As the start of Routes Africa comes into sight, the region’s air service industry is gearing up for the fifth annual route development networking forum, this year hosted by Sikhuphe International Airport in Swaziland from the 30th May – 1st June.
Airline registrations are at the highest level since Routes launched its first Routes Africa event, with carriers including South African Airways, South African Express, Kenya Airways, Gabon Airlines, Malaysian Airlines, Egypt Air and Spanair already registered. Nigel Mayes, Routes Managing Director, commented: “It is interesting to see the trend amongst airlines shifting from those within the region itself, to include those from outside of the area wishing to set up links, like Spanair for example who are coming to target African airports, to achieve the carrier’s business objectives of expanding its air service network in this region.”
The forum will include all the elements that delegates have come to expect from a Routes event, including formal and informal networking opportunities, The Routes Africa Strategy Forum and Route Exchange. There will also be workshops hosted by ASM on Sunday 30th May.
The free ASM workshops, for airport delegates only, will see representatives from ASM presenting their conclusions on the rise and rise of the Gulf carriers into Africa, particularly sub-Saharan Africa.
Gordon Bevan, ASM’s Vice President Consulting Asia Pacific & Indian Ocean, explained:
“As the world’s leading route development company, ASM is more than qualified to assess the growth and impact that the Gulf carriers have had on the African air services market. The workshops follow on from previous successful route development workshops we held at Routes Africa in recent years.
“The first workshop will show how the African market has traditionally used European hubs to access connectivity with the world, but this has shifted to the Gulf hubs for a number of reasons. We shall explore the reasons, the impact on traffic numbers and the yield that these airlines are extracting from the market.”
The second workshop, also held on the Sunday, will look into the rise of Arabian Gulf hub operations accessing the Chinese market as a direct result of the increased trade links between the two regions. This is a timely topic for airlines seeking to access Africa and China, and the aim is to offer African airport managers a plan for capitalising on this trend and thereby secure further revenue streams for the airport operator.