Flying within Africa!!! Why is it so expensive?

Discussion in 'Newbies' started by RaymondRw, Feb 17, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. RaymondRw

    RaymondRw New Member

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    I have travelled to many parts of the world but not half expensive than travelling within Africa! Any reason why that is so???
     
  2. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    Econ-101? Supply and Demand: Supply of good and reliable airlines is limited, and demand greatly exceeds supply, so that those few companies that can supply this scarce commodity can basically charge anything that the consumer is willing to pay. That would be my guess...
     
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  3. sobore
    Original Member

    sobore Gold Member

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    Welcome to Milepoint! :)
    Another factor is that very little competition exists between airlines on the African continent. This allows prices to climb quite easily. Not sure if there is any type of price regulation.
     
  4. tommy777
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    tommy777 Co-founder

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    Welcome to milepoint! :)

    I've found that redeeming miles within Africa (especially BMI miles) gets me to where I need to go without getting skinned.
     
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  5. kiwi
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    kiwi Gold Member

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    Intra-Africa travel is slowly getting more affordable as more African airlines are joining alliances.
     
  6. habsfan

    habsfan Active Member

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    I was a Peace Corps volunteer in West Africa - in that area, you have very few options to get around by air, and so there's much less competition than you would find in other parts of the world. To get from Bamako to Dakar (a flight I think of only 90 minutes), you can jump on the Kenya Airlines or Ethiopian Airlines flights from East Africa, but beyond that, there's only a few other choices (none particularly reliable). Most people (except for expats, NGO workers, or government workers) can't afford to fly by air, which keeps demand relatively low. Also, distances in Africa are vast!
     
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  7. RaymondRw

    RaymondRw New Member

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    Catch-22 isn't it..the more you travel the more miles you gain. But you need to travel and these days travelling is more expensive. Or am I just missing the boat? I see a South African airline will be travelling to Mombaso starting in March. Is that because there is a demand or because they will be cheap enough to get many patriots??? Being South Afriican, I will certainly use them...if they are cheap enough. Oh..excuse the ignorance, but what are BMI miles?

    Hi NYCUA1K
    Love to know what your experiences have been in Africa! I am in East Africa at the moment where the exchange rates have been influenced by outsiders: governments of course. What is your favourite part of the continent?
    Ray

    Hi
    South Africa certainly has some control...can't tell you how much. Some time back I travelled to Senegal and got a bargain flight from a travel agency but when I got to the airport the airline wouldn't accept the ticket. I had to purchase a new one right there or go back home...didn't go back home but did arrive in Dakar with less to spend: I did get my money back though.

    Hi Kiwi
    Gold member, hey? How much travelling do you do? I never use the same airline but look for cheap flights. How do I gain miles by using different airlines?
     
  8. RaymondRw

    RaymondRw New Member

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    Hi habsfan
    What I have found over the years is that many companies pay for your flight but they choose the cheapest airlines...ones that one would rather not fly with. Inevitably, one ends up paying the difference and flying with reliable ones. Distances are vast but have you seen how much a flight costs to a destination outside Africa? Often cheaper and it's farther; comparatively speaking of course. And are you still a Peace Corps volunteer?
     
  9. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Welcome to MP!

    BMI is British Midland, and their mileage program is called Diamond Club. People here have historically found it to be a great program within Star Alliance for a variety of reasons, but all of that may not matter much longer as BMI is being sold off to BA/IB by their current owners, LH.
     
  10. habsfan

    habsfan Active Member

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    No, not still a Peace Corps volunteer (finished up in 2010). Good points about companies choosing the cheapest airlines - on the other side, though, if you work on an American funded project in West Africa, you're often required to fly a US airline (or US airline partner - which in West Africa pretty much means Air France). Air France can thus afford to charge sky-high rates since a lot of those flights are filled up by people whose flights are paid for by their employer (or the government), and so the demand for flights at those prices remains high. The situation is a lot better in southern/eastern Africa, where there's more tourism (and more outside demand), and a bigger choice of reliable airlines.
     
  11. kiwi
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    kiwi Gold Member

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    Most frequent flyer programs have a home airline, and partner airlines. Those that are part of an alliance (star alliance, oneworld or sky team) have the most flexible options for earning and redeeming miles globally, and for recognising status with benefits.
     
  12. thetenken
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    thetenken Silver Member

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    I think the prices are so high in Africa because there is actually low demand for air travel within Africa. Often you will find perhaps one airline servicing one destination in Africa because the demand just isn't there to have multiple airlines competing against each other.

    A lot of airlines also don't have hubs in Africa, and also require their planes to be serviced in the countries where they do have hubs. The airfare is often cheaper to fly from say Accra to Lisbon to Cape Verde than to fly Accra to Banjul to Cape Verde.

    As has been mentioned above as well, the ones who do intra-Africa travel are often aid agencies/NGOs/government officials/businessmen who are traveling for their work. Ordinary West and other Africans are less likely to travel because they just can't afford it, and if they are traveling for pleasure, the demand is higher for travel to Europe or the U.S.

    The above is based off anecdotal evidence from what I've seen. I would say a variety of factors contribute to high intra-African travel. Some airports also have very high airport taxes to build out their infrastructure (and also, I think, because if you can afford to fly you can afford to pay a bit more as well).
     
  13. jparker

    jparker Silver Member

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    You have probably seen it, but, just in case, SkyTeam just announced a "Go Africa" pass program for flights within Africa (tied to an intercontinental roundtrip) with Kenya Airlines as the key provider. I have not used this program but, according to the press release, it could offer up to 75% savings on some fares.

    I would be interested when anyone on MP tries it to see what they think and whether it really offers that level of savings.

    Jason
    www.notefromtheroad.com
     
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  14. cliq

    cliq Silver Member

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    I have also wondered the same... why on earth are fllghts within Africa so so expensive? I guess it is just the fact that less people travel within these countries by air or travel at all. Travelling within Africa is mainly for the rich folks or businessmen/women so these Airlines can afford to keep price high and suck these travelers dry. The same goes to hotels in Africa too... I can get a decent RadissonBlu in some European cities for about 100€-200€ but in Africa or Nigeria, price can be as high as 500$ :eek:
     

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