EGPH From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2006, 221 posts, RR: 0 Posted (10 months 3 weeks 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 1872 times:
I guess I am going through one of those times when I have far too much time on my hands and am looking into the operations of European airlines like BA, SN and AF to sub-Saharan Africa and particularly those places that are considered especially dangerous like BKO, FIH, FNA and any others that may fall into this category. My question is how good are loads on such services and what are the reasons people would have for travelling to and from such places? VFR seems the only likely as I wouldn't expect there would be much leisure or business travelling to such places. As a slight aside on this, AF seem to be continuing their daily run to BKO despite this destination being particularly hot at the moment. Is this done with the same crew there and back as flight time seems to be in the 5hr 45min mark which is the same as some Scotland to SSH services which are done by the same crew.
Vinniewinnie From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 763 posts, RR: 0 Reply 2, posted (10 months 3 weeks 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 1689 times:
Loads of Reasons:
Business (Mining, oil, Uranium, gold, copper, rare earth material name it they have it all+ all the normal stuff, Humanitarian, tourism...
Africa is a continent which amazing potential. Granted poverty is common but there is so much potential, so much to do, so much to see that this the continent to be in!
More portugese people nowadays settle in portugese speaking african countries than portugese speaking african countries people settling in portugal. That gives you a little idea of what is going on here!
smbukas From Lithuania, joined Feb 2009, 132 posts, RR: 0 Reply 3, posted (10 months 3 weeks 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 1608 times:
I was flying to those routes a few times and I had different discussions with airport authorities in these countries.
Generally, load factors on those routes are low (comparable to industry averages), but yields are very high. It is not possible to stimulate Y traffic to these countries so it makes no sense to make any "discounted fares" or "promotional fares". Those who need to fly there they will fly.
It is not only dangerous places but also very difficult to operate there with European standards of quality and safety. SN base their own persons in those airports to do manual checks of the passengers, check-in's, look how aircrafts been cleaned, refuelled etc. It is not only expensive, but also requires specific know-how. I think, when LH putted stake in SN, one of the reasons was to purchase know-how how to operate there.
Richcandy From France, joined Aug 2001, 710 posts, RR: 0 Reply 4, posted (10 months 3 weeks 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 1539 times:
Its a long time since I worked in the industry so I might be a little out of touch.
AF used to have a list of destinations in Africa that they did not offer nett/contract fares on. These were cities that no one else or very few airlines flew to. Like BKO, FIH, FNA etc.
As they didn't need to discount these routes I would "guess" that they were able to fill the flights on their own and most likely make a good return on them.
As others have already said many African countries have a lot of natural resources so there is business traffic linked to that, plus traffic from aid workers, mission/charity based tourism and even wealthy Africans.
One of the things that always surprises me about the airline industry is that there are routes that are very well served. With lots of carries and none of them making money, at least in economy. Then there are routes that appear slightly odd but because they are so underserved the airline can charge fares in all classes that make money.
EGPH From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2006, 221 posts, RR: 0 Reply 6, posted (10 months 3 weeks 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 1067 times:
Thanks guys for your answers, I guess I underestimated the business demand from natural resources and NGOs for travel to those politically volatile destinations. I guess life is a constant learning experience.
9w748capt From United States of America, joined Feb 2008, 470 posts, RR: 1 Reply 7, posted (10 months 3 weeks 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 989 times:
Interesting question and I've wondered the same myself. Thankfully we have places like a.net to turn to where people from every corner can share some insight. Recently with the unrest in Central African Republic I looked into what kind of int'l air service Bangui (BGF) has - the answer is once-weekly to CDG on AF - and even that has been suspended due to the unrest. I can't imagine that many people are trying to fly in/out of Bangui, but if they want to go to Europe they have one option, so I imagine they're dropping a pretty Euro on those fares. I have an acquaintance who works for a travel agent in NYC who specializes in US-Africa tickets. Their clientele is quite unique - they insist on paying cash ($2000+) for their tickets, in person. Needless to say the agency is a cash cow for all involved.
Would love to fly somewhere like that just for fun, just to see how they do it. Just cost-prohibitive though.
EGPH From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2006, 221 posts, RR: 0 Reply 8, posted (10 months 3 weeks 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 977 times:
Very interesting story there about the travel agency in NYC, I guess if it benefits all involved nobody will want to say very much about it. Though whilst on ET's website yesterday (anyone who saw my internet search history would get me committed to the psych ward for being an incurable anorak :P) I saw they were publicising medical tourism flights to the US and Europe. I guess to some extent there must be that sort of market from places like the DRC, Sierra Leone, Mali etc. Then again, we don't need to look to sub-Saharan Africa for hot destinations, Tripoli gets at least 1 BA A320 a day and I'm sure a few more European airlines and I wouldn't consider things there to be all that cooled down.
Vinniewinnie From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 763 posts, RR: 0 Reply 9, posted (10 months 3 weeks 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 928 times:
Also you have to understand that it is sometimes very difficult to fly between African countries: flying from Tunisia to Ghana or Tanzania to Morroco for example involves a stop-over in Europe. Whilst demand may be very small on these flights, I can assure that it is very very expensive to fly these routes. many OD pairs could only be done through Europe in the past. Now Emirates and Turkish Airlines provide a few more options but not much.