The contribution of air transport to any economy exceeds that of road transportation sevenfold. Yes, sevenfold! The African Development Bank (ADB) describes air travel as a sector that is essential to the prosperity of Africa as it will open up opportunities that did not exist before.
A strong air travel industry is expected to create a stronger connection between African countries/regions and become the catalyst that will boost intra-African business, trade, tourism and cultural exchange. It will also help to solve the chronic transport problems faced by Africa‘s landlocked countries.
But a lot is happening in international air travel too, and several African airlines (which are very often co-owned by European companies) have extended their routes outside of Africa in the last couple of years.
Currently, only about 10 percent of Africans travel by air. This is the surest sign of the huge potential of the air travel market in Africa and the anticipated future growth. As the continent‘s economy continues to grow and the size of its middle class expands, there will be an impressive boom in the demand for air transport services.
Now, the opportunities and money for you lie in the many service industries that are connected with airports and air travel.
We probably agree on this one: the majority of us will have no resources to start their own airlines (although Richard Branson managed to do just that eventually starting from zero!). There are, however, huge opportunities for you to serve Africa‘s airline industry in many ways: airlines food and beverage provision, cleaning services, shuttle services, cargo handling, airport shops and duty free, flight entertainment and many more.
Most of these are still handled by international companies in the West, but with Africa‘s increasing airline traffic and the many airport expansions we are witnessing in Africa right now, there will be a need for local sourcing, management, and provision of such services. Airports in Nigeria, Ethiopia, and Kenya, among many others, are working on expansion plans. Now is the right time to start your business and position yourself!
Airline and flight comparison sites with online booking options for African destinations.
Top Countries & Policy Guidance
Top countries are those that are currently working relentlessly on airport and flight expansion. They are (among others): Nigeria, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Zambia, and South Africa.
Action & Tips
Participate at the annual African Airport Expansion Summit to get first-hand analysis and updates in your market, identify options, and network with people in your industry.