Airliner manufacturers predict continued strong air traffic growth for Africa over the next 20 years, and an unprecedented boom if and when African Union member states implement the Yamoussoukro Declaration to liberalise the continent’s air transport regulatory framework.

Africa’s air traffic will grow at above-world-average rates for the next 20 years, according to forecasts released by Airbus and Boeing at last week’s Africa Aerospace and Defence show near Cape Town. Boeing predicts annual growth of 5.7% and Airbus 4.7%. The manufacturers predicted African airlines would invest between $40-60 billion between them to acquire between 430 (according to Boeing’s forecast) and 640 (according to Airbus’s) new passenger aircraft. They predictably disagreed on the potential of the large airliner market, with Airbus seeing demand for 17 A380-size planes, while Boeing predicts demand for only 10.

Airbus vice-president sales for Southern Africa and Indian Ocean, Hadi Akoum, says South African Airways (SAA) and EgyptAir are likely A380 customers in Africa. Airbus is pushing the A380 at SAA in light of South Africa’s hosting of the football World Cup in 2010.

Source: Flight International