The Best Airlines in Africa, 2016

Kenya Airways was voted Africa’s Leading Airline 2016 at the World Travel Awards. It effectively unseated South African Airways which was also nominated in the same category together with Tunisair, Royal Air Maroc and Egypt Air. Kenya Airways also won the Africa’s Leading Airline- Business Class 2016 Award which it has won since 2013. The company’s audacious claim to be “The pride of Africa” seems to be a cheque well honored as it has asserted its dominance in the African skies. South African Airways had taken home the award for 22 years running but the reign has come to an end. Ethiopian Airlines was named best airline in Economy class while fastjet was awarded Leading Low-Cost Airline.

Speaking on the side-lines of the WTA gala, Kenya Airways Marketing Director Chris Diaz said, “This is sign enough that we are putting the dark clouds behind us to cruise unimpeded as Africa’s most respected airline.” He went on to say, “It is not the size that has made us soar again, but our distinct class and quality in aircraft, trained staff, excellent cuisine, new lounges and unequalled warmth.”

Just last year, Kenya Airways was embroiled in tumultuous waters but now it has escaped in style asserting dominance over Africa. Kenya Airways is the flag carrier of Kenya and was founded in 1977 following the dissolution of East African Airways. The company’s largest shareholder is the Kenyan government with 29,8% worth of stakes in the company. It is listed on the Nairobi Stock Exchange, the Uganda Securities Exchange and the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange. The airline is based at Jomo Kenyatta Airport.

Other Top Airlines Nominated for the Awards


The flag carrier of Tunisia and one of Africa’s finest, the airline was formed in 1948. Its main base is Tunis-Carthage International Airport while its head office is in Tunis, near Tunis Airport. The initial shareholding was 35% for government, Air France with 35% and other interests with 30%. In 1957, the government became the majority shareholder with 51% and Air France’s stake was reduced to 15%. The company is 74% owned by the Tunisian government. The airliner flies to destinations across Africa, Asia and Europe. It became the first Airbus A319 customer in the Middle East and Africa.


Royal Air Maroc

The Royal Air Maroc is Morocco’s national carrier and the country’s largest airliner. It is fully owned by the government and has its headquarters on the grounds of Casablanca-Anfa Airport. The airliner has domestic flights as well as international flights to other African countries, Asia, Europe, North and South America. RAM was formed in July 1953 and has grown into a formidable force in the airline business in Africa. Its size is just as astounding as the services it gives with a a workforce of over 2,500 people. As of March 2013, RAM operated an all-Boeing fleet.

Egypt Air

EgyptAir is notorious for the Seif al-Din Mustafa fiasco where the man pretended to have a suicide belt on yet he it was a belt full of cellphone covers. This rather unfortunate story is however, not all there is to EgyptAir. It is actually a premium, high level airline which normally does not have Mustafas in it. It has been working to be profitable again after the revolution of 2011. The company was founded in 1931 as Misr Airwork, given exclusive rights to Egypt air transportation. EgyptAir lost around $185 million in the 2012/2013 fiscal year but in the 2011/2012 year, the loss had been as much as double. Cumulative losses are almost at $1 billion since 2011. EgyptAir serves no less than 81 destinations all over the world. It is a part of Star Alliance, the world’s largest global airline alliance together with South African Airways.

South African Airways

The South African flag bearer is the most awarded African airline. Its headquarters are in Airways Park on the grounds of OR Tambo (Africa’s best Airport according to the World Travel Awards Africa). It was formed in 1934 and has gone from strength to strength since then. It currently flies to over 35 international destination and won the Leading Airliner Award for 22 years until Kenya Airways hogged the spotlight.

It was all about Kenya, the toast of the night at the 23rd edition of the World Travel Awards Africa and Indian Ocean gala. The country took home 23 of the 57 awards at the event making it a model for profitable and quality investment in tourism. Kudos to you Kenya.

Image Credit: Airways News


Written by PH

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