2017 13:37:49

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