For many airlines, the continent of Africa remains a largely untapped market. When plans to expand into the region go awry due to an increased volume of fraud along a particular route, or there are unexpected behaviors from customers they don’t recognize, many aviation companies decide not to service these markets at all. However, Africa cannot be thought of as a single entity, and there’s a vast opportunity for new revenue if airlines decide to expand into these areas with the right technologies and strategies in place. As highlighted in Forter’s Seventh Edition Fraud Attack Index, while some of these higher risk regions have fraud rates of up to 5 times higher than rates in the United States, the vast majority of the transactions emanating from these areas are indeed legitimate. These regions actually represent the potential of growing and burgeoning markets – comprising the fastest growing digital markets – where businesses have yet to expand to out of fear of fraud.
Traditionally, airlines have used manual, rules-based systems to weed out the fraudsters from the legitimate buyers. Companies in African markets are especially likely to use manual review processes, with about 50-60% of all bookings being examined by a human eye. With airline fraud increasing by 61% over the course of the last year, it can be tempting for airlines to be overly cautious with these rules and reviews, blocking out entire routes that may seem “too risky,” and leaving revenue on the table from good customers in high-risk regions due to fearful false declines. For example, these systems commonly decline business travelers buying high-value tickets at the last minute, as this booking behavior is similar to that of fraudsters. However, with this overly risk-averse mind set, airlines not only miss out on revenue from the falsely declined transaction, but also risk losing precious life time value from frustrated customers who will take their business elsewhere.
How can airlines offer routes into Africa safely, while capturing revenue from legitimate customers in the region? The answer lies in the technology. With a fully automated fraud prevention solution that understands the identity of the person behind the transaction, airlines can quickly and accurately decipher fraud from legitimate business, without adding friction to the customer experience.
In a recent podcast with AviaDev Insight Africa, Stuart Barwood, Director of Strategic Partnerships for Airlines and Travel at Forter, discusses how Forter is leveling the playing field around the globe, allowing airlines to expand into all geographies and giving consumers in underserved regions a better user experience. Listen to the podcast here for more information on aviation fraud, pain points in Africa, and how Forter can help address these issues.