African mining boom good for Hawker Beechcraft’s expansion plans

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Durban, South Africa – Hawker Beechcraft Corporation (HBC), the world-leading manufacturer of business, special mission and trainer aircraft, has identified Africa as offering some of the best growth prospects of any region in the world for business aircraft. One of the significant drivers of this growth is Africa’s booming mining environment.

Africa is home to over 30% of the world’s mineral resources and is increasingly attracting investment from large multinational mining corporations. Mining revenue on the continent increased by over a third (36%) in the last year alone1 and shows little sign of abating. With resources often found in remote locations, the continent’s land transport infrastructure can lag behind the development of the mines, leading to an increased demand for airborne alternatives.

Many countries in Africa plan to increase spending on railways and roads over the next few years to help unlock their coal, platinum, palladium, chrome and other mineral deposits, and encourage further investment. However, currently air travel is often the most convenient, and sometimes the only way to transfer between locations and HBC therefore believes that business aviation has a vital role to play in the development ofAfrica’s mining sector.

HBC is well placed to benefit from this and is already the dominant provider of turboprop aircraft in Africa, holding a 65% market share in this segment. Beechcraft King Airs are particularly well-suited to conditions inAfrica as a result of their enhanced durability, heavy payload, range and fuel-efficiency. In Africa, the closest option to a passenger’s final destination may currently be a short or unimproved runway. The King Air’s ability to land on such airstrips can save valuable time and resources. The King Air 250 has a significant competitive advantage with its ability to land on rough terrain, maximum range of 1 610 nautical miles, ability to take off in only 2 111 feet from a sea level airport and maximum payload of 2 500lb, making it an ideal choice of transportation for corporate executives travelling around the continent.

HBC has recently strengthened its operations in Africa by adding a further six facilities in its global customer support network, including authorised service centres in Lagos, Nigeria, and Lanseria, South Africa and a further limited service centre in Cape Town. These strategically placed centres allow Africa’s business travellers to enjoy unprecedented access to Hawker Beechcraft services.

In addition to this, last year HBC appointed Absolute Aviation as an exclusive Beechcraft distributor for sub-Saharan Africa, with considerable experience in aircraft sales, maintenance and operations. This will provide further impetus to strong Beechcraft sales across sub-Saharan Africa.

Sean McGeough, HBC president, Asia, Europe, Middle East and Africa, said: “Growth in demand for mineral resources from emerging countries has transformed Africa and it is fast becoming a preferred investment destination as African countries increasingly opens their doors to foreign investors.

“As the continent continues to develop, we expect demand for business aircraft to grow as they provide access to remote parts of the region, cover huge distances and also help counter the limitations of the transport infrastructure. Road and rail networks in many parts of Africa are limited, making travel internally a challenge. Travelling by business aircraft is not only often the quickest way to travel, but sometimes is the only option.”

The IMF forecasts that seven of the top 10 fastest growing economies in the next 10 years will be African, while Standard Chartered forecasts Africa’s economy will grow at an average annual rate of 7% over the next 20 years.2

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Hawker Beechcraft Corporation is a world-leading manufacturer of business, special mission and trainer aircraft – designing, marketing and supporting aviation products and services for businesses, governments and individuals worldwide. The company’s headquarters and major facilities are located in Wichita, Kansas, with operations in Little Rock, Arkansas; Chester, England, UK; and Chihuahua, Mexico. The company leads the industry with a global network of more than 100 factory-owned and authorised service centres. For more information, visit www.hawkerbeechcraft.com.

Business Live: http://www.businesslive.co.za/southafrica/2012/02/09/mines-showing-signs-of-improved-revenue-and-profit



The Economist: http://www.economist.com/node/17853324