Boeing has confirmed that its latest commercial forecast does not assume any more demand for the 747-8 from Africa over the next 20 years.

Last year, the airframer lost its only African customer for the 747-8. Nigeria's Arik Air had ordered two of the widebodies in 2011, but disclosed two years later that the deal would be converted to two 777-300ERs.

Now, neither Arik nor any other carrier on the continent is likely to order 747-8s for at least the next five years, says Joao Miguel Santos, Boeing Commercial Airlines' director of sales for Africa. He adds that in Boeing's 20-year market forecast, no 747-8s are predicted to be delivered in Africa despite demand for 1,080 new aircraft from the region over that period.

This analysis was driven by the favourable fuel efficiency of the 777-300ER compared with the 747-8. "The 777-300ER has lower seat-mile costs than a 747-8," Santos says.

Boeing's prediction means it will have to look to other regions to keep 747-8 production going beyond 2016, when the current order backlog would be exhausted.

Single aisles account for 68% of the 1,080 new aircraft Boeing foresees being delivered in Africa, with small widebodies making up 21%, medium widebodies 5% and regional jets 6%.