During a media briefing ahead of the 7th Aviation Africa Summit and Exhibition opening at the Abuja International Convention Centre, Airlines serving Nigeria will require nearly 160 passenger and freight aircraft by 2042, according to the 2023 Airbus Global Market Forecast (GMF). This includes 131 single-aisle aircraft such as the A220, A320 families, and 28 widebody aircraft such as the A330 and A350 families serving the Nigerian market in the next two decades.

Aviation plays a pivotal role in driving economic development across the African continent creating jobs, facilitating domestic, intra-African and global trade and regional integration. Its significance is particularly profound in the case of Nigeria. Africa’s most populous country, marked by substantial landmass, a vibrant, dynamic and ever expanding economy. The aviation industry in Nigeria possesses the potential to emerge as the connective tissue that binds together its diverse regions and fuels economic progress.

Airbus also predicts that the aviation sector growth on the continent will drive average yearly services demand up by 4.1%, from US$2 billion, to US$7 billion. Growing Maintenance Repair & Overhaul (MRO) services at both local and regional level are central to the sector’s growth, safety and longevity. The expansion of MRO capabilities in the country could serve to bring in additional revenues, reduce aircraft maintenance costs and provide even further opportunities for job creation and skills development in Nigeria and the continent at large.

As Nigeria and indeed Africa’s aerospace industry grows and becomes more dynamic, an increasing demand for specialised skills is creating thousands of new opportunities for young people on the continent. Already, an estimated 7.7 million direct and indirect jobs have been created by the industry in Africa. Airbus predicts that a further 17 000 technicians, 14 000 pilots and 23 000 cabin crew positions will be required across Africa in the next 20 years