Questions over questions
The growth rate of African airlines’ air cargo performance was larger than in any other region for 17 of the last 18 months. This trend was broken for the first time in March. Some of the continent’s inadequate airfreight infrastructure, in the meantime, has aroused the interest of many a local and international player.
It’s a topsy-turvy world. In March, airlines’ cargo performances (measured in ftk) stagnated in every Iata region – except for in Latin America (+15.5%). An actual decline (of 3.4%) was only registered in Africa, of all places, however – the Iata region that had led the global growth ranking for 17 of the last 18 months. It has to be added, however, that this leadership period did nothing to change the continent’s small share of the global market (1.9%).
“African airlines only cover about 20% of the continental market,” Ethiopian Airlines group CEO Tewolde GebreMariam remarked recently. His airline is continuing to implement a programme it calls ‘Vision 2025’, which aims to fortify its leading continental position. It added its 100th aeroplane – its 22nd Dreamliner – to its fleet on 5 June, making it this type of aircraft’s largest operator in Africa. Ethiopian Airlines is also continuing to enlarge its hub at Addis Ababa airport. In June it is adding flights to Barcelona, Chicago and Geneva to its network. Cooperation agreements are additionally helping it to expand its presence in Africa. It has already acquired a stake in Togo’s Asky Airlines and in Malawi Airlines. In October it is helping to launch Zambia Airways, in which it holds a 45% stake. A similar approach is envisaged for the new carrier Chad Airlines.
New options in West, East and South Africa
It would appear to be a good time to set up a new airline. Senegal not only has a new capital city airport in Dakar (see also page 30 of ITJ 1-4 / 2018), but a new flag carrier to boot. On 14 May Air Sénégal operated its first flight between Dakar and Ziguinchor. In East Africa, in turn, Uganda Airlines is expected to be revived this year after a 17-year beauty sleep – preferably with long-haul units in the Airbus A330 category.
In Southern Africa the impulses are more external, in contrast. Eurowings now links Munich (Germany) and Windhoek (Namibia), whilst British Airways is adding Durban to its network, with effect from October. BA terminated its Luanda (Angola) service on 9 June, however.