Original Research

Remediating sub-Saharan Airline challenges and limitations

Guy D. Leitch, Joel Chigada
Journal of Transport and Supply Chain Management | Vol 16 | a670 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jtscm.v16i0.670 | © 2022 Guy D. Leitch, Joel Chigada | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 22 September 2021 | Published: 31 March 2022

About the author(s)

Guy D. Leitch, Da Vinci Institute of Management and Technology, Lethabong, South Africa
Joel Chigada, Department of Information Systems, Faculty of Commerce, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa


Background: Air transport connectivity to and within Africa is provided by both African and non-African airlines. These carriers are confronted by both intrinsic and extrinsic challenges, which constrain their ability to provide the level of air transport connectivity demanded to fully enable economic growth for the continent. In addition, since April 2020, the reduction in air connectivity resulting from the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has further constrained the capacity of the air transport industry to meet the passenger and freight demand.

Objective: The primary objective of this study was to identify the challenges faced by the airline industry in sub-Saharan Africa in meeting the air transport demands of expected economic growth, and to rank the identified challenges in terms of their urgency and importance.

Method: Initial data were collected from three sources: (1) a review of the literature, (2) industry reports, and (3) as a further but secondary resource, the key inputs into air connectivity model metrics were used to identify additional possible key result areas.

From these data, the study derived open-ended questions as prompts for face-to-face (not virtual) interviews with chief executives of the airline industry. This enabled triangulation of the initial data for verification, and then prioritisation for its application in a possible subsequent project-based remediation strategy.

Results: This study revealed that lack of route liberalisation, management weaknesses, state protection, lack of competition, connectivity challenges and the need for airline partnerships were the most important challenges faced by the industry. In this study, the identified challenges were ranked by thematic analysis.

Conclusion: The key products of this study include the identification and ranking of the challenges impacting the sub-Saharan African air transport industry.


African airlines; air transport challenges remediation; aviation; air connectivity; sub-Saharan Airline


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