There is growing investor interest in the aviation industry in Africa as revealed during the just ended three-day 2017 African Airshow held in Ghana’s capital Accra.

Vita Buragiene, Regional Sales Director Africa and Latin America for Helisota, a helicopter maintenance service group from Lithuania, expressed great optimism about the prospects of the industry on the continent and West African market.

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“My first impression about Ghana and this airshow is very good,” she said. “The organizers brought the most important persons for us so we are quite happy about the first day. And the interest by visitors in our company and products is also high.”

“So I see this as a huge opportunity in West Africa, especially in Ghana and I hope to continue the business in this region,” she said.

The industry has been seeing significant growth annually, according to Raphael Guuchi, Vice President of Africa International Air Transport Association (IATA).

“Currently the African continent operators carry 130 million passengers every year. In 20 years time we expect an additional 257 million passengers to come to add to the current 130 million. So we looking at close to 400 million passengers in 20 years,” Guuchi observed.

Guuchi attributed this growth rate to economic growth on the continent and the growing youthful population, with the middle class in Africa growing significantly.

“Currently we have over 300 million youth that are in the middle class; and these guys have extra disposable income that they can use to travel. Businesses are growing and international investment in the continent is also growing and all of this is going to fund the development of our industry,” Guuchi pointed out.

He projected that, if just 12 African countries were to open their markets to each other, the additional Gross Domestic Product (GDP) contribution will be 1.3 billion dollars; in addition to 155,000 new jobs to be created in the 12 countries; and a further 5 million passengers, as the competition would cause fares to decrease by 35 percent.

Captain Fabio Trojan, a pilot in Flight operations of the Diamond Aircraft Industry from Vienna, Austria, told Xinhua that the company intends to broaden its base on the African continent after it has already sold some aircraft in Africa.

Berlinda Adade, Operations Manager at Aviance Ghana limited, one of the largest Ground Handlers in the country, however urged the government to ease further the tax regime in order to attract more cargo into Ghana.

“Most people have stopped bringing in cargo and so if the government can look at the taxes on cargo, it would bring back cargo traffic. You have taxes going a little bit up,” Adade said.

“Obviously if taxes are high the cost is passed on to the consumer, and the consumers will not buy. So if government can look at that. This being the first Airshow, by the end of this show people will know what Ghana has,” Adade added. Enditem

Source: Xinhua/NewsGhana.com.gh


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