South Africa - Country Commercial Guide
Aviation

This is a best prospect industry sector for this country.  Includes a market overview and trade data.

Last published date: 2023-05-06

Overview

Table: Total Market Size for Aviation; 2020-2023


 

2020

 

2021

 

 

2022

(projected)

 

2023

(projected)

Total Market Size

25,000

110,000

130,000

150,000

Total Local Production

10,000

16,000

15.000

15,000

Total Exports

15,000

30,000

30,000

30,000

Total Imports

150,000

200,000

170,000

200,000

Imports from the U.S.

130,000

130,000

140,000

180,000

Exchange Rate: 1 $

16.44

15.9

16.00

 

Unit: $thousand

Total Market Size = (Total Local Production + Total Imports) – (Total Exports)

Note: Above figures exclude the value of the aviation defense procurements.

Data Source: Above figures are unofficial estimates obtained from industry sources.

In 2016, South Africa ranked 76, after Greece, for global U.S. aircraft parts exports. However, the growth of commercial and general aviation in southern Africa has slowed down significantly; high operating costs and a sluggish economy are taking their toll on discount airliners and general aviation. The launch of the African Union’s Single African Transport Air Market, which comprises 28 countries, including South Africa, in 2018, provided airlines an opportunity to increase their operations on the continent. The biggest growth is expected in other Sub-Saharan African states as they ramp-up up their capacity to meet long-term growth in passenger travel and air freight. There has been a downturn in airborne offshore utility and mineral deposit surveying done by South African operators in southern and central Africa over the past years. Unmanned aerial systems (UAVs) / drones are making steady progress for a host of utility and security applications.

South Africa-based civil aviation environment is facing significant challenges to long-term viability. The long-anticipated sustainable turn-around of State-Owned national carrier South African Airways (SAA) remains unclear, despite a qualified commitment from private equity firm Harith Global Partners made in 2021 to buy 51 percent equity in SAA. The discount brand of SAA, Mango, has ceased operations. In June 2022, a privately-owned carrier, Kulula and British Airways brands accounting for 40% market share, went into provisional liquidation and ceased operations after operating for more than 75 years.  Other private operators FlySafair, Airlink, and Lift are still operating. Delta and United offer regular non-stop flights to Johannesburg and Cape Town.

Sub-Sector Best Prospects

The best prospects for U.S. suppliers are:

  • Professional Drone Componentry, Systems, and Training Ground Support Equipment
  • Passenger Transport Vehicles
  • Cargo De-Grouping and Logistics
  • Air Traffic Control
  • Security screening systems

Opportunities

Once the travel sector has recovered, there are opportunities in training systems to upgrade the skills pool. New demand for commercial and general aviation solutions from the United States are expected in the following fields:

  • Engine Management Systems
  • Precision Tooling
  • Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO) Certification

Exhibitions

Africa Aerospace and Defense (AAD) 2022

Land, Sea and Air Systems Show

21 - 25 September 2022

AFB Waterkloof, Pretoria

www.aadexpo.co.za

 

For More Information, the U.S. Commercial Service in Johannesburg, South Africa, can be contacted via e-mail at: Johan.vanRensburg@trade.gov

phone: +27 11 290 3208

or visit our website:  https://www.trade.gov/south-africa/