The provision of innovative financial services that will ensure collections at optimal cost for the aviation industry is critical to the sustainability of the African aviation industry.
Apollos Ikpobe, the Deputy Managing Director. Domestic Bank, United Bank for Africa Plc, said this during the International Air Transport Association Africa Aviation Day 2013 partly sponsored by UBA in Lagos, Nigeria.
Though African airlines have benefited from strong economic growth in the region, the industry is still lagging in the air travel market, due mainly to poor funding, infrastructural challenges, increased overhead costs and low frequency of flights between African countries, Ikpobe said.
Apollos explained that UBA is however supporting the sector through funding of state-of-the-art technology for the aircraft and provision of payment solutions in the 19 African countries where the bank has presence.
He listed some of UBA’s innovative solutions to support airline efficiency to include UBA partnership with IATA in Nigeria as its Billing and Settlement Bank and the bank’s activation of the IATA Currency Clearing Services, which allows airline treasurers to centrally control and repatriate their world-wide sales receipts.
“These e-banking solutions are very robust as it offers different payment options to ease ticket sales and collection; from online payment solutions, to Point of Sales and collection portals at branches among others,” he said.
The well-attended conference, with the theme: “Safety, Infrastructure and Capacity Building – Routes to Unlocking Africa’s Potentials”, held at Eko Hotel and Towers in Lagos, Nigeria, brought together top personalities in the global aviation Industry.
The annual conference is among other activities organized to bring attention to the challenges faced by the aviation industry in Africa.
Discussions dwelt extensively on the challenges in airport infrastructure development in Nigeria and the financing of aviation infrastructure.
Other sponsors at the two-day conference included the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Nahco Aviance, Arik Air, Leadway Assurance, Skyway Aviation Handling Company Limited and Mutual Benefits.
UBA has supported the aviation industry in Africa since 2007 when the bank was appointed by IATA to handle the $1 billion Billings Settlement Plan project in the country.
BSP is a system designed to facilitate and simplify the selling, reporting and remittance of IATA accredited passenger sales agents, as well as improve financial control and cash flow for BSP airlines.
BSP operates in 160 countries and territories and more than 80 per cent of worldwide airline revenues are ticketed via IATA travel agencies in the BSP system.
United Bank for Africa Plc is one of Africa’s leading financial institutions, offering banking services to more than 7.2 million customers across over 700 branches in 19 African countries.
With presence in New York, London and Paris, UBA is connecting people and businesses across Africa through retail, commercial and corporate banking, innovative cross border payments and trade finance.