AFRICA: Oil and minerals fuel cargo growth

Economic growth in East Africa is fueling growth in the aviation sector and spawning new startups, as well as growth in existing carriers. Rwandair, Fly 540, Air Uganda, Jetlink and Kenya Airways have boosted their presence in the region by tapping the growing travel in the regional cities of Entebbe, Juba, Kigali, Mwanza, Zanzibar and […]


Economic growth in East Africa is fueling growth in the aviation sector and spawning new startups, as well as growth in existing carriers. Rwandair, Fly 540, Air Uganda, Jetlink and Kenya Airways have boosted their presence in the region by tapping the growing travel in the regional cities of Entebbe, Juba, Kigali, Mwanza, Zanzibar and Dar es Salaam. The coming into effect of the East African Common Market is a welcome development for airlines which saw it as an opportunity to tap into the free movement of people and goods in the region. Fly 540 has been one of the fastest growing airlines in the region, banking on its low fares. The recent acquisition of East African Air Safari Express has given the low cost carrier the opportunity to increase its presence in the region. The discovery of oil in Uganda is expected to increase demand for flights to the landlocked country, with airline’s anticipating increased cargo and passenger numbers, especially with the completion of an airstrip near Lake Albert. “We project good growth in the future on the Ugandan route with equipment for the mines and business travelers being the main driver,” said Sanjeev Gadhia, managing director of Astral Aviation, a regional cargo airline. Tanzania is also seen as a major opportunity in the region mainly due to its size and mining activities. Jetlink recently launched flights to Mwanza, a move that is expected to see the airline tap into the growing passenger numbers moving between gold mines in the town, the region and beyond. For Astral Aviation Tanzania has been one of its better performing routes mainly driven by cargo to Zanzibar due to increased tourism activities as well as the demand for mining equipment and movement of mined material from Mwanza. However, the slow liberalisation of the regional airspace has seen some of the airlines’expansion plans delayed. East Africa has an open skies agreement that is yet to come into force.