Rus­sia eye­ing African avi­a­tion mar­ket with medium-range air­craft

The East African - - BUSINESS - By NJIRAINI MUCHIRA Spe­cial Cor­re­spon­dent

RUS­SIA IS eye­ing a share of the African avi­a­tion mar­ket, through their Sukhoi Su­per­jet 100 (SSJ 100) and MC-21 air­craft.

State-owned Sukhoi Civil Air­craft Com­pany, maker of the SSJ 100, and Irkut Cor­po­ra­tion have been ne­go­ti­at­ing with African gov­ern­ments and air­lines to mar­ket the air­craft in a re­gion dom­i­nated by Boe­ing, Air­bus, Em­braer and Bom­bardier.

Sukhoi and Irkut, sub­sidiaries of United Air­craft Cor­po­ra­tion, the gi­ant aero­space and de­fence cor­po­ra­tion, have been hold­ing road­shows in Kenya, Uganda, Nige­ria and Mali.

They are also tar­get­ing An­gola, Namibia, Ghana and Zam­bia in fu­ture.

In Kenya, the Rus­sian del­e­ga­tion met with Trans­port Cab­i­net Sec­re­tary James Macharia and se­nior man­agers of Kenya Air­ways, Kenya Civil Avi­a­tion Au­thor­ity and Kenya Air­ports Au­thor­ity.

Evgeny An­drach­nikov, the Sukhoi Civil Air­craft Com­pany se­nior vice pres­i­dent, said the man­u­fac­tur­ers were aware of the on­go­ing ef­forts to in­crease air trans­port and drive in­traafrica trade and the Rus­sians “hope to help the con­ti­nent achieve th­ese goals.”

African Im­port Ex­port Bank (Afrex­im­bank), which has set aside a $20 bil­lion fund to sup­port African air­lines, es­ti­mates that should Africa man­age to re­duce trans­port costs by 10 per cent, trade would in­crease by 25 per cent, by boost­ing in­tra-africa trade from the cur­rent 18 per cent to 43 per cent.

Cur­rently, most of the con­ti­nent’s air­lines are up­grad­ing their fleets to en­able them grow and serve more des­ti­na­tions.

Leas­ing ar­range­ments

Last week, Tan­za­nia re­ceived a new Bom­bardier Dash 8 Q400, the third plane to be bought by the John Magu­fuli ad­min­is­tra­tion, which has not just re­vived state-owned car­rier, Air Tan­za­nia, but is also up­grad­ing its air­ports and their fa­cil­i­ties.

Sukhoi and Irkut are mar­ket­ing the SSJ 100 and MC-21, which are medium-range air­craft. The SSJ 100 is a twin-en­gine plane that can trans­port up to 98 pas­sen­gers and fly dis­tances of up to 4,345km while the MC-21 is a sin­gle-aisle twin­jet with a ca­pac­ity to trans­port from 130 to 220 pas­sen­gers with a range of 6,500km.

Sukhoi, whose first air­craft took to the skies in 2011, has a to­tal 152 air­craft fly­ing around the globe, and has al­ready se­cured or­ders to de­liver five planes to Zam­bia this year.

In Africa, the Boe­ing 737, Air­bus A320, Em­braer 190 and Bom­bardier Q400 dom­i­nate the medium range mar­ket.

“Africa is an im­por­tant mar­ket for medi­um­range air­craft and we hope to se­cure or­ders af­ter we com­plete test runs,” said Alexey Lyzin, Irkut di­rec­tor for re­gional sales.

“We hope to make our air­craft con­quer the African skies,” added Mr An­drach­nikov.

Rus­sia is part­ner­ing with the Afrex­im­bank, which is ex­pected to help African air­lines ac­quire or lease air­craft.

Last year, the Rus­sian Ex­port Cen­ter be­came the third largest in­ter­na­tional share­holder of Afrex­im­bank af­ter mak­ing a sig­nif­i­cant in­vest­ment un­der the bank’s Class C share­hold­ers.

Zam­bia has al­ready signed on an ex­port credit fi­nanc­ing ar­range­ment with Afrex­im­bank to sup­port pur­chase of the air­craft.

Rene Awambeng, Afrex­im­bank’s global head for client re­la­tions, said that thy have also set up a leas­ing plat­form with the Rus­sians and some African part­ners to sup­port the leas­ing of air­craft.

Pic­ture: Cyril Ndegeya

The Rus­sians seek to com­pete with the likes of 37-seater Bom­bardier jets such as this one be­long­ing to Rwandair.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Kenya

© PressReader. All rights reserved.