Aviation: Africa's passenger traffic 'expected to double over next 15 years'

May 15, 2023

The June 2023 Africa Focus Conference in Addis Ababa "will allow industry leaders to join forces and drive the Focus Africa initiative".

Aviation: Africa's passenger traffic 'expected to double over next 15 years'

Joseph Kizza
Senior Producer - Digital Content @New Vision

 AVIATION  ✈️🌍

"Africa stands out as the region with the greatest potential and opportunity for aviation."

These are the words of Willie Walsh, the director general of the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

In a Monday press statement by IATA on the Focus Africa Conference that is coming up this June, the Irish airline executive is also keen to note that while the continent's air passenger traffic is projected to double over the next 15 years, a number of obstacles stand in the way of this potential.

Infrastructure constraints, high costs, lack of connectivity and regulatory impediments are some of the hindrances.

Others include slow adoption of global standards as well as skills shortages.

These are the challenges that the Focus Africa Conference, which will take place on June 20-21 in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, will address.

Ethiopian Airlines, Africa's largest airline and the fourth in the world (by the number of countries served), will be the host airline.


A collaborative initiative, IATA says Focus Africa "pools together resources from across the aviation value chain to urgently address critical challenges hindering the advancement of aviation across Africa".

The end goal is to strengthen aviation’s contribution to Africa’s economic and social development and improve connectivity, safety and reliability for passengers and shippers. 

IATA represents at least 300 airlines that make up 83% of global air traffic.

Delighted to play hosting duties for the 2023 conference, Ethiopian Airline's group CEO Mesfin Tasew said "advancing the air transport industry is critical for Africa’s economic growth".

"The conference will allow industry leaders to join forces and drive the Focus Africa initiative," the IATA statement quotes him as saying.

In the two days of the conference, the sesssions will address safety, aeronautical information management, intra-African connectivity, airport infrastructure, biometrics and security, modern airline retailing, ustainability and skilled workforce.

IATA director general Willie Walsh says Africa’s passenger traffic is expected to double within the next two decades

IATA director general Willie Walsh says Africa’s passenger traffic is expected to double within the next two decades


The speakers lined up for the June engagement in Ethiopia's capital are:

▪️ Willie Walsh, director general of IATA

▪️ Mesfin Tasew, group CEO of Ethiopian Airlines

▪️ Kamil Alawadhi, IATA’s regional vice-president for Africa and Middle East 

▪️ Yvonne Makolo, CEO RwandAir and chair of the IATA Board of Governors (2023-2024)

▪️  Adefunke Adeyemi, secretary general of African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC)

▪️  Abdulrahman Berthe, secretary general of African Airlines Association (AFRAA)

▪️  Aaron Munetsi, CEO of Airlines Association of Southern Africa (AASA)

▪️ Rodger Foster, CEO of Airlink 

▪️ Poppy Khoza, director of civil aviation of South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA)

▪️ Bradley Mims, deputy administrator of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)

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