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Top 10 Airlines in Africa 

By Prudence Minayo 

The aviation industry in Africa has improved tremendously but it can still do better.

Skytrax conducts research on commercial airlines as well as taking surveys from international travelers to rate cabin crews, airports, reliability, consistency, ground control services, airlines, airport lounges, in-flight entertainment, on-board catering, safety history and several other elements of air travel. Based on their findings, they rank and award annually the best airlines in the World Airline Ceremony. 

Africa has more than 400 airlines. Of the airlines, below is a list of the airlines in the continent with number 10 being the very best.

1. Kulula.com- South Africa

This is a low cost domestic airline in Africa that runs within the domestic routes from OR Tambo airport and a few others outside Johannesburg. The airline has a fleet of ten aircrafts and covers six destinations within South Africa. Though it operates at the domestic level, the airline runs as the tenth best airline in the continent. 

2. Egypt Air

The airline is owned by the Egyptian government and is the biggest carrier in Egypt. Its main hub is located at the Cairo International Airport and operates scheduled passenger and flight services to more than 75 destinations in the Middle East, Europe, Africa, Asia and America. Egypt Air is a member of Star Alliance and the Arab air carrier organization. It has more than 50 aircrafts.

3. Mango Airlines-South Africa

Mango Airlines Limited, trading as Mango Airlines, is a low cost state owned airline based at OR Tambo airport near Johannesburg.

It is a subsidiary of South African Airways. It has a total of 15 airplanes and flies within South Africa and Tanzania. Its services are of international standards despite the fact that it is a domestic airline. 

Also Read: How To Own And Register An Aircraft In Kenya And Fees

4. Fast Jet

It is a British based holding company for a group of low cost carriers that are operating in Africa. The company’s stated aim is to become the continent’s first low cost pan African airline. Operations were initially created with acquisition of Fly540, an airline operating in East Africa. Flights in Fast Jet’s own name commenced on November 2012 in Tanzania. The airline which is currently one of the best airline companies in Africa, covers 15 destinations and owns a fleet of five aircrafts

5. Royal Air Maroc

It is the flag carrier of Morocco and the largest airline in the country. It is fully owned by the Moroccan government and has its headquarters on the grounds of Casa Blanca Airport. From its base at the Mohamed V International Airport, the carrier operates a domestic network in Morocco, Scheduled International flights to Africa, Asia, Europe and North and South America. Formed in 1957, the airline joined the One World Alliance in 2020.

In 2019, the Royal Air Morac received more than 7 million passengers making it one of the best in Africa. 

Also Read: Full List Of Kenyans Who Own Helicopters And Cost Of Hiring One

6. Kenya Airways

It is the flag carrier of Kenya founded in 1977 after the dissolution of the East Africa Airways. The carrier’s head office is located in Embakasi, Nairobi with its hub at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. The airline was wholly owned by the government of Kenya until its privatization. This made it the first airline in Africa to successfully do so. It is currently a private-public partnership with the major shareholders being the government of Kenya. The airline is a member of Sky Team. It operates in 66 destinations across the world with forty fleets. It plans to add another 24 destinations in the future. 

7. Air Seychelles 

It is the international airline of the Republic of Seychelles . It operates inter-Island services, chartered flights and international flights to about 10 destinations. As the main driver of tourism in Seychelles, it is one of the co-pillars of the country’s economy. The airline offers international flights to Antananarivo, Johannesburg, Mauritius and Mumbai among other destinations. 

Air Seychelles also operates domestic flights and chartered services throughout the Archipelago. It was founded in 1977 and its cabin crew are reviewed as friendly. The airline also offers the best service with quality food. 

8. Air Mauritius

It is the flag carrier of the Island country of Mauritius and is ranked third in Africa and number 61 globally. Its headquarters is at the Air Mauritius center in Port Louis, Mauritius. The company is the fourth largest carrier in Sub Saharan Africa and has an important standing in the European, African and Indian Ocean region market. The airline won the 2011 Indian Ocean leading airline price for the seventh time in a row. 

With a fleet of 12 aircrafts and operating in 26 destinations, Air Mauritius also performs a range of services for international airlines. Founded in 1967, it is regarded one of the safest airlines in Africa. It has not had any accidents with fatal consequences. 

9. South African Airways

It has its headquarters at the OR Tambo International Airport. It is ranked second best in Africa and 46th globally by Skytrax.  The airline which works in partnership with South African Air Express and South Africa Air Link flies a total of 57 destinations worldwide using a fleet of 54 aircrafts. Beside being the second best airline in Africa, it won The Best Airline Staff in Africa, Best Business Lounge, Best Cabin Crew and Best Airline Cabin cleanliness. It also owns Mango Airlines and is a member of the Star Alliance. 

The carrier joined Star Alliance in April 2006, making it the first African carrier to sign with one of the three airline alliances. 

10. Ethiopian Airlines 

It is Ethiopia’s flag carrier owned by the Ethiopian government. It was launched in December 1945 and commenced operations in April 1947. It expanded to international flights in 1951. It serves a network of 125 passengers destination, 20 domestic and 44 cargo destinations. The airline flies to more destinations than any other African carrier. It is one of the fastest growing companies in the industry and one of the most profitable airlines in Africa. 

In 2010, it was named Africa’s most profitable airline by Air Transport World. The airline has the highest number of fleets in Africa with 112 planes. It is ranked 40th globally by Skytrax. It is a star Alliance member since 2011 and has been a member of International Air Transport Association since 1959, and a member of the African Airlines Association since 1968. The average age of its planes is 6 years and it is estimated to have carried about 13.3 million passengers in the 12 months  to the end of May 2019, a rise of 11.6% compared to the same period the previous year

The success of Ethiopian airlines can get attributed to two factors: the Arline’s clarity of vision and independence from the government in day to day operations and the country’s geographical location.