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The global aviation industry is facing its grimmest moment. Economies have been devastated, air travel and the whole hospitality industry across the continent brought to a virtual standstill. Some airlines have gone out of business. According to data by OAG, airlines are currently flying on half flights. Although a number won’t survive this crisis, a small recovery seems to be starting slowly, confirms OAG.

These challenges are, however, not insurmountable. Just like with past pandemics and economic recessions, the industry will slowly and cautiously restore operations.

The pandemic has accelerated the adoption of technology and with it, digital payments creating a growing need within the entire travel sector to invest in payment innovations. According to a 2018 study report by and Amadeus on Payments Travel, the struggle for travel companies is real when it comes to managing Payment Service Providers (PSPs)

Travel Companies & Managing Payment Service Providers (PSPs)

The 2018 study reveals some startling insights on the current state of global payments in travel;
  • Only 8 percent of travel companies rely on two PSPs.
  • Most travel companies use between 3-10 outside PSPs with 45% using between 3 – 5 to handle payments, 
  • 42% employ between 6- 10 PSPs
  • 4 OUT OF 10 travel companies have trouble managing multiple PSPs.
  • 49% of travel companies cited the complexity of their existing payments system as a hindrance to innovation. 
  • 15% of travel companies have attempted new payments innovations in the past three years
  • Travel companies spend a weighted average total cost of approximately 5.4 percent of their revenues on payment processing. 
  • Airlines, which generate more revenue per annum, only devote between 4.2 and 5.0% of their revenues to maintaining their payment systems.
  • Travel companies around the world spend approximately $75 billion on their payments systems.
  • Modern consumers’ whetted appetites for at-their-fingertips payment methods mean more travel companies are beginning to see payments innovation as a long-term investment rather than a short-term cost.
  • Webinar: Africa Travel, the Journey towards Digitizing Payments

      The above statistics are evidence that payments is broken globally. Bringing this closer home, lack of interoperability among mobile money operators, low credit card uptake and preference towards local debit cards makes payments processing in Africa an extreme sport. This struggle is further compounded by the absence of a  common African currency which, for airlines or hotels with a presence in multiple countries, increases the turnaround payment processing and settlement period. Thus, though we did not find a specific study on the state of payments in the continent, your guess is as good as ours;  a majority of travel companies use multiple PSPs in order to accept both local and global payment methods.  

    As part of our ongoing #DigitizationUnusual webinar series, we have convened a panel to discuss the state of travel & the journey towards digitizing payments.

    Cellulant Webinar - Africa travel payments

    Attendance is free, click here to register

    Discussion Topics
  • Changing consumer behaviour in air travel
  • The journey to transforming from being flight-centric towards becoming a truly traveler-centric airline
  • Payments innovation as a key aspect of an airline’s broader digitization strategy
  • Equipping airlines with the right payment innovations in customer centricity
  • Inhouse vs outsourced; the pros and cons of travel payments processing
  • Which is better, a few or many? Managing Payment Service Providers (PSPs)
  • 54 markets, multiple payment methods; the complexities of travel booking & payment processing in Africa. 
  • Towards a standard payment approach; The challenges and opportunities
  • Africa’s Travel Payments webinar panel

    Solomon Nnanna
    Co-Founder- Sahara JETs
    Solomon Nnanna has over a decade experience helping businesses grow and reach their intended audience. His experience/background spans the aviation, finance, FMCG and advertising industries on the North American and African continents

    He co-founded SaharaJETS, a private aviation company that provides aircraft charter, sales and management services in the USA, Europe, Middle East and Africa. Prior to founding SaharaJETS, Solo worked as Managing Director for, a multicultural marketing, advertising and communications firm that helped international brands, the likes of Pepsi, Moneygram, Pernord Ricard etc, with creative solutions to connect with their intended audiences. Prior to his work with, Solo worked as a financial adviser with JP Morgan in New York City.

    Kingsley Chima
    Africa World Airlines
    A privately-owned airline incorporated on the 15th of November 2010. It commenced its first revenue flight on the 21st of September 2012. The airline has consistently seen growth in both frequencies of flights and route network making it profitable. This is a great achievement for an airline that has been operating for only 7 years. Africa World Airlines became a full member of IATA in 2017 and is also IOSA certified. As part of their growth as an airline, they have signed partnerships with various International Airlines such as South African Airways, Emirates, Brussels Airlines, ASKY Airlines and Ethiopian Airlines.

    Cellulant’s Payment Gateway- A Single Integration for Travel Sector

    Africa’s travel industry is at a payments innovation  pivotal moment.  Payment Service Providers such as Cellulant have been investing in building the infrastructure that will address this struggle for the travel sector in order to reduce the PSPs that travel companies have to rely on to just two or one. 

    Cellulant’s foray into the travel sector goes back 3 years. In 2017, Kenya Airways partnered with Cellulant to provide a variety of mobile and bank payment options to its customers paying for bookings online. This was a first of its kind payment solution in Kenya for corporates.

    Since then, Cellulant has gone on to power local and international payment methods for Jambo JetEthiopian Airlines  and Fastjet

    The struggle for travel companies when it comes to managing Payment Service Providers need not be your everyday nightmare.  Cellulant provides you with a single digital payments gateway connecting you with 120 of the largest banks in Africa, 40 mobile money operators, 600 local and international merchants; and is connected to 220M consumers across 34 countries. Cellulant also has an office presence in 18 African countries. 

    Ask us about our payment solutions and how we can help your travel company or airline reduce the stress from payments; Email us today  on; [email protected]


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