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Ethiopian Airlines, AFRAA to host Aviation Convention as African airlines make robust recovery

ADDIS ABABA – In light of Africa’s vast landmass, its population accounting for 16% of the world population, and its low share of global trade of 2%, the continent is an excellent opportunity to develop air transport. However, as a market, Africa’s share over several decades has remained stagnant at less than 3% of the world market – it is time to take action to change this narrative.

The 11th Aviation Stakeholders Convention, scheduled to take place from 07-09 May 2023 is timely and aligned to address this situation. The Convention, which is proudly being hosted by Ethiopian Airlines under the patronage of the Government of Ethiopia, will be held under the theme: “Changing the African Aviation Narrative”.

The event will bring together over 400 delegates from Africa and across the globe. The Convention is one of Africa’s leading forums for air transport industry stakeholders to dialogue, exchange knowledge and experiences for the development of the travel ecosystem. Several African airline Chief Executive Officers and aviation industry thought leaders will be present at the event. 

Speaking in Addis Ababa on the significance of attainment of sustainability that will change the narrative of Africa’s air transport, Mr. Abdérahmane Berthé emphasized the importance of dialogue among stakeholders and collaborative initiatives such as those facilitated by AFRAA:

“AFRAA and Ethiopian Airlines are excited to stage this Convention for the travel ecosystem stakeholders to meet, deliberate on strategies to enhance efficiencies, create synergies, develop intra-Africa connectivity, ensure business continuity that will redefine the narrative of Africa air transport industry.” 

Mr. Mesfin Bekele, Group CEO Ethiopian Airlines remarked, “We are delighted to host the 11th Aviation Stakeholders’ Convention of AFRAA which will serve as a forum for stakeholders in the industry to put their heads together and discuss the opportunities and pressing issues in Africa’s aviation sector. The forum will showcase the ‘Africa Rising’ mantra manifested in the growing opportunities for all stakeholders in the continent’s aviation industry.”   

Performance of the African airlines

A report by an association of African carriers revealed that African airlines have seen accelerated recovery, close to pre-pandemic levels.

The African Airlines Association (AFRAA) indicated that the traffic in March reached 94.8% of 2019 levels. This was attributed to the reopening of more international routes and tourism.

It noted that domestic flights accounted for 37 per cent of the March traffic, with intra-Africa flights at 31 per cent and intercontinental travel at 32 per cent.

Data also shows that the total number of intercontinental routes operated by African airlines have exceeded pre-Covid levels since October 2022.

The association said that African airlines are on course to narrow their revenue gap in 2023.

African airlines lost $3.5 billion in revenue in 2022 and $8.6 billion in 2021.

The Covid-19 pandemic hit African hard as travel restrictions led to the grounding of aircraft. Some airlines, such as Air Namibia and Air Mauritius completely folded while others such as South African Airways and Kenya’s flag carrier, KQ needed big bailout funding from the state to keep flying.

Others, like Ethiopian airlines converted their passenger jets into freighters to compensate for reduced passenger traffic.

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