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Airlines Operating on the Continent Face Particular Challenges

Firstly, the industry has to contend with huge disparities in economic and air transport development. There is also an uneven distribution of international air passenger traffic across regions and within countries. The traffic is predominantly centered in a few hubs in North, East and South Africa; and in the large and medium-size cities. Other challenges include high costs of operation, market protectionism as well as safety and security concerns. There are very few profitable African airlines. In 2020, only the Ethiopian Airlines made a profit in the continent. And with financial woes compounded by COVID-19, it is likely many more airlines will go under. Two of the continent’s biggest carriers – South African Airways and Kenya Airways – are under financial stress. Both have made significant losses over the past few years and lost market share and destinations to competition. South African Airways came close to being wound up, but for its part Kenyan Airways reported losses of $333 million for the 2020 financial year.