Commercial prospects look bullish for the African aviation and tourism sectors, following a steady growth in bookings for flights destined to the continent.
According to ForwardKeys latest report, bookings for flights to Africa are currently at 16.8 per cent ahead of where they were at the close of July 2016.
Bookings from Europe are currently ahead at 17.5 per cent, the Americas 26.6 per cent and Asia Pacific 11.5 per cent.
Intra-African bookings are also 11 per cent ahead while the Middle East is 8.2 per cent ahead.
On an individual airport level, the most significant capacity increase in East Africa is reported to be at Kigali International Airport, with new routes to Brussels, London and Mumbai being the major drivers. Other notable new routes are Kilimanjaro to Dubai and Nairobi to Muscat and to Yemen.
However, with the exception of Nairobi, which is registering a 22 per cent boost in domestic capacity, most of the other airports rated top 10 in Africa are only growing their international capacity but not their domestic capacity.
“The growth in air travel to Africa is impressive. However, it is notable that consumer demand and airline investment is greater in travel to African countries from outside the continent than it is between African countries.” said Olivier Jager, CEO ForwardKeys.
The total number of international flight arrivals into Africa grew by 14.0 per cent in the first seven months of the year, compared with the same period last year.
However, there is a stagnation in intra-African flights, with the strongest growth being arrivals from Europe, which make up 46 per cent of the market.
The East African region has registered a similar boost in bookings, although it is dominated by bookings from Europe at 22.9 per cent ahead of last year’s numbers.
There are less bookings from the Americas, which stand at 15.5 per cent ahead and Intra-African travels at 7.6 per cent.