Africa’s Aviation passenger traffic set to double

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From (Left) Steven Small, the Brand Director of Routes, (Centre) Alex Gitari, the Acting Managing Director and Chief Executive Kenya Airports Authority and (Right) Raphael Kuuchi, the Vice President, Africa, IATA during the 12th Routes Africa forum held in Mombasa on ,Monday December 9, 2019. Photo by Joseph Kamolo/KNA.

The  African  Aviation  market  will increase by 200 million passengers to over 356 million by 2038, this is according to the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) latest forecast.

Closer home, IATA predicts that over the next two decades, the Kenyan air transport market could more than double in size resulting in an additional 11.3 million passenger journeys, over 449,000 more jobs and a US$11.3 billion (Sh1.1 trillion) boost to GDP by 2038.

Speaking   on Monday during  the 2019 Routes Africa forum that was attended by over 250 international delegates, Raphael Kuuchi who is Vice-President, Africa, IATA  said Africa’s aviation industry projected growth represents a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of about 4.6 percent of the continent’s total market size.

While making  his keynote address during the opening ceremony, Kuuchi said “Routes Africa is critical to the development of air services on the continent and added these forums have made a real impact on the region.

“Kenya is among the top three aviation markets in Africa where growth is forecast to be the strongest over the next two decades but if the full potential of the industry in Africa is to be realised, airspace in the region needs to be liberalised.”

Through the Routes Africa 2019 forum themed ’Accessing Markets’, the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) now hopes to encourage more international and regional domestic airlines to fly into Kenya.


during a media briefing on the sidelines of the Routes Africa Forum 2019, Alex Gitari, acting Managing Director & Chief Executive KAA said, “Over the last two years, we have been implementing an ambitious strategy to deal with one of the key challenges also facing the aviation sector in the continent namely, expansion and improvement of capacity at our main airports.”

Gitari noted that the remodelling of the terminal separating arriving and departing passengers at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) has boosted airport security and has also raised the airport’s annual capacity with 11.9 million passengers traveling through Kenya’s airports every year.

The expansion and modernisation of Kenyan airports is a key flagship project under Vision 2030, Kenya’s economic blueprint.

A steady growth in trade and tourism has seen overall number of domestic and international departure seats increase by more than three quarters since 2010, this according to analysis by OAG Schedules Analyser data one of the world’s leading provider of digital flight information and analytics.

Kenya’s domestic capacity has also risen from 1.95 million departure seats in 2010 to 5.18 million this year.

KAA, he revealed, has invested in new and modern terminal buildings at the Malindi Airport located on the coast to the North East of Mombasa and Manda Airport serving the Lamu archipelago.

Plans are in place to expand Diani Airport in the South Coast to attract bigger airlines and more tourists.

By  encouraging new route development, KAA hopes to grow both passenger and cargo traffic at the JKIA, Mombasa International Airport (MIA), Kisumu International Airport (KIA) and the Eldoret International Airport (EIA), all of which are currently undergoing upgrades and infrastructural works.

The 12th edition of Routers Africa provides a convenient platform for decision makers to negotiate new air services, discuss existing routes and improve the continent’s air connectivity, while supporting growth in air services and stimulating economic development across the region.

Steven Small, brand director of Routes, quoting industry statistics by IATA, said: “24 million people in Africa depend on the travel and tourism industry with over 6 million jobs supported directly by the aviation industry. This is driven on the back of the continent’s vibrant aviation sector and with a CAGR of 4.6 percent over the next 15 to 20 years, the promise and potential of aviation in Africa is huge.”

Small added that some of the airlines that will drive growth to facilitate this increasing market demand include Ethiopian Airines, EgyptAir, Royal Air Maroc, Air Algerie, Comair and Kenya Airways, all of which feature in the Routesonline top ten African carriers by passenger numbers.

By  Joseph  Kamolo

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