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Air transport : Airbus identifies major underserved routes

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Air transport : Airbus identifies major underserved routes

The major underserved air routes identified by Airbus are located in the largest cities in Africa, namely Lagos, Cape Town, Nairobi, Dakar, and Douala. Despite significant traffic in Africa, Airbus notes that some of these routes lack regular non-stop flights. Overall, Airbus forecasts a 4.1 % growth in air traffic over the next 20 years, which will lead to a demand for 1,180 new aircraft by 2043 across Africa.

Airbus recommendations to stimulate the African economy

An analysis conducted by the global aviation giant Airbus reveals several key underserved air routes in Africa. Ensuring these connections would provide better connectivity for travelers and stimulate economic growth while offering new revenue opportunities for airlines.

In its report, the aircraft manufacturer submits strategic recommendations to African airlines. These can be leveraged to create a more connected continent and, in turn, stimulate the African economy. This analysis comes at a time when Airbus is optimizing its capabilities to strengthen its presence in Africa.

Underserved air routes in Africa

Despite significant traffic between certain cities, several identified routes are still not regularly served by non-stop flights. « Factors such as restrictive bilateral air service agreements, economic variables, and issues of capacity, frequency, and cost efficiency contribute to these routes remaining underserved, » notes Geert Lemaire, Consulting Director at Airbus.

The company’s forecasts predict a 4.1 % expansion in air traffic over the next 20 years. This positive trajectory for the aircraft manufacturer anticipates an increase in demand for 1,180 new aircraft by 2043 in Africa alone.

At the same time, the continued growth of the aviation sector in Africa is expected to result in real GDP growth of 3.3 % on the continent, well above the global average of 2.6 %. This growth is confirmed by data from Airbus’ Global Services Forecast, which estimates that to meet the strong demand for air transport, Africa will need to hire :

  • 15,000 pilots
  • 20,000 technicians
  • 24,000 cabin crew members

Civil aviation sector in Africa : An Overview

The civil aviation industry in Africa has long faced similar challenges, including :

  • Lack of bilateral agreements
  • Very high operating costs
  • Unpredictable tax regimes
  • A safety record that needs improvement

For many travelers in Africa, air travel between neighboring cities was only possible by making connections from air hubs located outside Africa. « The introduction of direct intra-African flights has proven to be non-competitive in terms ofprice. This has hindered Africa’s economic development and reduced the capacity of African countries to trade effectively with the rest of the world, » states part of Airbus’ report titled « The Great Enabler, Aerospace in Africa. »

Aviation : Driver of Africa’s socio-economic development

Currently, airlines and associated businesses in Africa support around 7 million jobs and represent more than 80 billion USD in GDP for the continent’s economy. In 1999, a dozen African countries signed a principle agreement, a historic measure that saw the launch of the first initiative to integrate and liberalize the market. This has created about 155,000 new aviation-related jobs.

Moreover, the authorization of low-cost carrier (LCC) operations between South Africa and Zambia led to nearly a 40 % reduction in fares and a significant increase in traffic. Additionally, when Morocco signed an open skies agreement with the European Union (EU) in 2006, traffic increased by about 160 %, and the number of routes between Morocco and the EU tripled between 2005 and 2013.

Today, while Africa is home to 16 % of the world’s population, it accounts for less than 3 % of global air traffic. For millions of people in Africa, the price of a plane ticket is prohibitive, on average 45 % higher than anywhere else in the world, according to industry experts.

Commercial Aircraft in Africa : Airbus in Monopoly

According to Airbus’ latest analysis, African carriers are increasingly aware of the operational and economic advantages of acquiring new and modern aircraft. Currently, African carriers are choosing to operate some of the most technologically advanced aircraft such as the A350, A330neo, A320neo, and A220.

In Africa, more than 500 Airbus helicopters are in service. These aircraft provide a wide range of services :

  • For military and civilian missions
  • For search service providers
  • For air ambulance rescue
  • For anti-poaching programs
  • For tourism

Airbus is also involved in developing space exploration technologies in collaboration with several African economies.In Morocco, for example, Airbus is the prime contractor for the MOHAMMED VI-A Earth observation satellite. Incollaboration with the University of Science and Technology of Namibia, Airbus has established a virtual space data center. This facility provides geo-intelligence services to government departments, state agencies, and private sector clients.

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