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Lagos Slumps as Travel to Africa Displays Double-Digit Growth

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Lagos Slumps as Travel to Africa Displays Double-Digit Growth

By Dipo Olowookere

An analysis of seat capacity for travel to the top ten international airports in Africa, produced by ForwardKeys, reveals that Lagos is seeing substantial declines in both domestic and international capacity, mainly because Arik Air is cutting 53 percent of its seats for the rest of 2017.

During the coming five months, August – December 2017, there will be 16 percent fewer airline seats on domestic routes and 9 percent fewer and on international routes to and from Lagos.

Commenting on this data, Jon Howell, Managing Director of AviaDev, Africa’s leading airline route development conference, said: “One of the major reasons for falling arrivals by air to Nigeria, is the fact that many airlines could not repatriate funds after the currency crisis in 2016.

“As a result, Iberia and United Airlines have ceased operations to Nigeria, whilst Emirates and the other foreign carriers have scaled back services.

“The Nigerian airlines have suffered too and so this void has been filled by the ever-opportunistic Ethiopian Airlines, who began serving their fifth Nigerian destination, Kaduna on August 1, 2017 and are now the largest carrier in the Nigerian market.”

Most of the other airports in Africa’s top ten are seeing a healthy growth in capacity, which is more international than it is domestic. However, the most notable exception to this trend is Nairobi, which is seeing a 22 percent boost in domestic capacity.

These findings are part of a wider report on travel to Africa, produced by ForwardKeys, which predicts future travel patterns by analysing 17 million booking transactions a day. It shows double digit growth in flight arrivals for the first half of this year and little indication that the pace of growth will slow down soon.

The wider report will make encouraging reading for airlines, governments and hoteliers planning to discuss possible new aviation routes at AviaDev in Kigali in October. (AviaDev is organised by Bench Global Business Events.)

The report reveals that in the first seven months of the year, 1st Jan – 31st July 2017, total international flight arrivals grew by 14.0 percent over the same period in 2016.

Most significantly, growth was stronger for travel to and from the continent than within the continent.

Arrivals from Europe, which make up 46 percent of the market, were up 13.2 percent. From the Americas, arrivals were up 17.6 percent; from the Middle East, they were up 14.0 percent and from Asia Pacific, they were up 18.4 percent.  By comparison, intra-African air travel, which makes up 26 percent of the market, was up 12.6 percent.

Looking at Africa’s top ten destination countries, there have been stand-out performances from Tunisia and Egypt, which are recovering from notorious terrorist attacks two years ago, up 33.5 percent and 24.8 percent respectively.

In addition, Morocco and Tunisia received a huge boost in arrivals from China, up 450 percent and 250 percent respectively, after they relaxed visa restrictions. The one disappointment is Nigeria, which has seen a 0.8 percent drop, in the wake of recession in 2016, caused by a collapse in the oil price to a 13-year low.

Looking forward to the end of the calendar year, bookings for flights to Africa are currently 16.8 percent ahead of where they were on July 31, 2016. Bookings from Europe are currently 17.5 percent ahead, from the Americas 26.6 percent ahead, from Asia Pacific 11.5 percent ahead, from the Middle East 8.2 percent ahead and bookings for intra-African air travel are 11.0 percent ahead.

A specific look at East Africa shows very similar trends in year to date performance and outlook to the end of the year.

However, it has stronger forward bookings from Europe, 22.9 percent ahead and less strong forward bookings from elsewhere; the Americas are 15.5 percent ahead and intra-African air travel 7.6 percent ahead.

However, bookings from the Middle East and Asia Pacific are 6.0 percent and 3.8 percent behind respectively.

On an individual airport level, the most significant capacity increase in East Africa is at Kigali, with new routes to Brussels, London and Mumbai. Other notable new capacity includes Kilimanjaro to Dubai and Nairobi to Muscat and to Yemen.

Olivier Jager, CEO, ForwardKeys, said: “The growth in air travel to Africa is impressive. However, it is notable that consumer demand and airline investment is greater in travel to African countries from outside the continent than it is between African countries.”

Jon Howell, Aviation and Tourism Development Manager, Bench Events, who is responsible for AviaDev, concluded: “As an international executive who has travelled around Africa for many years, I am longing for the day when it is easier to fly directly between African cities, as is possible on other continents.

“I am sure I’m not alone in that desire and I’m equally sure, it will happen eventually. That’s why I’m determined that the discussions that will take place at AviaDev will help bring that vision closer.”

Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan. Mr Olowookere can be reached via dipo.olowookere@businesspost.ng

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Travel/Tourism

Wakanow, ValueJet to Boost Local Flight Inventory

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Wakanow ValueJet local flight inventory

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

A partnership aimed to boost local flight inventory has been entered into between Wakanow and ValueJet.

According to a statement from the foremost travel tech company, the deal allows Wakanow to host ValueJet’s inventory on its website and increase local flight inventory available to local travellers.

ValueJet is the latest airline to partner with Wakanow, joining its network and enabling Wakanow-connected customers to find and use bespoke solutions to support their specific travel needs and requirements.

The deal aligns with Wakanow’s aim of delivering access to all local flight inventory in real time and an all-year-round flight schedule. It also showcases its continuous commitment to the development of the domestic travel industry in Nigeria.

“As the foremost travel tech company in Nigeria and West Africa, this partnership for us is a reinforcement of our commitment to give our customers the best and to remain the number one distribution partner to our Nigerian Airlines.

“We are constantly innovating around our customers’ travel needs and partner with relevant stakeholders to ensure that our customers enjoy a robust and seamless service offering.

“Partnering with ValueJet, who share in our vision of delivering a unique travel experience at a great value to our joint customers, was certain,” the chief executive of Wakanow Nigeria, Mrs Adenike Macaulay, said.

While corroborating the CEO, the Group Chief Technology Officer of Wakanow Group, Mr Oyedeji Ojo, said, “Wakanow, as a leader in the Nigerian travel industry, has continued to bring value to air travellers through collaborations.

“We’re delighted to welcome ValueJet as a Partner, and together, we will serve our customers with great flight inventories and concentrate on creating enhanced traveller experiences across all customer touchpoints.”

On his part, the Chief Commercial Officer of Value Jet, Mr Trevor Henry, said, “We are happy to announce our strategic partnership with Wakanow, making history as the first travel company to provide ValueJet’s Live Inventory bookable in real-time, thus enabling the delivery of a seamless booking experience for Wakanow and ValueJet’s customers.”

Wakanow, Africa’s foremost travel tech agency, offers the best travel deals and experiences within the global travel industry to corporate and individual air travellers.

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Normalcy Restored at Lagos Airport as Aviation Workers Suspend Strike

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aviation workers

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

Normalcy was restored at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA) Lagos on Monday afternoon after workers of the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO) Plc disrupted flight operations this morning.

The aviation workers had embarked on an indefinite strike action to ask for a better welfare package from the management of the company.

Their action left many air passengers stranded on Monday morning, with operators suspending their flights in the process.

But the industrial action was later called off by the leaders of the Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN) and the National Union of Air Transport Employees, which promised to enter into talks with NAHCO, with a view to resolving the matter.

The aggrieved employees of NAHCO asked the management to increase their salaries after hike air fares by 100 per cent. They claimed that the company was being insensitive to their welfare.

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NAHCO Workers’ Strike Paralyses Flight Operations At Lagos Airport

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NAHCO Workers' Strike

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

Activities at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA), Ikeja, Lagos, were paralysed on Monday after some employees of the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO) Plc embarked on an industrial action.

The NAHCO workers protested the failure of the management of the company to heed their demands, including an increase in salaries and better welfare packages.

Air passengers who were at the Lagos airport were left frustrated today due to the demonstration by the aviation workers, with a few international flights disrupted.

It was gathered that most airline operators were caught unawares as they did not have prior notice that the NAHCO staff members were planning to down tools on the first working day of the week.

This led to the abrupt suspension of flight operations by most operators this morning while efforts were being made to resolve this issue in order to reduce the losses that could arise from the action of the workers.

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