A leading aircraft manufacturer, Airbus, has revealed that Nigeria must aim to acquire at least 160 additional aircraft by 2042. Joel Ellers, the company’s marketing director for Africa, who was speaking at a media briefing held on September 12, 2023, ahead of the 7th Aviation Africa Summit and Exhibition opening in Abuja, emphasized that this move is crucial to keep up with the projected growth in air traffic within the country. “Airline Business modules are different,” he said, “we will always work out the best module for Nigerian airline operators.” But by 2042, he said that there will be a need for 159 additional Aircraft to service Nigerian market.
The number of aircraft includes 131 single-aisle aircraft such as the A220 and A320 families, and 28 widebody aircraft such as the A330 and A350 families serving the Nigerian market in the next two decades. For comparison, in the wider African continent, he revealed that 1180 new aircraft would be needed for the continent by 2042, made up of 295 widebody and 885 single-aisle aircraft. He added that during this period, the fleet in the region would transition to new generation types such as the A220, A320neo family, A330neo and A350 bringing significant efficiency improvement and a corresponding reduction in carbon emissions per passenger.
Aviation sector growth to drive yearly service demand by 4.1%.
Speaking on air traffic in Nigeria, Ellers said that it is expected to increase by 5 percent over the next two decades. He highlighted the need for a significant expansion of the country’s aviation infrastructure. He also stated that passenger traffic in Nigeria is predicted to grow by 2.9% in the next 20 years. This anticipated growth is driven by various factors, including the country’s economic development, population growth, and increasing urbanization. Inter-Africa, excluding domestics, will be over seven percent traffic to Europe. So, he said traffic to Europe grows by about three percent year-on-year, which is the same with the United States.
Airbus predicts that the aviation sector growth on the African continent would drive average yearly services demand up by 4.1 percent, which is from $2 billion to $7 billion. According to the marketing director, growing Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO) services at both local and regional level are central to the sector’s growth, safety and longevity. This expansion could serve to bring in additional revenues, reduce aircraft maintenance costs and provide even further opportunities for job creation and skills development in Nigeria and the continent at large.
Industry growth would create more jobs on the continent.
As Nigeria and indeed Africa’s aerospace industry grows and becomes more dynamic, an increasing demand for specialized skills creates thousands of new opportunities for young people on the continent. Already, an estimated 7.7 million direct and indirect jobs have been created by the industry in Africa. However, Airbus predicted that a further 17,000 technicians, 14,000 pilots and 23,000 cabin crew positions would be required across Africa in the next 20 years.
Meanwhile, Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Mr. Festus Keyamo, has revealed that the Federal Government is ready to make Nigeria the aviation hub of Africa. Keyamo said this at the seventh edition of the Aviation Africa Summit and Exhibition 2023 in Abuja. According to him, the current administration is ready to achieve the feat by tackling challenges in the aviation industry to attract foreign investors. He said that the government is already looking at the aircraft leasing company, aircraft maintenance organization, forex availability and tax holidays to improve the aviation business in Nigeria.
FG committed to improving the industry for all stakeholders.
Keyamo said that the government would ensure that contract agreements and the rights of investors are enforced, and indeed all parties were protected as Nigeria being a signatory to the Cape Town Convention to uphold international obligations. He mentioned that the MRO facility was another critical component that could make the Nigerian aviation industry a hub on the continent. “With the shortage of qualified engineers, the current administration is willing to provide all the necessary support for the establishment of a world class MRO and training organization,” he said.
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