The African Airline Industry: An Overview

The State of the African Airline Industry

The African airline industry has experienced significant growth over the past few years, with an increasing number of airlines providing a wide range of services to passengers across the continent. Despite the development, there are still several challenges that airlines within the region have to deal with that hinders growth and stability.

Statistics on the African Airline Industry

  • The African airline industry has a market size of $7.7 billion.
  • There are over 100 airlines that operate in Africa.
  • The industry provides employment opportunities to over 6.2 million people across the continent.
  • According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), African airlines lost a combined $9 billion in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The African aviation industry’s contribution to the continent’s GDP stands at 2.6%

Challenges facing the African Airline Industry

Although the African airline industry is generally considered a “growth” region, numerous challenges remain that have hampered the industry’s development in recent years. Some of these challenges include:

  • High Operation costs
  • Poor Air Travel Infrastructure
  • Politic instability
  • High Competition- both within the sector and also with international airlines
  • Safety and Security issues

To combat these challenges, stakeholders within the industry have attempted various strategies. Aviation stakeholders have identified key areas such as infrastructure development, more favorable regulatory frameworks, and business-friendly policies that countries need to implement if they are to benefit from the opportunities presented by the aviation industry. Furthermore, investment in technology and digitization of processes presents an ample opportunity for airlines to streamline and improve their operations.


In conclusion, the African airline industry has experienced significant growth, and the potential for further development is vast. However, the industry is hampered by challenges that require a collective approach for solutions. Governments, aviation stakeholders, and airline management need to work together to address these challenges, creating a supportive environment for the industry to thrive. With the right policies, investment, and a conducive business environment, the African airline industry can achieve considerable growth and become a significant player in the global aviation industry.


  • Three African Airlines to Watch – Simple Flying
  • In Focus: Africa’s Airline Industry in 2020 – International Flight Network
  • African airlines set to lose $6 billion in revenue on coronavirus – Reuters
  • Setting course for Africa’s aviation future – African Development Bank
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