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Boeing Predicts Soaring Intra-African Air Travel Demand

An Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 787-9 prepares to land in Brussels. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Fabian Behr)

Boeing’s Commercial Market Outlook (CMO) for the years 2023–2042 has unveiled a fascinating aviation landscape in Africa. The report forecasts an extraordinary surge in intra-African passenger traffic, with expectations of quadrupling over the next two decades. This substantial growth, among the highest globally, will necessitate the addition of a remarkable 1,025 new aircraft to Africa’s aviation fleet.

Africa’s air traffic growth, as projected in Boeing’s CMO, stands at an impressive 7.4%. This rate not only surpasses the global average of 6.1% but also ranks as the third-highest growth rate in the world. Randy Heisey, Boeing’s Managing Director of Commercial Marketing for Middle East and Africa, expressed confidence in African carriers’ ability to support this extraordinary growth. He highlighted that the average aircraft size and seating capacity for African fleets are set to increase, with a particular emphasis on single-aisle planes like the Boeing 737 MAX.

The resurgence of African aviation traffic in 2023 can be attributed to pent-up demand and economic growth, driven in part by higher global commodity prices. Currently, airline flights in Africa have surged to levels 8% above those seen before the pandemic. Looking ahead, the long-term demand for air travel in Africa will continue to be fueled by an annual economic growth rate of 3.4%, urbanization rates, and the growing middle-class population.

Moreover, initiatives such as the African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA) and Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) are poised to further stimulate trade and enhance intra-regional connectivity. Notable projections from the 2023 Africa CMO include:

1. Europe remaining the most prominent origin and destination for travelers to and from Africa, leading to a 4.5% annual fleet growth for airlines in the region.

2. Single-aisle jets dominating commercial deliveries, with 730 new planes primarily catering to domestic and intra-regional demand.

3. African carriers estimated to require 275 new widebody aircraft, encompassing passenger and cargo models, to facilitate long-haul routes and air freight growth.

4. Approximately 90% of African jet deliveries are expected to be fuel-efficient models like the 737 MAX, 777X, and 787 Dreamliner.

5. A surge in demand for aviation personnel, with a need for 69,000 new professionals, including 26,000 cabin crew members; 22,000 technicians; and 21,000 pilots.

6. Commercial services opportunities such as supply chain management, manufacturing, repair, and overhaul being valued at a remarkable $105 billion.

As the African aviation sector continues to soar, these projections from Boeing’s CMO shed light on the region’s promising future and its potential to become a prominent player on the global aviation stage. Stay tuned to airlinegeeks.com for more insights into the dynamic world of aviation.

Victor Shalton


  • Victor Shalton

    Born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya, Victor’s love for aviation goes way back to when he was 11-years-old. Living close to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, he developed a love for planes and he even recalls aspiring to be a future airline executive for Kenya Airways. He also has a passion in the arts and loves writing and had his own aviation blog prior to joining AirlineGeeks. He is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business administration at DeKUT and aspiring to make a career in a more aviation-related course.

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