Domestic passenger air traffic in Africa will more than quadruple in the next two decades according to a new report from Boeing, which says that more than 1,000 new aircraft will be needed to keep up with demand. 

The data, which comes as part of the company’s Commercial Market Outlook for 2023, shows that overall African air traffic growth is forecast above the global average (6.1%) at 7.4% with flights already above pre-pandemic levels. 

Boeing’s Middle East and Africa commercial marketing managing director Randy Heisey said: “African carriers are well-positioned to support intra-regional traffic growth and capture market share by offering services that efficiently connect passengers and enable commerce within the continent. 

“We forecast an increase in the average aircraft size and seats per aircraft for the African fleet, as single aisles, like the Boeing 737 MAX, will be the most in demand for the continent.” 

Boeing estimates that 1,025 new aeroplanes will be needed by 2042 to both keep up with air traffic growth and replace existing fleets, with nearly one in five expected to be replacing older aircraft. 

As highlighted by Heisey, single-aisle, narrow body jets are expected to be the biggest driver behind fleet growth, accounting for more than 70% of commercial deliveries.

A significant rise in the aviation workforce is also expected with 21,000 pilots, 22,000 technicians, and 26,000 cabin crew members expected to be required over the period.

Boeing’s forecasts will be no surprise to some as the African aviation market has seen a strong push of activity recently as the continent looks to capitalise on a rapidly growing population that is currently underrepresented in the global aviation industry, accounting for just 2% of air passenger and cargo transport activity. 

This was highlighted by the recent announcements that the African Airlines Association had joined the International Air Transport Association’s Focus Africa initiative to bolster the African aviation industry while Menzies Aviation became the first ground services company to partner with the initiative.