African airline growth could create 5mn jobs

October 19, 2012
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The industry currently employs an estimated 6.7 million people in Africa/AFP-File
MAPUTO, Oct 19 – A boom in African air travel could create up to five million new jobs on the continent over the next decade, the head of low-cost South African carrier Mango told an industry meeting on Friday.

According to Mango chief executive Nico Bezuidenhout, who heads the subsidiary of state-owned South African Airways, the sector could grow by nearly 225 percent by 2022.

“Aviation in Africa could potentially create as many as five million new job opportunities in the next ten years and near triple its economic value to $220 billion,” he told the Conference of the Airlines Association of Southern Africa in Maputo.

The industry currently employs an estimated 6.7 million people in Africa.

But owing to poor infrastructure, a weak customer base, sometimes mediocre management and a poor safety record, African airlines have not always thrived.

Bezuidenhout said that was changing. “Africa is no longer the last outpost. It is no longer a blip on aviation’s radar,” he said.

“With continental GDP (gross domestic product growth) well ahead of the West at an expected five percent this year, the time to get our collective house in order is now.”

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