Q&A: Facilitating Efficient Travel

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How much of Mango’s business is business travel?

Mango continues to see growth in its business travel bookings, with current estimates indicating 35% of travel booked.

How do you break down the perception that Mango is a leisure-focused airline?

Mango endeavours to propagate the perception that we are a low-cost airline, ergo, carrying both leisure and business travellers at affordable fares.

In the future, will we see more corporates going the low-cost carrier route, as they look to tighten their belts?

We have noticed a dramatic shift to low-cost travel over the past two years, particularly with the impact of the global financial crisis on travel budgets.

What do you need to offer the corporate client/business traveller to secure that business?

On time performance is key, and Mango has, for the past three years, achieved the most on time domestic status on aggregate. Service levels are very important, too, as is flexibility, which is why we created our business travel products, Mango Plus and Mango Flex.

What are the main features of those two products – Mango Plus and Mango Flex?

Mango Plus celebrates its fourth successful year of growth in 2012, and remains the only business travel product in the low-cost aviation category to offer full flexibility sans penalties, 10 kilograms additional check-in luggage, access to the Bidvest Premier Lounge, and complimentary refreshments on board, while Mango Flex delivers flexibility without the frills.

Can we expect some new routes from Mango in 2012?

Despite the current economic climate, Mango continues to pursue growth and we are presently investigating several options in terms of fleet growth and destination development.

One of your South African competitors, 1Time are now flying to Mombasa in Kenya. Will we see Mango take on routes outside of South Africa in the near future?

Mango is presently researching possible regional routes, and in all likelihood our pursuit of growth will lead us in this direction.

What’s your take on the current state of African aviation?

Africa continues to hold significant promise in terms of development and accelerated economic activity. Markets such as Ghana, Nigeria and of course South Africa have shown that economic growth and subsequent growth in aviation (as it tracks GDP) is promising.

Specifically, what’s your take on the low-cost carrier market in Africa?

Outside our South African borders there is enormous scope for growth in the low-cost aviation sector. Several factors contribute to this view. Firstly, there’s the large migrant labour population on the African continent. Then there’s the challenges of road travel due to erosion, and of course, more importantly, the movement of people and goods that fuel economies.

Besides reliability, what are the key challenges facing the African aviation business?

I would say infrastructure – not only in terms of operational requirements, but ticketing and distribution in markets where online connectivity and penetration are markedly low.

How do you get your edge in the low-cost carrier market?

Several factors influence this – including reliability, affordability and high levels of service. On an operational level, it remains to maintain the lowest cost base possible through operational efficiencies.

In your opinion, what are the key business travel themes for 2012?

Efficient travel, compression of out of office periods, affordability and service levels.

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