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British Airways’ Perspective On Africa

Destination News

British Airways’ Perspective On Africa


By Kola Olayinka

British-Airways-Aircraft--001British Airways considers Africa an important growth market and the acquisition of bmi and new aircraft coming into the feet are enabling us to expand our network on the continent.

The acquisition of bmi two years ago meant we were able to start flying to new destinations in Africa such as Sierra Leone, Liberia and Libya. We were also able to increase our services to some existing African markets.

New aircraft have also increased the opportunities for expansion. We’ve ordered 12 A380s, 24 Boeing 787s, six 777-300 ERs and 10 A320s. We have already taken delivery of a number of these aircraft and twenty more will have joined the fleet by the end of this year. These will gradually replace some of the older, less fuel-efficient aircraft in our fleet and allow us to add new destinations and improve schedules.

In South Africa we introduced the A380 on the Johannesburg route three times a week earlier this year, increasing capacity to the country’s commercial capital. This was only the third route after Los Angeles and Hong Kong where we began operating this aircraft.

We’ve also upped our winter frequencies to Cape Town from daily to 10 a week and have invested nearly R20 million in a new lounge at Cape Town International.

In East Africa we’ve added an additional frequency to Uganda to offer four weekly flights and have amended our schedule to provide better connections to other international services through Terminal 5.

We’ve increased capacity to Kenya by introducing Boeing 747-400s on the route. Using larger aircraft provides over 780 additional seats every week.

british-airways-3In West Africa we increased our services to Ghana to 10 a week, and in Oct 2014, Flights to Ghana are scheduled to increase to 11 per week.

In all we currently operate 85 flights a week to 14 African destinations.

All of this is good news for business travellers, as is our joint business with American Airlines which has now been extended to include American’s merger partner, US Airways. This means African customers connecting to the United States will now be able to choose from 70 direct flights a day.

US Airways brings 28 transatlantic routes to the joint business, of which 27 are new, and gives our customers access to additional destinations. Between London and New York, a popular business destination for African travellers, the joint business provides up to 17 flights a day in each direction and more than 1000 flat beds.

On board we are rolling out our new £100 million new First cabin, new World Traveller and World Traveller Plus cabins and are refurbishing our 767 and 777 fleets. We’re increasing catering choices and are using the latest technology to improve services. This includes customer registration options on ba.com, extended in-flight entertainment and the ability to print your own bag tags on certain routes.

bawtnWe’ve also taken cognisance of the growth of small- and medium-enterprises in Africa, some of which are looking to expand beyond their domestic markets. To this end we’re more aggressively marketing our On Business proposition. On Business is specifically designed for small- and medium-sized companies, which don’t have a sufficiently large travel budget to secure corporate discounts, but which buy enough travel to accrue reasonable benefits.

On Business points are earned on very flight booked and can be redeemed online for flights, upgrades and hotel vouchers. An online calculator enables business owners to work out how may points they’d earn in a year.

With the many fast-growing economies in Africa increasing demand for travel, particularly business travel, we are constantly evaluating new opportunities on the continent. With our new aircraft, excellent connections over Terminal 5, network, transatlantic joint business and business reward programmes we are well positioned to take advantage of these.

Kola Olayinka is British Airways’ Country Commercial Manager for West Africa

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