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The incredible rebound of the China-Africa air link

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Prior to the pandemic, China was on a well-documented investment push within Africa, financing infrastructure projects — including massive new airports — as part of Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Its growing economic and political influence on the continent was enormous. In the post-pandemic aviation world where global air travel is now, in aggregate, above 2019 levels of capacity, China’s still-deflated international link to the world stands out as key markets rise. 

Related: The bellwether airport terminals of Kansas City and Sierra Leone

Yet, a closer look at the regional data shows that the rebound of China’s link to Africa in particular has massively outpaced the rest of the world. In April 2024, the capacity flying between Africa and China is scheduled to be 39% above the same month in 2019, while China’s overall flying internationally remains well below 2019 levels.

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