Over the past decade, Africa has experienced tremendous growth in its commercial aviation sector, including demand for light aircraft and helicopters from the region’s mid-sized aviation companies, flight schools and government entities. Light aircraft and helicopters are routinely utilized across the continent to provide transportation solutions for businesses, tourists, a growing middle class, air ambulance and medical evaluation services, and air support services for wildlife management.
USTDA has capitalized on this growing market trend by supporting a series of reverse trade missions to the United States for public and private sector decision-makers from 32 Sub-Saharan African entities in seven key growth markets: Angola, Ethiopia, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.
The delegates came to the doorsteps of American manufacturers, met their workers, and deepened their appreciation for America’s leading aviation technologies. They met with U.S. sources of financing for the technologies they sought to lease or procure, and they learned the latest aircraft safety and maintenance practices.
Given the shortage of pilots on the African continent, the delegates were particularly interested in learning more about American aviation training and workforce development solutions. In response, USTDA arranged a site visit to FlightSafety Academy in Vero Beach, FL, which provided flight training and simulation demonstrations. Impressed by the worldclass training they experienced, the delegates encouraged local pilots back home to consider American-based flight training. Ultimately, the visit resulted in new business for FlightSafety Academy, which trained African pilots to become licensed Federal Aviation Administration commercial pilots.
As a result of these visits, American companies have continued to export products and services in 2017, generating in total over $37 million in helicopters, light aircraft, replacement parts and pilot training from at least five states: California, Florida, Kansas, Michigan and Texas. These reverse trade missions exemplify USTDA’s win-win model, where American exporters gain access to new project opportunities, and our overseas partners gain access to high quality, reliable, and costeffective American-made solutions.