Africa: Airlines Record Increased Capacity in March as Recovery Continues


Nairobi — African airlines are on a steady recovery recording increased capacity and traffic in March, new data shows.

According to the African Airlines Association (AFRAA), the airlines’ capacity reached 67.3 per cent last month compared to the same month in 2019 while traffic was estimated at 56 per cent.

AFRAA noted that the domestic market remained bullish with the biggest share for both capacity and actual passenger carried.

“Domestic demand at 46.5 per cent outperformed intra-Africa and intercontinental which remained subdued at 31.3 and 22.3 per cent respectively,” AFRAA said.

Despite the improved performance, AFRAA noted that the conflict between Russia and Ukraine has triggered jet fuel price increases globally and this has the potential to slow down the travel recovery.

S&P Global Platts estimates that the total impact of the price increases on the overall jet fuel bill will reach $86.3 billion based on an estimated average price of $115 per barrel.

Further, five African airlines continued their international routes expansion drive and had surpassed the number of international routes operated pre-Covid in March.

10 other African airlines either re-opened suspended routes or launched new international routes.

In Algeria, connectivity increased due to the reopening of many destinations, particularly to West Africa.

Ethiopian airlines, Royal Air Maroc and EgyptAir are among airlines that opened new routes to African destinations in the reporting period.

In spite of encouraging vaccination, the Association maintained its position that States should not impose mandatory vaccination as a pre-entry and exit requirement for travel, until satisfactory access to vaccines and reasonable vaccination coverage is attained.

“AFRAA urges governments to remove the PCR test requirements for fully vaccinated passengers,” it said.

During the month, Kenya exempted travellers who are fully vaccinated from the requirement of a PCR test.

Also, in-bound fully vaccinated passengers arriving in Nigeria will no longer be required to take a pre-departure PCR COVID-19 Test.

Other African Countries that have lifted travel restrictions include Senegal, Tanzania and Togo.

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