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, 1,025 new airplanes will be needed over the next two decades.
Overall African air traffic growth is forecast at 7.4%, the third highest among global regions and above the global average growth of 6.1%. Boeing included the data as part of its 2023 Commercial Market Outlook (CMO), the company’s long-term assessment of global demand for commercial airplanes and services.
“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,” said Randy Heisey, Boeing managing director of Commercial Marketing for Middle East and Africa. “We forecast an increase in the average aircraft size and seats per aircraft for the African fleet, as single aisles, like the Boeing 737 MAX, will be the most in demand for the continent.”
African aviation traffic has recovered at a strong pace in 2023 led by pent-up demand and economic growth driven by higher global commodity prices. African airline flights are currently 8% above pre-pandemic levels. Africa’s above global average, long-term annual economic growth of 3.4%, combined with increasing rates of urbanization and a growing middle-class population, will continue to drive Africa’s long-term traffic demand, according to Boeing. Economic and growth Initiatives such as the African Continental Free Trade Area and Single African Air Transport Market are expected to further stimulate trade and intra-regional connectivity.
The 2023 Africa CMO also includes these projections through 2042: With Europe remaining the most prominent origin/destination for travelers to and from Africa, airlines in the region will grow their fleets by 4.5% per year to accommodate passenger traffic growth.
Single aisle jets are expected to account for more than 70% of commercial deliveries, with 730 new planes mainly supporting domestic and intra-regional demand. In addition, African carriers are estimated to need 275 new widebodies, including passenger and cargo models, to support long-haul routes and air freight growth.
Approximately 90% of African jet deliveries are expected to serve fleet growth with more fuel-efficient models such as the 737 MAX, 777X and 787 Dreamliner, with nearly one in five deliveries replacing older airplanes.
Estimated demand for aviation personnel will rise to 69,000 new professionals, including 21,000 pilots, 22,000 technicians and 26,000 cabin crew members.
Commercial services opportunities such as supply chain, manufacturing, repair and overhaul are valued at $105 billion.