Business jet sales brokerage JetHQ opened an office in Egypt in 2020 to cover East Africa and is now active across the continent. “That same pent-up demand for travel that we saw in other parts of the world is really poised to hit Africa in the next 12 months,” Garett Jerde, JetHQ's founder and managing director, told AIN.
“Africa is a region where we have already been expanding our operations, and that’s paid off the past two years,” he added. “There’s a bigger opportunity now as business and private aviation travel picks back up post-pandemic.”
Overall, Jerde forecasts more external visits to Africa in 2023, with businesses on the continent supporting that growth. “Everyone’s discovering the airlines aren’t able to solve increased travel demands, and Africa is no exception,” he said. “As the corporate aviation community matures, the infrastructure is improving, meaning better, smaller airports that make continental travel easier.”
South Africa has always been a good market for business aviation and JetHQ is now seeing growth in other areas to match. The oil and energy-producing Central and West Africa region—including Nigeria, Togo, and Benin—are all in a good position to grow their aviation businesses, he noted. “We know corporate aviation is a huge asset for oil-producing nations and we will be there to help them take advantage of aircraft as business tools,” Jerde added.
JetHQ is also seeing a rise in transcontinental travel from Africa's east coast to Asia. Much of that was suspended or severely limited during the pandemic and is now starting to return, as supply chains and business growth are reestablished.
“This is fueling demand for larger jets than we have seen in years past," he said. "We’re now looking at inventory to essentially replace commercial trans-Oceanic airliners going between major cities, such as Durban, to India or China. Some of that travel is being boosted outside of typical business needs by people not being able to see family or relatives in other countries for so long.”
Other places to witness intra-continental aviation growth include Botswana and Kenya, where demand for light jets and turboprops is stronger. North Africa is also seen as a growth opportunity.
“We have always challenged misperceptions about the business aviation market in Africa,” Jerde said. “It’s one of the reasons we’ve been active in the continent throughout our 10-year history. We have been eager to serve the needs of people and businesses in the region when others have not been. As infrastructure continues to improve, we don’t see regulatory obstacles being an issue in growing business here.”