Several key unserved African routes could provide greater connectivity for travellers, drive economic growth in local economies, and provide a significant boost in revenue for airlines, according to analysis by Airbus.

Several of the top unserved routes identified in the analysis are concentrated in cities such as Lagos, Cape Town, Nairobi, Dakar, and Douala. Airbus also touched on strategic recommendations to capitalise on the opportunities of a more connected continent as well as Airbus’ capabilities to help realise this potential.

“Despite significant traffic between certain city-pairs, some identified routes still lack regularly scheduled non-stop flights,” says Geert Lemaire, market intelligence and consulting director at Airbus. “Factors such as restrictive bilateral air service agreements, economic variables, and challenges with capacity, frequency and operating cost efficiency contribute to these routes remaining unserved.”

The forecast, meanwhile, predicts a 4,1% growth overall in air traffic over the next 20 years, resulting in an anticipated need for 1 180 new aircraft by 2043.

Meanwhile, the continued growth of the aviation sector in Africa is expected to result in 3,3% real GDP growth on the continent, well above the 2,6% global average.

This growth is ratified by data from Airbus’ Global Services Forecast, which estimates that Africa will need to introduce 15 000 more pilots, 20 000 technicians and 24 000 cabin crew to meet the surge in air travel demand.