Air Côte d’Ivoire’s business plan for the next 10 years maintains the current strategy but with an increased emphasis on long-haul, according to CEO, René Décurey.
He explained that, despite financial pressures caused by an unexpected rise in fuel and fleet renewal costs, the business plan still allows for the first Airbus A320neo to be delivered in July 2020 and the remaining two in 2021.
Fleet renewal will allow the company to expand frequencies on its regional network.
Décurey said: “These better-performing aircraft will enable us to save substantial fuel and maintenance costs and to introduce long-haul flights.”
The airline sub-leases an A319 to Air Senegal and he said this was an important operational and commercial partnership because it was a codeshare agreement.
Décurey also said that it was a “political wish” to have Ethiopian Airways as a partner, because that would facilitate direct flights to the United States.
Air Côte d’Ivoire is also open to other partnership offers and is examining opportunities in Burkina Faso and Mali.
Décurey said: “We want to establish an efficient, profitable and sustainable regional network, and support from the Ivorian Government for the five-year plan is a major asset for the stability of the airline.”
He explained that the airline also wanted high taxes and tariffs eased. “This is essential to make the cost of tickets more competitive, improve connectivity and to increase the attractiveness of countries and boost their economies,” he said.
“Despite our good commercial performance, Air Côte d’Ivoire still faces the weight of high tariffs from companies operating in the monopoly airport of Abidjan and in the region.”
However, he added, there is movement towards solutions.
Recent comments by Laurent Loukou, deputy general manager of Air France-KLM and an Air Côte d’Ivoire partner, were welcomed by Décurey. Loukou told news agency, AFP: “The business model is a success, but to achieve profitability you need a better distribution of wealth.
Taxes are simply too high and this has resulted in the disappearance of 42 national companies in the region – from Nouakchott to Kinshasa – between 2000 and 2018.”
Air Côte d’Ivoire was created in 2012 and is 58 percent owned by the Ivorian state, 23 percent by the Ivorian private group, Goldenrod, 11 percent by Air France, and 8 percent by the West African Development Bank.
It currently covers 23 destinations, serving 20 capitals and has 10 aircraft in its fleet, including six on order.