A Brighter Future Ahead for African Aviation Industry

The last two weeks has exposed very bright and promising signs for African aviation.For many observers, it was a week that left us amazed at the potential and future prospects.

First, aviation history was written in the land of Mandela when South Africa’s petrochemical giant Sasol took to the skies with the world’s first fully synthetic fuel-powered flight. In earlier post, we had argued that African firms should be at the forefront of innovation in and adoption of greener technologies because Africa suffers the most from global warming to which aviation contributes 2%.

The next great news was the acceptance of Ethiopian Airlines as a future Star Alliance member. There are now three African airlines-Egypt Air(MS),South African Airways(SAA) and Ethiopian Airlines(ET) in the Star Alliance and one Sky Team Member(Kenya Airways) in three corners of Africa.
Thirdly, market studies, conducted by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) as well as by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), show that Africa is forecast to have the second highest growth rate in air traffic over the coming years.

Demand will mainly stem from economic growth made possible by increasing political stability and creating better business climate on the continent. African airlines are projected to return to profitability in 2010 for the first time since 2002 in response to the renewed economic activity and bolstered by what IATA describes as "a decade of cost-cutting, restructuring, and re-engineering." Reflecting these developments, projections for African airline profits stand at a USD100 million profit in 2010, with a breakeven result anticipated for 2011. According to the IMF, in its Jul-2010 Economic Update, growth in Sub-Sahara Africa is expected to increase by 4.5% in 2010 and 4.9% in 2011, following growth of 2.9%.

Another event that might have gone unnoticed was Air France’s celebration of 75 years of service Africa. Air France first operated flights between Toulouse and Dakar and soon after to Pointe-Noire in the Congo in 1936 and has developed a solid African route network over the years. Together with Kenya Airways and KLM,the three Sky Team members expect are bracing themselves for a bruising duel with Star Alliances’ aggressive foray onto the continent.

The only dark spot in African aviation is once again West Africa and to an extent Central Africa.There is general agreement that Africa may be “tapped out” hence availability of additional African alliance partners is getting thin once KQ,ET ,SAA and MS have been taken into the alliances.Nigeria’s Arik Air is considered a future alliance candidate to cover West Africa’s “white spot”.There is also talk that the three African carriers in the Star Alliance are mulling a joint subsidiary to cover western Africa, a reinforcement that would see Star Alliance challenge rival Sky Team, which is well positioned  in that part of Africa owing to networks operated by one of its founding members, Air France.
Finally,we just love this shot released by Boeing of  the first Boeing 747 rolled out of the factory in Everett, WA on October 1st 1968

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3 Responses
  1. alex trumpe Says:

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