Codeshare/interline: Strategy for Nigerian airlines’ survival?

Various carriers across the world are looking ahead and seeking new and more effective approaches to rebuilding their airlines through code-share and interline arrangement.

For the Nigerian aviation industry, the collaboration that could ensure stability of the carriers are lacking as experts in the aviation sector see code-share pacts among airlines as panacea to the trouble of connectivity, low capacity and serious flight delay currently experienced in the country’s aviation industry.

To underscore the seriousness the lack of partnership has caused passengers and the entire aviation value chain, aviation think-thank group, Aviation Round Table (ART), in collaboration with the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority are planning a one day conference with theme “Utilising Interlining and Codeshare Agreements As Tools For Domestic Airlines’ Profitability And Passenger Comfort.” The summit comes up April 29th, 2021 in Lagos.


President, Aviation Round Table (ART), Dr. Gabriel Olowo

Airline interline agreement allows passengers to book through itineraries on multiple airlines with less hassle than booking each one separately. Usually, if two airlines have an interline agreement in place, they will handle the check in and baggage for each other’s passengers.

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That means travelers only have to check in once for all the flights on the itinerary and that their baggage will be transferred by the first airline to the second airline, without them having to manually collect it and drop it off again.

A codeshare on the other hand is viewed as the next step up from interlining and sees airlines working together by placing their ‘codes’ on each other’s flights.

President, ART, Dr. Gabriel Olowo, who is a strong advocate of airline merger, consolidation and code share pacts among airlines told Aviation Metric that the nation’s airlines are not strong, further fueling the call for merger.

He noted that at a time when passenger traffic had considerably reduced by over 60 per cent, airlines should think in that direction to save not just costs, but to eradicate or minimise the sad tale of flight delay or cancellation as a result of shortage of operating aircraft.

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Another expert who craved anonymity stated that the new strategy should be collaboration through codeshare, which is an arrangement whereby airlines place their passengers going to one destination on one flight.

This, he said, would save the airlines money because instead of three airlines putting three aircraft from Lagos to Abuja on Monday afternoon, for example, they would put it in one flight and save about 8000 litres of fuel and N5 million operational cost, maintaining that would be huge savings, as they share the revenue after the airline that operated the flight has deducted its costs.

Director Engineering, Ibom Air, Lookman Animashaun recently told our correspondent that the airline had put in place arrangements with Dana and one other airline for a code share arrangement.

It is observed, however, that it would be easy to code-share with airlines that operate from the same terminal like MMA2.

Linus Benjamin Bauer, Managing Director of Bauer Aviation Advisory, describes how airlines must work together in order to achieve a strong recovery.

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Nigerian airlines

According to him, various carriers across the globe are looking ahead and seeking new and more effective approaches to rebuilding their airline networks in the future.

Low-cost carriers and full service network carriers with hub-and-spoke networks alike, he reiterated are establishing tactical partnerships to shore  up their connectivity to key destinations and broaden their market reach.

Airlines could be in a position to successfully navigate the recovery – and meet their long-term growth and revenue targets – only if they work closely together. However, the legacy interline system doesn’t meet the needs of today’s and the post- COVID-19 air travel landscape.

Before the pandemic, many airlines were already shifting away from traditional alliance and code share networks, while low-cost carriers never joined the legacy interlining and alliance bandwagon in the first place.

Wole Shadare