The African aviation industry is a vital catalyst for economic growth. This week on Africa Inc, Alishia Seckam and the team take a look at why some airlines are streaming ahead while other are losing altitude.
Africa accounts for 3% of the world’s air traffic and most airlines are state-owned. Africa Inc explores whether state-owned airline companies are holding back Africa’s aviation sector.
The International Air Transport Association (Iata) said earlier this year that Africa was the aviation sector’s weakest region in terms of airline earnings, with $300m in losses expected in 2016 and $100m in 2017.
Raphael Kuuchi, Africa vice president for IATA, discusses what African countries have to do to attract investment in the aviation sector. Erik Venter, CEO of Comair, which has been hesitant about aggressive expansion on the continent, explains what he needs to see first before any investment is made.
The third largest airline in sub-Saharan Africa, Kenya Airways has hit some turbulence, announcing earlier this year that it would embark on a $690m restructuring that would include reducing its fleet and staff count.
This was an attempt to turnaround the struggling carrier, which Bloomberg reported has been unprofitable since 2012 due to a fall in tourism to the country after attacks by Islamic militants.
CEO of Rich Management Aly-Khan Satchu, says the airline’s turnaround plan and operational improvement indicate that it is now on the rebound. “The challenge is going to be actually sustaining the rebound,” he says.
Satchu tells Africa Inc why selling its primetime landing slot at London’s Heathrow Airport was one of the airline’s worst moves.
• Africa Inc airs on Monday and Friday on Business Day TV channel 412