African Open Sky (AOS) is the largest aviation support company in Africa and offers services to governmental, commercial, corporate and private operators. AOS’s operations cover passenger and cargo ground-handling services. This encompasses transportation, hotel accommodation, catering, refuelling, maintenance, aircraft security, flight-planning and other activities, which are conducted from across 50-plus facilities throughout Africa. AOS is a licensed operator in every country it works in, and have direct relationships with the relevant authorities. AOS does not use third-party agencies. This simplifies operations and significantly reduces costs and the firm’s approach of being locally certified has revolutionised Africa’s aviation support market. It means AOS is fully accountable – legally and otherwise – to the local authorities, which has enabled it to expand at a phenomenal rate. While other African flight support operators saw a 30% growth in traffic last year, AOS was at 45%.
AOS CEO Max O Cisse received a number of awards in 2016, including, ‘Aviation CEO of the Year – Africa’ from The European, and ‘Recognised Leader In African Aviation Sector’ from Business Worldwide – accolades that reflected his exemplary leadership and innovative approach to simplifying international travel. His business model is based on establishing direct links with all civil aviation authorities (CAA) in Africa. Happy that AOS will assume direct responsibility for, and control over, their clients’ operations, local aviation authorities have come to rely on AOS’s hands-on approach and some have given exclusive contractual rights – O Cisse believes this has been the reason for the company’s success. As such, AOS is able to procure permits within a short period of time, even in countries with complex regulatory policies. AOS is not seen as an Ivorian company, but as a local brand with an international presence.
Another primary reason for the company’s success is its ability to provide the basic essentials at unbeatable prices. Fuel supply has been one of its major services over the years, and AOS can ensure the lowest prices available. This is particularly important given the rampant fuel supply problems in many countries, most notably in Nigeria. Lack of affordable and consistent fuel supply has been one of the reasons why local travel remains so expensive in Africa, significantly higher than in Europe, where low-cost airlines thrive. But with AOS’s strong local connections, it is able to reduce some of these costs.
It’s not only AOS’s CEO who has been recognised for accolades in 2016. The company’s all-round service excellence has brought it global attention. Business Worldwide acknowledged AOS in its Corporate Excellence Awards 2016 as ‘Best Flight Support Services Company of the year – Africa’, while European CEO recognised it as ‘Best Aviation Service Provider’. Le Fonti awarded AOS in two categories ‘Company of the year for Leadership’ and ‘Aviation CEO of the Year’. Insight Magazine recognised AOS as 2016’s ‘Sustainable Aviation Solutions Partner’ and finally The European saw the company as ‘Private Aviation Company of the Year – Africa’.
AOS is not standing still and have further expansion plans for Africa and the Middle East under way. It’s an exciting time for the continent’s leading aviation support provider.