According to IATA – International Air Transport Association, Africa is home to 16% of world population, but accounts only 2.2% of world’s air transportation market.
But things are changing thanks to an increase of demand from more travellers.
African airlines have been under control from world’s major safety boards. These airlines are not welcome in Europe and most are on the blacklist.
But, I don’t want to talk about the opportunity of opening a new airline in Africa. Rather I want to understand if the growth of this market (despite the safety issues) can open new job opportunities for European pilots.
Increase in African Aviation
According to IATA, the RPK – Revenue Passenger Kilometer, grew by 6.3%, In other words, more people are flying on African airplanes.
There has been also an important increase in cargo flying.
In 2017 African air traffic has increased by 7.5%, but because of bad infrastructures, it is only half the rate of demand.
By 2026 the number of passengers travelling in Africa will increase from 100 million to 300 million. The annual growth expected is of 5.9%.
These numbers make me believe that there will be more opportunities for European pilots.
What about safety in Africa?
New infrastructures means that there will be more business for European, American and Asian companies that can provide experience to build the right systems.
There will be a need for more pilot instructors, crews, air traffic controllers, airport security, maintenance technicians, etc.
According to me, all of these new systems will rely on the experience that foreign companies have acquired during the last years.
The African Aviation Association expects an increase of the number of airplanes from 600 to 1210. More than double.
This means more pilots, flight attendants and maintenance technicians needed.
How to solve the safety issue?
From past crashes there is one main reason that has been identified as the main cause: airplane age.
We know very well that adequate maintenance can make an airplane fly for over 20 years. The responsibility of this is only of the Airlines.
Since 2009 there has been an increase of African Airlines with a high quality organization and running off the blacklist.
The Airlines that were on the IOSA list, performed 3 times better than those that were not on the registry.
Knowing that the number of crashes is proportionate to airplane age, means that flight safety is increasing and we know how to make it even better: buying new airplanes.
Standardizing systems and buying new airplanes will solve most of the problems that today African airlines are facing.
This is definitely good news for European pilots, and if most pilots are willing to move to Africa, there will be many more opportunities, compared to Europe.
Not many want to move to Africa, but there already some that are doing this and are choosing not only to fly in Africa, but to live a great life experience.