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East Africa’s air travel records strong growth


 Kigali International Airport, Rwanda.

Kigali International Airport, Rwanda.

Analysis of International air travel to East Africa this year (January to August) reveals strong growth of 11.2 per cent compared with the same period last year.

This is an exceptional performance as growth for Africa as whole has been 5.6 per cent, with countries like Algeria, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia seeing little growth or even a decline.

The analysis was done by ForwardKeys, a company that predicts future travel patterns by crunching and analysing 14m booking transactions a day.

Olivier Jager, CEO, ForwardKeys, said: “We are seeing a tale of two Africas, with North African countries suffering from political instability and terror activities and Sub Saharan African countries powering ahead, with Ethiopia up 9.6 per cent, Tanzania up 10.6 per cent, Mauritius up 11.6 per cent and Kenya up 14.9 per cent. South Africa is up 11.4 per cent”

Looking ahead to the remainder of the year, the picture is highly encouraging for East Africa. International bookings for travel to East African countries, up to the end of December are 17.3 per cent ahead of where they were at this time last year. Looking at the main origin markets, the UK is 13.2 per cent ahead, Germany is 21 per cent ahead, The USA is 21 per cent ahead, France is 16.1 per cent ahead, the Netherlands is 16.6 per cent ahead, South Africa is 9.4 per cent ahead and India is 34 per cent ahead.

An analysis of airport capacity, defined by the total number of seats, reveals that the stars in terms of growth are Nairobi, Kigali and Kilimanjaro. Looking at international capacity in the periods Q3 2015 – Q2 2016 and Q3 2016 – Q2 2017, Nairobi grew zero per cent and two per cent respectively, Kigali five per cent and four per cent respectively and Kilimanjaro 11 per cent and 20 per cent respectively. Whilst a two per cent growth for Nairobi may not sound so impressive, its capacity is around four times that of Kigali.

Looking at capacity for flights within East Africa in the periods Q3 2015 – Q2 2016 and Q3 2016 – Q2 2017, Nairobi grew zero per cent and two per cent respectively, Kigali 13 per cent and five per cent respectively. and Kilimanjaro six per cent and 14 per cent respectively.

The data has been released ahead of AviaDev, a new airline route development conference and AHIF, Africa’s highest profile hotel investment conference, which run concurrently at the Radisson Blu Hotel & Convention Centre in Kigali from 4-6 October 2016.

Jonathan Worsley, Chairman of Bench Events, which is organising AHIF and AviaDev, said: “We are seeing unprecedented interest in the AHIF AviaDev combination, with over twenty airlines signing up to talk about new air routes, with global CEOs of the world’s biggest hotel companies present to discuss their plans for Africa and with government ministers keen to attract inward investment; one has to ask: “Why is there such serious interest?” These highly encouraging booking figures explain it.”

In this article:
ForwardKeysOlivier Jager
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