By Ogova Ondego
Published May 9, 2015
A two-day conference underscoring the potential of the US$80 Billion African aviation market opens in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on May 10, 2015.
Expected at the summit and expo dubbed Aviation Africa 2015 that is set to discuss the untapped opportunities in this market are government and civil aviation authorities, senior airline managers, business aviation operators and specialists, financial and industry consultants and leasing companies, airport and service company managers and leaders from maintenance, training and flight support.
The organisers of the meeting at which Ghana’s Minister for Transport, Dzifa Aku Attivor, is expected to present the Keynote Address, say it “has been established to forge a crucial dialogue among the aviation industry’s leading stakeholders on the social, economic and political benefits to be gained from wide-ranging improvements to the infrastructure in Africa.”
Though the aviation sector in Africa is said to be supporting more than 6.9 million jobs and generates more than US$800 billion in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) across African nations, International Air Transport Association (IATA) says it can generate a further 155,000 jobs and US$1.3 billion in GDP through liberalisation of just 12 key markets, such as Kenya, Ghana and South Africa.
“If you look at the sheer potential of just a handful of African airlines, routes and airports, you realise just how enormous an impact Africa can have on the future of aviation, and moreover you can clearly see just how beneficial a progressive aviation industry can be for the socio-economic future of the continent,” says Alan Peaford, event organiser and summit Chairman. “Geographically, it’s ideally located right next to well-established hubs in the Gulf, and is able to capitalise on the passenger and cargo traffic already streaming through the region. Aviation Africa 2015 will fill a void in the aviation calendar and give Africa a real chance to progress quickly, effectively and safely.”
Observing that “There are many striking similarities between the Middle Eastern aviation market of 20 years ago and the African market of today,” Alan Peaford says “The many experiences Gulf carriers, airports and regulators underwent as they grew to become the centre-ground of the global aviation space are bound to be similar to the issues that will arise in Africa as the continent’s nations begin to put their efforts and resources behind their aviation industry. Africa would do well to discuss, listen and learn from their Middle Eastern counterparts.”
Discussing the role of the regulators at Aviation Africa 2015 will be Laila Ali Hareb Al Muhairi, Assistant Director General for Strategy and International Affairs of the UAE’s civil aviation authority (the GCAA); Dr Hamdi Chaouk, former director general for aviation in Lebanon; Abdulai Alhassan, director general, Ghana Civil Aviation Authority and Mohamed Rahma, Undersecretary for international affairs, Egypt.
The panel sessions are designed to deal with the opportunities and issues challenging the growth of the African aviation market, tackling liberalisation, training, safety, human factors, finance and business aviation.
Ed Winter, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Fastjet, Tanzania’s low cost carrier (LCC) which is reported to have “been enjoying great success since its launch in 2011”, shall sit on a panel with Air Arabia’s group CEO, Adel Ali, that shall explore the impact of LCCs on the aviation industry in the region.
Dr Nicklas Dahlstrom, human factors manager, Emirates Airline, will be discussing the challenges of multi-cultural workforces and the threat to safety of human performance.
The event, that is supported by African Airlines Association (AFRAA), African Business Aviation Association (AfBAA), UAE International Trip Support and Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE), also features an exhibition with more than 40 companies, including Boeing, Jeppesen, African Open Sky, Ethiopian Airlines and Astral Aviation.
“This is going to be a great networking event and an intriguing summit. Of course there is a frisson between many African carriers and the local airlines in the Middle East but it wasn’t that long ago that the likes of Emirates and Qatar Airways were in the same position as the African carriers are now and they have found many different ways around global and regional challenges,” Peaford says.