Rwanda sets pace for African Air travel
Kampala September 22 – International passenger traffic in East Africa posted a remarkable 11.2pc in growth between January and August this year but Uganda is missing from the star performers.
Africa as whole registered growth of 5.6 percent with countries like Algeria, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia seeing little growth or even a decline in the same period as a result of political instability and terror activities.
Growth which appears to be closely tied to capacity saw Nairobi remain flat while Kigali registered 13pc and Kilimanjaro 6pc. Growth in the latter two markets could be related to expansion of home based carriers such as Rwandair and Fastjet that have been on opening new markets and increasing capacity.
According to the findings, the region still has potential to outperform 2015 as International bookings for travel to East African countries, up to the end of December are already at 17.3pc, ahead of the same period last year.
“We are seeing unprecedented interest in the AHIF AviaDev combination, with over twenty airlines signing up to talk about new air routes, with global CEOs of the world’s biggest hotel companies present to discuss their plans for Africa and with government ministers keen to attract inward investment; one has to ask: “Why is there such serious interest?
“These highly encouraging booking figures explain it,” said Jonathan Worsley, the Chairman of Bench Events, which is organising AHIF and AviaDev. Worsley adds that if other East African countries took after Rwanda’s initiative of investing in new aircraft, then the region would register more growth.
“If what is happening in Rwanda becomes a yardstick against which other East African countries measure themselves, I would expect this strong growth to continue. There, a new airport is under construction 25km
outside Kigali, with the ability to cater for 4.5 million passengers a year, seven times today’s traffic. The national airline has invested in new aircraft and set itself ambitious growth plans and the government is actively promoting Rwanda as a destination for conferences and exhibitions,” Worsley said.