In focus: Opportunities and challenges in African aviation industry
Over the recent years, opportunities in the dynamic African aviation industry is steadily rising, thanks to the continent’s growing political stability and tourism potentials. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has predicted that Africa will become one of the fastest growing aviation communities in the world over the next 20 years at a yearly increase of almost 5 percent.
The continent continues to strengthen its aviation industry as it is considered one of the key drivers of Africa’s future economic development. Today, Africa accounts for around 3 percent of the global air transport sector, running 731 airports and 419 airlines. Aviation, to date, supports around 6.9 million jobs and USD 80 billion in economic activities.
But there is more room for growth. Commercial airlines, in particular, can capitalize and attain a significant market share in this vast market by taking advantage of the booming leisure and business travel and tourism. In 2018, the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) declared Africa as the second-fastest growing tourism region next to Asia-Pacific. As per its figures, WTTC said that the African tourism industry surged 5.6 percent last year, higher than the global average of 3.9 percent and the wider African economy rate of 3.2 percent. As a result, the expected influx of tourists in the coming years is a major boon for the airline business.
Furthermore, infrastructural developments, including the construction of new airports and continuing enhancement of airport facilities and services, have improved global confidence in the continent. This has further fueled more upbeat and sustainable industry growth forecasts.
Strong air travel demand from the fast-growing population is injecting new energy into the market as well, with many of them looking to buy airline seats on a regular basis.
Exponential improvements in the aviation market, particularly, Air Peace’s foray into international markets is expected to boost the African economies and raise their global competitiveness.
While there are many opportunities, a few challenges is also stalking the industry. For example, work is admittedly needed to modernize the airport infrastructure although efforts towards this direction have already begun. Many of the airports are simply not designed to handle the increasing passenger traffic, as such, the need for increased capacity.
It is also pivotal to attract capital investments and form critical partnerships to fast-track the industry’s advancement, in line with the needs of contemporary times. Collaborations are essential to bridge the gap in terms of expertise and financing, while allowing foreign investments can do wonders in the much-needed modernization airport initiatives.
These improvements will increase the number of passengers, which will have both direct and indirect positive effects on trade, business travel and tourism. Indeed, major opportunities exist in the continent and, fortunately, measures are steadily being undertaken to address fundamental challenges. As Africa is expected to welcome a remarkable 303 million passengers a year by 2035, forward thinking companies like Air Peace and fast government actions will remain critical to maximise significant potentials and boost development for the benefit of the local communities.