Optimism High For Future of Business Jets and Regional Airliners in Africa.
The MARRAKESH Air Show was held in Morocco recently against a back drop of surprisingly high optimism among exhibitors in the future of Africa’s aviation industry and, more particularly, in the corporate jet and regional airliner sectors. Dassault Aviation which exhibited its flagship Falcon 7X at the event, was a case in point when Gilles Gautier, the company vice president,
Falcon sales, remarked: “Thanks to strong development of the economy and fast growth in industries such as mining, oil and gas, agriculture and construction, we see great potential in Africa for long-term growth in business aviation. Business jets are an ideal way to get around such a vast continent, where airline connections are often limited and ground infrastructure, minimal.”
For its part, Brazilian manufacturer Embraers commercial aviation division forecast that airlines in Africa and the Middle East would take delivery of 530 new jets in the 70 to 130-seat segment over the next 20 years valued at US$ 25-billion at the list prices, representing 8% of the worldwide demand for the segment in the period.
It was estimated that 65% of the total new deliveries would be added to support market demand growth while 35% would replace aging aircraft. With more than 70 Falcon jets in operation in the African region, around 15% of them in North Africa, Gautier told reporters that he saw great potential in Africa for long-term growth in business aviation.
The company revealed that another ten Falcons were on order for delivery in 2014-15, most of them for the Falcon 7X. Exhibiting for the second time at the show, Dassault displayed its long-range trijet Falcon 7X, which is the first business jet equipped with digital flight controls, has a range of 5950 nautical miles and can comfortably fly from Marrakech to Beijing, Los Angeles or Cape Town non-stop.
Dassault recently celebrated the rollout of 250th 7X-the fastest any Falcon jet has ever reached this milestone. Well over 200 units are currently in service in 34 countries and the fleet has accumulated more than 250000 flight hours since the 7X was introduced in 2007. Embraer Enthusiastic Meanwhile, Embraer was upbeat on its view of African development and its aviation growth potential saying that forecasts indicated that 17 of the world’s top 30 fastest growing countries in 2014 would be in the region.
“Air transport in Africa and the Middle East will steadily grow at between 5, 3% and 7, 1% per annum over the next 20 years, respectively-above the world average of 4, 8%-more than tripling the air traffic to, from, and within the region. “The 70-to 130-seat jets will play a key role to support the intra-regional development in Africa and Middle East, not only for its ability to explore new markets, but also because of the possibility to improve load factors with greater flexibility,” said Paulo Silva, president and CEO, Embraer Commercial Aviation. “E-jets are the most efficient, reliable and comfortable aircraft in this category and are perfectly suited for the airliners needs in the region by providing the benefit of significantly lower trips costs.” Currently, 60% of the larger single aisle jet flight departures among African and Middle Eastern destinations have up to 110 passengers on-board on average.
The region is mostly composed of low-and mid-density markets. Some 88% of all markets have demand densities of up to 300 passengers daily each way, and approximately 50% of them are not served nonstop. The E-Jets family has logged nearly 1500 orders and over 1000 deliveries to date.
The aircraft are in service with some 65 customers from 45 countries. In Africa and the Middle East, Embraer has more than 75% market share among aircraft in its segment. Nearly 70 E-Jets are currently in service with seven operators from six countries in the region. ATR Goes One Better Franco-Italian aircraft manufacturer, Avions Transport Regional (ATR), timed a visit of a pan-African delegation of 40 African ambassadors accompanied by the representatives of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Directorate General for Civil Aviation (DGAC) at its facilities in Toulouse, France at around the same time as the Marrakech show.
They were flown to Toulouse in a Royal Air Maroc ATR 72-600 and hosted at the factory by Filippo Bagnato, ATRs CEO. They visited the ATR final assembly line and exchanged views on how the dynamics of the African regional air transport market, today embrace the new generation ATR aircraft. Bagnato stated: “Africa is poised to become one of the world’s largest aviation markets and it already is a major geographical region for ATR. Today there are 37 African airlines flying more than 110 ATRs.Five additional ATRs will be delivered to African carriers in the coming months.
According to the company, the ATR family of turboprop accounts for some 10% of total sales worldwide.ATR regional turboprops has proved to be an idea match to African airlines due to their unrivaled fuel-efficiency and low operating cost performances on shorter routes. ATR estimates a demand for some 400 turboprop aircraft in the region in the next 20 years within the 50-90 seat market.
”This is a market with a huge potential,” said Bagnato. Manufacturing firms are striving to enter into African market by producing E-Jets ranging from 70 to 130 seat jetliners. African airlines have modernized their fleet with the E-Jets and turbo props ranging from 50 to 130 seats which have the performance into the airports for intra-regional scheduled daily passenger flights.
Business jets are used for VIP Executive jet flights, air ambulance, tourist charter flights in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Burundi, Ethiopia and the entire African continent. We have business jet flights from Middle East to Africa carrying business executives whose scheduled can’t match the commercial flights.
Private jet charter flights are commonly used with business executives, government officials and head of organizations visiting their projects for evaluation and for tidy meeting schedules. Anthony A Juma is the Editor and Director Commercial and Flights Operations at Wings Over Africa Aviation Limited.