Airbus, a global leader in the aviation industry, presented its market forecast for Nigeria during a media briefing held in anticipation of the 7th Aviation Africa Summit and Exhibition at the Abuja International Convention Centre. The forecast underscores the soaring demand for aircraft in Nigeria and Africa, driven by rapid urbanization, economic expansion, and the pivotal role aviation plays in the continent’s development.
Home to the world’s fastest-growing cities, Lagos and Abuja, Nigeria is poised to witness a substantial surge in aviation demand over the next two decades. According to the 2023 Airbus Global Market Forecast (GMF), airlines serving Nigeria will require approximately 160 passenger and freight aircraft by 2042. This includes 131 single-aisle aircraft like the A220 and A320 families, along with 28 widebody aircraft such as the A330 and A350 families, all aimed at serving the burgeoning Nigerian market.
Airbus recognizes the profound significance of aviation in driving economic development across Africa. As Africa’s most populous nation, Nigeria boasts a vibrant and expanding economy, making the aviation industry a key player in connecting the nation’s diverse regions and fueling economic progress.
The Airbus GMF also predicts that the growth of the aviation sector in Africa will result in an annual increase in services demand by 4.1%, soaring from US$2 billion to US$7 billion. A pivotal element in this growth is the expansion of Maintenance Repair & Overhaul (MRO) services at local and regional levels. By enhancing MRO capabilities, Nigeria can generate additional revenues, reduce aircraft maintenance costs, and create numerous job opportunities, further contributing to skills development in the nation and across the continent.
As the aerospace industry in Nigeria and Africa at large continues to expand and diversify, there is a growing demand for specialized skills, opening up thousands of new opportunities for young people on the continent. Already, the industry has created an estimated 7.7 million direct and indirect jobs in Africa. Airbus forecasts an additional demand for 17,000 technicians, 14,000 pilots, and 23,000 cabin crew positions across Africa over the next two decades.
To meet this demand and ensure the retention of talent, regional cooperation and cross-country licensing are crucial. Government-private sector partnerships and the establishment of training academies are equally essential in building a sustainable aerospace industry in Africa.
On a continental scale, Airbus anticipates that by 2042, Africa will require 1,180 new aircraft, consisting of 295 widebody and 885 single-aisle aircraft. This transition will see fleets in the region adopting new-generation aircraft like the A220, A320neo family, A330neo, and A350, resulting in significant efficiency improvements and reduced carbon emissions per passenger.
Over the past decade, Africa has made substantial strides in aviation, including the establishment of the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) and fleet modernization efforts by national airlines. Currently, there are 265 Airbus commercial jetliners operated by 36 carriers in Africa. Airlines such as Ethiopian Airlines, Ibom Air, Air Senegal, South African Airways, Air Côte d’Ivoire, EgyptAir, Uganda Airlines, and Air Tanzania have embraced advanced Airbus aircraft like the A350, A330neo, A320neo, and the A220, showcasing Africa’s commitment to technological advancement in aviation.
As Airbus positions itself at the forefront of the African aviation boom, the future appears promising for both the continent and the global aviation industry. With ambitious forecasts and a burgeoning market, Africa’s skies are set to soar to new heights, bringing economic prosperity and opportunities for the African people.