West and Central Africa’s largest airline , Air Peace has taken the lead in fleet expansion, among the giants in Africa.
Investigation has shown that while it took many of the giant airlines such as Ethiopian Airline, Royal Air Maroc, Kenya Airways and Air Algérie several years to achieve, for instance a milestone of 40 aircraft, Air Peace as at December 2022 in its eight years of establishment, had 38 aircraft and would soon cross the 40 aircraft mark when some from the over 25 on order are delivered beginning from 2023.
Being the only private operator among the list of fastest airline growth by fleet, Air Peace currently operates Airbus, Embraer and Boeing aircraft transporting passengers to about 20 domestic destinations, seven regional and three international destinations.
Established by the business mogul, Allen Onyema, Air Peace announced in January 2023, it airlifted 55,821,258 passengers in the last eight years since its inception.
It reaffirmed its commitment to providing seamless domestic, regional and international connectivity to Nigerians and other Africans through strategic route expansion, increased network options and modern fleet expansion.
Its Chief Operating Officer, Oluwatoyin Olajide, stressed that airlifting over 55 million passengers in just eight years is a giant stride and a testament to the steady growth trajectory of the airline.
“When we launched in 2014 with a record fleet of seven aircraft, we had a future-proof blueprint, driven by the vision to reduce the air travel burden of Nigerians through the provision of safe and world-class flight services.
“To achieve this, we strategically invested in the right kind of aircraft, factoring business sustainability and customer experience while also hiring and training the best technical manpower to drive the process.
“Now, we have 38 aircraft and are still expecting 8 brand new Embraer 195-E2s from our firm order in 2019 and additional 15 brand new Boeing 737 Max 8 and 10 Order, as we ramp up plans to strengthen our operations to serve our esteemed customers better.
With intense competition among these airline operators which often leads to an increase of fleet owned or leased and expansion of routes travelled by these airlines, the giants are poised for more as it was revealed at a conference in Dubai in 2022 by Nick Fadugba, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of African Business Aviation Association (AfBAA), that African routes generate $2.1 billion in revenue, courtesy of these African careers and their foreign counterparts operating into the region.
The other giants on the list are:
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.
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 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.
[Primebusiness and additional reports by The Travel Port]