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Rethinking Africa’s business transportation sector

by Tia

Air transport, alongside shipping, trucking, rail, and road, constitutes the backbone of Africa’s transportation network, a key enabler for economic development across the continent. However, with infrastructure deficiencies including inadequate road and rail networks, and limited connectivity between major economic hubs, the aviation sector is gaining attention with a rising need for private aviation to play an important role in Africa’s business travel ecosystem.

Increased demand for private aviation in Africa highlights the need for a facelift to modernise the continent’s transportation infrastructure. The crux of any transportation infrastructure is having the ability to move goods from A to B as efficiently as possible. “The current state of the infrastructure deficiencies in South Africa, and the broader continent, hinder efficient movement of goods, services, and people,” says charter and flight operations manager at Fireblade Aviation, Shaun Hook. “Add to this a dramatic reduction in commercial flight frequency post-Covid, and you have the perfect formula to inhibit economic growth and development across Africa.”

Recognising the opportunities inherent in addressing existing gaps, private charter companies are witnessing a growing trend towards optimisation within the transportation ecosystem. Businesses across Africa and the world are chartering aircraft for swift access to remote destinations, for example, in sectors like mining and healthcare that demand rapid connectivity and time efficiency.

“Where there’s a gap in transportation, there is opportunity to bolster private aviation and its ability to provide better access to more remote locations, where in person business meetings and transactions are key to facilitating progress,” says Hook. “Investments in airport expansion, air traffic management systems, and regulatory frameworks are essential to support the growth of private aviation and unlock its potential to drive economic development.”

When corporates consider trucking delays at border posts, or the cost of flying in a team including overnight stays, the cost of chartering is soon offset. Where commercial air travel plays its role within the domestic space, private aviation prioritises flexibility, efficiency, and privacy. For the international business community, private aircraft provide the ability to reach remote locations with limited commercial flight options, conduct business meetings on tight schedules, and maintain confidentiality during travel.

In addition to enhancing connectivity within Africa, private aviation also plays a crucial role in facilitating international trade and investment. Recognising the urgent need for improvement, stakeholders are advocating for significant investments in transportation infrastructure.

“By bringing the right business minds together quickly, safely and efficiently, private aviation supports business expansion in Africa and stimulates economic activity,” says Hook.

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