Airbus is examining the market potential in Africa for its A220 and A320neo aircraft according to chief commercial officer Christian Scherer. Currently Kenya and Air Tanzania have placed orders for A220s and now the aircraft manufacturer is seeking opportunities in western Africa.
The company revealed that it had begun talks with Nigerian airlines over the potential placement of both models, promoting the A220 as the ideal performer in hot environments. “Nigeria is a significant market. We have several discussions in Nigeria going on for A220 and A320 family prospects in this great country,” said Scherer. “Economic characteristics of Nigeria make it a very promising growth market for us. We have a team in Nigeria right now.”
Several African countries have begun to revive their national carriers, and Rwanda, Uganda, Senegal and Tanzania recently acquired Airbus types. RwandaAir and start-up Uganda Airlines have taken A330s while Air Senegal became the first in Africa to operate A320neos. In January Air Tanzania was the first carrier in the continent to fly the A220.
“The potential in Africa is huge,” said Hadi Akoum, Airbus vice president of sales for sub-Saharan Africa and the Indian Oceans islands. “we are working with many African airlines. We are also working with African governments, which are relaunching their national carriers. We are not really focussing on market share, but we rather want to help African countries relaunch their national carriers in an efficient manner,” he said.
“Financing remains one of the biggest challenges for governments and the private sector, making European Credit Agency support particularly important for aircraft purchases in Africa,” concluded Akoum.