ALTHOUGH THERE are aspects of Africa’s aviation industry that remain challenging, the overall state of air travel and aircraft finance on the continent is quite positive, with many carriers managing to weather the political and economic storms of the past few years very well.
In South Africa, despite the obvious challenge of an economy that is still largely spluttering along, the country continues to present its various domestic airlines with a fairly robust, well-functioning market.
This is particularly true for low-cost airlines, which contrary to what may have been expected given the difficult consumer environment, have enjoyed steady annual passenger growth of around 4%.
Although this is slightly lower than in previous years, it still represents a stable, growing market for local airlines, many of which are contributing to this trend by finding ways of enhancing efficiencies and reducing prices, and thereby consistently increasing their average loads per flight.
This combination of factors, and particu-larly the ability to maintain a load factor of well above 80%, is imperative for the long-term survival and growth of any airline.
In Africa, the passenger growth figures are even more pleasing, with an average annual increase in passenger demand of over 11% and overall capacity growth of 6,7%. This is a strong signal regarding the improving efficiency levels being achieved by many of the carriers on the continent, and it is supported by a 2,9% increase in the average load factor on African routes, putting this important aviation industry health indicator at an average of 79%.