Delta recently sent around a PDF file internally talking about the airline’s Africa service, and a Delta employee sent it over to me. I thought it was a really interesting look at how African markets require doing things a bit differently. Today, Delta serves Dakar (Senegal), Accra (Ghana), Monrovia (Liberia), Lagos (Nigeria), and Johannesburg (South Africa). I’ve uploaded the PDF here so you can read it, but here are some highlights.
- Africa is a hugely challenging market with high startup costs. For example, Delta built dedicated gates in Accra with KLM for their flights. In Monrovia, they actually built a new terminal with Air France. Among the amenities… air conditioning. Sounds like we’re talking very basic facilities. Then again, the Delta customers who have to fly through this thing will be pretty jealous…
- Delta set up a “Delta Energy Desk” dedicated reservations line just for the energy market in Ghana. I asked Delta spokesperson Olivia Cullis why that was, and she said that Delta people in Ghana thought it would be helpful since that is a big up-and-coming market that can use special attention. So far, they’re happy with what it has done for the airline.
- About 90 percent of the people who fly Delta to Africa are of African descent, though of course many are coming from the US.
- The airline had to tweak meals to have a local flavor. For example, flight attendants serve more fruit juice and less soda. They also have rice instead of pasta.
- Delta created “Protocol” service for BusinessElite travelers coming out of Accra and Lagos. This clearly seems like it’s an effort to get Delta’s best customers through the sometimes challenging (to say the least) airport environments in those places.
- Delta is developing a GPS approach for Monrovia to make things safer and more reliable there.
It’s a quick read but it’s worth a look to see what Delta has done to try to make Africa work. Again, you can read the Winning in Africa pamphlet from Delta here.