The multi-airline p-hub median problem applied to the African aviation market

Nicole Adler, Eric Tchouamou Njoya, Nicola Volta*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Despite growth in research on air transport in Africa in recent years, little is known about the adequacy of the infrastructure to sustain potential future air traffic expansion. The continent has experienced growth in domestic, intra- and inter-continental air traffic services over the past two decades that we project will continue over the medium term. Applying a gravity model in which corruption, conflict, common language and land-locked indices contribute to the demand estimation, we forecast annual intra-African growth of 8.1% up to 2030. As witnessed in established markets, deregulation will likely result in hub-spoke network designs in order to accommodate demand efficiently if mobility and access is to be encouraged. In this research, we modify the p-hub median problem in order to identify multiple, economically viable, hub-spoke networks that would adequately serve the intra- and inter-continental demand for air transport. Aside from current hubs, namely Cairo (Egypt), Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) and Johannesburg (South Africa), future hubs could include airports in the North that serve European-African flows, such as Algiers, and Nigeria in the West due to its relatively large population and wealth. By 2030, we also find that demand is sufficient to justify an additional hub in central Sub-Saharan Africa, such as Lusaka (Zambia). However, this would be dependent on the implementation of liberalisation policies as set out in the Yamoussoukro Decision.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)187-202
Number of pages16
JournalTransportation Research, Part A: Policy and Practice
StatePublished - Jan 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank the participants of the ATARD Cost Action (2015), the University of Bergamo workshop (2016), the GARS Africa workshop (2016) and DLR/Airbus forecasting workshop (2016) for valuable comments. The authors would like to thank profs. Antonio Antunes, Ofelia Betancor and Hans-Martin Niemeier for their continuous support and valuable suggestions. Nicole Adler would also like to thank the Recanati Foundation for partial research support.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier Ltd


  • African aviation market
  • Capacity analysis
  • Demand forecasting
  • P-hub median


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