- There was only one direct flight between China and Africa in 2010
- Now there are about eight direct flights between the two
Flights between Africa and China have grown by 630% in the past decade. Chinese people flying home from their workplace in African countries previously had to make up to a 5-trip journey, with four different legs by plane and long journeys in vehicles. Nowadays, most international workers can drive a short distance to an airport and take a direct flight to their home city in China.
Better access to transport can be largely attributed to Chinese investment into African countries. As Chinese investment has grown in Africa over the past decade, it has led to growing demand for flights between China and African countries. Airports have been built in Kenya, Mali, Mauritius, Mozambique, Nigeria, the Republic of Congo, Togo and Sierra Leone with the help of Chinese firms.
Recently, the Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa tripled its capacity with the addition of a new terminal. Built by China at a cost of $363 million, the airport mainly serves passengers flying between Africa and China.
Ethiopian Airlines plays a large role in carrying some of the 850 000 people that fly between China and Africa. In 2010, Ethiopian Airlines did not operate on any China-Africa routes. In 2019, Ethiopian Airlines operates almost 50% of the 2 616 annual flights between Africa and China.
Other airlines such as EgyptAir and Air Algeria also operate on direct routes between the nations. The flight capacity is only expected to grow in the upcoming years as Chinese investment increases in Africa.
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