Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) is to seek permission to increase the passenger cap from the current level of 32 million…
African Airlines Soar: A Comprehensive Look at Performance and Industry Dynamics in August 2023
In August 2023, the African aviation industry is demonstrating remarkable resilience and growth, with traffic carried by African airlines reaching an impressive 98.4% of the 2019 levels. This resurgence is underpinned by various factors and industry dynamics that highlight the promising prospects for African aviation.
Recovery Trends: Almost Back to Pre-Pandemic Levels
One of the most encouraging trends in the African aviation industry is the near-complete recovery to 2019 traffic levels. This signifies a significant milestone, with domestic, intra-Africa, and intercontinental market shares estimated at 34%, 29%, and 37%, respectively. It’s a testament to the industry’s resilience and adaptability in the face of unprecedented challenges.
African airlines have not only rebounded but are also expanding their horizons. The total number of intercontinental routes operated by African airlines has surpassed pre-COVID levels since October 2022. In major airports like Johannesburg, Nairobi, Addis Ababa, Lusaka, Cairo, Casablanca, Abidjan, and Lomé, intra-Africa connectivity reached or exceeded pre-COVID levels since December 2022. This expansion showcases the industry’s determination to provide extensive connectivity across the continent and beyond.
Financial Outlook: Narrowing the Revenue Gap
The financial outlook for African airlines in 2023 is looking brighter. In the first three months of the year, African airlines missed 2019 revenue levels by just $0.3 billion. According to AFRAA data, this gap is expected to further narrow in the second quarter to $0.2 billion for the quarter. While the full-year estimated revenue gap is yet to be computed, it appears that 2023 will be a significantly better year compared to the challenging year of 2022, when the cumulative revenue gap was $3.5 billion for all African airlines compared to 2019.
Despite the positive performance, African airlines are grappling with rising Jet A1 fuel prices. The global weekly average jet fuel price during the week ending August 25 surged by 2.9%, reaching $126.37 per barrel. This steep increase, up from an average of $103.64 per barrel in July, presents a new challenge for airlines in maintaining profitability.
A persistent issue faced by the industry is blocked funds, which reduced slightly in July to $2.200 billion compared to $2.274 billion in June. A significant portion of these blocked funds are in Africa, with 14 countries accounting for about 70% of the total. AFRAA is actively engaging with central bank Governors to find a solution to this problem and have the funds released, ensuring that airlines can access the capital they need to operate effectively.
Full recovery to pre-pandemic levels for passenger traffic is now expected to occur in 2024, but economic performance in the region will continue to suffer as long as Africa’s internal market remains constrained.
Even before the pandemic, airlines in the region struggled to make a profit due to structural impediments.
COVID-19 has not made these better, although African states are starting to come around to the benefits of air services liberalization and improving flows of passengers and cargo.
Air transport has an important role to play in the wider recovery of African economies in the post-COVID-19 period. However, the continent’s fractured skies will remain a brake on recovery and a challenge to industry growth
- TAAG Angola Airlines Expands Network, Welcomes New Airport in Luanda - November 28, 2023
- Free Routing Airspace Takes Flight Over Africa - November 22, 2023
- EgyptAir Orders A350s, 737 MAX at Dubai Airshow - November 14, 2023
Icelandair has announced further expansion of the airline’s network for 2024 with the addition of two more North American destinations.…
British Airways (BA) and Indian airline IndiGo have signed a codeshare agreement that gives the U.K. carrier’s passengers the opportunity…