Corporate air travel in Africa struggling to fully recover

Corporate air travel in Africa has not recovered to pre-recession levels, says British Airways Kenya country manager, George Mawadri.

In a meeting with journalists, Mawadri said that although air traffic in Africa is growing faster than in the rest of the world, corporate travel has failed to recover to levels seen before the global economic crisis.

One of the contributing factors is stricter travel policies enacted by companies. He said that while the airline believes that there will be a full recovery, it will be slow given there is still some uncertainty about the speed and sustainability of the recovery.

British Airways has, however, announced that the airline is contemplating increasing capacity on its Nairobi-London route following a significant spike in demand, especially from American missionaries and NGOs.

Said Mawadri, “From this financial year, British Airways has witnessed an increased capacity for the Nairobi route and consequently, we are as a company weighing whether to introduce a bigger aircraft or increase frequencies.” Cargo on the other hand has reported an impressive 70% growth in volumes for the airline in Kenya.

Africa’s air traffic growth is outpacing the world. In 2009 for example, passenger demand measured in revenue per seat per kilometre grew by 6.8% compared to the global average of 3.5%. Further, Africa’s international traffic has risen 6.6% since 1990 and 7.7% since 2005. Traffic in west and east Africa in particular is being driven by foreign interest in oil and gas projects.