Africa airlines witnessed a six percent increase in available seats, rising from 15.1 million in May 2023 to 15.9 million in May 2024, attributed to the introduction of new routes and increased flight frequencies.

"During the same period, available seat kilometres (ASKs) surpassed May 2023 levels by 12 percent," says the latest update from the African Airlines Association (AFRAA).

African carriers accounted for 48.7 percent of international capacity and 35.4 percent of intercontinental capacity, the update added.

Regarding capacity allocation between African and non-African operators on international routes (regional and intercontinental), AFRAA estimates a split of 51.3 percent and 48.7 percent, respectively. "In regards to intercontinental routes, Africa accounts for only 35.4 percent of capacity.

"In this season, intra-Africa connectivity surged across regions with major hubs such as Addis Ababa, Nairobi, Abidjan and Lome witnessing a notable uptick in connectivity."

African airlines are experiencing enhanced revenue performance, following the growth in traffic. AFRAA's estimate shows operating revenue for March 2024 at $1.74 billion, an increase of 26 percent compared to $1.39 billion in March 2023.

Regulatory/industry affairs
"In Nigeria, the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO) has raised concerns over the detrimental impact of excessive airline taxes, which have made Nigerian airports some of the most expensive globally for foreign airlines to operate.

"Egypt is making strides towards sustainable aviation with the Egyptian Petrochemicals Holding planning to launch the country’s first sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) production facility by 2025.

"In Kenya, the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) is leading efforts to validate draft aviation regulations aimed at enhancing safety and efficiency, with active stakeholder consultation. However, the Kenyan government’s proposed Finance Bill 2024, which includes VAT on aviation equipment and supplies, is causing concern as it deviates from global best practices where aviation is typically VAT-exempt."

In a very positive development, the Nigerian authorities have released over $830 million blocked funds of airlines, and the total blocked funds at the end of April stood at approximately $1.8 billion, a reduction of $708 million (28 percent) since December 2023.

AFRAA is projecting a 15 percent rise in passenger traffic for African carriers in 2024 compared to 2023, the update added.

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