Intra-African airline connectivity has increased 5% year-on-year in 2018 with the establishment of 70 new routes during the same period, while 30 more intra-continental routes are in the pipeline.
These are some of the positive trends in African aviation highlighted by Embraer Sales Director, Gad Wavomba, at the AviaDev Aviation Development Conference in Cape Town.
While Africa’s airlines are expected to continue making a combined loss of US$100m (€86.6m) in 2018 (the same as 2017), Wavomba said positive trends expected to emerge in the next 12 months include:
- Rightsizing: More airlines are focusing on using the right aircraft for the right route, e.g. FastJet down-gauged (from A319 to Embraer E190 and ATR-72 turbo-props) resulting in 65% revenue growth and 93% increase in Revenue Per Available Seat Mile (RASM). Wavombo said 95% of flights in Africa carry less than 150 passengers and more than 60% aren’t daily. Many routes are too long for turboprops or too thin for narrow-bodies. The expected establishment of a Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) is expected to boost further route development.
- IT investment: Wavombo said revenue management and network planning optimisation was a big trend as African airlines were learning to work smarter, e.g. Ethiopian Airlines has invested millions of dollars in its revenue management system.
- Airport infrastructure development in Africa is on the rise, e.g. new airports in Dakar, Kigali and new terminals in Zanzibar and Lusaka, amongst others.
- Collaboration across the industry to capitalise on opportunities in under-served markets, e.g. partnerships between Air Austral and Air Madagascar; Ethiopian Airlines, Malawian Airlines and ASKY Airlines; SAA, Kenya Airlines and Air Mauritius; Air Côte d’ Ivoire and Air France-KLM; and Cape Town Air Access.