This Day (Lagos)

West Africa: Major African Airlines Move to Dominate West African Market

Photo: Airbus
Afriqiyah Airways, based in Tripoli (Libya), has taken delivery of their first Airbus A330-200 aircraft, becoming a new operator of this aircraft type.

Successful African airlines like Ethiopia Airlines, Kenya Airways and South Africa Airways (SAA) are trying to take over the lucrative West African air transport market long dominated by Nigerian airlines.

To actualise this objective, the airlines floated regional carriers with operating hubs in West or Central Africa.

Ethiopia Airlines few years ago, funded the establishment of Asky, which has its operating hub in Lome, Benin Republic, while Kenya has 49 per cent stake in Precision Air, which is based in Tanzania and is aiming to come into West African market.

South Africa Airways has stakes in RwandAir, which is already operating into Lagos and intends to expand its network in the sub-region.

West Africa is the only sub region in West Africa that does not have dominant national carrier since the demise of Nigeria Airways, Air Afrique and Ghana's national airline.

The sub region has huge travelling market that is open to new and old airlines that can make successful inroad.

Nigeria leads the market with 14.6 million frequent flyers and a throng of business men and woman who travel to Asia, Europe, North America and other parts of the world and each of these airlines is eager to take a chunk of this market: operate into some West African cities and eventually make it to Lagos or Abuja.

To strengthen this effort, an airline known as Fast Jet owned by a Greek entrepreneur has started operating in Ghana from where it hopes to extend its tentacles to Nigeria and other parts of the sub region.

Ecobank partnering with investors has planned establishing an airline known as Ecowas Airways, which is planned to network its routes in West Africa, but THISDAY learnt that there was a plan to hijack it by Asky, which would have metamorphosed to Ecowas Airways, with Ethiopia remaining its major stakeholder.

That effort was scuttled, THISDAY learnt when the biggest Nigerian airline in a crucial meeting recently vehemently opposed it, insisting that an airline from East Africa cannot establish such airline in West Africa and suggested that airlines in the sub-region should get together and establish the airline.

Meanwhile, Fast Jet, which was begat from an airline that operated in many parts of Africa known as Fly 540 is aiming to dominate West Africa and using Accra, Ghana as its hub; the airline plans to extend its operations to Nigeria.

Unfortunately, Nigerian airlines which have most of the advantages as the carriers of the most populated country in the sub region have their competitive edge blunted by inimical government regulations, including high cost of aircraft and parts importation, high charges, high cost of aviation fuel, high taxes and exorbitant interest rate on credit facilities.

These have crippled their ability to dominant the sub region and beyond and government seemed unperturbed about denying its airlines such huge advantage.

Ads by Google

Copyright © 2012 This Day. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.

InFocus

South Africa Backs National Airline With Millions

South Africa FlySAA

The government has granted controversy-plagued South African Airways a five billion rand (U.S. $590 million) guarantee to back its turnaround strategy. The announcement came ... Read more »

Major Airlines to Compete For West African Market

Afriqiyah Airways, based in Tripoli (Libya), has taken delivery of their first Airbus A330-200 aircraft, becoming a new operator of this aircraft type.

The battle is hotting up for the lucrative West African market as successful African airlines are trying to take over air transport market. Read more »