Originally published on: April 6, 2009
Three Times a Week Direct Flight to Johannesburg to be Introduced
Afriqiyah Airways has unveiled its future plans to introduce more and new attractive services in a move that the airline company hopes would enable it to compete effectively with other international operating airlines.
“This year is a challenging one for Afriqiyah Airways because of the economic recession that is hitting hard all the airline businesses and other industries. But Afriqiyah is in an expansion mood and it will not stop moving ahead,” Afriqiyah’s Chief Executive Officer, Eng. Rammah Ettir assured during an interview.
Afriqiyah Airways, a Libyan airline established in 2001 designed to link Africa with regional and long haul routes and connecting Africa with Europe, the Middle East and Asia, does not only aim to expand but also to provide its best available services to an increasing number of customers.
Upon receiving the expected fleet of new and large body aircrafts end of May this year, Afriqiyah Airways will be fully set to introduce the three-times a week direct flights from Tripoli to Johannesburg. The fleet to be delivered will be Airbus A320-200/A319-111 offering business and economy cabins and A330-200 wide body Twin Jets for long haul routes.
These large bodied aircrafts will have a two hundred economy class and thirty business class capacity. The features of the business class are said to be almost similar to the ones in first class with completely isolated seats.
“Afriqiyah Airways’ next new direct destination will be from Tripoli to Johannesburg. This will start in July upon delivery of the new fleet. We have choosen Johannesburg because it is a very big market in Africa and Afriqiyah Airways hopes to catch part of that market,” explained Eng. Ettir. He went on to say: “We have covered the West Africa, now we are trying to cover south and east of the continent. It will not be long before we start covering east because in our plans we have Harare, Nairobi and even Dar es Salaam.”
The delivery of the new aircrafts is part of Afriqiyah’s emphasis to enrich its ability of providing a variety of services to its clients. These varieties include the upgrading of the services on board by having a large selection of different means, including dining options and other complimentary services. There will also be a wide gap between seats hence raising the privacy divider, with plenty of entertainment for each individual traveling on board.
“We are upgrading our services on board so that we can give our passengers more comfort, flexibility and privacy with a personal in-flight entertainment system whereby each individual passenger will have an ability to download both audio and video materials of his/her own choice,” elaborated Eng. Ettir.
The new fleet will also be equipped with stretcher services so that travelers would be able to transport their sick people in an efficient and comfortable manner. “The stretcher service will be a new additional service to the Libyan market whereby sick people can be transported on board a passenger aircraft in a very efficient and comfortable way,” Eng. Ettir said.
The new aircrafts also come with a large cargo capacity that will enable Afriqiyah Airways’ cargo services to equally expand alongside other services. “We will introduce three flights to Dubai, three flights to London and four to Paris with the large air cargo. When we introduce these new aircrafts, we will have all the room needed for luggage that people may carry and we will be able to sell more space to the industry,” he said.
“We will introduce the frequent fly programme just a month from now, and Afriqiyah travelers will be able to make use of this programme. Our clients will be rewarded according to their traveling mileage with us. As a result they will be able to get an upgrade of services from one class to another, with a bonus of extra weight to their luggage or even using the VIP or business class lounge,” promised Eng. Ettir.
Afriqiyah Airways cites the current airport’s limited facilities as one of the main constraints for its long awaited expansion. However, Eng. Ettir expressed great optimism as a result of the building of the new Tripoli International Airport. As an airline operator, Afriqiyah believes that the construction of the new Airport, with better facilities, better rest areas and better lounges will enable the airline to provide its best services to its passengers.
“One of the constraints in Afriqiyah’s expansion is the Tripoli International Airport. We have managed to live with the current airport facilities but passengers are not really happy with the transit facilities because the airport was not designed to carry or accept a large number of transit passengers. But the good thing is, that we have managed to prove the concept that we can transport people using the current available facilities. There will be two new big terminals fully meeting all the modern requirements of an airport. That will help Afriqiyah in its expansion mission,” he remarked.
Afriqiyah Airways also boasts of the best records in luggage handling. It has been reported that while other airlines loose twenty-three bags for every one thousand passengers, Afriqiyah Airways looses only four bags per each thousand.
With the introduction of the new terminals at the Tripoli new airport, there will be great improvements in handling the luggages particularly through automatic sorting that would solve part of the sorting problem.
Afriqiyah Airways is also considering introducing online ticketing, another move that is considered as a big plus in terms of convenience to the passengers especially during this era of e-commerce. The introduction of e-ticketing will ease the burden of carrying a paper ticket and also facilitate transactions, as one would be able to request a change just by telephone without taking with him/her a paper ticket for a transaction to be done.
It is also a great advantage for the company, as e-ticketing is also both economical and efficient. It saves a lot in the production cost of paper tickets. The advantages of e-ticketing are more service-oriented than economical on the side of the traveler.
Afriqiyah Airways will be able to sell tickets online. Eng. Ettir said that this new service will be introduced in July together with the launching of the company’s newly upgraded website.