Boeing and Africa


Randy Heisey, Boeing’s Managing Director, Commercial Marketing Middle East & Africa, Russia & Central Asia, lead the Boeing Commercial Airplanes team responsible for identifying and developing business opportunities; and executing marketing strategies to demonstrate the fit and value proposition of Boeing commercial airplanes.
He lead the team of analysts responsible for identifying and developing business opportunities; and executing marketing strategies to demonstrate the fit and value proposition of Boeing airplanes and services with airlines in the Asia Pacific region.
Randy Heisey participated at the African Airlines Association’s (AFRAA) 54th Annual General Assembly and Summit hosted by Air Senegal and held from 11th to 13th December 2022 at the Centre International de Conférences Abdou Diouf (CICAD) in Dakar.
This year’s AGA was being hosted by Air Senegal under the theme, “Acing the Roadmap to Sustainable African Aviation.”
Randy Heisey talked to Capital about Boeing’s strategy and future business venture in Africa. Excerpts;


Capital: How is Boeing’s market share in Africa?

Randy Heisey: Boeing’s history in Africa dates back over 75 years. Since the introduction of the jet airplane, Boeing aircraft have formed the backbone of the continent’s commercial fleet. We have more than 60 airline customers operating around 500 Boeing airplanes throughout Africa, and Boeing represents nearly 70% of the airplane market across the continent. Boeing is committed to further strengthening its role and to continue supporting the development of the continent’s aviation sector. We don’t only sell aircraft; we are deeply invested in working with our key stakeholders in Africa to help overcome certain structural challenges in order to maximize their growth.

Capital: After the ET accident of the Boeing 737 MAX, how is market in Africa affected?


Randy Heisey: We will always remember those whose lives were lost on Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302. Since the accidents, Boeing has made significant changes as a company, and to the design of the 737 MAX, to ensure that accidents like those never happen again. Those changes benefit our partners in Africa and the rest of the world. Safety is fundamental to the success of our industry, and the industry takes steps after every accident and incident to further improve safety for the flying public. Over the past 50 years, this journey of continuous improvement has made commercial aviation the world’s safest form of transportation. We continue to work with regulators and our customers to ensure the continued safe return of the 737 MAX to service worldwide. Since December 2020, nearly 190 out of 195 countries have approved a return to service. More than 40 operators have more than 600 737 MAX in revenue service. Since the FAA’s ungrounding in Nov. 2020, airlines have safely flown more than 500,000 revenue flights, totaling more than 1.2 million flight hours with schedule reliability above 99 percent.

Capital: Sustainable Aviation Fuel is the future, how is Boeing helping African Airlines in realizing this?

Randy Heisey: We have a multi-pronged approach to ensuring SAF reaches its full potential in Africa: Boeing is a partner with the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB), on their Fuelling the Sustainable Bioeconomy program. The program aims to help the aviation industry play a leading role in tackling the threat of climate change, creating jobs, stimulating economic growth, developing rural livelihoods and protecting the environment, with key support from WWF South Africa and WWF Brazil. Some examples include:
In Ethiopia in 2021, launching a roadmap aimed at exploring and advancing Ethiopia’s capacity to produce feedstock for use as Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF).
Boeing is also working with Ethiopian Airlines to develop course material focused on aviation sustainability for the Ethiopian Aviation Academy in in Addis Ababa to achieve their goal of being the leading aviation hub in Africa.
In South Africa, we partnered with RSB on a SAF feasibility study. The program aims to support the development of the local SAF industry, with focus on the sugarcane sector.

Capital: What expectations do you have from the AFRAA AGA?

Randy Heisey: We are keen to engage with our partners and other stakeholders to help ensure commercial aviation continues to be a driver of socioeconomic development in Africa and that the continent and its people can seize the opportunities presented by the post-Covid-19 environment. We are also glad to see progress towards open skies and the Single Africa Air Transport Market (SAATM), which would reduce the cost of the movement of goods and people and help unleash growth.