Embraer Commercial Aviation released its market outlook for Africa, which forecasts that the region will take delivery of 240 new jets in the 70 to 130-seat segment over the next 20 years. The 70 to 130-seat jet fleet in service is estimated to grow from the current 120 units to 260 by 2034. “Africans are turning progressively to air travel. As in Asia, economic expansion, a growing urban middle class, continued market liberalisation and regional integration will be the main drivers of air transport demand,” explained Simon Newitt, Vice President, Latin America, Africa & Portugal, Embraer Commercial Aviation. “With right-sized aircraft, such as the E-Jets family, African carriers would be able to offer a better combination of capacity and frequency in core as well as low to mid-density markets.”
According to the Embraer study, there are still ample connectivity opportunities within the African region although traffic remains concentrated in the largest cities. Of more than 300 of the region’s airports operating in 2015, only eight connected 25 or more cities while 240 airports linked five or less cities. Some 90% of city pairs have traffic volumes of up to 300 daily passengers yet the current fleet is comprised of large capacity aircraft – around 70% of the aircraft in the single-aisle jet fleet have more than 130 seats. Nearly 55% of intra-regional markets do not have direct flights and some 67% of all non-stop markets within the region are served with less than one daily frequency. This is a clear indication of the opportunities for air service expansion and for right capacity aircraft deployment, Embraer said. At the same time, the study reveals that 83% of all Intra-African flights are departing with less than 120 passengers on board. This fact becomes even more interesting, when linking it to the average load-factor of only 68% of African airlines. This is clear evidence of airlines operating too large capacity aircraft, which have resulted, in some cases, in poor profitability and markets remaining underserved, according to Embraer.
In Africa, Embraer has more than 40% market share among aircraft in the jet segment up to 130 seats. Nearly 40 E-Jets are currently in service with six operators from six countries in the region. In total, there are more than 120 Embraer aircraft, between turboprops and jets, flying in Africa with almost 40 different airlines. Embraer airplanes fly with brands like Royal Air Maroc, Egyptair Express, Airlink and Kenya Airways, amongst others. The E-Jets family has logged over 1,700 orders and 1,200 deliveries to date. The aircraft are in service with some 70 customers from 50 countries.