African airlines projected to acquire $160bn planes

Wednesday October 27 2021

Kenya Airways Boeing plane at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. FILE PHOTO | NMG


Plane manufacturer Boeing forecasts that Africa’s airlines will invest $160 billion in acquiring additional 1,030 aircraft by 2040 to meet the growing demand for flying in the continent, raising hopes for the recovery of the sector that has been hard hit by Covid-19.

Boeing says Africa’s strong, long-term growth prospects for commercial aviation are closely tied to the continent’s projected three percent annual economic growth over the next 20 years.

Initiatives such as the African Continental Free Trade Area and Single African Air Transport Market are expected to stimulate trade, air travel and economic cooperation.

The US-based manufacturer also notes that the continent will require aftermarket services such as manufacturing and repair of these aircraft worth $235 billion, enabling growth for air travel and economies across the region.

“Africa has healthy opportunities to expand travel and tourism, coinciding with increasing urbanisation and rising incomes,” said Randy Heisey, Boeing managing director of commercial marketing for the Middle East and Africa.

“African carriers are well-positioned to support inter-regional traffic growth and capture market share by offering services that efficiently connect passengers and enable commerce within the continent,” he added.


The company shared the projection as part of the 2021 Commercial Market Outlook (CMO), the firm’s long-term assessment of demand for commercial planes and services.

Boeing said the region’s middle class and working population is projected to double by the end of the forecast period, driving increased demand for air travel.

The 2021 Africa CMO also projects that airlines in Africa will grow their fleets by 3.6 percent per year to accommodate passenger traffic growth of 5.4 percent annually, the third-highest growth rate in the world.

According to Boeing, single-aisle jets are expected to account for more than 70 percent of commercial deliveries, with 740 new planes mainly supporting domestic and inter-regional demand.

In addition, African carriers are estimated to need 250 new widebodies, including passenger and cargo models, to support long-haul routes and air freight growth.

The firm also projects that 80 percent of African jet deliveries are expected to serve fleet growth with more sustainable, fuel-efficient models such as the Boeing 737, 777X and 787 Dreamliner, with 20 percent of deliveries replacing older airplanes.

Kenya Airways operates a fleet of Boeings for its long-range routes and a number of Embraer aircraft. Last year, the carrier said it was looking at Boeing as the best replacement for some of its aircraft that are due for retiring.

The estimated demand for aviation personnel will rise to 63,000 new professionals, including 19,000 pilots, 20,000 technicians and 24,000 cabin crew members.

As a global aerospace company, Boeing develops, manufactures and services commercial aircraft, defense products and space systems for customers in more than 150 countries.

The company leverages the talents of a global supplier base to advance economic opportunity, sustainability and community impact.

Boeing says that its diverse team is committed to innovating for the future and living the company’s core values of safety, quality and integrity.

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