Into Africa’s Space

Air transport is one of the most expensive and luxurious means of transport in Africa. As a result, the majority of the natives cannot afford their fares. In addition, the costs of issuing a passport and medical report to clear security at airports are very high.

Many African countries have at most one major airport where the international passenger planes land, Entebbe International Airport in Uganda is an example. The majority of African governments don’t solely own an air carrier, and some don’t have any at all. For example, in Togo, the state-owned airlines known as Air Togo ceased operations in 2000. Thus,  foreign and private airline companies exploited the local market.

Foreign and private airlines greatly exploited Africa’s space. However, air transport in Africa is progressively growing.

Africa’s Early Aviation History

How did it start? To answer that question we shall have to rewind back to the early 1900s. Many reports point to a French man, Albert Kimmerling who was an aircraft engineer and a pilot, to have made the first flight from Africa’s land into Africa’s space.

Albert kimmerling - Travel Radar - Aviation News
Albert Kimmerling – © Wikipedia

Albert made Africa’s first airplane flight on 28th December 1909 in a Voisin biplane, taking off at the Nahoon Racetrack at East London in South Africa. He then moved the plane up to the Transvaal where he continued to make three more flights at Sydenham Hill near Orange Grove.

East London Aerial View 1935 - Travel Radar - Aviation News
Aerial view of East London, South Africa. © Wikimedia

Additionally, Albert also flew the first fare-paying passenger in Africa, Thomas Thornton of the South African Aero Club, at a charge of £100 for the flight.

220px KimmerlingAlbert passagère Bron 1910 11 22 1 - Travel Radar - Aviation News
Albert Kimmerling © Wikipedia

Albert Kimmerling – The first plane into Africa’s space pilot – died a few years after he had returned to France. He died in a monoplane crash on 9th June 1912.

However, many pilots flew planes from Africa’s land into Africa’s space, because of Kimmerling’s legacy.


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Katongole Andrew
Katongole Andrew
Aviation Reporter - Based in the African continent, Katongole is one of Travel Radar's African aviation reporters. With a passion for both bush-flying and larger commercial airlines, Katongole analyses and reports on the latest developments across the African Region, as well as more widely across Europe, the US and Middle East.


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