31 August 2012

Tanzania: Precision Air, Vodacom Partner in Air Ticket Sales

PRECISION Air (PW) and Vodacom Tanzania have partnered to enable air travellers to purchase tickets via a mobile phone money transfer, with a 20 per cent discount offered.

PW Commercial Director Patrick Ndekana said the would-be passengers only need to book through the airline's call centre or website where one is issued with a reference number and amount to be paid using M-pesa.

"One does not need to go through all the hassles and tussles of traffic congestion (especially in Dar es Salaam) to buy a ticket," Mr Ndekana said during a press conference.

He added: "ticket booked through PW's internet or contact centre (M-pesa) are subject to 20 per cent discount... this gives customers' alternative option alongside using debit or credit cards."

PW, a listed company, said the option was reached following Vodacom proposal that they could assist simplifying the way air customers purchase tickets as many domestic customers do not possess credit cards.

"This is the first of its kind service in the country... regionally Kenya Airways is doing the same using Safaricom's M-pesa," the Director said adding "Plans are underway to introduce the same service in Kenya." Vodacom Tanzania Head of M-Commerce Mr Innocent Ephraim said though some of PW's fare prices are in US dollar they would be converted to shilling to support M-pesa transaction which are in local currency.

"M-pesa is faster and reliable service that has revolutionized the way money is sent and saved since the launch four years ago," Mr Ephraim said, hoping the partnership would give customers the best alternative. In recent days mobile money transfer has turned up to be the bank for the masses across the country, which also facilitate dividend mode of paying from tradition postal Giro or bankable cheque.

Vodacom M-pesa has an agent network of over 20,000 across the country and leads other mobile phone companies in money transfer and by subscription in Tanzania. On the other hand, PW's last financial year handled about 900,000 passengers and expects to increase the number to 1,000,000 by the end of this year, according to the Commercial Director.

The airline also boasts of the largest and widest network in Tanzania, covering more destinations with more country and regional frequencies, with a fleet size of 12 aircraft.

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