Air Peace leads Fastest growth by fleet

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Air Peace has recorded the fastest growth by fleet when compared to its African rivals in the continent’s aviation market, Prime Business Africa’s finding has shown.

In Africa’s aviation market, there are several African heavyweight air transports; such as Air Peace, Ethiopian Airlines, Egyptair, Royal Air Maroc and Air Algérie competing for air passengers.

Intense rivalry among these airline operators often leads to an increase of fleet owned or leased and expansion of routes travelled by these airlines.

Thanks to these African air giants and foreign airline operators, African routes generate $2.1 billion in revenue according to Nigerian aviation expert and international consultant, Nick Fadugba, during a presentation in 2022 at a conference in Dubai.

In this report on the fastest airline growth by fleet, Prime Business Africa based its findings on airlines that hit 40 aircraft in the shortest period.

Below are four companies that made the list.

Air Peace

According to findings by Prime Business Africa, it was learnt that despite falling far behind in year of establishment and passengers carried annually, Air Peace recorded the fastest growth by fleet within eight years.

Air Peace was founded by Allen Onyema in 2014, but as of 2022 the company has 38 aircraft for operation and the Nigerian airline operator is set to cross the 40-fleet mark in 2023, as over 25 aircraft are on order.

Interestingly, Air Peace is the only non-national carrier to make the list, as other airline operators are partly owned or controlled by the government of their country.

Air Peace, which is West Africa’s largest carrier, mostly operates Embraer, Airbus and Boeing aircraft, transporting its passengers to about 20 domestic routes, seven regional skies and three international destinations.

Kenya Airways

Next on the list is Kenya Airways, the flag carrier airline of Kenya. It was founded in 1977, with the largest shareholder being the Government of Kenya.

The government accounts for a 48.9 per cent stake in Kenya Airways, while KQ Lenders Company owns 38.1 per cent when the airline went private in 1996.

Kenya Airways’ race to 40 aircraft was completed within 36 years after the company’s fleet hit 43 aircraft in 2013, the same year Air Peace was established by Onyema.

Although the company is currently facing a financial struggle that has seen Kenya Airways adopt cost-cutting measures which have led to the firm cutting its aircraft to 36.

Air Algérie

It took Air Algérie 63 years to achieve 40 aircraft in its fleet after attaining the number in 2010, considering the flag carrier of Algeria was founded in 1947.

Air Algerie is 100 per cent owned by the Algerian government and currently owns about 55 aircraft in the company’s fleet for operation according to Simply Flying.

The company’s fleet consists of Airbus, Boeing and ATR 72-600s used to transport passengers to 75 destinations; domestic and international routes.

Ethiopian Airlines

Ethiopian Airlines took the fourth spot on the list of fastest airline growth by fleet, as its number of aircraft crossed the 40-fleet mark in 2010 when it housed 41.

The airline was established in 1945, which means it took Ethiopian Airlines 65 years before achieving the feat. Although the airline operator now has 141 aircraft in its possession, the highest by an African airline.

Note that Ethiopian Airlines is wholly owned by the Government of Ethiopia, and the company is planning to own a stake in Nigeria’s proposed national carrier, Nigeria Air, a deal that is being contested by domestic airlines in Nigeria.

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