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: 2021-09-10

Overview


 

2019

2020

(estimated)

2021

(projected)

2022

(projected

Total Market Size

445,000

25,000

110,000

130,000

Total Local Production

49,000

10,000

16,000

15.000

Total Exports

57.000

15,000

30,000

30,000

Total Imports

470,000

150,000

200,000

170,000

Imports from the U.S.

225,000

130,000

130,000

140,000

Exchange Rate: 1 $

14.58

16.44

 

 

 

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 however making steady progress for a host of utility and security applications.

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 in June to buy 51 percent of equity in SAA.

South Africa-based civil aviation firms face enormous challenges to long-term viability.  The South African government brokered a partial privatization of national carrier South African Airways (SAA), selling 51 percent of the airline to Takatso Consortium, a joint venture between private equity firm Harith Global Partners and aviation services firm Global Aviation.  The airline, which has not flown regularly since March 2020, retrenched 90 percent of its pilots, and sold or returned all but 12 of its aircraft, faces serious challenges as it seeks to re-enter the market.  Meanwhile, state-owned discount airline Mango has entered into business rescue while SA Express completed provisional liquidation in November 2020.  Private SA-based domestic and regional airlines FlySafair, Kulula, Airlink, and Lift appeared more sustainable, but were forced to suspend operations periodically due to COVID-related lockdowns.

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
  • Instrument Landing Systems
  • Aircraft Technician Training Systems
  • Security screening systems

Opportunities

Due to a shortage of skilled technicians and a low throughput from training institutions, there are opportunities in training systems to upgrade the skills pool. There is also demand for commercial and general aviation solutions from the United States in the following fields:

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

Exhibitions

Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) 2022

Land, Sea and Air Systems Show

AFB Waterkloof, Pretoria

 

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/