BA World Cargo feels competitive pinch in Africa

Increased competition during the downturn has put pressure on British Airways World Cargo in the Africa market, according to Tony Nothman, senior vice president Africa, Asia, Middle East and Pacific. “It is an area of the world into which a lot of capacity was put when carriers moved it out of Asia,” he says. However, […]


Increased competition during the downturn has put pressure on British Airways World Cargo in the Africa market, according to Tony Nothman, senior vice president Africa, Asia, Middle East and Pacific.

“It is an area of the world into which a lot of capacity was put when carriers moved it out of Asia,” he says. However, despite the extra flights, the African cargo market has not increased, being a fairly level amount of general cargo southbound, and perishables northbound.

British Airways has an extensive passenger network in the region, serving east, west and southern Africa, and in the past decade has built up a good business flying fruit and vegetables to the UK for the country’s supermarkets.

A special perishables centre at Heathrow airport performs pick and pack operations and puts the products into trays, which can then be delivered direct to the supermarket shelf, thus saving a day or more of valuable shelf time.

The carrier did formerly operate a weekly freighter from Germany to Johannesburg, returning direct to London, but this was abandoned two or three years ago due to increased competition from other carriers. Nothman says cargo capacity on the route has risen by as much as 30 per cent in the interim.