African mining boom helps drive business aviation demand

first_imgHawker Beechcraft Corporation (HBC), the leading manufacturer of business, special mission and trainer aircraft, has identified Africa as offering some of the best growth prospects of any region in the world for business aircraft, with one of the most significant drivers of this growth being Africa’s booming mining environment. Africa is home to over 30% of the world’s mineral resources and is increasingly attracting investment from large multinational mining corporations. Mining revenue on the continent increased by over a third (36%) in the last year alone and shows little sign of abating. With resources often found in remote locations, the continent’s land transport infrastructure can lag behind the development of the mines, leading to an increased demand for airborne alternatives.HBC has recently strengthened its operations in Africa by adding a further six facilities in its global customer support network, including authorised service centres in Lagos, Nigeria, and Lanseria, South Africa and a further limited service centre in Cape Town. HBC states: “These strategically placed centres allow Africa’s business travellers to enjoy unprecedented access to Hawker Beechcraft services.” In addition to this, in 2011 HBC appointed Absolute Aviation as an exclusive Beechcraft distributor for Sub-Saharan Africa, with considerable experience in aircraft sales, maintenance and operations.The company adds: “Many countries in Africa plan to increase spending on railways and roads over the next few years to help unlock their coal, platinum, palladium, chrome and other mineral deposits and encourage further investment. However, currently air travel is often the most convenient, and sometimes the only way to transfer between locations and HBC therefore believes that business aviation has a vital role to play in the development of Africa’s mining sector.”HBC is already the dominant provider of turboprop aircraft in Africa, holding a 65% market share in this segment. The company cites Beechcraft King Airs as being particularly well-suited to conditions in Africa as a result of their enhanced durability, heavy payload, range and fuel-efficiency. In Africa, the closest option to a passenger’s final destination may currently be a short or unimproved runway. The King Air’s ability to land on such airstrips can save valuable time and resources. The King Air 250 has a significant competitive advantage with its ability to land on rough terrain, maximum range of 1,610 nautical miles, ability to take off in only 2,111 ft from a sea level airport and maximum payload of 2,500 lb making it a flexible choice of transportation for corporate executives travelling around the continent.last_img read more