KQ among airlines listed to drive Africa's aviation industry

The African aviation market is projected to increase by 200 million passengers to over 356 million by 2038 in IATA's latest forecast.

In Summary

•Kenya Airways has been listed alongside Ethiopian Airlines,EgyptAir, Royal Air Maroc, Air Algerie and Comair as drivers of Africa's aviation sector growth.

•Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Mombasa International Airport, Kisumu International Airport and the Eldoret International Airport remain key infrastracture that will support the industry's growth.

JKIA arrivals and departure terminal. /FILE
BAD DEAL? JKIA arrivals and departure terminal. /FILE
Image: FILE

Kenya Airways is among six African carriers  on which the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) hopes to ride on for passenger growth.

The deal  signed last year is aimed at opening up the African airspace and improve intra-African air connectivity, and the growing global traffic where Africa and Kenya remain key destinations.

KQ, as it know by its international code, is listed alongside Ethiopian Airlines, EgyptAir, Moroccan national carrier-Royal Air Maroc, Algeria's Air Algerie and Comair.

This came up at the 2019 Routes Africa forum in Mombasa which ended yesterday. The six feature in the Routesonline top ten African carriers by passenger numbers.


Comair Limited is an airline based in South Africa that operates scheduled services on domestic routes as a British Airways franchisee.

“Kenya is among the top three aviation markets in Africa where growth is forecast to be the strongest over the next two decades but if the full potential of the industry in Africa is to be realised, airspace in the region needs to be liberalised,” said Raphael Kuuchi, Vice President, Africa, International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Kenya's Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA), Mombasa International Airport, Kisumu International Airport  and the Eldoret International Airport, are fronted as key infrastructure that will support the industry's growth in new route development.

Kenya Aiports Auhtority (KAA) has embarked on a campaign to encourage more international and regional domestic airlines to fly into Kenya with the authority undertaking upgrades and infrastructural works at all the major airports.

KAA acting managing director Alex Gitari said remodelling of the terminal separating arriving and departing passengers at the JKIA has boosted airport security and raised the airport’s annual capacity, with 11.9 million passengers travelling through Kenya’s airports every year.

“Over the last two years, we have been implementing an ambitious strategy to deal with one of the key challenges also facing the aviation sector in the continent namely,expansion and improvement of capacity at our main airports,” Gitari said.


KQ on the other hand has been implementing an expansion plan which has seen route expansion to more than 55 destinations. It also has code sharing agreements that see it enjoy more markets.

The expansion and modernisation of Kenyan airports is a key flagship project under Vision 2030, Kenya’s economic blueprint.

IATA predicts that over the next two decades, the Kenyan aviation market could more than double, resulting in an additional 11.3 million passenger journeys, over 449,000 more jobs and a US$11.3 billion (Sh1.15 trillion) boost to GDP by 2038.

Gitari said KAA has invested in new and modern terminal buildings at the Malindi Airport , Manda Airport (Lamu ) with plans underway to expand Diani Airport in the South Coast to attract bigger airlines and more tourists.

The African aviation market is projected to increase by 200 million passengers, to over 356 million by 2038, in IATA's latest forecast.

Twenty four million people in Africa depend on the travel and tourism industry with over six million jobs supported directly by the aviation industry.

“This is driven on the back of the continent’s vibrant aviation sector and with a CAGR of 4.6 per cent over the next 15 to 20 years,  he promise and potential of aviation in Africa is huge,” said Steven Small, brand director of Routes.