Middle East airlines are a particular threat because the majority of long-haul travel growth is coming from new traffic flows such as Asia-Africa, for which the hubs in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha are ideally located. Much as Qantas Airways suffered from being an end-of-the-line carrier on the “Kangaroo Route” connecting Australia and Europe, carriers such as SAA are put at a geographic disadvantage. And it seems that they are reaching similar conclusions: Qantas teamed up with Emirates; SAA is now working with Etihad. In addition to code-sharing with Etihad, Kenya Airways is looking for ways to exploit the North Africa-Asia market through Nairobi, as is Star Alliance member Ethiopian Airlines through Addis Ababa.
Tap the icon in the digital edition of AW&ST to see a breakdown of available seat-kilometers between Africa and the Middle East, Europe, Asia and North America this month, or go to AviationWeek.com/africanairlines