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Comair: The coming of a saviour on the dar-jorburg route?

Discussion in 'Biashara, Uchumi na Ujasiriamali' started by ByaseL, Aug 20, 2010.

  1. B

    ByaseL JF-Expert Member

    Aug 20, 2010
    Joined: Nov 22, 2007
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    The announcement by Comair Airways Ltd, a Jamesburg based carrier to the effect that it intends to start flying the Johannesburg-Dar Salaam route with effect from 2 November 2010 sounds like music the ears of the travel trade and travelling public at large. The Citizen Newspaper of 28th July 2010 quoted the company’s statement confirming that Comair will be offering five return flights a week between Johannesburg and Dar es Salaam. The imminent coming of Comair into the market is a piece of good news which is very rare these days.

    Comair is not a newcomer to the aviation world. The airline was established and started operations on 14 July 1946 as Commercial Air Services. It was founded by Second World War South African Air Force colleagues AC Joubert, JMS Martin, L Zimmerman and JD Human. Scheduled services between Rand Airport, Johannesburg and Durban began in 1948, using a Cessna Model 195 aircraft.

    The airline grew over the next decades, to the point where it was able to start services on major domestic routes in 1992, using a Boeing 737-200 aircraft. In addition to domestic flights to destinations such as Cape Town and Durban, it also offered a few international flights in Southern Africa, e.g. to Gaborone and Harare.

    A franchise agreement with
    British Airways was signed in 1996 and in early 2000 British Airways acquired a minority shareholding. It was listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in July 1998. The airline is owned by the management (25%), institutions and public (52%), International Airlines Group/British Airways (18%) and employees (5%). A franchise agreement between airlines is relatively a new concept where one airline while retaining its separate legal entity agrees to trade as a partner (in the agreement) airline.

    This entails, for example, Comair trading as British Airways (BA) by taking on BA’s brand identity, IATA Code, ticketing code, Frequent Flyer Programme, et cetera. This means that, for instance, Comair flights in the in-house capacity booking engines, Global Distribution Systems (GDS) and flight displays at the airport will appear as BA flights. It is a win-win sales and marketing agreement whereby the franchised airline (Comair) is able to benefit from BA’s worldwide distribution network at an agreed franchise fee payable to BA. In September 2007, Comair extended its franchise agreement with British Airways for a further 11 years.

    As a dully designated airline along South African Airways (SAA) in accordance with the Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) between Tanzania and South Africa the entry of Comair in this market is long overdue. The other designated airlines on the Tanzania’s side are Air Tanzania Company Limited (ATCL) and Precision Air who are currently not operating in this lucrative market. Indeed there is every reason for the travelling public to feel elated by Comair’s arrival onto the scene as this will enhance competition in the market as SAA’s virtual monopoly may soon come to end. With the suspension of ATCL ‘s services to South Africa late 2008, SAA has been the only “bull in the kraal”, so to speak, literally turning the Dar Es Salaam-Johannesburg route into a seller’s market.

    In Comair, SAA will find its match. Comair isn’t a “here-today-gone-tomorrow” kind of airline. In fact it is an envy of the global aviation history by having posted 62 years of operating profit; an aviation record that is held by no other airline! The new entrant comes with a wide South Africa domestic network and beyond. From its hub at Johannesburg-Oliver Tambo International Airport the airline has services to; Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth, Windhoek in Namibia, Mauritius, Harare and Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe and Livingstone in Zambia. In addition, Comair has its subsidiary’s network to boot. In 2001, was set up. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Comair and was set up as a low-cost airline. From operating just one route and 18 flights a week in 2001, now operates 16 routes with more than 325 flights a week including several regional destinations.

    The BA’s franchise will enable Comair to piggyback on the United Kingdom’s global clout- a very powerful marketing tool which will give its competitors a run for their money. “The introduction of additional flights to Dar Es Salaam much-needed alternative service-and at a competitive pricing.-to a market that is currently only serviced by one airline operator” said Comair Executive Manager for Network Development, Mr. Stuart Cochrane.

    Indeed if Comair walks the talk as far as pricing is concerned, the Tanzania-South African market will not only get a reprieve from the current pain-in-the-pocket prices levied by SAA (and Kenya Airways) but will also see increased tourism into the country. “Tanzania is a beautiful country and is rapidly becoming a desirable business and tourist destination. We are looking forward to developing this route as a successful addition to our network,” Mr. Cochrane said.

    With the addition of five weekly flights into the market by Comair this will bring a total of 14 direct flights shared between the new entrant and SAA, and of course not forgetting daily indirect flights offered by Kenya Airways and possibly more frequencies soon to be mounted by Air Malawi. This development will boost the Dar Es Salaam-Johannesburg route as the second busiest route after Dar Es Salaam-Nairobi route largely served by Kenya Airways.

    But also the introduction of services by Comair poses some challenges especially to ATCL and Precision Air. ATCL suspended flights to South Africa since late 2008 and has been planning to resume flights subject to putting its house in order with regard to the Air Operators Certificate (AOC), fulfillment of IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) and marshalling of adequate working capital to re-launch the route. Precision Air has for sometime been contemplating on the Dar Es Salaam-Johannesburg flights but this has so far been just a wishful thinking rather than concrete plans. Now both Tanzanian carriers seem to have been caught flat-footed by the coming of Comair and indeed it will be quite a tall order for any them to become a serious contender leave alone make inroads in the market shares of the South African mighty carriers.

    “It is quite depressing to imagine that ATCL, the pioneer of the South African market may actually quit the route altogether just like Gulf Air was booted out of the Tanzania‑Middle East market having been the pioneers of the route,” said Mr. Manase, a retired Area Manager for ATCL in South Africa. “It is like in the marathon where you have the pace-makers who run out of steam only to leave the race for others to come from behind to win trophies. Indeed, it may turn into a sad chapter for Tanzania aviation” lamented Mr. Manase.

    That aside, the coming of serious contender like Comair into the budding market should be received with open arms by all aviation stakeholders as it will likely enhance competition in the industry to the benefit of consumers who have been taken for a ride for a long time.

    Byase Luteke
  2. RedDevil

    RedDevil JF-Expert Member

    Aug 20, 2010
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    Tutakoma hadi tutaachia hadi reli, meli, hata domestic flight zimetushinda kama hatupumui vile! kumbe kuna vijibaba vinamrija mrefu. Duh, acha watuibie kwanza maana tunaibika kirahisi, tutaendelea kula bajeti tegemezi hadi wajukuu zetu! anyway, karibuni!

    hata hizi flight za ndani tuletee midege mingi tuachane na mibasi inatuua kila siku. Mi nachoka kwa kweli, badala ya kuwa serious tutoke kwenye uteja nasisi tuweze kujitosheleza tunnafurahia tu. Viongozi, hebu amkeni bwana acheni umimi! toweni sera za kulinda nchi yetu. Tunahamu ya kuona Air Dar es Salaam, Air Tanganyika, Air Iringa, Air Tanzania n.k zikivuka mipaka hadi Alaska, Japan, Sydney, Uruguay, Otawa na sehemu zingine. Tutawakumbukeni mkifanikisha mambo kama hayo.
    Wekeni smart people kwenye ofisi zenu wafanye kazi bwana. Mnalala, mnatamaa, mnasahau watanzania wenzenu, mnafikiria watanzania hawawezi but we can do it.
  3. Pdidy

    Pdidy JF-Expert Member

    Aug 21, 2010
    Joined: Nov 22, 2007
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    mkuu red devil

    tunaitaji kuona ndege nyingi ziruhusiwe na domestic tuondokane na utumwa wa atcl na precission inahuzunisha ukikosa ndege ya kigoma leo hii ya atc ati mpaka kesho yake ...kwa nini watu wasiruhusiwe tupate msaada wa usafiri tuachane na ukiritimba wa prec-atc