African Aviation: Boeing forecasts demand for 1,025 new aircraft

Photo: Boeing
By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 5 Min Read
5 Min Read

Boeing projects that intra African passenger traffic will more than quadruple in the next twenty years, placing the continent’s growth among the highest globally.

To support this growth, approximately 1,025 new aircraft will be needed over the next two decades, according to the aircraft manufacturer’s forecast.

The emergence of the African aviation sector


Africa is emerging as a true contender for substantial growth. Boeing, one of the aviation industry’s giants, projects a strong surge in intra-African passenger traffic over the next two decades.

This optimistic outlook positions Africa’s aviation industry among the fastest-growing globally, underscoring the continent’s potential.

Boeing’s 2023 Commercial Market Outlook (CMO) paints a compelling picture of Africa’s aviation landscape. The data suggests that African air traffic growth is set to surge at an impressive rate of 7.4%.

This growth rate surpasses the global average, which stands at 6.1%, and ranks Africa third among all global regions. These figures alone highlight the immense potential of the African aviation sector.

Boeing’s projections are nothing short of bold. To accommodate this anticipated growth, a staggering 1,025 new airplanes will be required in the African market over the next two decades.

These figures encompass a wide range of aircraft, reflecting the diverse needs of the continent’s airlines.

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Seizing the Opportunities


Randy Heisey, Boeing’s Managing Director of Commercial Marketing for the Middle East and Africa, asserts, “African carriers are well-positioned to support intra-regional traffic growth and capture market share by offering services that efficiently connect passengers and enable commerce within the continent.”

This statement underscores the importance of connectivity and efficient services in harnessing the immense growth potential.

Boeing’s forecast also predicts a shift in the composition of the African aviation fleet. As demand surges, there will be an increase in the average aircraft size and seats per aircraft.

Single-aisle aircraft, such as the Boeing 737 MAX, are expected to be the most sought-after, aligning with the continent’s evolving needs.

Factors Driving Growth


The resurgence of African aviation in 2023 has been remarkable, driven by pent-up demand and economic growth fueled by rising global commodity prices.

Currently, African airline flights have surpassed pre-pandemic levels by 8%. Boeing attributes this resurgence to Africa’s above-global-average annual economic growth of 3.4%, urbanization rates, and the expanding middle-class population.

Additionally, initiatives like the African Continental Free Trade Area and the Single African Air Transport Market are set to further stimulate trade and enhance intra-regional connectivity.

These initiatives are integral to fostering economic growth, and they complement the aviation sector’s expansion.

Projections for the Future


Boeing’s 2023 Africa CMO extends its projections up to 2042, offering a glimpse of the long-term trends:

European Connection: Europe remains a key origin/destination for travelers to and from Africa. Airlines in the region are expected to increase their fleets by 4.5% annually to accommodate the growing passenger traffic.

Single Aisle Dominance: Single-aisle jets are anticipated to account for over 70% of commercial deliveries. This category of aircraft, with 730 new planes, will mainly cater to domestic and intra-regional demand.

Widebody Demand: African carriers are projected to require 275 new widebody aircraft, encompassing both passenger and cargo models. These will support long-haul routes and the growth of air freight.

Efficiency is Key: Approximately 90% of African jet deliveries will feature more fuel-efficient models like the 737 MAX, 777X, and 787 Dreamliner. This shift towards efficiency is essential for sustainability and cost-effectiveness.

Rising Demand for Professionals: With this aviation boom, the demand for aviation personnel will rise significantly.

A total of 69,000 new professionals will be needed, including 21,000 pilots, 22,000 technicians, and 26,000 cabin crew members. This presents substantial employment opportunities in the aviation sector.

You can access the complete Boeing CMO here.

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