Indian Ocean and East African countries have never been so close to the rest of the world since international airlines began using reliable, regional expertise, such as that offered by the Rogers Group, for their sales and marketing functions.
photos : rogers image bank
Progress is measured by what it actually achieves. Air travel is a case in point. To have access to it – which is particularly important when you live on an island – aircraft need to land as close as possible to where you are. However, an airline can only operate and maintain a route if there are enough passengers and freight to make it financially viable. Aware of this, just after the end of the Second World War, some visionary Mauritians put forward a proposal to a French company first venturing into commercial flights.
It was in 1945 that father and son Maingard, then running the Rogers Group, attempted to divert a plane. They asked the carrier, which was to become Air France, to extend its France to Madagascar flight to Mauritius. All credit to them! To justify this new route, those who a few years later would be involved in setting up Air Mauritius, were sure there would be enough traffic. Once a deal had been reached, regular flights were started linking Port Louis, then still under British rule, with Africa and Europe.
Thereafter, other major airlines like South African Airways and British Airways would begin serving Mauritius. Most of them have entrusted their marketing to a company that has considerable sector know-how.
Winging it here and beyond
65 years after that historic first step, Rogers Aviation’s experience continues to be acknowledged and valued, for both financial and technical reasons. Still providing services to the French and South African carriers, the Mauritian pioneer nowadays acts for other airlines as well. The Group is a general sales agent (GSA) for Kenya Airways, Malaysian Airlines, Jet Airways (India), Saudi Arabian Airlines, Olympic Airlines (Greece), Air Link (South Africa), Delta Airlines Cargo (United States), Gulf Air, Air Madagascar, Air Seychelles and Air Mauritius. This involves, as one of them puts it, “Filling planes, the cabin with passengers and the hold with freight”. In reality, there is obviously a bit more to it than that. In addition to local marketing, the co-ordination of sales points and the training of sales staff, a GSA represents a company’s interests in the sometimes delicate negotiations with airport and local authorities.
Rogers’ teams not only provide expertise in their home market but increasingly overseas. In addition to Mauritius, the firm currently has thirteen offices operating in seven countries in the Indian Ocean region and East Africa – Kenya, Mozambique, South Africa (Johannesburg and Durban), Madagascar (Antananarivo, Tamatave and Majunga), the Comoros, Reunion and Mayotte. There may soon be others in such places as Djibouti, Uganda and Zambia.