African aircraft market set to double
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.