Commercial aviation in South Africa outperforms national economy


The Commercial Aviation Association of SA (CAASA) reports in its latest aviation activity index that commercial aviation has outperformed the national economy over the past six years.

“It is apparent the slump in aviation activity that lasted for eleven quarters, until the third quarter of 2018, has been reversed,” CAASA general manager Louise Olckers said in a statement.

“Aviation remains a highly capital intensive sector and it has been under strain as a result of policy uncertainty, low levels of business confidence, lethargic economic growth and high interest rates.

The index value increased from the third quarter to reach 130.7, a 31% increase in commercial aviation since the base period for the index – the first quarter of 2014. This is lower than the all-time record of 204 attained in the fourth quarter of 2018. That figure is ascribed to the Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) exhibition at AFB Waterkloof in September, the first since “the election of a new South African administration, committed to pragmatic policies to encourage economic growth and combat the scourge of corruption”.

CAASA notes “poor performance” of air traffic movements (ATMs) at the majority of Airports Company of SA (ACSA) airports. All nine recorded lower movement number in the fourth quarter of 2019, compared to the same period three years previously.

By contrast six non-ACSA airports included reported ATM growth until the first quarter of last year “but a slump has since set in”. Olckers said the “stringent visa regulations” introduced by then Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba “took their toll” on both the local aviation and tourist industries.