Nouvelair, a Tunisian private company operating charter and scheduled flights, will celebrate its 30th anniversary in 2019. Deputy general manager, Chokri Zarrad, shared his ambition for the company with Vincent Chappard.
Nouvelair opened its first agency in the Tunis business district in 1989. Other cities soon followed, with an increased presence at airports served by the company.
Since its creation, Nouvelair has transported more than 30 million passengers. Last year alone, it exceeded one million passengers (its 2011 level before the political crisis), and double-digit growth is estimated for 2018 due to two major factors: the recovery of tourism activity on the Tunisian market and the consolidation of regular routes.
Other encouraging factors include pilgrimage flights to Saudi Arabia and charter flights for travel agencies.
Nouvelair will also expand its fleet by the end of the year and negotiations are under way to lease new aircraft. Strengthening the current fleet with eight A320s is seen as vital to respond efficiently to the increase in traffic.
Big changes occurred with a strategic development in 2015, when Nouvelair launched scheduled flights alongside its charter work to respond effectively to the changing air transport and tourism needs.
The company now serves destinations in France, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Russia and Algeria.
In fact, Nouvelair has eight destinations in France, with daily flights to Paris, Nice, Nantes, Toulouse and Marseille. It added Mulhouse and Deauville to its network in May 2011.
Operating from Tunis-Carthage, Enfidha, Monastir and Djerba, the airline also boasts scheduled flights to Germany, Vienna, Italy and Russia.
For Nouvelair, the major objectives are to be both closer to the customer and also running a multi-channel operation.
“We will pursue charter flights, the historical activity of our company,” said deputy general manager Chokri Zarrad.
“With the launch of scheduled flights, we also had to change our strategy in terms of distribution and communication. Nouvelair has been working a lot on proximity by creating a digital platform, a website and a mobile application.”
The airline felt the need to expand its distribution network and go beyond the direct channels via its own agencies and the web. Last June, it unveiled a new fare offer for its passengers and the opportunity to personalise their journey on the web thanks to three service and fare offers – light, easy and flex.
Although the digital channel is not yet very developed, the trend is on the rise. “Tunisian customers love direct contact and having people able to listen,” said Zarrad, who underlined that the company has continued to be “a vector of development of tourism activity”, which is necessary for the country.
By the end of the year, Nouvelair will launch a route to Istanbul. “The country has enormous potential. It is the first tourist destination of Tunisians,” explained Zarrad.
Nouvelair, which has been serving Algeria for two years, will consolidate its position on the local market, North Africa, Europe, the Middle East and the African continent, especially with the gradual opening of its skies.
Zarrad remains optimistic and open to any partnership and participates in discussions on the liberalisation of air traffic in Tunisia in the wake of the single African air transport market (SAATM), initiated by the African Union.
The new outreach strategy comes at a significant time in the company’s development. In the face of an industry that is fast-changing and modernising, charter companies are expected to diversify their operations to survive in an increasingly competitive environment. (africanaerospace)