On a continent where an underdeveloped transportation infrastructure has long hindered economic growth, a virtual constellation of airports in Central East Africa might well warrant some reason for optimism. A 600-mile-long “Equator Cluster” of airports around Lake Victoria, in Entebbe, Uganda; Nairobi, Kenya; Dar es Salaam and Kilimanjaro, Tanzania; and Kigali, Rwanda, all support the growth of aviation traffic in the East African region.
The aerospace industries in Morocco and Tunisia still tend to be viewed as embryonic by some Westerners, but the North African countries are starting to capitalize on the desire by European companies to move production offshore and take advantage of the close proximity to these low-cost economies. Both countries have made a commitment to develop an investment framework promoting local jobs, and opportunities for international companies, and this is paying dividends with the constant creation of new aerospace concerns.
Marking a year of rapid growth since its launch at EBACE 2012, the African Business Aviation Association (AfBAA) announced this week at EBACE 2013 that it plans to stage a business aviation expo of its own next April in conjunction with the Marrakech Air Show. The expo and airshow will be held next April 23 to 26 at Marrakech Menara Airport.
AfBAA’s expo will cover 540,000 sq ft, providing room for exhibit booths, aircraft static displays and chalets.
Angola’s booming economy, which saw 10-percent growth in gross domestic product last year driven largely by new oil discoveries and reconstruction after the southwest African country’s long civil war, is driving a rapid expansion in business aviation activity. In response, local handling and aircraft management group Bestfly has opened the country’s first real FBO at Luanda International Airport. It is building a 21,500-sq-ft hangar that it expects will be ready in July.
Business aviation traffic at Lagos International Airport has increased almost three-fold over the past couple of years, according to Evergreen Apple Nigeria, which opened the west African country’s first purpose-built FBO in 2011. According to managing director and CEO Segun Demuren, average monthly movements numbered 82 in 2011, but that number this year stands at 220. Now the company competes with ExecuJet Aviation, which opened its own facility at the airport last year.
Nigeria’s Civil Aviation Authority is expected to issue new regulations governing business and private aviation that, for the first time, are separate from those covering commercial air transport. Pending introduction of the new policy, which could be issued within two or three months, the government has temporarily suspended the importation of business aircraft.
A twin-turboprop Fokker 50 was destroyed after it crashed on March 4 into a residential area approximately four miles short of the runway at Goma Airport (FZNA) in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. The accident killed six of nine people aboard the Compagnie Africaine d’Aviation (CAA) airlines aircraft. CAA is one of dozens of Congolese airlines banned from flying within European Union airspace over safety concerns.
Regional airlines serve a vital purpose all over the world even where they mix with low-cost carriers. The regionals can serve areas the low-costers cannot reach–or so goes a well known European beer advertisement. Thin routes mean smaller aircraft and services more akin to business aviation flights than those for holiday-makers.
Business aircraft movements at Lagos-based Evergreen Apple Nigeria have more than doubled from a year ago to an average of 15 daily movements. Flights arriving at the African FBO are predominantly coming from Europe as business executives enter Nigeria. Arrivals from the Middle East are also increasing, it added. Driving the growth is expansion of the oil and gas energy industries, which have attracted renewed interest from European companies.
Two pilots and two passengers were killed and seven others injured when a Let L-410 turboprop twin crashed on takeoff from the Ngerende Airstrip in Kenya’s Masai Mara Game Reserve on August 22. The 19-seat Kenyan-registered aircraft, operated by Mombasa Air Safari, was destroyed in the accident.