In a period of global downturn in travel, Boeing Co. expects growth in sales to African countries, according to a senior Boeing official.

“Boeing’s forecast for the current market outlook for Africa states that we forecast growth from 641 airplanes over a 20 year period to about 1,000 airplanes,” Boeing’s vice-president, Laurette Koellner told Reuters on March 7.

Boeing, which currently covers 78 percent of the African airplane market, wants to increase its market share across the continent.

According to company officials, several African carriers have recently ordered aircraft from Boeing to replace their aging planes. Ethiopian Airlines has ordered three 767s and three 737s. Kenya Airways has ordered three 777s and Air Gabon has signed an agreement for a 747.

Lewis Brinson, an official from Boeing’s international and sales department said, ” most of Africa’s fleet is aging and we are actively working with every customer on the continent and upgrading their fleet.”

“We have just turned over all of the fleets of Kenya and Ethiopian airlines. They all have new aircraft in their fleet and these are both regional and long-haul aircraft,” he added.

Boeing also would like to enter the Mauritius market, which currently uses rival Airbus aircraft for most of its fleet, according to Mr. Brinson.

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