African airlines’ capacity jumped 11.3 percent to 64 percent in February compared to January, according to an estimation by African Airlines Association (AFRAA).

The continental aviation trade organization published a report on Tuesday detailing the latest performance by African airlines.

AFRAA estimates that air passenger traffic for February hit at 49.6 percent as African countries continued to ease travel restrictions that bogged down the industry for the better part of two years.

Domestic market maintained the biggest share for capacity deployed, though traffic share saw a small dip. Domestic demand however at 45.3 percent outperformed intra-Africa and intercontinental which remained subdued at 31.2 percent for intra-Africa and 23.5 percent for intercontinental.

On the actual number of passenger seats offered, domestic, intra-Africa and intercontinental accounted for 49.4 percent, 24.7 percent, and 26 percent respectively.

AFRAA also noted that four African airlines continued their international routes expansion, leading to an expansion in the number of international routes beyond the pre-COVID levels.

11 other African airlines also either re-open routes or launched new international routes.

The organization noted that at the end of January 2022 African airlines had reinstated approximately 78.7 percent of their pre-COVID international routes, though frequencies remained low.

It also reported that Intra-African connectivity reached 76 percent of the pre-COVID level in January 2022, and is forecast to fall to 72 percent in February because of the closure of some routes.

AFRAA attributed the continent’s still depressed passenger traffic volumes to unilateral and uncoordinated travel health restrictions imposed by some governments following the outbreak of the Omicron variant of COV-2.

It added that airline revenues remained low with many operators battling with cash-flow issues.

The continental aviation trade organization estimates the full year revenue loss for 2022 to hit US$4.9b, equivalent to 28.2 percent of the 2019 revenues. In 2021, African airlines cumulatively lost $8.6b in revenues due to the impact of the pandemic, representing 49.8 percent of 2019 revenues.

Source: African Travel & Tourism Association