Challenges and Opportunities Underlining Africa’s Aviation Landscape: A Multiple Lenses Analysis
This study sought to apply the Structure Conduct Performance paradigm to Africa´s air transport landscape in general. To do that it examines the past, present and future expectations of four of Sub-Saharan Africa’s biggest avia-tion economies namely South Africa, Kenya, Ethiopia and Nigeria. Second-ary data containing historical passenger traffic was analysed and predictions for growth in the next ten years proposed.
There is consensus that overall the future of aviation in Africa has significant economic potential with significant other challenges needing to be overcome. The existence of a large land mass that requires connecting with itself, a growing population and specifically a growing middle class with an appetite for air travel, an extensive extractives sector and a growing tourism sector can provide the necessary demand conditions. In support of this, regional economic communities have led the way in implementation of Yamoussoukro Declaration (YD).
This is especially so in West Africa through the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) and the Banjul Accord Group (BAG), which have facilitated the development of the most, liberalized air transport market in Africa. At a higher level, the full implementation of YD requires that states disengage from the industry, liberalise access and facilitate the increased participation of the private sector. Some of the challenges that need to be actioned include high user charges and taxes, under-capitalization of African airlines and insufficient management experience, which have contributed significantly to the low profitability of African airlines.
The case study approach is generally used to generate an in-depth comprehension of a complex issue in real-life. It is an established research design that is used extensively in a wide variety of disciplines, particularly in the social sciences. The study adopts a quantitative methodology based on the selected regional sample of countries under study and adopts the Structure Conduct Performance (SCP) model as a framework for analysis.
The data set was for the previous twenty years and it was exposed to linear extrapolation to determine the expected future growth. Trend lines were included and standard regression modelling revealed the R2 value for international and total air passengers per country.
The research findings exposed the possibility of a significant upside in the development of the aviation industry in Africa ceteris paribus. In all the countries analysed it appears that the development of the industry is sup-ported by strong tourism and travel demand by international tourists, and the various individual country as well as continent-wide measures towards lib-eralization of the African airspace.
The findings of this study have shown that intra-Africa travel can be en-hanced by a strong collaboration between airlines and states. Some strong opportunities have arisen from the enhancement of deep ties between na-tional champions like Ethiopian Airlines and regional carriers in West Afri-ca. Indicating that cross border and cross airline partnerships are a key in-gredient for airlines to make a significant contribution to the economies in Africa.