1. Ethiopian Airlines
Ethiopian Airlines is Ethiopia’s flag carrier and is ranked as one of the best airlines in Africa. It serves over 60 international destinations across Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and North America.
Located in Addis Ababa, Ethiopian Airlines joined Star Alliance in December 2011 and has a significant local and international cargo network. Its success in Africa is attributed to its extensive network.
2. Royal Air Maroc
Royal Air Maroc (RAM), also known as RAM, is the Moroccan national carrier and the country’s largest airline. Established in 1953, RAM offers short and long-distance flights to over 100 destinations worldwide, including Europe, Africa, the Americas, and the Middle East.
The airline’s main hub is Casablanca Mohammed V International Airport. RAM joined the Oneworld alliance in 2020.
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3. South African Airways
South African Airways (SAA), founded in 1934, is the national flag carrier of South Africa and one of the largest airlines in Africa. With major hubs in Johannesburg and Cape Town, SAA serves ten African destinations and joined Star Alliance in 2006.
In 2023, Skytrax recognized SAA as the third-best airline in Africa. The South African government owns 100% of the airline, which offers domestic and international services to countries like the US, Canada, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, and the UK.
4. Kenya Airways
Kenya Airways Ltd., founded in 1977, is the flag carrier airline of Kenya and a public-private partnership. It has a majority shareholder of 48.9%, with 38.1% owned by KQ Lenders Company 2017 Ltd and 7.8% by KLM.
Kenya Airways is one of the best flag carriers in Kenya and Africa, having received the World Travel Award for Africa’s Leading Airline since 2016 and 2017. The airline, known as “Africa’s Pride,” offers services to top destinations worldwide. Since its inception, the airline’s popularity has skyrocketed, and it is now one of the most successful in all of Africa.
5. Air Mauritius
Located in Port Louis, Mauritius, Air Mauritius is the fourth largest flag carrier in sub-Saharan Africa. It covers over 100 destinations with its partners. The airline is headquartered in Port Louis, Mauritius, with its hub based at Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport.
The airline was placed in voluntary administration in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2016, it launched the ‘Air Corridor’ with direct flights to Singapore, aiming to improve air connectivity between Mauritius and Singapore and stimulate passenger and cargo traffic between Asia and Africa.
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RwandAir is Rwanda’s flag carrier. It operates domestic and international services to over 30 international destinations in Western, Central, Eastern, Southern Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and Europe.
Based at Kigali International Airport, the airline is rapidly expanding and boasts one of the newest, most technologically advanced fleets across the continent. Its main base is in Kigali, Rwanda’s capital.
EgyptAir, the national airline of the Arab Republic of Egypt, operates domestic and regional flights throughout Egypt and Africa, as well as international routes to Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and North America. It joined the Star Alliance in 2008, making it one of the largest airlines in Africa.
EgyptAir Cargo handles European, African, and Middle Eastern freight needs. Egyptair has been recognized as one of the best airlines in Africa in 2023.
FlySafair is a budget airline based in Johannesburg, South Africa, and operates flights to over five domestic destinations, including Joburg, Cape Town, Durban, PE, East London, and George. The airline’s main hubs are Cape Town International Airport (CPT), O.R. Tambo International Airport (JNB), and King Shaka International Airport (DUR).
Despite its parent company’s 50-year history, FlySafair only gained popularity in October 2014. The airline serves seven domestic South African cities and uses 16 Boeing planes for its flights.
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Fastjet Plc, a UK-based holding company, operates a network of low-cost airlines in Africa. Its first flights began in Tanzania in 2012, and it aims to become the first low-cost, pan-African airline. Fastjet Zimbabwe began service in 2015, followed by Mozambique in 2017.
In 2018, it deployed four Embraer E145s to East and Southern Africa, with an on-time performance of 90% and over 2.5 million passengers transported. The company’s headquarters are in Johannesburg, South Africa.
10. Air Seychelles
Air Seychelles, established in 1978, is the national airline of the Republic of Seychelles and operates inter-island, international, and charter flights. Initially operating internal flights, it expanded into international service in 1983, with stops in Frankfurt and London.
The airline has expanded its international route network and now serves other countries beyond Seychelles. Its head office is located at Seychelles International Airport. In 2014, Skytrax gave Air Seychelles the highest possible rating of four stars, and it is the sixth-best airline in Africa for both business class and cabin service.