Medview airline to leverage price, service in consolidating Dubai operations
by IFEOMA OKEKE
December 14, 2017 | 1:59 am| | | Start Conversation
Last week’s foray by Nigerian leading carrier: Medview Airliners into Dubai in the United Arab Emirates has raised the stakes in its international operations. Being its second international routes, after London, which commenced about two years ago, competition is heightened as the carrier inches further in its bid to slug it out with players in the global air transport league, where in flight service, product pricing and other strategies could be the game changer, IFEOMA OKEKE, reports.
Nigerian carriers are changing the narrative in international air travel as they continue to actualize the reciprocity clause in the bilateral and multi lateral air services agreement government signed with many countries of the world.
Despite the odds posed by competition from predatory foreign carriers, Nigerian airlines are taking the bull by the horn to square up with global carriers on the international routes they were designated to fly into by the Federal Government.
Medview Airlines last week made history when it commenced three weekly flights on the Lagos- Abuja – Dubai route. It is the airline’s second international route, barely two years after it launched flights on the Lagos – London route.
Such foray by a Nigerian carrier has come with a myriad of challenges, part of which borders on the airline’s capacity to offer services that could rival their competitors.
Service according to aviation experts is one of the defining strategies that has endeared many Nigerians to foreign carriers, which indigenous carriers continue to struggle to match.
Speaking in an interview with Muneer Bankole, chief executive officer, Medview Airline, said the airline has got its strategy right to consolidate its international flights on the routes it has been designated by government.
Bankole said Medview Airlines did not just dabble into the Dubai and London routes, but it commenced flights after detailed market surveys on what is required by passengers to enable it stay on the route.
He said though some Nigerian carriers had failed on the route before, but Medview will use excellent in flight service and fare structure to attract passengers.
Bankole said : “We thank God almighty for giving us this opportunity and for making this inaugural flight a success story. When you do domestic alone, you are limited in connectivity. When you do regional operations, you are limited to the ECOWAS communities and African Union.
“When you venture to go into any of the countries where we are now and the one that we intend to go, you have gone global and you have no hidden corridor any more. Here in Dubai and London, we are open to the whole world and we are contesting with the great masters of the industry such as British Airway, Lufthansa, KLM amongst others. We need to play the game the way it is played globally.
“We ventured into the United Kingdom(UK) and people thought we will not last up to six months but today, we have operated for two years on the London route. We have gone through various huddles but in UK now, we have been accepted side by side with British Airways and that is the beauty of it all. This is what informed us and give us the strength to come here. This is a global market where everyone wants to play effectively.”
On the Dubai flight, Bankole said : “ We have been in talks with the Dubai government for three years and we have done the ground work by establishing a cargo company here, we have our workers here and we have an agency of travel and tour packages. We went into negotiation and got our first two sets of slots. We were working strongly to build the capacity. We sent our staff here to work and some went the university here. Today we can raise up our heads, we have everything on ground in Dubai. On our flight arrival flight, we came in with about 12 tonnes of cargo and on the first departure flight to Nigeria, we have 15tonnes of cargo. We had about 80percent load factor on arrival flight.
We went to Anglophone and Francophone countries and we are in the Middle East and UK now. “
He said Medview will continue to leverage on fare structure and enhanced in flight services to have the cutting edge on its international operations .
“We need to change a lot of things. Structures and discipline is always a problem in Nigeria. We saw the whole delay. Passengers were held up with immigration. There is no basis for the delays. We should have gone pass this level. Once passengers check in, they have minimum time and there is no need delaying them. We still have to get there. That is why the vice president brought up the idea of ease of doing business to show Nigeria the way to do business. We will get there. We will improve our service delivery onboard.
“For you to come to Dubai on Thursday, we can package your things, deliver your cargo and you will be able to board Medview flight. You have an advantage,” he added.
Bankole explained that this is one idea Medview is trying to sell so that Nigeria will have the culture of getting out and getting something better for themselves and their family.
He assured that the airline has subsidized the price on the Dubai route so that people can afford it, as it reduced the rate by 50percent. “What we are selling is mileage. Going from London to Dubai is six hours by flight and while coming from London to Lagos is three times the price. What makes it different? It is the same cost. We have done the cost analysis and we have subsidized our rates,” he said.
Also speaking, Khalil Lamrabet, Director of Aviation Business Management Commercial and Communication Group, Dubai Airports described the commencement of Medview Airlines flight into Dubai as another opportunity for the airport to enhance passenger services.
Lamrabet said “We are very happy to have Medview as part of our family from an airline perspective and to provide more choices for travelers to Nigeria. We are very happy that this has been an account that we have been working on for the last three years. We are happy that it has materialized and look forward to more flights to Nigeria.
“Medview flight will be connecting Dubai to Lagos and Abuja and this is really key. It is a very important market and destination in West Africa. We look forward to having more flights, more connectivity and to provide more choices for our passengers in addition to the flights that already operate into Nigeria. We thank the management and the team we have been working with and we look forward to enhanced operations out of Nigeria.”
He explained that the more airlines connect to the airports, the bigger the family and the happier our passengers.
He added that the main focus is the happiness and satisfaction of the passengers.
“If you provide more choices, the passengers will be happy. Medview flight is really important to us because we are increasing our network and choices for passengers. For instance Medview airline is bring a 777 in some destinations. This is really good news for us. We will like more airlines to do this and have more seats so the efficiency of the airline will be higher,” Lamrabet explained.
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