VENTURES AFRICA – As Africa continues its progress towards development, the need for swift transportation, which is a catalyst enhancing business opportunities and engineering enterprise, is key. With the seeming northern trend of investments, the need to move from Jo’ burg via Accra to Casablanca in the safest, fastest and most comfortable means cannot be over-emphasized.
Africa’s emerging market stimulate enterprise is on a daily basis, with business men and women, as well as foreign investors commuting from North to South on the continent. Investors need CEOs shuttling between Lagos and Nairobi in double quick time closing deals, forming mergers and making acquisitions of interest. Thus, thee fastest option is Air travel.
Aviation is a major catalyst engineering growth in Africa’s tourism industry and Africa’s top airlines are left with the task of transporting tourists and businessmen – the ones without private jets – to and fro the length and breadth of the continent. Running an airline is a 24hr job and the need for quality service delivery is pertinent. It requires the proper facilities, management, motivation and hours upon hours of hard work, preparation and precision. According to Skytrax, there are only five 5-star airlines in the world at the moment.
Although, Africa’s aviation industry is riddled with issues of poor quality standards, inconsistency, ageing fleet of aircrafts et al. Amidst all that, some African airlines have been able to deliver quality service to passengers. Here is a list of the top 5 airlines in Africa:
SOUTH AFRICA AIRWAYS
The premier carrier of South Africa, it is publicly owned by the government. The airline has been in existence since 1994, when it was formed. Headquartered in OR Tambo International Airport, the airline has a fleet size of 57 and operates in 38 destinations. At the 2011 Skytrax World Airline Awards held in the French Air and Space Museum at the Paris Air Show, South African Airways was named the Best Airline Africa. It is also listed as one of the safest airline according to “attainment of IOSA Certification, number of accidents per flight and fatalities per passenger kilometres.” It started a major rebranding process in 1997 through 2005; this also led to its joining the Star Alliance, making it the first African airline to join the world’s biggest airline alliance.
The airline has a ranking of 4 stars by Skytrax five-star ranking criteria. South African Airways also won the 2011 World Airline Awards service excellence category for Africa. This buttresses its April 2011 ad campaign with the catch-phrase “South African Airways: Africa’s Most Awarded Airline.”
Air Mauritius is the fourth largest carrier in Sub-Saharan Africa. Owned by the government of Mauritius, the airline operates out of its main base in Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport. Air Mauritius has an important standing in the European, African and Indian Ocean regional market; operating just off the southeast coast of Africa, in the Indian Ocean the airline is headquartered at the Air Mauritius Centre, Port Louis, Mauritius. With a fleet size of 12 and operations in 26 destinations, Air Mauritius also performs a range of services for international airlines.
Air Mauritius is regarded as one of the safest airlines in Africa – this was confirmed by Aviation Safety Network as the airline has not suffered any accident or incident leading to fatality. The airline also placed second at the 2011 World Airline Awards, but retained the “Indian Ocean Leading Airline Prize” for the seventh year it a row in 2011.
It was awarded 3 stars out a five-star ranking by Skytrax.
The largest airline of Kenya, Kenya Airways was founded in 1977 and has its headquarters at the hub of East African air travel – Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.
The airline was privatised in 1996 and is currently a public-private entity, with private shares trading on the NSE, DSE and USE. Kenya Airways has a fleet size of 33 and offers services to 56 destinations. A member of the SkyTeam alliance, Kenya Airways offers its customers access to member airlines’ facilities and network. The Pride of Africa placed third at the 2011 Skytrax World Airline Award for the African region and is listed as sixth on the list of top ten safest airlines in Africa. Although it has recorded a couple of fatal and non-fatal losses in its flight history, it still ranks as one of Africa’s finest airline. It has a 3 star ranking.
Ethiopian Airlines is a wholly-government owned airlines and serves as the country’s flag carrier. Headquartered in Bole International Airport, Ethiopian Airlines is listed as second in the top ten safest airlines in Africa ranking. A proud member of the Star alliance since December, 2011, Ethiopian Airlines operates with a fleet of 42 passenger and 6 freighter planes and offers services to 62 international and 17 domestic destinations.
In 2010, Ethiopian Airlines was named Africa’s most profitable airline by Air Transport World. Although Ethiopia’s flag carrier recently announced it is cutting cost so it can save up to one billion birr to ward of operational difficulties accruing from an increase in expenditure. It also announced record operating revenues registering a growth of 50.4%. The airline has 3 stars from a five-star ranking criteria by Skytrax.
EgyptAir is Africa’s largest airline and the national carrier of Egypt. A government owned airline, it, however, has special legislation permitting it to operate without government interference.
It runs like a private corporation with no financial backing from the government. This happened during a major restructuring in 2002, when its structure was changed from a governmental organization into a holding company with subsidiaries with stakes in Air Cairo and Smart Aviation Company.
EgyptAir has its main hub at Cairo International Airport. An extensive network of domestic services is focused on Cairo, Egypt’s capital. With over 78 aircrafts in its fleet, it operates scheduled passenger and freight services to more than 75 destinations in Africa, the Middle East, Europe, Asia, and the Americas. A Star Alliance member, EgyptAir is rated 3 star.
The airline is also a founding member of Arabesk Airline Alliance and the Arab Air Carriers Organization.