African airlines carry 92 million passengers in 2018

Latest figures released by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) have revealed that African airlines transported 92 million passengers last year.

While this figure represents a 5.5% rise on 2017, African airlines still only accounted for 2.1% of the global market in 2018, although the number does not include passengers carried into the continent by non-resident carriers.

The Asia-Pacific region accounted for the largest proportion of global traffic, carrying 1.6 billion passengers (37.1%) over the course of the year. The region also led in growth, expanding 9.2% on 2017.

Overall, a record 4.4 billion passengers were carried by airlines around the world in 2018.

“Airlines are connecting more people and places than ever before. The freedom to fly is more accessible than ever,” said IATA chief executive Alexandre de Juniac.

In recent years, many African airlines have struggled in the face of high taxes, airfare and cost of jet fuel, poor airport infrastructure, international competition and unfavourable policies.

The reputation of Ethiopian Airlines, one of the continent’s biggest profit making carriers, has also taken a battering since 157 people were killed in a crash on board a Boeing 737 MAX 8 model in March.