The International Air Transport Association has reported a significant increase in Nigeria’s passenger traffic and seat capacity, reaching nearly 60 per cent above the levels recorded in 2019. This growth marks a continuation of the positive results already seen in the final quarter of 2022.
The association disclosed this during its recent Focus Africa Conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
It stated that African airlines witnessed a remarkable 87.1 per cent year-on-year growth in revenue passenger kilometres in the first quarter of 2023, bringing RPKs to only 9.4 per cent below their 2019 levels.
The conference, which attracted the participation of more than 400 aviation leaders and stakeholders, tackled critical issues affecting air travel and cargo transportation in Africa, covering topics such as safety, regulation, sustainability, trade, and economic growth in the region.
There are divergent outcomes in terms of origin-destination passenger traffic and airline-scheduled seat capacity for specific countries in Africa.
In Northern Africa, Egypt, and Morocco experienced a substantial increase of 29 per cent and 20 per cent, respectively, in passenger traffic during Q1 2023 compared to the same period in 2019.
Airline capacity in Egypt also kept pace with passenger traffic, growing by 30 per cent in comparison to the first quarter of 2019.
Morocco and other nations saw passenger numbers increase faster than airline seat capacity, indicating more efficient use of airline capacity.
Meanwhile, in Eastern Africa, Ethiopia witnessed passenger and airline seat levels that were 19 per cent and 14 per cent above pre-pandemic figures, respectively.
According to IATA, longstanding structural and profitability challenges in Southern Africa continued to affect markets in the region, which lagged 2019 levels of aviation activity.
“Reflecting a weakened local economy and constraints on airline capacity, South Africa’s Q1 2023 passengers remained 12 per cent below 2019 levels, while scheduled seats were even further behind (27 per cent below).
“Still, this market showed significant improvement from the traffic and capacity deficits observed in the last quarter of 2022,” the association stated.
Additionally, the report highlights that Africa’s impressive rebound in air traffic has been accompanied by advancements in connectivity and increased competition among airlines in the region.
“To take full advantage of aviation’s contribution to economic development, efforts to liberalise aviation in Africa must intensify,” IATA asserted.