After a competitive selection process, South African Airways (SAA) has chosen Laminaar Aviation Infotech's ARMS (Aviation Resource Management System) software to help with flight planning and aircraft tracking. Laminaar, a Singapore-based company that specialises in creating software solutions for the aviation industry, has gained six new African clients this year, including SAA, Uganda Airlines, Kenya Airways, Jambojet, NextAv and Rwandair.
ARMS, which was earlier adopted by Kenyan low-cost carrier Jambojet, combines real-time data on weather, airspace restrictions, aircraft performance, and schedule information to calculate the most optimal flight route. Laminaar’s crew management solution, used by Uganda Airlines, keeps up-to-date records of crew training and qualifications, and provides planning tools to ensure adequate staff availability, among various other features.
African carriers have not yet regained their pre-Covid-19 operational levels. The combined deployed aviation capacity in November was at 84.2% of the 2019 levels. In addition to the lingering effects of the pandemic, African airlines also face macroeconomic headwinds such as higher fuel prices.
Abdérahmane Berthé, the secretary general of the African Airlines Association (AFRAA), has emphasised the need for carriers to adopt technology and digitalisation in order to optimise operations and cut costs. In October, AFRAA launched a route intelligence portal that provides its member airlines with data such as revenue forecasts per route, opportunities for ‘beyond’ connections, potential route partnerships, underserved markets, and future demand for tourism.
AFRAA is advocating for the effective implementation of the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM), an initiative of the African Union that aims to liberalise the aviation sector and make it easier for African airlines to expand their operations and enter new markets on the continent. The SAATM seeks to increase competition in the airline industry, which should lead to lower ticket prices and make it more affordable for people to fly. AFRAA has also called for the implementation of hop-and-pick flight services, which would allow carriers operating intra-African routes between capital cities to pick up and drop off passengers at other main and smaller airports along the way, helping them to carry more passengers.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) projects that African carriers will incur a combined loss of US$638m in 2022, narrowing to a loss of US$213m in 2023. However, 2023 passenger demand growth of 27.4% is expected to exceed capacity growth of 21.9%.
‘Interview with AFRAA Secretary General Mr. Abdérahmane Berthé’, African-skies, May 2020
‘Hop-and-pick flights proposed as remedy for African ailing carriers’, The East African, 10 July 2022
‘ARMS Flight Planning goes live at Jambojet’, Laminaar Aviation Infotech, 20 September 2022
‘AFRAA launches a route intelligence portal’, African Airlines Association, 07 October 2022
‘How African aviation is harnessing new technologies to improve operations and accelerate recovery’, Airspace Africa, 07 November 2022
‘Airlines cut losses in 2022; return to profit in 2023’, International Air Transport Association, 06 December 2022
‘South African Airways chooses ARMS’, Laminaar Aviation Infotech, 12 December 2022
‘African airlines’ performance updates by AFRAA – November 2022’, African Airlines Association, 16 December 2022