African airlines will require 1,100 new passenger and freight aircraft deliveries by 2040, according to the 2021 Airbus Global Market Forecast (GMF). This will take the total fleet to 1,440 from a 2019 fleet baseline of 680 aircraft.

"During this period, the fleet in the region will transition to new generation types such as the A220, A320neo family, A330neo and A350 bringing significant efficiency improvement and a corresponding reduction in carbon emissions per passenger," an official statement said.

Growth is likely to be driven by the forecast 2.8 percent CAGR increase in GDP between now and 2040. "Tourism and intra-regional trade will continue to be key growth sectors for Africa and drive GDP growth."

Airbus forecasts that air traffic in Africa will achieve full recovery to 2019 levels between late 2023 and beginning 2025. Globally, cargo is already operating today at 9 percent above pre-crisis levels, and in Africa 23 percent. "Cargo traffic to and from Africa will increase by a factor of 2.5."

The strong recovery will be "due to the fundamental drivers of traffic demand remaining unchanged: economic growth faster than the world average; young and growing population, urbanisation and middle class development."

Across Africa, the industry directly supports 6.2 million jobs and contributes $56 billion to the continent's regional GDP.

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