Tuesday, October 23, 2012

● TUNISIA: Embraer finalizes African Development Bank deal as Bombardier pushes ahead with Casablanca plant.

EmbraerBombardierTwo of the world's leading aircraft manufacturers, Brazil's Embraer and Canada's Bombardier, are set to invest millions of dollars, in one way or another, into the African aviation scene, in the coming months and years. 

LAM Mozambique E190
LAM Mozambique Embraer E190
After a high-level delegation from the Brazilian Development Bank, the Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Económico e Social do Brasil, (BNDES) visited the African Development Bank Group in Tunisia in late September, a contract entitled the "Aldus Aircraft Africa (AAA) Leasing Project" has been signed in which the African Development Bank (AfDB), through a conduit, procuring Embraer E170/190 jets for onward placement in six or seven African airlines through an Africa-based leasing facility.

The conduit, now known to be Ireland's Aldus Aviation, is the sponsor of the Aldus Aircraft Africa (AAA) Leasing Project which will see the AfDB placing 12 Embraer Regional Jets in seven African airlines via a leasing facility based in South Africa. 
Speaking on the occasion, Embraer’s Vice-President for the Middle East and Africa, Mathieu Duquesnoy, affirmed that “with only 30% of Africa’s air transport routes subject to competition, the potential for growth and lower airfares across the continent is very significant. Regional aircraft can help spur competition, by adding to the competitiveness of African airlines.

Potential lessee airlines are said to include: EgyptAir (MS), LAM Mozambique (TM), SA Express (XZ), Kenya Airways (KQ), and Senegal Airlines (DN) though this has not yet been confirmed.

Highlighting Africa's importance to the manufacturer, Embraer's Paulo Cesar de Souza e Silva, Embraer President, Commercial Aviation said in a recent interview with Air Transport News:
"Of course we are investing globally but there is one specific area that we are paying more attention and this area is Africa. Africa is becoming more and more important in the sense that the economies of that region are growing fast and it is quite important that we pay attention and see how we can further develop the aviation of these countries."
Source [ATN]

Rwandair CRJ900
A Rwandair Bombardier CRJ900
Meanwhile, Canada's Bombardier, will in January 2013, start production in Morocco but not in the manufacturing facility it is building in Casablanca. Instead, a temporary facility will used whilst the permanent structures are completed.
Having recently been granted government approval, Bombardier's plans to build an assembly plant in  the Nouaceur MidParc Export Processing Zone (EPZ) near Casablanca's Mohammed V International Airport. Over the next eight years, it intends to invest approximately USD200million into equipment, buildings and start-up costs, though actual details on the type of components to be manufactured will only be finalized in the coming months.

According to Bombardier's Commercial Aircraft Market Forecast 2012-2031:
The political uncertainty contrasts the strong  economic growth in Africa and the Middle East. Bombardier’s forecast for new aircraft deliveries in this region remains relatively unchanged at 970 units, approximately 1%  lower than last year's forecast, over the forecast  period. Within the region, the Middle East is  expected to take 420 new aircraft and Africa  to require 550.
Overall, Bombardier sees strong potential in the African market, though how many of the products that will one day leave its Casablanca facility, will be destined for African airlines, is anyone's guess.