Renewed confidence in the African economic renaissance, most international airlines are on an expansion mode in the African continent to meet the growing demands of a prospective travel and freight market. The stupendous rebound of Africa from the global economic mess, which devastated aviation industry the most, is regarded as the major reason for the industry to make Africa central to their business growth of late.
George Mawadri, British Airways’ commercial manager in Kenya told the Business Daily that “There are great opportunities in Africa and we are eyeing the region keenly.” Likewise, Shanta Devarajan, the World Bank’s chief economist for Africa, had said in April, “Although Africa was the hardest hit by the crisis, its recovery has been so remarkable that we could be at the beginning of what history will describe as Africa’s decade.”
Major carriers such as Emirates, Qatar Airways, British Airways, Brussels, Lufthansa, Turkish Airline, Swiss International, and Delta have been introducing new African routes on their networks and increasing frequency to tap into the raising economic profile of Africa. In addition to the oversees airlines, domestic airlines like Kenya Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, South African Airways, Egypt Air and the Royal Air Morocco have been increasing their presence in the region and connecting their hubs to other international routes.
This July Belgian airline, Brussels, launched four new African destinations to its network — Ghana, Benin, Burkina Faso and Togo — and increased frequency to Ivory Coast. Emirates with 19 cities in its network and Qatar Airways with similar strong presence in the continent clearly indicate the Middle Eastern airlines will make at least many African cities as a stopover location to extend their airprint to other far-off international destinations.
Africa overcame the meltdown contrary to many forecasts including that of the World Bank, and it is estimated, at this pace of recovery, an economic growth of about 5 percent by the end of this year. Furthermore, in 2011, half of the world’s 10 fastest growing economies are expected to be in Africa.
Toboc Trade News