Africa’s air cargo sector ready for take off

Kenya Airways Cargo and Astral Aviation have inked a codeshare agreement to boost trade between Africa and the Middle East. (Image source: Astral Aviation)

A range of new industry initiatives, partnerships and technology solutions seek to streamline Africa’s air cargo sector and bolster business volumes once more

Air cargo stood out as a lifeline during the Covid-19 crisis, supporting vital supply chains and propping up airline revenues after passenger numbers tumbled. Yet it is fair to say that Africa’s airlines have faced a very tough time since 2019.

While a recovery is underway, as businesses claw back both passenger and cargo traffic, much damage has already been done. According to the African Airlines Association – which represents 44 airlines across the continent – revenue losses among the region’s airlines for 2022 are estimated at about US$3.5bn, equivalent to a fifth of 2019’s full year revenues.

Nonetheless, business is regaining momentum. In November 2022, traffic and airlines capacity deployed reached 85.7% and 84.2% of the 2019 level respectively. Seven African airlines have even surpassed the number of international routes they operated before Covid-19.

Read the full article, detailing the challenges and opportunities facing the continent’s aviation industry, in the March issue of African Review here.