In the realm of intercontinental flights from Africa, European and African carriers share the spotlight in the top 10 list.
Egyptair, the Egyptian national carrier, takes the lead in December, boasting the highest number of flights to over 50 intercontinental destinations, underscoring the dynamic landscape of cross-continental air travel.
According to simpleflying.com, Over 100 airlines have scheduled flights to and from Africa in December 2023, serving various cities in all regions of the continent. According to data from Cirium, half of the top 10 airlines operating intercontinental flights from Africa this month are European. Unsurprisingly, the other half consists of African carriers.
Who has the most flights?
While European carriers make up 50% of the top 10, Egyptair tops the list for December with 2,303 scheduled flights and 435,466 seats. The Egyptian national carrier flies from Cairo International Airport (CAI) to over 50 intercontinental destinations in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and North and South America.
Meanwhile, Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair has the most one-way flights from Africa among the European airlines. This December, it has 1,762 scheduled flights, with 338,169 seats, while only serving one African country – Morocco. Ryanair flies from ten Moroccan airports, benefiting from the open skies agreement between the EU and Morocco. The LCC is looking to expand its presence in the North African country by launching domestic flights in 2024.
Where do they fly?
Transavia, which has the second most flights among the European carriers, flies from over 30 African destinations. Most of its routes are from North Africa, including 12 cities in Morocco. Similarly, easyJet’s Africa-Europe routes are mainly from Egypt, Morocco, and Tunisia. Its flights from Morocco connect the country to over 28 destinations, which is part of its commitment to continue supporting Moroccan tourism.
While the low-cost carriers dominate the North African market, the legacy carriers’ services are more spread throughout the continent. Air France has over 30 destinations in Africa, including Nairobi (NBO), Johannesburg (JNB), Cape Town (CPT), and Lagos (LOS) served with its widebody aircraft. Its services in West Africa have been reduced in the last quarter following the closure of Niger’s airspace in August. As a result, its flights to Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger remain suspended.
The other full-service carrier, Turkish Airlines, flies to over 40 destinations in Africa, with its longest non-stop route being Istanbul (IST) to Cape Town (CPT). While some may argue that Turkish Airlines is not a European carrier, it has been included based on its Skytrax Awards as the “Best Airline in Europe.”
Unsurprisingly, for North African carriers like Air Algerie and Royal Air Maroc, the majority of their intercontinental destinations are in Europe. Only about a quarter of Royal Air Maroc’s intercontinental destinations this month are outside Europe. On the other hand, Ethiopian Airlines’ network outside Africa covers over 50 destinations in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and the Americas.
Moving towards the end of the year, African airlines still only contribute just over 2% of global air traffic. However, they are expected to finish the year with better performance compared to 2022. According to data released by IATA and AFRAA, African airlines will carry a total of 85 million passengers by the end of 2023, an 18 million increase from last year. About 32% of the traffic is intercontinental, while 38% is domestic, and 30% is intra-Africa.