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Airbus Military has the African market in its sights

         Date: 2012-06-01

           Tag: African market, Airbus Military

Summary: Africa is one of the emerging regions now being targeted by Airbus Military for sales of its aircraft, especially those in the light/medium category.

Africa is one of the emerging regions now being targeted by Airbus Military for sales of its aircraft, especially those in the light/medium category.

"Our objective," said Airbus Military senior VP: commercial Antonio Rodriguez Barberan in Madrid on Monday, "is to grow in Africa."

There is huge budget uncertainty today and in the coming years, especially in North America, Europe and Japan. This is further stimulating the company´s already existing interest in emerging market countries.

"Africa is starting to be a more solid market. We believe Africa will start growing [as a market], especially in the light and medium [aircraft] category. So, we are going to be in Africa."

The Airbus Military C295 twin-turboprop transport and special missions aircraft has already been sold to the air forces of Algeria, Egypt and Ghana.

The Ghanaian Air Force should receive its second C295 this month and the Egyptian Air Force has already, this year, placed a repeat order, for three of the aircraft. The C295 is also being marketed to Kenya, South Africa and Tanzania.

It is not simply a matter of selling aircraft. "We want to become global," affirmed Barberan. "Being global means we want to be closer to the customer."

This includes establishing relationships with industry in the customer countries. "Wherever we are going, we are establishing strategic relationships with local industry." Today, if a company wants to compete in the defence sector, it "must be local".

(Airbus Military already has partnerships with South African companies Aerosud and Denel Aerostructures in the A400M programme.)

"We have decided to develop an industrial footprint, for servicing, worldwide. We are also open to offsets – we prefer to say industrial participation."

Other emerging areas being targeted by the company are Asia (especially India) and Latin America. "We need to reinforce our position in Latin America."

Whereas customers once wanted single-role aircraft, now, more and more, they want multirole aeroplanes, capable of undertaking missions such as search and rescue, surveillance, maritime law enforcement and other missions, as well as transport.

"We are trying to develop products to provide global [mission spectrum] solutions to our customers," he said. "We are not talking anymore simply of an aircraft, but of systems. You need to be extremely close to your customers, to understand their needs."

Up to and including this month, Airbus Military has sold 24 aircraft so far this year. Last year it sold only five, but delivered 29, 20 of which were in the light/medium category.


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