Aviation: Africa Air Traffic Development Trends

Below we review some of the key data that high-light the development of the continent‟s commercial aviation sector.The analysis is published based on information from the African Airlines Association, November 2011  Newsletter.

Intra-African traffic
African airlines account for 90% of intra-African ASKs (Available Seat Kilometres). Capacity growth here is less than half of its pre-recession level. Due to the slowdown at home, it is important that the continent‟s airlines also look increasingly outside of Africa for growth opportunities.
Figure: Intra-African Capacity: Growth figures are CAGRs over the periods; years are 12 months ending in September
Source: Innovata, Seabury analysis 

Share of Capacity Growth from Q4 2004 to Q3 2011
Traffic between Africa and the rest of the world
The capacity growth picture for Africa to the rest of the world looks similar to that inside of Africa, with only a fraction of the pre-recession growth rate.

Notably, since 2005 African airlines have been responsible for only one quarter of Africa‟s intercontinental ASK growth, meaning non-African carriers have added nearly three times as much capacity as African ones
Capacity, Africa to other regions by carrier home base:Years are 12 months ending in Q3 of each year; Africa includes N. Africa
Source: Innovata, Seabury analysis

Among the top 20 carriers in terms of added intercontinental capacity since 2005, only five are based in Africa. Arabian full-service carriers, European low-cost carriers/charter operators, and FSCs from Europe and the United States have all aggressively added capacity.

Interestingly, 2of the top 5 (and 5 of the top 20) in added capacity had none at all until 2006. The African intercontinental market is highly vulnerable to foreign incursion, because the traffic base for intercontinental flows largely originates outside of Africa, putting foreign carriers at a marketing and sales advantage.

Getting a larger slice of the cake
Numerous major African FSCs have recently announced ambitious fleet expansion and renewal programs, and  the particular emphasis on wide-bodies foretells their continued push beyond the region. The emergence of new technologies expressed in the longer reach of mid-size wide-bodies will allow them to serve thinner routes.

Added Intercontinental Capacity from Africa in 2011 Vs 2005(Open in new tab for full view)

As African airlines extend into new markets overseas, their disproportionate dependence on customers on the non-African end of their routes will create tremendous sales, marketing and distribution opportunities as they partner with other airlines and modernize sales techniques. Knowledge of the target markets will be a key to their success.

Courtesy: The African Airlines Association(AFRAA)
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