Nairobi leading in Africa with 22% rise in domestic air travel – report

Nairobi has recorded 22 per cent growth in domestic air travel capacity, becoming the only African city whose airports are recording higher growth in domestic than international flight capacity.

A new report by ForwardKeys further indicates the city’s airports have a total scheduled capacity of 18 per cent in domestic seats.

It says the airports will handle 31 per cent of long-haul international seats and 51 per cent of intra-Africa international seats.

This will be between August and December.

The report says JKIA accounts for 13 per cent of the scheduled domestic flights and five per cent of long-haul and intra-Africa international seats over the said period.

“The trend is encouraging for aviation players. As a travel agent, we anticipate a surge in flight bookings in the last half of 2017,” Cyrus Onyiego, Jumia Travel Kenya country manager, said.

JKIA, which is located about 15 km from the CBD, and Wilson Airport are the main airports in the capital. They handle international and domestic flights respectively.

“Most inspiring is the contribution of Kenyans and other members of the East African Community to domestic travel,” Onyiego said on Thursday.

“It reflects our confidence in our own products with Kenya’s tourism domestic spending recording 59 per cent against 41 per cent foreign visitor spending.”

ForwardKeys compared Nairobi’s air travel trends to those of other top 10 African Airports ranked by total scheduled capacity between the months of August and December.

The analysis indicated the other African cities were witnessing more growth in international flights than domestic bookings.

Generally, the wider analysis of the report shows East African Community destinations received a strong growth of 14.3 per cent since the beginning of the year.

According to Travel and Tourism expert Carmen Nibigira, the future of tourism in East Africa is “embedded in the vision of one destination with multiple cultures and products”.

“After all, with a population of 160 million and 10 per cent of which is a potential market, it makes sense to invest on inter and intra-regional tourism,” Nibigira said.

Overall, the report revealed, African airports continue to record positive performance, welcoming an increase in international arrivals which currently stand at 14 per cent.

Another report by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) indicated that global passenger traffic (measured in total revenue passenger kilometers) increased by 7.8 per cent in June this year compared to the same period last year.

It said the industry recorded a 12-year high growth of 7.9 per cent in traffic in the first six months of 2017.

The AITA report said African airlines’ traffic soared 9.9 per cent in June with a 7.1 per cent rise in capacity.

It said the load factor jumped 1.7 percentage points to 64.3 per cent although this was still the lowest among regions.

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