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Discount airlines in Africa

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Discount airlines in Africa

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This is one of several Wikitravel articles about Discount airlines.

African air travel only accounts for three percent of total air traffic, however a number of quality airlines have emerged in more developed countries, some even 70 years ago. With the change in air travel, African skies have also changed. There are now a number of low-fare airlines in Africa, especially in North Africa and Southern Africa.

Air traffic in Central and West Africa is still very unstable and many airlines appear on the market, only to dissolve a few month later. This is why there has not been a development of reliable airlines until today. With the change in politics and fewer wars in Africa, this has started to develop.

There are also heavy restrictions in many African countries, making it difficult for airlines to set up operations to other countries within Africa and to provide good connections within the continent.

The discount airlines described below are stable and safe. Although many people think that low-fare airlines are not as safe as others, especially in Africa, this is not true. Cheap prices are created by having less service, no drinks and food for free on board and faster turn-around times.

Eastern Africa[edit]

Low cost carriers have been slowly developing in this region in the recent years. The concept of low cost air travel first appeared in East Africa when fly540 [1] started its operation in 2006. Today, this region has a relatively deeper penetration of budget air traffic compared to the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa. Getting into this area need not to be expensive. Instead of flying expensive direct flights with Kenya Airways or Ethiopian Airlines, budget travelers from Europe and Asia can consider a stopover in UAE. The two dominant Middle Eastern LCCs, flydubai [2] and Air Arabia [3], offer some great deals from Dubai (or Sharjah, a 45-minute drive from Dubai).


flydubai [4] operates three weekly flights from Dubai International Airport to Djibouti City, but the fares are not cheap because it is the only airline serving this route.


Domestic air travel is monopolized by Ethiopian Airlines. To move between cities in Ethiopia, travelers on a tight budget often rely on the intercity bus network rather than flying. However, Ethiopian Airlines has some occasional last-minute offers during off season.

flydubai[5] operates three weekly flights from Dubai International Airport to Addis Ababa. It provides a more economic option than the other two full service airlines, Emirates and Ethiopian.


The flag carrier Kenya Airways started its regional low cost branch Jambojet [6] in 2014. Based in Nairobi, it serves only domestic Kenyan destinations currently, including Mombasa, Eldoret and Kisumu.

The pioneer of low cost air travel in East Africa, fly540 [7], also offer some budget options within Kenya. It also operates to some cities in the adjacent countries including Juba in South Sudan and Zanzibar in Tanzania.

Air Arabia [8] operates daily flights from Sharjah, UAE to Nairobi. The fares are not ultra-cheap, but still quite reasonable.


The easyjet-invested start-up airline, Fastjet [9], commenced its operation in November 2012. Based in Dar es Salaam, it has a domestic network across the country as well as international service Harare and Lusaka.

Southern Africa[edit]

This region, especially in South Africa, has a relatively well developed low cost air travel industry. Stable politics favors the growth of budget aviation. Travellers can easily fly within this area in reasonable price.

South Africa[edit] Boeing 737-200. By Fluglotse2000.

Many of the local airlines have online specials and/or discounted rates if you book flights on their website. Most of the local carriers have the "E-Ticket" option which is cheaper. This means that you will not be sent a printed ticket, but you will be able to check in with your passport or identity document directly at the check-in counter on the day of the flight.
While there are many travel agents in South Africa who advertise that they specialise in discounted tickets, it is still often cheaper to book direct with the airline or on their website. [10] was the first sub-Saharan low-fare airline. It is based in Johannesburg, South Africa and operates to domestic destinations, like Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth and the Kruger Mpumalanga Airport near Nelspruit and the Kruger National Park. it recently started flights to Harare in Zimbabwe and Windhoek in Namibia from Johannesburg. It uses leased aircraft from Safair. It is the daughter company of South African airline Comair [11], which is an affiliate of British Airways.

Mango [12] is a new low cost airline backed by South African Airways. Launched on 31 October 2006, it flies between Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban and Bloemfontein.

These airlines are reliable and offer low fares. You should, however, be sure to check prices at other South African airlines and keep in mind that you will have to face a lower service level when flying low-fare. Some of the other airlines do have special discount fares at some times:

  • Cheap flights to cape town [13]
  • South African Airways [14]

Johannesburg is the aviation hub in Sub-Saharan Africa. A handful of foreign low cost airlines also operate to other African destionations.


Tanzanian Fastjet [17] operates three weekly flights from Dar es Salaam to Lusaka.


Tanzanian low cost airline Fastjet [18] will operate from Dar es Salaam to Harare from 5 August 2014. [19] is a newly established budget airline based in Victoria Falls. The Zimbabwean airline advertises itself as starting a "revolution" in the Southern African skies. Its first flight from Johannesburg to Victoria Falls started on 23 July 2014. Some sources suggest that domestic lights to Harare and Bulawayo will commence in September 2014.

Western Africa[edit]

Due to unstable political situations and severe corruption in most of the West African states, economic growth is inhibited and the general population is suffering. They cannot even afford to live, let alone flying!

Spanish carrier Vueling [20] is the only LCC operating out of West Africa. Currently it flies to Gambia and Senegal. Expect to pay at least €300 for these budget flights.


  • Vueling [21] operates two weekly flights from Barcelona to Banjul (one weekly during off season).


  • Vueling [22] operates three weekly flights (two weekly during off season) from Barcelona to Dakar.

Northern Africa[edit]


Low cost air travel is present but only limited to the Europe-Algeria routes, but the fares are still considerably expensive despite the country's approximation from Europe. Flying into Oujda in Morocco then to Algeria by land transport may be a future alternative, as currently the Algerian-Moroccan border is closed. (Some sources suggest that the two governments are in discussion of reopening the border.)




This travel topic is an outline and should either be merged into an appropriate parent topic or else developed further. It has a template, but there is not enough information present for it to be of real use. It was last edited on 2019-06-21 and will be merged or deleted if not modified for one year. Please plunge forward and rescue it!