ExecuJet will open fully its first African fixed-base operation outside South Africa - in Lagos, Nigeria - in September, as soaring oil and mineral revenues and inward investment turn the continent into the boom region for business aviation.
The Switzerland-based aviation services group - which has its origins in South Africa and FBOs in Johannesburg and Cape Town - will target a growing West African business elite by offering aircraft management and maintenance. The facility, owned with a local partner and including a 9,000m2 (100,000ft2) hangar, "will be a replica" of its Cape Town operation, opened four years ago, says Ettore Poggi, managing director of ExecuJet South Africa.
He maintains that although ExecuJet's South African business caters for customers throughout the continent, increasing deliveries of jets and charter demand in Nigeria mean it makes sense to expand its African footprint. "We will consolidate Lagos and then see what opportunities come up after that," he says.
ExecuJet is just one of several European business aviation players looking to exploit increased demand in the continent. Earlier this year, management and charter provider Hangar 8, based in Oxford, UK, bought South African operator Star-Gate Aviation, while two years ago Bombardier specialist VistaJet established a presence in Nigeria in partnership with local businessman and customer Kola Aluko.
Although Nigeria rivals South Africa as the sub-Saharan region's powerhouse economy, other countries including Angola, Botswana, Ghana and Zambia are enjoying robust growth.
Flight International's 11 September issue has a country focus on South Africa, including a feature on the region's business aviation sector.