Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: Wisconsin companies can supply some of the parts and services that are needed as the industry grows and aging aircraft require updates.

Aircraft parts and maintenance represent a key export opportunity in Africa for Wisconsin companies. Africa has a huge geographic area (approximately twice the size of North America) with limited road infrastructure, meaning that air travel is increasingly important as the continent moves into increasing prosperity. Growth in the sector is projected to exceed 4 percent annually in most of the region. Many aircraft are older and require replacement parts, which provides opportunities for specialty after-market vendors.

Africa has three major hubs for aircraft maintenance, repair and operations (MRO). These three MRO hubs are in South Africa (Johannesburg), Kenya (Nairobi) and Ethiopia (Addis Ababa). However, many smaller MROs exist that only service one airline and/or only have one hangar. For example, South Africa, Kenya and Morocco have nearly 50 MRO facilities between them.

South Africa has the highest total number of MRO facilities in Africa. According to Airline Update, South Africa is home to an estimated 15 MRO companies that specialize primarily in aircraft maintenance. These companies include Denel Aviation, AdoAir Aviation, InterAir, Global Aviation, South African Airways Technical (SAAT), Sahara African Aviation, and Aeronexus Technical and Global Aviation, to name a few. Geographically, these MROs are located in areas that have high-volume airports such as Johannesburg, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Upington and Durban.

The South African aircraft maintenance market is full of opportunity. 12 percent of all aircraft costs are designated for aircraft maintenance, with the remaining costs divided between fuel, operating costs, maintenance, chargers, distribution, passenger services, A/C ownership and other series.

Aircraft in Africa tend to be older models. In Kenya, for example, of the 1,200 officially registered Kenyan aircraft officially registered, only 51 percent have valid airworthiness certificates. Of these, over 80 percent were classified as small aircraft (those with a certified maximum take-off weight of less than 10,000 kg). The remainder are large aircraft (with a certified maximum take-off weight exceeding 9,000 kg). In the small aircraft category, popular aircraft types such as Cessna, Piper and Beechcraft dominate the category with over a 70 percent market share. The large aircraft category is dominated by Boeing, de Havilland Canada (DHC 5-8 series) and Fokkers.