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Summer flight bookings to Africa - 6% ahead of last year

Published 05 May 2016

International flight bookings to Africa for the summer season are currently almost 6% ahead of where they were at this time last year, according to the latest data from ForwardKeys, which monitors future travel patterns by analysing 14 million reservation transactions each day.

The figures show a 5.9% increase in forward bookings from May to October compared with 2015, with robust growth in arrivals from across the globe as well as from within the continent.

The ForwardKeys data has been produced in partnership with AviaDev Africa, a route planning and development conference being launched by Bench Events in Kigali, Rwanda. The October event is being run in parallel with the high-profile Africa Hotel Investment Forum and will, for the first time, bring together airlines, airports, government representatives and tourism authorities to discuss the future connectivity of the continent.

Jonathan Worsley, Chairman, Bench Events, said: “The ForwardKeys data provides a valuable opportunity to look ahead and see how air travel to and within Africa is growing.

“Many of us in the industry see the most promising opportunities for growth emerging from air travel within the continent and a number of factors are helping to drive this increase including simpler visa processes and increasing use of e-visas, as well as improved infrastructure and lower air fares.”

The data shows forward bookings from Europe - which at 57% has the biggest market share - are up 6.0%. Significantly, travel within Africa is also increasing and at a faster rate, up 6.2%. The Americas, with a market share of 15%, are up 12.3%.



Bookings made for the beginning of May onwards show that nearly all the top African destinations are seeing an increase in international arrivals. Namibia tops the list, up 31.2% on the previous year, with Kenya in second place, up 27.7%%, followed by South Africa, up 21.6%.

Only three of the top 15 destinations in Africa are showing fewer advance bookings - Egypt down 7.9%, Morocco down 6.6% and Tunisia down 25.8%.

Olivier Jager, CEO, ForwardKeys, added: “It’s clear that recent events have impacted travel to North African countries, especially Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia which are all showing a marked decline in tourism numbers. However, the picture in Sub-Saharan Africa has changed, with most countries showing very positive increases, such as Namibia, up 31.2%, Kenya up 27.7% and South Africa up 21.6%.”

Overall, the majority (53%) of intercontinental visitors are travelling for leisure purposes; 53% with business accounting for 17%.



The total number of seats for flights from Europe to Africa, between May and October, has dropped 7.3%. The fall is due to Europe suspending regular and charter flights to Tunisia and Egypt.  UK capacity to Tunisia dropped 91% and Russian capacity to Egypt was down 97%, reflecting recent terror-related incidents.




Johannesburg still heads the list for scheduled international air capacity to airports in Africa but Addis Ababa is a close second. ForwardKeys data shows planned total seats to Addis enjoying an increase of 22% for the 2016 summer season.


AviaDev Africa will open at the Radisson Blu Hotel and Convention Centre in Kigali on 4 October, joining the main AHIF conference on 5 and 6 October. AHIF is the premier hotel investment conference in Africa, attracting over 500 high-calibre executives from 45 countries, as well as key government representatives.