Africa’s $3.2bn MRO market at risk

African aviation is in a quandary; operators can’t afford to keep spending their maintenance budgets abroad, while establishing their own maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facilities is prohibitively expensive, WOLE SHADARE writes

Lack of will

Africa’s aviation potential is enormous but the will to harness it is what has pinned the continent’s burgeoning aviation sector to the wall and made exploiting the potential a tall order.

A growing number of international and domestic operators are moving to provide for the continent’s needs.

Positive news

There are good success stories especially with Nigeria’s Aero Contractor that is developing capacity to solve in-house aircraft repair needs and by extension providing third party assistance to airlines within and outside the country.

Aero Contractors has provided the inspiration. The successes and ambitions of the likes of Kenya Airways and Ethiopian Airlines, and the drive of global companies such as parts supplier, AJW, Lufthansa Technik and ExecuJet, are commendable.

With more than $1.5 billion annually in airlines’ heavy maintenance spend lost to the continent, there’s no lack of incentive to help keep MRO at home.

Experts’ views

Experts at the just concluded African Aviation MRO Africa co-located with African Aviation Training convened by Chairman, African Business Aviation Association (AfBAA) and Chief Executive Officer, African Aviation Services Limited, Nick Fadugba, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, expressed hope that the single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) would help Africa realise its potential by encouraging collaboration and cooperation and a pan-African outlook to MRO.

Fadugba spoke about the imperative of MRO for African carriers, adding that such facilities would help African carriers to grow and become profitable.He stated that in the early days, focus on MRO Africa was primarily on ensuring that Africa’s fleet of mostly ageing aircraft was properly maintained to ensure air safety, stressing that the continent lagged behind the rest of the world in terms of fleet modernisation.According to Fadugba, “today, the fleets of many African airlines have been completely transformed with the acquisition of sophisticated modern aircraft, both turboprops and jetliners. New technology aircraft present new MRO challenges for African carriers, It is thus opportune time that the world’s leading MRO service providers and suppliers, long-term supporters of MRO Africa.”The experts, however, lamented that much of the continent’s MRO business estimated at $3.2 billion was leaving the region. The 2019 air transport MRO market is ~$87B; Africa represents~four per cent ($3.2B); Asia Pacific 33 per cent; North America […]

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