10 Budget African Airlines

African continent is large and distances are vast, but not too long ago going from one city to another often meant a connection in Europe. Thankfully this is changing and many budget airlines are beginning to serve African continent. Middle class can now travel and move around, which was not very easy for them just very recently.

1988 was the year when African nations signed "open skies" agreement, similar to European one, enabling success like EasyJet had.

Some countries still have to implement the agreement, but as more and more people are traveling, airlines are convincing governments that potential benefits outweigh the risks. 1 billion people in African continent enjoy only 3% of world's aviation business, they are stunningly underserved. The continent is desperate for improvement and added connections. Not every low budget airline was successful, many failed trying, but it's hard to stop advancement once it starts. New operators are willing to risk and are coming onto the scene.

1time has high hopes to reinvent itself.

Arik Air is working on low budget carrier services.


Blue Crane is now consulting aviation in South Africa and hopes to start flying too. Here is a list of ten airlines that are already pushing the boundaries and taking over the not always friendly skies:

  1. Kulula.com
    Kulula started in 2001 and became the first low cost airline in Africa. They are successful, but not afraid to joke. Flight attendants are funny during safety demonstrations and can quiz you at the end. One thing the airline is serious about is business though. It's operated by Comair of South Africa, a partner of British Air. They also have deals with Air France and Kenya Airways, spreading to five countries. Cities Kulula serves: Johannesburg, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, East London, Harare, Mauritius, Victoria Falls, and Nairobi.
  2. Fastjet
    Fastjet has been very ambitious since its beginning in 2011. It started with domestic flights in Tanzania and expanded to four other countries since then. Big goals need big backing, and Fastjet has both. Ed Winter is the boss who came from EasyJet and has a stake in African venture. Their next goal is to penetrate South African domestic market while constantly seeking new routes. Cities Fastjet serves: Johannesburg, Entebbe, Harare, Kilimanjaro, Lusaka, Mbeya, and Mwanza.
  3. Flyafrica.com
    After Air Zimbabwe has suffered significant losses, flyafrica.com stepped in. Its hub is in Johannesburg and it has some spectacular specials. Think 99-rand ($9) trip to Victoria Falls. Zimbabweans who live in South Africa enjoy inexpensive flights to Harare, which can normally be very pricey. The price does not include bags, but it's still the best option. Cities Flyafrica.com serves: Johannesburg, Harare, Victoria Falls, and Windhoek.
  4. Mango
    Just like unusual name, the colorful orange planes are drawing attention. Their routes cover mainly South Africa and Zanzibar. The company is famous for flash sales, great deals for mailing list customers, and travelers who are ready to book right away. Mango Serves: Johannesburg, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, George, and Zanzibar.
  5. FlySafair
    FlySafair is a brand new airline and aggressively claiming its territory. They fly mainly in South Africa and compete with Mango and Kulula. The airline slashed their ticket prices as fuel cost dropped down to attract new customers. The price does not include checked bags, but that doesn't create mane problems for flyers. FlySafair serves: Johannesburg, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, and George.
  6. Fly540
    Fly540 knows very well all the opportunities and all the obstacles of creating new routes to new cities in Africa. The airline was very successful in Kenya, which they covered pretty well, from desert places like Lodwar to many big cities. Despite some success, Fly540 had to cancel its operations in Ghana and Angola in 2014. Their main focus remains Kenya and surrounding countries. Fle540 serves: Nairobi, Eldoret, Mombasa, Kisumu, Lamu, Lodwar, Malindi, and Zanzibar.
  7. JamboJet
    The airlines was started 2014 by Kenya Airways and only serves four cities. Fortunately, aviation authorities have recently allowed it to operate flights across the continent from Nairobi and Mombasa. JamboJet serves: Nairobi, Eldoret, Mombasa, and Kisumu.
  8. Dana Air
    2012 crash that killed 153 people in Lagos threatened to completely destroy this airline. And it almost did. The airline finally resumed its operation last year and claim that all safety concerns were addressed. It flies domestic routes and is still waiting to be cleared by international aviation authority IATA. Dana Air serves: Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, and Uyo.
  9. Flydubai.com
    The airline is obviously not based in Africa, but it connects 12 cities in the continent, so fits on our list. All flights have a layover in Dubai. Flydubai is adding new cities constantly, just this year the planes will fly to Hargeisa and Somaliland. Most of the cities served are not covered by any other airline. Flydubai serves: Addis Ababa, Alexandria, Bujumbura, Djibouti, Entebbe, Juba, Kigali, Kilimanjaro, Port Sudan, and Zanzibar.
  10. Skywise
    The maiden flight of this airline took place just this March. The only flight they are offering now is between Johannesburg and Cape Town. The big bosses are from 1time and are looking for a new start. Unlike many colleagues, Skywise doesn't charge any fee for checked luggage. Cities served: Johannesburg and Cape Town.