Opportunity knocks in the Algerian sky

Now that Algeria has lifted health restrictions following the Covid-19 pandemic, it has allowed the country to increase flight numbers, opening up great prospects.

Picture: Air Algérie
More flights: Air Algérie has 79 extra slots to France and will soon be connecting some of Africa’s major cities. Picture: Air Algérie.

The Algerian Ministry of Transport authorised 82 additional frequencies to France in late August – a clear sign of air transport recovery during the summer period.

Of those new slots, 79 went to Air Algérie and three to Tassili Airlines.

Air Algérie also announced connecting flights via Algiers to the French cities of Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Paris and Nice, and to Abidjan, Bamako, Dakar, Niamey, Nouakchott, and Ouagadougou in Africa. These new flights were due to be starting in early October.

“The summer season ended on a positive note,” said Air Algérie spokesperson Amine Andaloussi. “We have pulled in travellers across our entire network and we are determined to make a successful comeback on to the African market after two years of absence. Algiers International Airport has the potential of becoming a hub between the continent and Europe.”

This redeployment to African capitals is part of the airline’s repositioning strategy and is geared to meet several expectations.

For example, the launch of the African Continental Free Trade Area (ZLECA) will undoubtedly promote economic and commercial exchanges between African countries.

There’s also a need to develop transit services via the Algerian capital and Air Algérie also wants to scale up to face competitors like Royal Air Maroc and Ethiopian Airlines.

The Algerian market is, furthermore, whetting the appetites of low-cost carriers. The collapse of Aigle Azur [liquidated in September 2019] and the Covid-19 crisis are creating new opportunities.

Transavia – part of the Air France-KLM group – has strengthened its presence in north Africa. “Algeria is destined to take a growing place within our network,” said Nicolas Hénin, deputy general manager sales and marketing of Transavia France. “We currently operate 24 weekly flights. We shall bring it to 50 when our programme is operating fully.”

Spanish low-cost airline, Volotea, also currently offers 21 frequencies between Algeria and three of its bases – Marseille, Bordeaux, and Lyon. The airline recently announced that it wants to set up new frequencies next autumn to connect six Algerian airports.

Vincent Chappard

Vincent Chappard

Vincent is an aerospace editor and consultant based in Paris.