Trade News

Airline Tickets: Biggest Online Purchases in SA

The 2014 South African eCommerce Report shows that airline tickets are the biggest online sellers among South Africans with 68.09% of online purchases attributed to plane tickets. Turkish Airlines has reaffirmed this statistic by revealing a 5% year-on-year increase in online bookings for South African travellers, with Istanbul, Tel Aviv, London, Rome and Berlin being among the most popular destinations.

Zafer Bolukbasi, General Manager of Turkish Airlines, Cape Town.
Zafer Bolukbasi, General Manager of Turkish Airlines, Cape Town.
This is according to Zafer Bolukbasi, General Manager of the Cape Town branch for Turkish Airlines, who says that the airline also experienced a 3% increase for passengers travelling from global destinations to South Africa compared to 2014. “The airline industry has seen a local and global revolution in the way passangers plan and book their travel, this is also seen in our global online ticket sales which have doubled over the past five years.”

Bolukbasi explains that today’s airline passengers are online citizens, and depend on various technological devices to navigate and plan their travel experience. “While South Africans were initially lagging behind when it came to global online shopping trends, we are seeing a seeing an uptick in online ticket sales, especially with regards to mobile purchases.”

He points to The Future of Airline Distribution Study, commissioned by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which indicates that mobile is spurring the future growth of the Internet as a travel planning, booking and service channel, especially on smartphones and tablet devices. “The study predicts that 50% of online direct bookings will be made on mobile devices by 2017.”

In addition to this, he refers to a recent study conducted by the No Nonsense Group, which indicated that over 60% of internet traffic generated on the African continent originates from South Africa. The study estimated that the South African internet user base will reach an astonishing 22.8 million by 2016.

Russel Jarvis, Head of Communication for Travelstart – a leading online sales platform for Turkish Airlines, says that the Cisco Visual Networking Index 2015 indicates that by 2019, smartphones will be the foremost Internet access device in South Africa, commanding 30% of all networked devices. “It stands to reason that airlines and travel providers who have a mobile-centric approach stand to benefit from this exploding wave of smartphone adopters. Turkish Airlines is one such company already taking this platform very seriously and we applaud their efforts in using mobile technology to address the shifting needs of their international customers. With a suite of apps for multiple operating systems, as well as a mobile optimised website to cater for non-smartphone customers, Turkish Airlines is covering all bases and providing a fast, user-friendly, and seamless mobile experience no matter the platform”

“In light of the growing amount of Internet users in South Africa, it is important for airlines to invest in the development of their online interfaces to ensure a user friendly experience across all technological devices when planning and booking flights,” concludes Bolukbasi.

About Turkish Airlines: Established in 1933 with a fleet of five aircraft, Star Alliance member Turkish Airlines is a 4-star airline today with a fleet of 281 (passenger and cargo) aircraft flying to 275 destinations worldwide with 228 international and 47 domestic. According to Skytrax survey of 2015, Turkish Airlines was chosen “Europe’s Best Airline” for the fifth and “Best Airline in Southern Europe” for the sixth consecutive time. Having won in 2010 the world’s “Best Economy Catering Service” and in 2013 the world’s “Best Business Catering Service” awards, Turkish Airlines was this year awarded the world’s “Best Business Catering Service” and “Best Business Class Lounge Dining” and “World’s Best Business Class Lounge” prizes in the Skytrax survey. More information about Turkish Airlines can be found on

About Star Alliance: The Star Alliance network was established in 1997 as the first truly global airline alliance to offer worldwide reach, recognition and seamless service to the international traveller. Its acceptance by the market has been recognized by numerous awards, including the Air Transport World Market Leadership Award and Best Airline Alliance by both Business Traveller Magazine and Skytrax. The member airlines are: Adria Airways, Aegean Airlines, Air Canada, Air China, Air India, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Austrian, Avianca, Brussels Airlines, Copa Airlines, Croatia Airlines, EGYPTAIR, Ethiopian Airlines, EVA Air, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, Shenzhen Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, SWISS, TAP Portugal, Turkish Airlines, THAI and United. The integration of Avianca Brasil is currently in progress. Overall, the Star Alliance network currently offers more than 18,500 daily flights to 1,316 airports in 192 countries.

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