Chapman Freeborn blog

Group Air Charter

Africa opens up to the benefits of group air charter travel

Passenger air charter is still a niche market in Africa but the sector is steadily expanding as companies and governments become more aware of the value of tailored flight services.

As the world’s second-largest continent both in terms of land mass and population, air travel is seen as an important factor in Africa’s future economic and social development.

Jenny Van Wyk, passenger sales manager at Chapman Freeborn’s Johannesburg office, says charter demand is now growing at a faster rate than before.

“There is rising demand in Africa, especially from energy and mineral resource companies who often require air transport solutions to remote locations for site visits and crew rotations. We’re also now seeing a growing trend for corporate group charters – particularly in the area of incentive travel.”

However, the expansion of business aviation in Africa still faces a number of issues. In addition to the lack of infrastructure, it has also been reported there is a perceived issue of safety and quality in the market in general.

Speaking about the challenges in Africa aviation, Van Wyk adds that the common difficulties include delays when trying to get permission for over-flight permits, as well as landing and take-off permit applications. Procedures can vary not only when flying between two African countries, but also in domestic aviation markets.

Nonetheless, it is indisputable that business aviation is a valuable asset in Africa’s growth. Aviation is a vehicle that will improve economies and integration in the region. New African aviation industry trade associations have also been established in the last two years to help foster greater alignment between African nations.

Covering at least 20 per cent of the world’s total land area, the African continent is vast but scheduled services serving the region are limited. Air charter plays a vital role in connecting areas that are not easily accessible. Van Wyk says:

“In a way, charter flight opens up the skies to create new connections, not to mention connecting remote locations in Africa with world markets.”

She adds that her clients charter with Chapman Freeborn because it consistently gives them peace of mind – a charter specialist always ensures that unparalleled personalised service is delivered with great emphases on safety and reliability.

Van Wyk and Chapman Freeborn’s Johannesburg team were recently called into action to arrange a group charter flight to fly over 500 passengers from Asia between two points in South Africa.

“A few weeks back, we performed 12 charter flights for one of Southern Africa’s leading destination management companies.  We flew 520 passengers as well as 7,500kg of luggage from Sun City to Cape Town.

“Coordinating the flights was a huge team effort and it was all hands on deck. Several different aircraft types were utilised, including a McDonnell Douglas MD-82 and MD-83, a Douglas DC-9 and a Boeing B737-400.”

A British Aerospace BAe 146 freighter was used to transport the group’s food and luggage – closely coordinated to arrive at the same time as the passengers.

To find out more about chartering an aircraft, contact Chapman Freeborn’s Africa team (offices in Johannesburg and Entebbe). Tel: +27 11 258 8933  Email: