Chinedu Eze

One of the major airline distribution solution provider in aviation industry, Sabre Network West Africa has advised airlines, travel agents and other stakeholders in the Nigerian aviation industry to embrace technology for enhanced performance, as it marks 10 years in the country.

 The US based company said that when it came to Nigeria, it contributed significantly in the introduction online booking, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Billings and Settlement Plan (BSP).

 Many aviators and other professionals who spoke at the event to mark the 10 years anniversary of the company, held in Lagos recently stressed the need to take the advantage of the Internet in air travel in the country, noting that it was pertinent for stakeholders in the industry to embrace IT, warning that without this, most of them would be left behind.

The Senior Vice President, Europe, Middle East and Africa, Sabre, Mr. Dean Bibb, noted that mobile technology is the vehicle that drives global aviation industry and the sector in Nigeria could not be left behind.

He however observed that there are 94 per cent of mobile penetration in Nigeria, but said stakeholders should be more proactive in the discharge of their duties to their clients, remarking that Sabre Network currently has 42 million bookings on the continent of Africa with South Africa claiming the number one spot with 10 million bookings while Nigeria has just 4.5 million bookings annually.

He however, expressed hope that the tide would change very soon in Nigeria as more people are daily embracing the modern technology and more Nigerians are now travelling.

“We have seen a lot of change in Nigeria since we first came into the country 10 years ago with zero booking. Mobile network has changed the way we do business and interact in the world. We at Sabre believe that Sabre is the company you need to walk up to. In the next five years, we will only have one app for everything.”

 Also the President, Sabre, West Africa, Mr. Gbenga Olowo decried the infrastructural deficit in Nigeria, saying that the deficiencies add up to the expenses incurred by the company and other operators in the industry.

Olowo insisted that there had not been any improvement in infrastructure since the company was inaugurated in 2007 till 2017; rather, he said things had been degenerating as mobile network service has become less efficient and power supply has become more erratic.

 “We supplied our own power 10 years ago and as at today, we still generate our own power. Internet was sluggish and despite the few improvements, it is still sluggish. 10 years ago, the telephone was good, but today, it’s going bad and might even be worse if care is not taken. Power is a major challenge here as you even need to charge your backups.

“Sabre is an open platform with applications and we are spreading on the continent. We are between eight to 10 per cent in Ghana; we are in Liberia and even Sierra Leone, but some of the needed infrastructure are no there in those countries. For instance, some of them are not even on the Billing Settlement Plan (BSP)” Olowo said.