Annual Aviation Africa Summit – Airbus reiterates commitment to Africa’s air transport

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, March 4, 2020 – This week, Airbus joins experts and key decision makers in the aviation industry at the Aviation Africa Summit and Exhibition. The two-day summit is a major trade event for the aerospace and defence industries with speakers from African airlines, civil aviation authorities, business aviation and support industries.

The aviation industry finds itself in a complementary growth pattern with the African economy. Just as industry expansion creates jobs, attracts investment and produces manufacturing opportunities across the continent, it is also set to be a major beneficiary of Africa’s accelerating and continued economic growth, forecasted by the African Development Bank to be at 3.9 percent this year and 4.1 percent in 2021.

On the back of such growth, Airbus’s own Global Market Forecast (GMF) predicts that the continent’s rapid urbanization, trade and tourism will contribute substantially to drive passenger traffic to and from Africa by 5.0% yearly over the next 20 years. An enabling environment through policies such as the African Union’s Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) further contribute to this growth.

From the airline perspective, African carriers are increasingly aware of the operational and economic benefits of acquiring new and modern aircraft. In fact, today airlines on the continent operate some of the most efficient and technologically advanced aircraft such as the A350XWB, A330neo, A320neo and the A220. Africa’s Airbus operators include customers such as Ethiopian Airlines, Rwandair, Air Senegal, South African Airways, Air Côte d’Ivoire, EgyptAir, Air Mauritius and more. In total, around 250 Airbus aircraft are flown by more than 30 African operators.

Airbus’ increased maximum take-off weight A330neo variant offers a significant 650-nautical mile boost in range – or six tonnes more payload – when compared to the A330neo’s current 242-tonne version.

Mikail Houari, President, Airbus Africa & Middle East said “the potential for aviation in Africa is immense and our focus remains on the full aerospace value-chain. Our aim is to provide best-in-class products and services, develop sustainable partnerships, foster innovation, nurture talent, enhance skills and promote entrepreneurship in Africa.”

To meet market demands, Africa will need over 1,200 new passenger and freighter aircraft. By 2038, we will see double the number of planes we currently see in the sky according to the Airbus GMF.

Africa’s expanding maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) segment will continue on the same growth trajectory – Airbus’ Global Services Forecast (GSF) anticipates over 25,000 new service technicians and nearly 21,000 pilots will be needed over the next two decades. With a larger aviation and MRO industry, markets must be capacitated with the right skills to meet demands of the steady increase of traffic over the next 20 years.

“To achieve sustainable growth in aviation, Airbus believes that investing in Africa’s youthful and increasingly tech-savvy population to build its capacity is vital. At Airbus, we have created several initiatives such as the “Airbus Little Engineer” programme, which has reached over 5000 learners across the continent and “Africa 4Future” for entrepreneurs. These initiatives are a reflection of our commitment to support the development of a sustainable pipeline of talent for the continent,” Houari added.