Tunisair, founded as a state-owned airline in 1948, has a fleet of about 30 aircraft. Most of them are of the A320 family as well as the Boeing 737 type. Recently, the company expanded their fleet through the delivery of two new A330s which are serving routes with more than four hours flying time.
Chokri Wallani (53) is the country director of Tunisair in Germany. Before he assumed office in August 2015, the father of two worked at the headquarters of the airline in Tunis as director for revenue management, distribution, pricing and e-commerce.
We speak in an exclusive interview with Mr Wallani on the airline’s experience in the past 55 years in Germany, how it deals with the challenges arising from the geo-political situation in North Africa and its future plans, among other issues.
TAC: Tunisair flew to Frankfurt for the first time on 14 October 1961. What has been your experience in the past 55 years?
Wallani: Tunisair has gained a lot of experience on the German market since then. We have served almost all German airports through our scheduled or chartered flights in the past 55 years.
Currently, we fly from five airports in Germany – Munich, Hamburg, Berlin, Frankfurt and Düsseldorf, to three destinations in Tunisia – Tunis, Djerba und Enfidha. Despite the difficult geo-political situation in our region, Tunisair has been able to achieve a high load factor of its planes.
Tunisair is one of the very successful African airlines. What is the strength of the airline?
Tunisair boasts a highly qualified and well-trained staff at every level of our operations. That explains our very good board and ground services. Moreover, safety is very central to our operations: we have highly qualified crews on board and our planes are regularly certified according to international standards.
The political developments in North Africa in the past five years have led to a sharp drop in the number of tourists going to the region. How do you handle such a challenge?
In addition to traditional tourism, we are also focusing on other niches in the market. For example, Tunisians living in Germany or people flying to Mecca or other countries in Africa with a stopover in Tunis.
You currently fly to 10 destinations in Africa. Do you have any plans to expand your routes in the region?
Tunisair currently flies to Nouakchott, Dakar, Abidjan, Ouagadougou, Bamako, Casablanca, Cairo, Algiers, Oran and, since July 2016, Niamey. Our strategy is to fly to other destinations such as in Cameroon, Nigeria and Ghana in the near future.
Mr Wallani, you have been with Tunisair for 27 years. How do you see the future of aviation in Africa?
Africa is a very promising market for civil aviation, especially because the continent will undergo a very great and important economic development in the future.
What is your message to people interested in Africa in Germany?
Visit Africa! Discover the almost untouched and beautiful continent!