Flying is Going Mainstream in Africa

The golden age of aviation in Africa is over.By 'golden' I do not mean a boom but a novelty.A period when flying in Africa was still a novelty and only a few Africans flew to explore the world!When I would stand in the fields with my brother and watch planes fly by,one after the other,into oblivion!

Intra African flights were still very rare.If you wanted to fly to another African city,chances are that you would connect to one of the European hubs:London,Amsterdam,Paris,Brussels and then you would rely on KLM or SN Brussels Airlines to take you to your destination!It was quite expensive,that's why flying in Africa was a very exclusive affair!

It's only a few African diplomats,government officials,conference delegates ,UN staff,aid workers,UN staff and employees of international organizations who formed the bulk of the air traffic in Africa.And this was when African countries had single national airlines or flag carriers!You had fewer choices in the African Skies!

With the Structural Adjustment Programs of the 80s and the subsequent opening up of the hitherto closed African economies,the market was opened up for competition !Governments began to loosen their reign over airlines and several smaller airlines emerged to create a very vibrant African aviation  market that we have today!
The Opening of African Skies
These days flying has become a necessity for many Africans as regional integration of African economies and the opening of the Skies with signing up of more Bilateral air service agreements amongst African nations!Kenya Airways and Ethiopian Airlines are now in a gold rush to interconnect all the major cities in Africa!

It's now up to smaller African Airlines like Kulula,Jetlink,Air Uganda ,Fly540 to serve domestic and smaller regional markets.In South Africa,despite the state control of SAA,a vibrant domestic market has emerged giving travelers great variety of flight experiences.The Kenyan market is still dominated by Kenya Airways but then KQ has to compete wit 8 other smaller Kenyan airlines that offer scheduled and chartered flights!It is now easy to find very cheap flights to Kenya,South Africa or Nigeria made possible by rich choice African airlines!

Aviation in Africa is still to some extent tourism and aid dependent but with greater regional consolidation and growth in markets such as East Africa,South Africa and West Africa flying will be a very natural way for Africans to get around this vast continent!
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