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Friday, 09 April 2010 10:28

We Are Partnering With Over 75 Airlines - AVIAREPS

By Abel Orukpe

LAGOS, Nigeria, April 8, (Daily Independent) - Recently, AVIAREPS, a leading aviation and tourism management expert opened a new subsidiary in Lagos. It primary focus is not to only provide tailor- made services to airlines but to also offer public relations, advertising, IT solutions to airlines. The General Manager of the subsidiary in Nigeria, Mr. Olugbenga Onitilo, in an interview, said that what AVIAREPS does is to bring people to the world and the world to the people. Correspondent Abel Orukpe was there.

 

Excerpts:

 

Q:What is AVIAREPS all about?

A: AVIAREPS was founded in 1994. It has its well-established global airline and tourism representation headquarter in Munich, Germany. It has opened its second fully owned subsidiary on the African continent. After establishing in Johannesburg, South Africa, the aviation and tourism management expert has extended its network to Lagos where it has founded its 40th subsidiary worldwide. The management expert for aviation and tourism represents more than 75 airlines and 85 tourism clients' worldwide .We offer tailor-made services for every client.

 

We are not a GDM company but a General Services Agent (GSA) company .What we do is that we run sales and distribution for airlines, so that airlines can for example focus on its core competence ; flight operations. Airline operations can be divided into two; ground handling services or flight operations or you have what you have the sales and commercial part of the business which is what we are do at every station where we represent airlines.

 

So there is marketing which goes as far as reservation, financial accounting, sales and marketing, public relations , branding , publicity, and advertising .These are the core things we handle for airlines .Presently, , we are number one in the world and the solutions we offer airlines and tourism markets and that makes our clients keep chasing after us in all the countries where we operate at the moment.

 

So, our presence in the country is very significant at a time airlines are having problems with finance. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has projected that it will take an airline an average of three years to get out of the financial situation they are in at the moment. Presently, most airlines are cutting down their over head cost and if you are familiar with this , you will discover that for most airlines in Nigeria , it is just ground handling and flight operations.

 

Most airlines are now going to GSA's because they have the manpower, competence and they have the financial muscles to provide the services the airlines want so that they can focus on their core operation; flight operations

 

Q:Apart from rendering tailor-made services, what other services does AVIAREPS offer?

A:Besides its core businesses, passenger sales and tourism marketing, clients also trust he high performance of AVIAREPS in the fields of public relations, advertising, IT solutions and financial services. AVIAREPS branches in other countries, how do they operate and what is your staff strength?

 

As a conglomerate of subsidiaries, all fully owned branch offices work as independent companies, but are connected with the headquarters in Germany through the centralised financial controlling and corporate standards of AVIAREPS. The joint stock company successfully conducts its business with more than 400 employees in over 40 countries worldwide

 

Q:What is your annual turn over?

A:I do not have the updated figure but our year-end comes up in April and when it comes we will give it to you. Why is AVIAREPS just coming into Nigeria 15 years after it was established and considering it's huge market and tourism potential?

Basically, we do a lot of marketing research and intelligence; a lot of analysis and you need to have a launch partner within that environment. The launch partner would make some financial commitment .You equally need a launch partner who needs your logistics, supports to be able to deliver in that environment. So that is the way it is if a GSA wants to move in or operate in a particular environment.

 

Q:Now that AVIAREP is in Nigeria, have you got a launch partner?

A:Yes, we have. Our launch partner is Afriquyah, a Libyan airline.

 

Q:What is AVIAREPS Unique Selling Proposition (USP)?

A:The other solutions that we offer as it regards financial reporting .For example, we have an in- house IT solutions, IT competence. Presently, in Nigeria, we offer IT services and our network offer services to some agencies within the Nigerian environment .We have that IT solution and we also have financial reporting and we have the advantage of partnering with over 75 airlines and offer us a lot of interlining, partnership that span across over 75 airlines, internal agreement that offers you enormous opportunities to be able to inter-connect with all these airlines.

 

Also the tourism accounts that we have is over 75 portfolios and that is an advantage for us and it goes beyond just hotel .It covers car rentals, cuisine and that is a very big market as it allows airlines operations to connect very well with tourism.

 

And we know that the tourism market in Nigeria has not been well tapped into as much as aviation has been tapped into. That strength that we have; having about 85 tourism accounts in our portfolio is a major advantage that we would be able to use and compete effectively in the market.

 

Q:Which other airline are you representing in Nigeria?

At the moment, it is only Afriquya and AVIAREPS will let the media know as things unfold.

 

Q:You must have heard the insinuation that Nigeria environment is not conducive for business. What is your take on this?

A:The Nigeria environment is very suitable for business because with the marketing research we have gathered for the past two weeks, we discovered that Nigerian market is yet to be fully harnessed as it regards tourism for example. Most travel agencies will focus tickets, returns.

 

There are more potentials in tourism that we have not tapped in Nigeria .A lot of tourism potentials abound in Nigeria that can be developed .A lot of packages that can be developed within Africa. The whole of Europe is moving into tourism in Africa. For example Lufthansa, German Airlines has started flying from Accra, the Ghanaian to other parts of Africa .Why? Why is Air France flying into Abuja, Port Harcourt and Lagos. International airline like KLM has been flying to Lagos but the airline is now jostling to fly from Abuja. Why? It is because of the huge marketing in Nigeria still remains untapped.

 

For example Nigerians are known as the most widely travelled people in the world and with over 140 million people, the market is enormous with competition going on with airline such as Arik Air and Virgin Nigeria and others acquiring new aircraft .The market is still big .It is just a matter of strategy, coming with strategies, solutions to be able to deliver and generate revenue and increase the market share. That is the issue.

 

Q:Advice for the Federal Government on how to assist domestic airline operators

A:My take on that is that the Federal Government should provide basic infrastructure for aviation and tourism markets. Too much attention is been given to oil; the major source of revenue for the country. Dubai for example is focusing on tourism and anything about Dubai is tourism. Look at Banjul, the Gambian capital, everybody is moving to Banjul because it is a huge tourism market.

 

So the federal government should create the enabling environment for the tourism market in Nigeria to grow. Government for example should start thinking of granting subsidies to airlines, importation of spare parts, subsidy on fuel and in fact on a whole lot of things at airports .The landing and parking cost should be looked into. Government should grant airlines access to credit, loans. If the government gets involve in that for the airlines and the tourism market, I think we would have the leverage, we would be more profitable in the way business is done in Nigeria environment.

 

 
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