The competition for Africa’s airspace is heating up. The continent is tipped to become an aviation hotspot over the next 10-20 years, but international carriers are fast becoming major players.
As China emerges as the continent’s largest trading partner, the number of Chinese business and leisure travelers to the continent has seen major players in aviation like China Southern airlines putting their foot in the game.
In East Africa, local carriers, Ethiopian Airlines and Kenya Airways dominated flights between the region and the Chinese mainland. China’s Civil Aviation Administration says more than 120,000 passengers traveled between China and Kenya last year, with 28 percent of them going through Guangzhou. Chinese carriers are now returning the favor, arranging code sharing agreements with local players to triple the number.
China Southern’s Nairobi-Guangzhou route is its second in Africa after Mauritius. The airlines August launch was followed by Air China’s introduction of a tri-weekly service between Ethiopia’s capital, Addis- Ababa and Beijing a few days after debuting a similar link between Johannesburg and Beijing.