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Embraer says its jets are a good fit for Africa

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Embraer’s Commercial Aviation President and Chief Executive Paulo Cesar Silva during his Kenyan visit. Photo/FILE

Embraer’s Commercial Aviation President and Chief Executive Paulo Cesar Silva during his Kenyan visit. Photo/FILE  Nation Media Group

By WANGUI MAINA

Posted  Thursday, November 29  2012 at  21:47

In Summary

Embraer’s Commercial Aviation President and Chief Executive Paulo Cesar Silva:

  • We see Africa as a continent with huge potential for further business going forward and we want to be part of the air traffic development here.
  • We clearly see our products as a good fit for flying in Africa, where majority of the routes — about 70 per cent — are more suitable for aircraft of up to 100 seats.

The delivery of its 900th plane was a milestone for Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer and it marked the occasion with pomp at the Kenya Airways hangar two weeks ago.

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The plane, an E-190, was designated to Kenya Airways (KQ) as Embraer’s way of celebrating their biggest client in Africa.

Standing on the podium with one of the planes as the back drop, Embraer’s Commercial Aviation President and Chief Executive Paulo Cesar Silva toasted to a partnership with KQ and talked about the company’s plans to expand in the region.

Kenya Airways was the first airline to fly the E series jets in the region. Today, the airline has 14 such aircraft in its fleet and hopes to increase the number to 33 as part of its 10-year strategic plan.

The Business Daily interviewed Mr Silva on the company’s strategy, the challenges and opportunities and the future of aviation in Africa.

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Why the big push to grow in Africa?

Years ago, we identified Africa as being extremely relevant to our operations and growth. We defined a strategy — that we should have a larger presence here, invest more and get more clients.

We started implementing our strategy about six years ago and now we have 80 commercial jets — 50 E jets and 30 ERJ’s, which are smaller jets with 37 to 50 seats — operating in the region.

We see Africa as a continent with huge potential for further business going forward and we want to be part of the air traffic development here.

What is informing your strategy in the region?

We clearly see our products as a good fit for flying in Africa, where majority of the routes — about 70 per cent — are more suitable for aircraft of up to 100 seats.

So airlines using narrow bodies for this markets could be more efficient by using our jets. We see a huge potential.

What investments are you making in the region to support your growth and clients?

We are very bullish in Africa. We are now placing people here. Also, (we are) investing in warehouse facilities for spare parts.

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