If you're planning a trip to Africa it's likely that you'll visit more than one place, whether it's two locations in the same country or a cross-border tour of several different nations. If this is the case, you'll need to decide how you want to travel from one stop to the next.
The Benefits of Flying
Often, the distances between your chosen destinations are vast; for example, it's 1,015 miles/1,635 kilometers from Cape Town to Durban in South Africa. As a result, driving can take up too much of your precious vacation time. In many African countries, the roads are poorly maintained, making overland journeys even more arduous. In some places, corrupt traffic officers, livestock on the road and high accident rates add to the stress of traveling by car—making domestic flights an attractive alternative.
Why Fly With the National Airline?
Budget and private airlines come and go quickly in Africa, whereas the national airline is usually more stable. To avoid the inconvenience of your chosen airline going bust before your flight, try to book with the national carrier where possible. Internationally, African airlines have a poor reputation for safety, but many national carriers (like South African Airways and Ethiopian Airlines) are indistinguishable from first-world airlines in terms of service. In this article, we list the national airline for each African country.
Countries without an official airline are not listed, however, private carriers may be available. Routes are subject to change and should be checked carefully before booking.
- Air Algérie is the national airline of Algeria. It flies to 32 domestic airports and also offers flights to 43 international destinations.
- Air Burkina is Burkina Faso's national airline. It offers one domestic route (between the capital, Ouagadougou, and Bobo-Dioulasso), as well as routes to seven other West African nations.
- TACV Cabo Verde Airlines is the national airline of Cape Verde. It flies to two domestic destinations and also offers routes to Boston and selected cities in Brazil and Europe.
- Camair-Co is the flag carrier for Cameroon, flying to several destinations in Central and West Africa as well as to Paris, France.
- Tchadia Airlines is the latest flag carrier for Chad, established in 2018. It runs scheduled flights to five Chadian destinations as well as a handful of other African cities including Niamey, Kano and Khartoum.
- Air Côte d'Ivoire is the national carrier for the Ivory Coast. It offers flights between six domestic destinations, as well as several international ones throughout Central and West Africa. It also operates a service to New York City in partnership with Ethiopian Airlines.
Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Congo Airways is the official airline of the DRC, with flights to eight domestic destinations.
- Air Djibouti is the flag carrier for Djibouti and is sometimes known as the Red Sea Airline. It offers connections to Ethiopia, Somalia, and the Middle East.
- EgyptAir is the country's national airline and one of the biggest carriers on the continent. It offers flights to more than 80 destinations throughout Africa, Asia, Europe, the Americas and the Middle East, including several domestic routes.
- Eritrean Airlines is the national carrier for Eritrea and offers connections from Asmara to Khartoum, Cairo, Jeddah, Dubai, and Milan.
- Eswatini Airlink is the national carrier for Eswatini (formerly known as Swaziland). It offers connections to destinations throughout Southern and East Africa, thanks to alliances with South African Airways, South African Express, and South African Airlink.
- Ethiopian Airlines has one of the most extensive networks in Africa, offering services to over 120 domestic and international destinations. The latter includes cities in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and the Americas.
- Kenya Airways is the country's national airline and another major carrier in Africa. As well as numerous destinations in Asia and Europe, the airline serves 43 destinations across the continent.
- Libyan Airlines is Libya's flag carrier, offering flights to more than 20 domestic and international destinations.
- Air Madagascar is the national airline of Madagascar. It flies to five domestic destinations from Antananarivo. It also connects passengers to the Comoros, Reunion, Mauritius, Kenya and South Africa as well as destinations in France, Thailand and China.
- Malawian Airlines offers domestic flights between Lilongwe and Blantyre, as well as services to major Southern and East African cities like Johannesburg, Dar-es-Salaam, and Nairobi.
- Mauritania Airlines is the flag carrier for Mauritania. It serves 11 destinations across West and North Africa as well as Las Palmas in the Spanish Canary Islands.
- Air Mauritius has an extensive domestic and international network with flights to many destinations in Europe, Asia, and Australia.
- Royal Air Moroc is the national airline of Morocco. Sometimes referred to as RAM, is it another major African carrier, serving over 80 destinations in Africa, Europe, America and the Middle East.
- LAM is Mozambique's national airline, with 10 domestic destinations and flights to four major Southern African cities including Johannesburg, Dar es Salaam, Harare, and Nairobi.
- Air Namibia flies to six Namibian destinations, and to 11 in Africa. It also offers a regular non-stop service to Frankfurt, Germany.
- RwandAir serves multiple destinations within Rwanda and throughout the rest of Africa. It also offers direct flights to several cities in Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
São Tomé & Príncipe
- STP Airways is the flag carrier of this West African archipelago. It connects São Tomé island with Príncipe island and also operates a regular service to Lisbon, Portugal.
- Air Senegal is the country's latest flag carrier, created in 2016. It offers flights between Dakar and Ziguinchor in Senegal, as well as to several other West African cities. Plans are underway for services to Paris and São Paulo.
- Air Seychelles is the national airline of Seychelles. Through its partnership with Etihad Airways, it offers flights to 62 destinations across the world.
- South African Airways is the flag carrier for South Africa and one of the largest airlines on the continent. It connects 14 South African destinations, 18 African destinations and nine international destinations – including London, Perth and Washington, D.C.
- Sudan Airways flies from Khartoum to four destinations in Sudan. It also serves eight other cities in Africa and the Middle East, including Cairo, Addis Ababa, and Jeddah.
- Air Tanzania offers flights to 20 destinations including domestic cities like Arusha, Kigoma, and Dar-es-Salaam; and international cities like Johannesburg, Mumbai and Guangzhou.
- Tunisair is the national airline of Tunisia. It offers services to destinations across Africa, Europe, and the Middle East, as well as a single flight to North America (Montréal).
- Air Zimbabwe flies between three key Zimbabwean destinations: Harare, Bulawayo, and Victoria Falls. It also connects to Johannesburg and Dar es Salaam.