Boeing, a leading aerospace company, has unveiled its projection for Africa’s aviation sector. According to the recently released 2023 Commercial Market Outlook (CMO), Boeing anticipates a quadrupling of intra-African passenger traffic over the next twenty years. This significant growth, among the highest globally, is set to reshape the continent’s aviation landscape, necessitating the addition of a staggering 1,025 new airplanes.
Africa’s air traffic growth, as outlined in Boeing’s CMO, is expected to surge at an impressive rate of 7.4%, surpassing the global average of 6.1%. This makes Africa’s growth rate the third highest on the global scale. Randy Heisey, Boeing’s Managing Director of Commercial Marketing for Middle East and Africa, expresses confidence in African carriers’ ability to support this expansion. Notably, the average aircraft size and seats per aircraft in the African fleet are poised to increase, with a strong demand for single-aisle planes such as the Boeing 737 MAX.
The resurgence of African aviation traffic in 2023 is attributed to pent-up demand and economic growth, driven in part by rising global commodity prices. Presently, African airline flights are operating at 8% above pre-pandemic levels. Looking ahead, the long-term demand for air travel in Africa will continue to be propelled by a promising annual economic growth rate of 3.4%, urbanization trends, and a growing middle-class population.
Further accelerating this growth are initiatives like the African Continental Free Trade Area and the Single African Air Transport Market, which are set to enhance trade and intra-regional connectivity. The 2023 Africa CMO provides comprehensive insights into the aviation landscape through 2042:
1. Europe remains the primary origin and destination for travelers to and from Africa. To accommodate this surging passenger traffic, airlines in the region are projected to grow their fleets by 4.5% annually.
2. Single-aisle jets will play a pivotal role, accounting for more than 70% of commercial deliveries. Approximately 730 new planes will be deployed primarily to support domestic and intra-regional demand.
3. African carriers are expected to acquire 275 new widebody aircraft, including both passenger and cargo models, to facilitate long-haul routes and air freight growth.
4. Approximately 90% of African jet deliveries are set to be more fuel-efficient models like the 737 MAX, 777X, and 787 Dreamliner.
5. The rising demand for aviation personnel will see the creation of 69,000 new jobs, including 21,000 pilots, 22,000 technicians, and 26,000 cabin crew members.
6. In addition to aircraft sales, commercial services opportunities such as supply chain, manufacturing, repair, and overhaul are estimated to be valued at a staggering $105 billion.
As the African aviation sector continues its remarkable growth trajectory, these projections from Boeing’s CMO highlight the region’s promising future and its potential to become a major player on the global aviation stage.