The Star (Nairobi)

12 November 2012

Kenya: Afraa Sets Guidelines to Boost Airlines

FACED by increasing competition from Western carriers and dropping passenger numbers, a lobby group for African airlines has launched guidelines to enhance customer experience.

African Airlines Association's passenger service commitment provides guidelines for airlines focusing on key areas such as handling of delays, complaints, lost baggage, information sharing among others.

"It describes the level of service air travelers may expect consistently from signatory airlines. It will enable air travelers to make a more informed choice of airline when planning their travel arrangements," states the preamble of the document posted on the AFRAA website.

It also calls for speedier passenger check in for better service. "In the case of mishandled checked bags, each airline will make every reasonable effort to deliver the mishandled bag to the passenger within 24 hours of its arrival at final destination, free of charge," state the new guidelines.

The baggage issue has been a source of many complaints recorded by regional airlines that is threatening customer loyalty in some extreme cases. AFRAA expects all its 34 members to adhere to the code to improve service and boost passenger numbers.

National Carrier Kenya Airways which is also a member of AFRAA last week reported a net half year loss of Sh4.8 billion citing among other causes, a drop in passenger numbers.

According to the KQ half year financial statements, passenger revenues declined to Sh43.6 billion from Sh48.6 billion last year. KQ chairman said during release of the results: "Going forward customer service will be receiving special attention. It is an area that we are aware of, that we must improve."

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