For almost three years, Tunisair Company has had to cope with tough situations and to meet several challenges. Specifically, 2009 was the year of the economic crisis and 2010 that of Iceland volcanic ashes. As for the year 2011, it would be that of the arrival of low cost and Open sky. Moreover, in few months, there will be the advent of the holy month of Ramadan in full peak of summer season. The national carrier has been preparing to manage this period and mitigate its impact on the activity of the company. On All these issues, Nabil Chettaoui, CEO of Tunisair answered our questions as follows:.
Did you work out a specific program to mitigate the downturn during the holy month knowing that this year coincides with the peak season in terms of tourism?
As you know, for now three years, Tunisair is not scheduling more specific means neither in line with the month of Ramadhan nor other events. It has a program for the entire season, summer and winter, and if there are important events, we regulate through the number of aircrafts and their size in response to changing demand, then we carry out, like all modern companies (Low cost airlines: Air France, Lufthansa …) regulation by prices. Today, in all markets, there is no longer a price, because it depends on the time and the moment you bought your ticket, it depends on the time of purchase. The price is dynamic, it is the so-called “revenue management, introduced in the U.S. first, then in Europe in the 80s, and today Tunis air’s rates are dynamic ones.
Regarding the month of Ramadhan and the markets where a development is expected, for example, where more Tunisians will be traveling to the Mecca, we will schedule more flights, and rates will be slightly more expensive, and regarding the destinations where there is less demand, we will mobilize less means and we will be more aggressive on prices. That is to say that we will cut prices according to the load factor.
And what about the Tunisian and last minute!
The last minute is as follows: if, for example, there are only three seats left in an aircraft, the last minute will pay very, very expensive, but if the plane is half empty, the last minute will buy much less expensive and at a very low price.
The Tunisian has not the last minute, unlike foreigners, mainly the European who decides in the last minute. We are seeing more and more, since the economic crisis broke out, that the EU consumer decides at the last minute, because he is seeking an opportunity or a bargain.
This is an undesirable phenomenon for all companies worldwide because it spoils all your planning. Given the accentuation of this phenomenon, we must be reactive in responding to this last minute demand that becomes increasingly important. And it is for us to adapt all contingencies.
The year 2011 is that of the Open Sky and the arrival of low cost in Tunisia, do you fear for your company which will face competition from the world largest companies ?
First, for the first year, we will not expect a collapse, because Tunisiair is present in forty countries or so, and low cost will not come from all countries simultaneously. Tunisiair serves a hundred of airports and low cost will not come to 100 airports at the same time, so the low cost will not impact Tunisair . But it will introduce a new behavior among Tunisians. It will help bring the travel concept into general use
What about Enfidha Airport activity now?
The airport is operational since the month of November, since it obtained all the permissions, and Tunisair flights started since December and our first commercial flight took place on 4 December by the national carrier Tunisair.
Since April 2010, the activity of the Airport jumped, and according to information I have, the airport Enfidha will record, since the first year of operations, one million passengers, which represents a honorable performance.