This report focuses on the scheduled air transport industry, including passenger and cargo services, and airport ground handling services including the operation of airports, flying fields and air navigation facilities. Profiles for 35 local and international companies active in the air transport sector are provided, ranging from British Airways subsidiary, Comair Ltd t/a kulula.com to Solenta Aviation (Pty) Ltd which in January 2017 acquired a 28% stake in Fastjet plc, the parent firm of Tanzanian LCC Fastjet and its Fastjet Zimbabwe sister carrier. Also provided are profiles for seven airport operators including market leader, Airports Company South Africa SOC Ltd t/a ACSA.
Air Transport and Airport Ground Handling Services
Aviation is a key part of the economic lifeblood of South Africa, transporting people and goods across and outside the country, and stimulating economic activity, job creation, tourism and trade. Research indicates that 482,453 aircraft movements, 41.5 million passengers and 110,000 tonnes of cargo contribute approximately R50bn to South African GDP. According to the Department of Transport, South Africa has 135 licensed airports located throughout the country. In this sector, the state-owned South African company, Air Traffic and Navigation Services (ATNS), oversees 11% of the world’s airspace.
National carrier South African Airways (SAA) is experiencing an extremely volatile and controversial period and is confronted by numerous challenges, including poor governance and maladministration. At the same time, its subsidiary, South African Express has been grounded. Added to these problems are the competition from low-cost carriers and rapidly increasing costs which include higher oil prices and high labour costs. Of concern to local players is the emergence of big players on the African continent which has had a negative impact on SAA’s role as a travel hub into Africa. African players such as EgyptAir, Ethiopian Airlines and Kenya Airways are taking market share on the continent, while international players such as Qatar Airways, Etihad and Emirates pose a more serious threat.