Interview met Wilson Tauro, Country Manager Southern Africa bij Air France-KLM
How long have you done business in South Africa?
KLM first began flights to South Africa in 1938. Service was interrupted by the 2nd World War, and we began service again in 1946. In fact, we are celebrating our 85th birthday on the 1st of November.
What was your most memorable moment thus far?
I am quite sure that there has been many memorable moments over the years. I myself have been here since 2021, so I would say that being involved with the repatriation flights and dealing with the significant challenges of the pandemic was prety memorable. But I would imagine that events such as going to a daily service, being one of the first joint Air France KLM offices and celebrating the KLM100 birthday were major milestones amongst others.
Can you recall a clear cultural clash between South Africa and the Netherlands whilst doing business?
Not to my knowledge. We have always had a good relationship with our Dutch counterparts.
How did you decide where to establish yourself, both geographically and sector wise?
Our business dictates where we should position ourselves. We are happy to say that we have a huge support base from the South African travel trade and also from our corporate customers. Other cities in South Africa all have attractive qualities but Johannesburg is the financial centre with many Head Offices located here, so it makes sense to be in Johannesburg.
How do you go about finding staff in South Africa?
Our first course of action is to promote internally, if this is not viable, we use local employment services.
What does BusinessNL do for you?
Business NL provides us with a platf1orm to other businesses which would normally be much harder to reach. They connect us with business of similar interest.
What is key to success in South Africa?
I think the key to success in any market is understanding it. South Africa is a more mature market for us than some others in Africa. Each market has its own ‘needs’ and where possible we adapt our approach to accommodate that.
Where do you see your business in 5 years?
Apart from seeing the business grow to pre-covid levels I would imagine that we would be more automated. So, seeing a further growth of the online channels and making our offer more ‘individualised’ to our passengers. Offering products that our passengers can choose to enhance their journey. We are also focused on sustainability, and weaving that into all aspects of our business where possible.
How strong are your linkages with the Netherlands?
Exeptionally strong being a Dutch company!
Wilson Tauro, Country Manager Southern Africa bij Air France-KLM