Analysis in brief | All of Africa’s major economies are carrying out major airport building and expansion efforts in anticipation of ever-rising air passenger numbers. Airports are status symbols in their role as gateway announcements to African destinations, but also play vital roles in economic expansion.
- Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa will rival in size the world’s largest airports when expansion is completed
- Rwanda has positioned itself as Central Africa’s aviation hub, home to Africa’s first drone airport
- ‘Open skies’ policies agreed to by all African countries will, when implemented, expand air travel between African countries
Where once, every African country’s pride was its own national airline, today the prestigious item is a gleaming new state-of-the-art airport as Africa’s most populous nations are competing to be regional hubs. They seek to be air transportation centres where long flights from Europe and Asia come and go, and disembarking passengers go on to other countries via shorter route air carriers. Regional hub crowns can be bestowed upon Cairo for North Africa, Addis Ababa for East Africa, Lagos for West Africa, Kigali for Central Africa and Johannesburg for Southern Africa. However, international flights arrive at dozens of international airports distributed across all regions, from which the routes of shorter-haul aircraft emerge like spokes.