By Evelyn Masaba
For most frequent travellers, it is not just about how fast they can get to their destination, especially when flying. It is about quality of the service offered after booking, on flight and, of course, upon arrival.
In most cases, there are airlines that will make their passengers feel very welcomed on their journey but have the worst polices and after services, such as instances when one loses their luggage and ends up vowing not to use that airline again due to negligence.
Africa has over 100 airlines operating flights all over the continent, but only a small percentage of them are completely based in Africa or owned by Africans. Even then, there are very few that cater to the ordinary African with prices that are affordable and make it easy to travel across the region.
Where did Africa go wrong in aviation? In Uganda, for instance, there is no official flagbearer that represents the country in the skies catering to the different travel routes through the rest of East Africa on a budget suitable for any Ugandan.
Yet there are so many of these airlines in Africa that keep standing the test of time and growing by the year — making stops in almost of every part of the continent.
Here are a few of the top-ranking African airlines.
The star of the Horn of Africa, operating since 1946 and headquartered at the Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, is one of the best-known airlines on the continent. Ethiopian Airlines has been known to fly to more destinations on the continent compared to other airlines and has a fleet of over 78 with 101 passenger destinations.
Soaring from the heart of East Africa, the airline employs over 3,900 people and touches the skyline of 62 passenger destinations across the world. With its headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya Airways has a frequent flight schedule that cuts across several African countries.
South African Airways
You cannot talk air travel in Africa and not hear about the ‘Pride of Africa’, based in South Africa at OR Tambo International Airport. South African Airways has been in business for 82 now years and continues to grow strong with each year. The airline had a stormy time during the peak of anti-apartheid sanctions from many countries all over the world but picked up afterwards when apartheid was pushed out of South Africa. The airline flies to 42 destinations with a fleet of 53.
This is a low-cost airline based in Tanzania with outlets in Uganda, Zambia and Comoros, among many other countries. The airline, which was formally known as Fly540, started operations in 2012 and has been expanding into different regions beyond East Africa.
Probably the fastest-growing carrier in East Africa, RwandAir has been operating since 2002 under the Rwandan government. It flies to 18 destinations within Africa and the Middle East and is based at the Kigali International Airport in Rwanda’s capital, Kigali.
The airline has six other subsidiaries that majorly focus on domestic transportation, but does have over 70 destinations beyond its own borders at the Cairo International Airport. EgyptAir is now regaining its growth after the 2011 revolution.
Set up in 1967 by Air France, the airline has accumulated 20 destinations and is the official airline of Mauritius. Air Mauritius has one of the largest carriers in sub-Saharan Africa.
It might not be the main airline of Tanzania, but Precision Air has the biggest share of air traffic in the country compared to its other counterparts in the business. The airline has over 10 fleets and 9 destinations under its wings.
The writer is the public relations manager at Jumia Travel in Uganda. Travel.jumia.com is Africa’s No.1 hotel booking website, allowing you to get the best prices for more than 25,000 hotels in Africa and more than 200,000 hotels around the world.
Jumia Travel has offices in Lagos, Accra, Dakar, Abidjan, Algiers, Douala, Kampala, Dar Es Salaam, Nairobi, Addis Ababa, Porto and Paris.