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Technology & Innovation

Flying The Friendly Sub-Saharan African Skies

Facing slow growth in other countries, a variety of airlines and other aviation-related businesses are taking advantage of expanding African economies.

Article written by guest writer Kecia Lynn

What’s the Latest Development?

Airlines both big and small are adding flights throughout sub-Saharan Africa to take advantage of increased demand in an area of the world that is experiencing significant economic growth. British Airways, Emirates Air, and China Southern Airlines are among the larger carriers that will serve more African cities this fall. Meanwhile, a new airline, FastJet, plans to launch in November as “the first-ever pan-African discount carrier.” Manufacturers are also seeing increased demand for business aircraft.

What’s the Big Idea?

Traditionally air traffic flowed mostly to and from European countries and their former colonies, leaving east-west routes across the continent underserved. Also, due to poor land travel infrastructure, in certain areas it’s more efficient to travel by air. Higher fuel prices are helping to grow economies in countries with oil deposits, which in turn provides people with more money for business and leisure travel. Challenges facing the aviation industry’s inroads in African markets include the prevalence of corruptions as well as a largely cash-based economy. The rise in mobile banking in particular leads FastJet CEO Ed Winter to believe that “if prices are competitive, Africans will find a way to pay.”

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