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Nairobi among underserved aviation routes in Africa - report

 Jomo Kenyatta International Airport reception for Brussels Airlines after resuming flights into Kenya on Monday, June 3, 2024. [Courtesy]

Nairobi is among five major aviation routes that are underserved on the continent with the potential to provide greater connectivity for travellers.

This is according to aircraft manufacturer Airbus, which released an analysis detailing several key unserved African routes which could drive economic growth in local economies, and provide a significant boost in revenue for airlines.

The other key underserved routes are Lagos, Cape Town, Dakar and Douala.

Airbus also touched on strategic recommendations to capitalise on the opportunities of a more connected continent as well as Airbus’ capabilities to help realise this potential.

“Despite significant traffic between certain city pairs, some identified routes still lack regularly scheduled non-stop flights. Factors such as restrictive bilateral air service agreements, economic variables, and challenges with capacity, frequency and operating cost efficiency contribute to these routes remaining unserved,” said Airbus market intelligence and consulting director Geert Lemaire.

“With our capacity to make analyses about route and network development potential in-house, Airbus remains committed to partnering with airlines across Africa to identify optimised fleet solutions in line with network development requirements that further stimulate the continent’s air transport industry growth and improve connectivity for travellers.”

West Africa as a sub-region has the highest number of underserved routes. Nine of the top 15 unserved routes identified in the study and discussed in this report start or end in West Africa.

With the region’s booming population and the role it plays in international trade, the potential to turn the identified routes into actual ones is substantial, the report says, With the operationalisation of the Africa Free Continental Trade Area, the cargo and people movement between the continent will create more potential.

The Nairobi to London intercontinental route was identified as a potential that Kenya Airways, which flies five days per week to New York since October 2018, to consider despite being the longest route.

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