By Slindzelwe Nxumalo | 2022-05-23
Royal Eswatini National Airways Corporation (RENAC) Chief Executive Officer Qiniso Dhlamini has revealed that the second plane had landed, and they were now in the final phases of their Air Operation Certificate (AOC), which is an ICAO approval process divided into five stages.
He said in all the stages, they were hoping to be done with the process by the end of May.
“We are busy concluding stage 3, which is the longest, we expect to move to stage 4 in a week then stage five immediately thereafter,” he said.
Dhlamini said Eswatini Air will begin servicing all the other routes once the AOC was issued.
“The exact date for commencement of flights to all four destinations will be announced, including the sequence in which the launch will be rolled out,” he said.
When questioned what would set them apart from other airlines that they had prepared for potential clients, Dhlamini said Eswatini Air sought to eradicate the mentality that air travel was a luxury and this did not mean they were a low-cost airline coming with low prices that are unsustainable, however they aimed to make their pricing affordable to the ordinary consumer.
He stated that the airline endeaved to offer quality service that portrayed the warmth of Emaswati, while ensuring safety, reliability and on-time performance.
“Unfortunately, at this phase of our AOC application process, we may not disclose our prices and schedules. In due course and as soon as the AOC is issued, our operating schedules and prices will be announced,” he said.
Dhlamini said with them entering the market would benefit the market because it meant the end of a monopolistic situation. He explained that markets where there is competition they characterised by high levels of efficiency and prices were competitive, offering buyers the power of choice between alternatives.
He added that as a way of attracting clients, they were working on a loyalty management programme that would enable their frequent flyers to receive rewards in the form of miles that they could use to purchase free tickets and earn discounts, amongst other incentives.
“Moreover, we are forging partnerships with the hospitality industry for possible packages which provide value for money, plus sign interline agreements that reduce travel costs while improving efficiency,” he said. He stated that the current air service only linked Eswatini to Johannesburg, hence their new services would offer direct and non-stop services to three other destinations, which are Cape Town, Durban and Harare.
“This is a new service and we believe its services are not available today, which the market will be having going forward,” he said.
Dhlamini went on to point out that the truth was that no business was not prone to collapsing, especially in aviation, where there wass volatile jet fuel prices and unforeseen pandemics.
He said however, Eswatini Air has engaged in a rigorous market potential study and they have a strategic business plan which they believe will help the airline attain commercial success on a sustainable basis. He stated that the airline would be ran as a business organisation and their strategy was to focus on short-haul regional flights, while using suitably sized aircraft to manage fuel and maintenance costs and maximise profits.
“Fleet type selection, destinations, number of flights per week, departure and arrival times, along with our other strategies on customer service excellence, reliability, strategic cost containment, skills development, efficiency and commercial nimbleness are some of the factors we will use to ensure sustainability,” he said.
He further stated that as of May the organization had a total of 80 jobs and more vacancies were still being filled in areas such as pilots, flight operations personnel, maintenance check-in, ground handling, commercial, and administrative jobs.
“The number is expected to rise as company is still in the process of hiring more personnel. Organisations which provide services to the airline such governmental agencies, food and beverages, hotels, restaurants, producers of goods and services the airline will be buying will produce indirect jobs, while those employees directly employed by the airline and those in indirect employment will create further jobs referred to as induced,” he said.
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