African air­craft mar­ket set to dou­ble

Finweek English Edition - - FEATURE - James-Brent Styan

Cana­dian air­craft man­u­fac­turer Bom­bardier says the mar­ket for its air­craft will dou­ble over the next five years. “Cur­rently there are about 200 Bom­bardier air­craft f ly­ing in Africa. We ex­pect this to dou­ble in five years and to dou­ble again much quicker fol­low­ing that,” says Chet Fuller, se­nior vice pres­i­dent for com­mer­cial air­craft at Bom­bardier.

Bom­bardier man­u­fac­tures the Q400, CRJ 200 and CRJ 700 air­craft that South African Ex­press (SAX) uses. SAX is Bom­bardier’s big­gest cus­tomer in Africa and cur­rently uses 24 air­craft man­u­fac­tured by the com­pany.

Raphael Had­dad, Bom­bardier VP for Africa, says there are cur­rently 61 op­er­a­tors of Bom­bardier air­craft in Africa, with grow­ing in­ter­est from other groups on the con­ti­nent. Africa is cur­rently the man­u­fac­turer’s third-largest mar­ket af­ter North Amer­ica and Europe.

Fuller says the Bom­bardier air­craft types are well suited to African con­di­tions “the planes are fast, can cover a lot of dis­tance and can be used un­der diff icult con­di­tions in­clud­ing on gravel run­ways”.

He also men­tioned one area where air­craft had to be able to op­er­ate in tem­per­a­tures reach­ing 47°C.

Bom­bardier air­craft also carry fewer pas­sen­gers, gen­er­ally be­tween 50-130 at a time. This makes it eas­ier to fill the air­craft.

Fuller was ad­dress­ing the me­dia on the side­lines of the IATA con­fer­ence cur­rently be­ing held in Cape Town.

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