Africa’s mining boom offers potential for business aviation market

Paul Boughton
Hawker Beechcraft Corporation (HBC), the manufacturer of business, special mission and trainer aircraft, has identified Africa as offering some of the best growth prospects of any region in the world for business aircraft. One of the significant drivers of this growth is Africa’s booming mining environment.

Africa is home to over 30 per cent of the world’s mineral resources and is increasingly attracting investment from large multinational mining corporations.

Mining revenue on the continent increased by over a third (36 per cent ) in the last year alone1 and shows little sign of abating. With resources often found in remote locations, the continent’s land transport infrastructure can lag behind the development of the mines, leading to an increased demand for airborne alternatives.

Many countries in Africa plan to increase spending on railways and roads over the next few years to help unlock their coal, platinum, palladium, chrome and other mineral deposits and encourage further investment. However, currently air travel is often the most convenient, and sometimes the only way to transfer between locations and HBC therefore believes that business aviation has a vital role to play in the development of Africa’s mining sector.

HBC is well placed to benefit from this and is already the dominant provider of turboprop aircraft in Africa, holding a 65 per cent market share in this segment.  Beechcraft King Airs are particularly well-suited to conditions in Africa as a result of their enhanced durability, heavy payload, range and fuel-efficiency.

Sean McGeough, HBC president, Asia, Europe, Middle East and Africa, said: “Growth in demand for mineral resources from emerging countries has transformed Africa and it is fast becoming a preferred investment destination as African countries increasingly opens their doors to foreign investors.

“As the continent continues to develop, we expect demand for business aircraft to grow as they provide access to remote parts of the region, cover huge distances and also help counter the limitations of the transport infrastructure. Road and rail networks in many parts of Africa are limited, making travel internally a challenge. Travelling by business aircraft is not only often the quickest way to travel, but sometimes is the only option.”

The IMF forecasts that seven of the top ten fastest growing economies in the next 10 years will be African, while Standard Chartered forecasts Africa’s economy will grow at an average annual rate of 7 per cent over the next 20 years.

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