Africa flies high on India’s radar
Air connectivity between India and Africa has received a boost, with three new services to Ethiopia, Kenya as well as Tanzania.
Close to 2 million passengers flew between India and Africa in the 12 months ending May, an annual growth of 4 per cent.
Air Tanzania introduced a thricea-week service between Mumbai and
Dar es Salaam in July, establishing the first direct route between two countries since 2010. Air India is resuming Mumbai-Nairobi flights from September, while Ethiopian Airlines will start an Addis Ababa-Bengaluru service from October 27 — the first non-stop flight between southern India and Africa.
Over 80 per cent of traffic between India and Africa flies via a hub, and direct connections are limited. There are non-stop flights from India to only seven nations in Africa, including the islands of Mauritius and Seychelles. South Africa, Mauritius, Egypt, Kenya and Nigeria are the key destinations, with South Africa being the largest destination for Indians and around 800 passengers fly between two countries daily. However, there are no direct flights.
“Ethiopian Airlines is a significant player in connecting India to Africa and beyond. The new four weekly flights will connect the important ICT hub of Bengaluru to the ever expanding Ethiopian network,” said group CEO Tewolde GebreMariam. The airline hopes to tap student and medical tourism traffic between India and Africa. Ethiopian Airlines could provide easy connections to other cities in South India via Bengaluru.
“We see a lot of business traffic between India and Africa. The visiting friends and relatives travel segment is also strong given the Indian diaspora in the continent. The new flights will increase access and may lower fares. Africa is a niche and expensive destination and the new connections would will facilitate more leisure travel,” said Rakshit Desai, managing director of FCM Travel Solutions.
Close to 2 million passengers flew between India and Africa in the 12 months, ending May, an annual growth of 4 per cent