AIRBUS DRIVING AFRICA’S AIR TRANSPORT MODERNISATION
(Posted 20th December 2020 / Reporting from Toulouse / France)
(Pictures courtesy of Airbus)
Airbus’s presence in Africa is as diverse as the continent itself.
Since the mid-1970s their range of innovative commercial airliners have operated on routes to, from and within the continent.
Africa was the first export market for Airbus’s very first commercial jetliner, the A300. It was also one of the first export markets for the A320, the world’s first fly-by-wire controlled commercial airliner, which set the standard for fully digital airliners.
Today, around 40 African operators fly over 240 Airbus aircraft. Customers across the continent presently account for around 290 orders, giving Airbus a 66% share of the Sub-Saharan Africa market for new aircraft sales.
Airbus A220, A320 Family, A330 and A350XWB commercial airliner products are either on order or in operation with a number of African carriers.
Africa’s Airbus operators include long-time customers such as South African Airways, Air Mauritius, Air Algerie, Tunisair and EgyptAir and RwandAir but also newer members of the Airbus family such as Ethiopian Airlines, Air Tanzania, Air Côte d’Ivoire, Air Seychelles, Air Namibia, Air Senegal, Global Aviation and now also Uganda Airlines.
Conceived and made in Africa Airbus continually strives to offer products that meet customers evolving operational requirements and that are cost-efficient. In doing so, they understand the best way to find answers is to approach the questions from a different perspective and fresh eyes.
This is why Airbus cast their net wide to include centres of learning, knowledge and innovation in Africa.
Over the past 13 years, Airbus has nurtured a South African innovation network with key partners including Government, the Council for Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR), the National Aerospace Centre and several universities. Ongoing studies include diverse topics as biomimicry, computational fluid dynamics, advanced flight control systems, hydrogen fuel cell development, novel additive layer (3D printing) manufacturing techniques and processes. Similarly, manufacturing for Airbus commercial aircraft also takes place on the continent, with 34 African companies (seven in South Africa, 16 in Morocco and 11 in Tunisia) engaged in design, engineering and production of aerodynamic, structural, communications, control-surface, electronics and cabin items.
The latest delivery, bucking the trend of current deferrals due to the industry downturn as a result of the global pandemic, will be an Airbus A330-800Neo, will go to Uganda Airlines, making it the African launch customer for this aircraft type. A second such aircraft is then due for delivery in early 2021.
ATCNews extends best wishes to both airline and Airbus and Happy Landings to the two new aircraft, the crews and passengers.