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Airlines taking off to meet the emerging West African middle class (AFLLY, DAL, FAA)

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Major air carriers such as Air-France ( AFLLY , quote ), Delta Airlines ( DAL , quote ) and United Continental ( UAL , quote ) are rising to the challenge of meeting the business and personal air travel demands of the burgeoning middle class in West Africa.

This is a marketplace that will continue to expand: in Ghana, for example, the International Monetary Fund projects its economy will grow by 13.5% this year.

This is in stark contrast to the trajectory of the developed world or the exchange-traded fund for the U.S. airline industry, Claymore/Delta ( FAA , quote ), which has nosedived for the year.

In an article in The Wall Street Journal by Drew Hinshaw, "Looking for smoother skies in West Africa," it was detailed the efforts that Delta Airlines (DAL), United Continental (UAL) and Air-France KLM (KLM) are undertaking to meet the needs of the consumer class.

As noted in Hinshaw's Wall Street Journal piece, "The International Civil Aviation Organization expects Africans to fly 8% more miles in 2011 and 8.3% more in 2012, making the continent earth's fastest growing for air travel between the Asia and the Middle East. And industry analysts say traffic here could expand een faster as competition heats up, pushing prices down."

Flying in Africa is a status symbol that more are enjoying. Chief Operations Officer Seaqn Mendis of Starbow Airlines observed that, "If you make travel easy for them, one of the first things people like to do-as a sign of their freedom, as a sign of their prosperity-they want to get on a plane, visit some family, do some more business."

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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