According to the African Airline Association (AFRAA), African airlines’ capacity increased by 64% in February 2019 compared to the same month last year. Similarly, traffic is expected to increase by 49.6% in February 2022.
The domestic market continued to have the largest percentage of capacity deployed, despite a slight decrease in traffic share.
Domestic demand, however, exceeded intra-African and intercontinental demand, which were both low at 31.2 percent for intra-Africa and 23.5 percent for intercontinental, respectively. Domestic, intra-African, and intercontinental passenger seats accounted for 49.4 percent, 24.7 percent, and 26 percent of total passenger seats offered, respectively.
Because of the suspension of some routes, intra-African connectivity reached 76 percent of pre-Covid levels in January 2022 and is expected to dip to 72 percent in February.
Due to the political crisis in Mali, which was outlawed by ECOWAS, connection in West African airports (Félix-Houphout-Boigny International Airport (Abidjan), Murtala Muhammed International Airport (Lagos), Léopold Sédar Senghor International Airport (Dakar), and Lomé–Tokoin Airport) diminished.
According to AFRAA, the number of patients infected with the Omicron Covid variation is continuing to rise, prompting the World Health Organization (WHO) to urge governments to stay alert in their monitoring and reporting of sequences. As of February 2022, the global number of cases had reached 426 million, with 11.5 million in Africa.
According to AFRAA, the air travel industry continues to face strict travel advisories, insistence on full vaccination prior to travel, forceful vaccination at ports of entry, repatriation of passengers who do not meet entry travel requirements, and quarantine of passengers at their own expense, as well as other unusual government measures.
Four African airlines are continuing to expand their international routes, and by the end of 2021, they will have surpassed the number of foreign flights run prior to Covid. Eleven other African airlines have also reopened or started new foreign flights.
African airlines had restored around 78.7% of their pre-Covid foreign routes by the end of January 2022, albeit frequency remained low.
Passenger traffic levels in Africa remained reduced in February as a result of certain governments’ unilateral and uncoordinated travel health restrictions in response to the outbreak of the Omicron strain of COV-2.
Revenues from airlines remained low, with several operators experiencing cash flow problems. The full-year revenue loss in 2022 is expected to be US$4.9 billion, or 28.2 percent of 2019 revenues. African airlines lost $8.6 billion in revenue in 2021 as a result of the epidemic, or for 49.8% of 2019 sales.