Africa needs 900 new airliners

2012-11-19 16:08

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Johannesburg - Africa will need 900 new airliners by 2031, vice president of sales at Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Van Rex Gallard, said on Monday.

He said he saw growth in four areas, northern Africa, East Africa, South Africa and West Africa.

"In North Africa, they have had some issues because of the Arab Spring and so forth. But it [growth] is coming up, it is going to continue in countries such as Algeria, Egypt, Morocco," Gallard said in Johannesburg.

"There is a solid infrastructure in those countries. They actually have access to financing and they are technologically prepared to be competitive, with mainly Europe."

Growth in East Africa was also booming, with major industry players coming from Ethiopia, Kenya and Rwanda.

"Ethiopia is the second country in the world which has taken delivery of the [Boeing] 787, after the Japanese."

He said Ethiopia had committed itself to growing the aviation sector, and it viewed the industry as a tool to boost its economy.

"They have the full support of the government. Their goal is to have a very strong hub in that part of the world. The same could be said about Kenya."

Gallard said he was impressed with the growth of South African Airways (SAA), Comair and kulula.com.

"SAA historically has survived and I think it's going to do well... since they have the full support of the government," he said.

South Africa has seen more than 10 airline companies go under in the past 21 years, the latest being 1time, which was granted provisional liquidation earlier this month.

Gallard described Nigeria as a "jewel" in West Africa.

"It is because of the sheer size of that country, the wealth [it] has... I can see Nigeria being the anchor of West Africa."

Other nations whose aviation industries were on the rise were Cameroon, Angola and Equatorial Guinea.

"Competition is the key factor why many airlines are not making profits in the region [Africa].

"Also, the price of fuel is quite high. In some of the cases, it is up to 40% of the operating costs of the airlines," he said.

Africa had enjoyed growth of 5% over the past few years, and Boeing Commercial Airplanes forecast annual growth of 5.6% for the next 20 years.

Gallard said a total of 850 Boeing 787 Dreamliners had been sold since the aircraft was first launched. About 50 had been bought or leased by African carriers.

The growth of the aviation industry in Africa was the result of intra-continental trade, which was on the rise, Gallard said.

Read more on:    africa  |  growth
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