Air access from South Africa into Africa and the rest of the world is improving steadily, despite continued lack of intra- regional connectivity and visa constraints.

The latest available airline schedule analysis from the Official Aviation Guide (OAG), a leading provider of air travel intelligence, shows that seats and flights from South Africa have increased by 2%, compounded annually over the last three years ending December 2019 (capacity is published two seasons ahead), says Board of Airline Representatives of South Africa GM, Ndiphiwe Ntuli.

Airlines Association of Southern Africa CEO, Chris Zweigenthal, says there should be no obstacles to increasing capacity from South Africa, which has unlimited Third and Fourth Freedom frequency arrangements (basic international services) with most African states and reciprocal bilateral frequency regimes intercontinentally where there is spare capacity. “However, SAA is the only South African airline that operates long-haul flights and, with its current focus on turnaround and a consolidation of its network, a significant expansion of its operations is not expected in the short term,” says Chris. “Other South African airlines
may look to expand services into Africa. It is important to ensure that there is a receptive welcome from other African states for South African airlines wishing to expand their services into Africa.”

Chris says passenger growth in Africa is expected to grow 5,6% per year through to 2035, compared with a global growth projection of 4,4% per year. “The growth rate projections for Africa are on a business- as-usual basis and
I believe that from a current low base, we should be able to achieve double-digit growth for African aviation.”