Nigerian Pastor David Oyedepo in his jet. Photo: osundefender.org, Encomium Magazine
The African business jet fleet has grown to 524 aircraft in 50 years and the last 15 years saw the fastest growth but there was a slowdown in 2014, according to the Africa Business Jet Fleet Report 2015.
The report was just released by Asian Sky Group, a Hong Kong-based aircraft sales, charter and management firm.
The business jet market in Africa isn’t growing in proportion to GDP economic growth on the continent, and rather than seeing this as bad news, the authors of the report said African business aviation is poised for “significant expansion.”
One of the reasons for this could be the age of the African business jet fleet. With an average age of more than 19 years per jet, the report said the African business jet fleet is the oldest in the world. Some aircraft were made in the 1950s or early 1960s.
Most key African economies experienced more than 3 percent real GDP growth in 2014 and the same economies are forecast to grow 6 percent in 2015 — among the fastest growing in the world.
Business aviation growth in the region will be a barometer of economic growth, said Tarek Ragheb, founding chairman of the African Business Aviation Association, in an Aviation Week interview.
The association released its first data-driven report in May based on an online survey with 84 respondents. Research was compiled by Jetnet, a Utica, New York-based aircraft market intelligence firm.
Respondents included business aircraft owners and operators, brokers, financing companies, insurance firms, government agencies and aviation trade associations with 80 percent based in Africa and the remaining 20 percent having aviation business interests in Africa.
Their top five priorities for business aviation in Africa are training and skills development, enhanced safety and security, infrastructure improvements, reduced taxes and fees and improved airport access.
Of the 524 African business jets included in the report, 61 percent are privately operated and 20 percent are operated for charter.
Africans who can afford private jets are encouraged to use them partly because of growing frustration with the kind of services offered by commercial airlines, said Jenny Van Wyk, passenger sales manager for Africa at aircraft charter company Chapman Freeborn, in a CNBCAfrica interview in February.
Demand for charter is growing in Africa, especially in mining. “Certain destinations are tricky when it comes to scheduled flights due to runway conditions (and other aspects), so chartering is more of an interest to the consumer at the moment,” Van Wyk said.
As more Africans begin to demand more options while flying, the wealthy have begun to opt out of commercial flights and invest in private jet charter flights, Van Wyk said.
“Wealthy (Africans) opt to acquire their own jets to save the time that would, otherwise, have been lost waiting for flights,” she said.
So how many business jets do African countries have? We’ve listed them here from smallest to largest known fleets, using data from the Africa Business Jet Fleet Report 2015. Check out the size of business jet fleets in 17 African countries.
Sign up for the AFKInsider newsletter — the most compelling business news you need to know from Africa and the African diaspora, delivered straight to your inbox.