(CNN) Travelling across Africa’s huge distances can be expensive. Not too long ago, getting from one city to another often meant a connection in Europe. That is finally changing. Low-cost airlines are taking off across the region, serving routes that cater to the continent’s growing middle class.

It has not been easy for them.

African nations signed an “open skies” agreement in 1988, similar to the one in Europe, that cleared the way for successes like easyJet. Most countries have yet to implement this agreement. As the number of potential travellers grows, however, the new, low-cost airlines are slowly convincing governments of the benefits accruing from increased air travel.

“There are more than one billion people on the African continent, which is home to just 3% of the world’s aviation business,” says Ed Winter, CEO of Tanzania-based fastjet. “It is clear that the continent remains in desperate need of improved and affordable aviation connectivity.”

¬†Despite a long list of failed ventures — Velvet Sky and 1time in South Africa both collapsed in 2012. Fly540 scrapped its flights to Accra and Luanda last year –¬† new operators are not being deterred by these setbacks . 1time hopes to reboot itself this year, Nigeria’s Arik Air aims to create a low-cost carrier and Blue Crane, an aviation consulting firm in South Africa, hopes to start flying commercial passengers later this year. Here are 10 airlines already pushing Africa’s travel revolution: