The aviation industry in East Africa is tipped to grow at about 11.2 per cent, a new survey has indicated.
The analysis of the international air travel in East Africa conducted by ForwardKeys, a company that predicts future travel patterns by crunching and analysing 14m booking transactions a day, recently projected strong growth of the region’s aviation sector compared to other regions.
The growth is more than 5.6 percent projected for the entire continent and means airlines could make more profits than earlier predicated.
Olivier Jager, the chief executive officer, ForwardKeys, said, growth in sub-Saharan Africa is expected to increase with countries like Rwanda, Tanzania, Mauritius, Kenya and South Africa posting impressive figures.
“Looking ahead to the remainder of the year, the picture is highly encouraging for East Africa. International bookings for travel to East African countries up to the end of December is projected at 17.3%, he said, adding that firm’s analysis of airport capacity as defined by the total number of seats, reveals that the stars in terms of growth are Kigali, Nairobi and Kilimanjaro.
“Looking at international capacity in the periods Q3 2015 - Q2 2016 and Q3 2016 - Q2 2017, Nairobi grew 0% and 2% respectively, Kigali 5% and 4% respectively and Kilimanjaro 11% and 20% respectively.
Jonathan Worsley, the Chairman of Bench Events, a firm organising the aviation Development summit due in Kigali next month, said they are noticing unprecedented interest in the region’s aviation sector which gives confidence about the future of the sector in the region.
He revealed that more than 20 airlines have already signed up for the summit adding that the gathering is an opportunity for the aviation industry captains to talk about new air routes, with other sector players on how they can make the industry more profitable.
If what is happening in Rwanda becomes a yardstick against which other East African countries measure themselves, I would expect this strong growth to continue. A new airport is under construction 25km outside Kigali, with the ability to cater for 4.5 million passengers/ year, seven times today’s traffic,” he said, adding that the national airline has invested in new aircraft and set itself ambitious growth plans while the government is actively promoting Rwanda as a destination for conferences and exhibitions.
Recently, regional governments were urged to expedite efforts to establish a satellite air navigation based system to boost aviation safety and efficiency on the continent.
Experts say the states should increase support to the EGNOS-Africa Joint project, a pan-African entity and part of the Africa-European Union (EU) long-term strategic partnership to enhance safety in air transport.
According to aviation experts, the project is expected to benefit regional airports by enabling safer landings, increased efficiency, reliable services for passengers and better access to remote regions with less well equipped airports.