I had always heard that Cape Town was a beautiful place to visit. Last week, I had the opportunity to go there and see for myself. I was in South Africa for the African Aerospace & Defense exhibition at Ysterplaat Air Base just outside Cape Town.
During my visit, I was honored to speak at the African Aviation Air Finance Conference, where many of the continent's leading airline executives were in attendance. And I got the chance to talk about Boeing's Current Market Outlook and the outlook for commercial airplanes in Africa in particular.
This forecast drives our product strategy, of course. A strategy that's being validated by some key airlines in Africa which have already ordered the 787 Dreamliner.
It's always interesting to take an up close look at the "influencers" in a regional market. So I thought I'd share some of what I found out when I looked into how commercial aviation has been evolving in Africa.
Not surprisingly, many of the trends we've seen across the globe also apply to Africa.
In 1990 only a few cities had nonstop long-haul service from Johannesburg.

For example, in 1990, all nonstop, long-haul service out of Johannesburg was to Europe, with 28 frequencies to just six cities. And at that time 100% of those departures from Johannesburg Airport were on Boeing 747s.
Now, looking at Johannesburg today, there are six times as many frequencies, and three times as many city-pairs.
By 2006, you can see a striking difference in the number of choices from Johannesburg. The long-haul city-pairs served increased over three times, with six times the frequencies.

In 2006 you can fly from Johannesburg directly to multiple cities in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Australia, and South America.
As you would expect, these flights are being served with smaller airplane types that can now fly long distances point-to-point, such as the 777 and 767, A330 and A340. In fact, only about a third of the scheduled international flights from Johannesburg today are served by the 747.
And since 1990 the average airplane seating size per departure for long-hauls from JNB has dropped from 365 to 318 seats.
As for the overall forecast for Africa, we think that over the next 20 years passenger growth is going to exceed the world average growth rate of 4.9%. Boeing forecasts Africa to grow at 5.7%. That means some 430 new airplanes will be needed on the continent over the next 20 years.
The biggest demand will be for single-aisle airplanes. Similar to what we forecast globally, some 60% of the aircraft needed in Africa will be in the single-aisle category. The market for very large airplanes is quite small - very little demand for 747 and larger size aircraft. That is why I think you'll see the overwhelming majority of long range service to and from Africa will be with smaller twin-aisle aircraft.
As a resident of the northwestern-most corner of the U.S., it was fun to journey to the southwestern-most corner of Africa.

Now that we've summed up the future for African aviation, I can also vouch for the beautiful scenery I got to experience during my visit. Typically I don't get much time on my business trips to look around. But I did get to journey to the Cape of Good Hope.
What a spectacular spot. I can understand why tourism travel is on the rise in Africa. It truly is a wondrous place.
Thinking of Africa and point-to-point travel, I'm sure ancient mariners, after a long, difficult journey, must have felt more confident as they finally sighted Cape Point. Likewise I get the impression that there's significant confidence and good hope among Africa's commercial aviation leaders today as they continue to grow a successful and profitable industry.