The future looks bright for air travel across Africa. The continent's potential is sky-high and the airline industry is key.
Today the story is different. Cheap airfares are taking off across the African region, serving routes that cater to the continent's growing middle class.
It has not been easy for them.
A study by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) forecast that if just 12 of Africa’s economies opened their skies to each another, fares would drop by up to 35% and an extra 5 million African’s could afford to fly.
An additional 155,000 new jobs would be created and $1.3 billion added to the GDP.
These are impressive numbers for an industry that currently supports around 7 million jobs and more than $80 billion in GDP across the continent.
These are top budget African airlines selected from different countries across the continent.
Although there are a lot of budget airlines in South Africa, Kululu tops them all. Kululu is a South African no-frills airline, operating on major domestic routes from OR Tambo International Airport and Lanseria International Airport, both just outside Johannesburg. It started operations in 2001 as Africa's first low-cost carrier.
Cities served: Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth, Bloemfontein, East London, Windhoek, Harare, Mauritius, Victoria Falls, Livingstone, Nairobi.
Skywise comes after Kululu in terms of budget airlines. It is a South African domestic low-cost airline headquartered in Johannesburg and based at OR Tambo International Airport. It solely operated flights between Johannesburg and Cape Town.
Fastjet is said to be the most cost friendly airline in Tanzania. Initially plying domestic routes in Tanzania, FastJet started small in 2011 but has since expanded to four other countries. With Ed Winter, a former EasyJet executive at the helm, it is looking to break into the lucrative South African domestic market.
Five Forty Aviation Ltd, trading as Fly540, is a low-cost airline which commenced operations in 2006 and is based in Nairobi, Kenya, that operates domestic and international passenger and freight services. Kenya is a home to many airlines, however, Fly540 tops them all in terms of budget airlines.
This carrier was shut down over the 2012 crash that killed 153 people in Lagos. Dana Air resumed flying a year ago and says all safety concerns have been addressed.
Dana Air is one of Nigeria’s leading airlines with over 27 daily flights from Lagos to Abuja, Uyo, Port Harcourt and Owerri. It introduces special packages for consumers. Reports say Dana Air is Nigeria's cheapest airline.
Although not strictly African, flydubai.com nevertheless connects 12 cities on the continent - albeit via Dubai. Hargeisa in Somaliland is the next location to feature on its destination list. It is Dubai's cheapest.