These are the busiest air routes in Africa

Routesonline analyses the top ten busiest air routes to, from and within Africa by passenger numbers, with the number one in the list a two-hour domestic flight costing less than $80.

A two-hour flight between South Africa’s legislative capital Cape Town and the country’s largest city Johannesburg is the busiest airline route in Africa, research by Routesonline has found.

More than 4.7 million passengers flew the 1,292 km between Cape Town (CPT) and Johannesburg’s O.R. Tambo International Airport (JNB) in the last calendar year, putting it comfortably number one in the rankings.

Eight airlines operated services between Cape Town and O.R. Tambo International during the year, with the average cost of a ticket at US$78. In total there was in excess of 34,000 flights between the two destinations in 2017, equating to an average of 95 flights per day.

Airlines operating CPT-JNB in 2017 by capacity share (%):

Routes’ study analysed the top 100 aviation routes to /from and within Africa by total capacity in 2017, according to OAG Schedules Analyser, and then ordered them using passenger data provided by Sabre Airline Solutions. The routes included are therefore domestic, intra-Africa and international.

Second in the list is the flight between O.R. Tambo International and Durban’s King Shaka International Airport. A total of 2.87 million passengers flew between the two cities, which at just 498 km is the shortest flight by distance in the top ten.

The third-busiest route links Egypt’s capital city Cairo with the Saudi Arabian port city of Jeddah, while the flight between Nigeria’s capital Abuja and its largest city Lagos ranked fourth. The two services attracted 1.7 million and 1.3 million passengers respectively.

Completing the top five is Cape Town to Lanseria International Airport, situated to the north west of Johannesburg, with 1.2 million passengers.

The research has been released ahead of Routes Africa 2018, taking place in Accra, Ghana (16-18 July 2018). Routes Africa is the continent’s most-established aviation forum, bringing together leading airlines, airports and tourism authorities to discuss air services to, from and within Africa.

This year’s event will hear from some of the biggest names in the industry, including Ethiopian Airlines chief executive Tewolde GebreMariam; Raphael Kuuchi, vice president for Africa at The International Air Transport Association (IATA); and Ali Tounsi, secretary general of ACI Africa.

Steven Small, brand director of Routes said: “With the Single African Air Transport Market set to further liberalise and unify the African skies, it is no doubt an exciting time for the continent’s aviation industry.

“Routes Africa will bring together senior decision makers from Africa’s airlines, airports and destinations to plan new services. They will also discuss increasing the frequency and capacity of the existing routes that are popular with passengers.

“The negotiations in Accra could lead the way to the busiest African routes of the future.”

The top ten routes:


Routes Africa 2019

The route development forum for Africa
Routes recognises the importance of enhancing intra-Africa air connectivity to stimulate economic development across the region.

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