As BA Comair looks to stream line its operations in Southern Africa it has shown its staying power on the majority of its routes including both the Joburg to Livingstone and Joburg to Vic Falls where revenue streams have no doubt been positive – Editor
“The weak economy and poor consumer spend, high oil prices, excessive Acsa charges, a weakening local currency and increased competition, all threaten the growth of local air travel. World-wide, the airline industry has been forced to recognise the need for radical change to ensure sustainability and profitability. Cutting down on costs and increasing business efficiencies are top priorities for Comair,” says Venter.
As part of this strategy to improve efficiency and increase revenue, Comair is implementing new technology with the introduction of the Sabre Sonic CSS suite, a revenue-generating reservations system that includes inventory management and check-in systems. “It will also enable great innovations in product development and customer experience,” he says.
Comair Limited is displaying staying power during these tough economic conditions. Globally airlines are all feeling the pinch and 2012 will be a watershed where only the most agile will survive, says Comair ceo, Erik Venter.
Route reviews and rationalisation to ensure contribution to profitability have seen Comair cancel two services to neighbouring countries. “The decision to discontinue the Lanseria to Maputo and Gaborone routes in the last quarter of 2011 was prompted by the fact that the market cannot support fares that are high enough to keep these routes profitable” explains Venter.
The delivery of the first of eight new-generation Boeing 737-800 aircraft later this year will also see Comair operating at higher efficiency levels. “The new 800s bring with them a number of advantages; they are technologically more advanced, require lower maintenance and are more eco-friendly as they emit fewer carbon emissions. Consuming considerably less fuel per passenger, the 800s are economically more efficient. ”
Comair has also decided to make a capital investment in building its own in-house catering facilities in Johannesburg and Cape Town, which will help the company to save up to 25% on supplier costs. “We need to remain creative in the re-engineering of operations, which means keeping a close eye on the way we do business. This prompted re-negotiating with our suppliers and we are confident that we can provide greater variety and the same quality that our customers expect by doing it in-house,” says Venter.
The airline is also expanding its crew base to Cape Town, which will reduce costs on staff hotel accommodation by 80%. This move will ultimately see a third of Comair’s pilots and a third of its cabin crew relocating to Cape Town.