Algeria to allow private airline for the first time - domestic only

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Algeria appears likely to allow the first privately backed airline in the country, a potential first step on a journey that could result in Algeria following Morocco and adopting a more liberalised approach to business and emerging as a stronger travel and tourism market in North Africa.

Algeria is nestled in the Maghreb region of North Africa and is the largest country by area across the whole of Africa. Many empires have left legacies, and it is one of the largest economies on the continent thanks to its energy exports.

A French colony for over 130 years through the 19th and 20th centuries, Algeria maintains important links to that country, but other than that its air travel policy has generally remained restrictive.

Unlike in Morocco to its west, which has benefitted from an open skies agreement with Europe, Algeria’s aviation sector continues to be dominated by the state-owned airline Air Algérie and Tassili Airlines, formed as a joint venture between Sonatrach Petroleum Corporation and Air Algérie, but now fully controlled by Sonatrach, a fully government-owned company.

While international airlines have been permitted entry into Algeria, the LCCs that have helped Morocco grow its international arrivals and boost its tourism industry remain exempt.

Algeria has ambitions, like its neighbour, to improve tourism infrastructure, especially on its Mediterranean coast to the north, but tourism still contributes very little to an economy dominated by the oil industry, and continues to be influenced by a lack of adequate hotel accommodation, the threat of terrorism, and antiquated visa requirements.

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