African Airlines to Fly 98 Million Passengers in 2024

African airlines are expected to ferry 98 million passengers in 2024 on the backdrop of continued traffic growthsince November 2023. The latest data from the African Airlines Association [AFRAA] indicate that traffic carried by African airlines exceeded the pre-pandemic [2019] level. In January 2024, Revenue Passenger Kilometres [RPKs] recorded by African airlines was 2.06% above the level recorded in a similar period in 2019, while Available Seat Kilometres [ASKs] were 7.1% above those recorded over the same period in that year.  

According to a statement from the Association, airlines hauled 149.6 million Kg of cargo to and from Africa in November 2023, with African airlines representing 30.8%.

“At some major African airports [Johannesburg, Nairobi, Addis Ababa, Lusaka, Cairo, Casablanca, Abidjan, and Lagos], intra-Africa connectivity reached or exceeded pre-Covid levels since December 2022”, the statement said.

The statement added that 2023 saw an increase in airline revenues and the narrowing of the revenue gap compared to 2022. The full-year 2023 revenue shortfall of African airlines was at US$ 1 billion.

Jet A1 price continues to fluctuate marginally from week to week. The global average jet A1 price ended the week of 19 Jan 2024 with a 2% at $108.92/bbl.

In terms of regulatory affairs, Somalia has taken back control of its airspace management from Nairobi where its airspace control was reassigned in 2018, reflecting its commitment to sovereignty and self-governance. The transition of Somalia’s airspace from Class G to Class A marks a significant milestone in the country’s aviation sector. The class upgrade means Somalia will now provide Air Traffic Control Services, a crucial step in enhancing safety and operational efficiency.

On its part, Zambia has adopted the use of electronic cargo manifests, a forward-looking approach aimed at modernizing cargo processing and aligning with international trade standards. The move will expedite cargo handling processes, foster smoother operations, and support the objectives of the trade facilitation agreements.

A similar digitization move in Cameroon has seen the innovative use of a “Customs Cmr” or “Douane Cmr” mobile app in air passenger processing. This will streamline customs procedures and embrace digital transformation in passenger handling. The result will be efficiency and convenience for both passengers and customs authorities.

Tunisia increased tourism tax for economy and business class travelers to enhance revenue generation for the tourism sector. The increase which was without consultation with industry stakeholders could negatively affect the anticipated tourist arrivals in the country.

On a positive note, Tunisia has deposited its instruments of ratification of the Montreal Protocol 2014 [MP14] with the effective date of Jan 2024.  Tunisia has become the 47th party to MP14 which addresses jurisdictional gaps that allow unruly and disruptive passengers to avoid prosecution. AFRAA encourages all African states to ratify this protocol as a deterrent to unruly behavior on flights and at airports.

In Jan 2024 a meeting was held in Cologne to address challenges related to GPS spoofing. The event emphasized the importance of pilot training and highlighted the ongoing commitment of the global aviation community to addressing emerging threats posed by spoofing. Balancing the adoption of newer technologies with considerations for evolving security challenges remains a critical aspect of ensuring the resilience and sustainability of the aviation sector. Collaboration and information-sharing are essential to navigating the complexities of the current aviation landscape.

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