By Hilary Mare
Namibia’s flagship airline’s Revenue by Available Seat per Kilometre (RASK) has improved by 1.3% compared to last year, Advocate Mandi Samson, the airline’s Acting Managing Director, has said.
This translates to an increase from N$0.76 in 2015/16 to N$ 0.77 in the current financial year.
With the Cost by Available Seat per Kilometre (CASK) remaining stable at N$0.98, Samson told delegates at the parastatal’s annual stakeholder event on Wednesday that most of the routes are doing better this year, compared to last year, except for the Luanda route, which has experienced major negative performance.
This, in turn, had prevented the airline from increasing its RASK by more than 10 percent.
“The Luanda route saw a decline of 31 percent in passenger totals and a 46 percent decline in total revenue,” Samson said.
She went on to say that other areas of focus, aimed at improving financial performance, include assessments to restructure aircraft lease agreements, with the possibility of converting some into ownership, as well as relooking at aircraft maintenance, and technical staff training costs. “Overall, our target is to reduce losses year-on-year in a sustainable manner, while expanding the size of our operation to reach break even by 2020,” she noted.
Air Namibia has developed and implemented a targeted partnership strategic plan, to increase market share, and this is evident through already signed codeshare partnership deals with Turkish Airlines, Ethiopian Airlines and Condor Airlines, all during the first quarter of 2017.
“These agreements will allow us and our new partners to expand our global networks through the services of each airline, and also facilitate the provision of competitive and convenient travel choices to our respective customers. In simple terms, these mentioned collaborative arrangements enable us to sell tickets and earn revenue from passengers travelling to or from destinations we do not fly to, and thus increases our catchment net. “These airlines are well positioned, by virtue of their extended route networks, and their global sales and marketing presence.
“There are a number of codeshare agreements still in the pipeline and we trust we will conclude them during the remainder of this year and in 2018,” added Samson.
She noted that the airline was reviewing its fuel efficiency patterns, in order to complement the fuel efficient fleet in use, so that they optimise and save on fuel costs.
Air Namibia uses in excess of 150 million litres of jet fuel per annum.
“We are currently rated as a three-star service airline, and per our plan, we aim to move to four-star during the strategic plan period. As part of working towards this goal, we subjected our service offering to an independent professional airline customer services audit by Skytrax.
“A full report showing areas of improvements was developed, and is being implemented. While still at it, we won a number of service awards, including being second in the Skytrax Best Regional Carrier category for Africa in 2016.
“We were again awarded the Best Regional Airline in Service Excellence award by the Airports Company South Africa in 2016. Being in the service industry, we are truly honoured that our services are internationally recognised, through various awards and accolades we have received thus far,” added Samson.
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