Africa needs 970 new passenger aircraft over the next 20 years


African airlines will require 970 new passenger aircraft, worth $126 billion, by 2032, according to Airbus, with 300 to support South African growth.

In the latest Airbus Global Market Forecast the company said that economic growth, growing middle classes, affordability, ease of travel, urbanisation, tourism, and migration are some of the key factors which contribute to attracting increasing connectivity between people and regions. Airbus forecasts that Africa will achieve average annual passenger growth rates of 5.7 per cent. This figure is well above the 4.7 per cent world average growth rate and far outstrips more developed markets such as North America and Western Europe.

Seven out of the top 20 fastest growing traffic flows in the world are to/from or within Africa. The low cost market, with just eight per cent of African traffic today, has huge potential to grow when considering more mature markets which typically have a low cost share of over 25 per cent, according to Airbus. This will help to bring the benefits of flying within reach for more people, thus attracting more first time flyers.
“International and domestic passenger traffic growth for South Africa is projected to grow at a rate of 5.4 per cent over the next 20 years,” said Andrew Gordon, Director Strategic Marketing and Analysis. “South Africa is helping drive the development of aviation on the African continent with a requirement of over 300 passenger aircraft to serve the South African market by 2032. Johannesburg will reinforce its position as one of the world’s aviation mega-cities, a focal point for traffic coming into the region and then connecting these passengers to the rest of Africa.”

With these positive developments in the region, the Airbus Global Market Forecast predicts that the African aircraft fleet (>100 seats) is set to more than double from around 600 aircraft to almost 1,550 by 2032. Airbus projects a need in Africa for 729 single aisle aircraft and 28 very large aircraft over the next twenty years.

Airbus said African, and worldwide demand (for 29 000 passenger and freighter aircraft over the next twenty years), will be beneficial to South African companies. Cobham South Africa provides the satellite communication system for all Airbus commercial aircraft, while Aerosud produces aerostructures for the A350 XWB and the A320 family.