Aviation Africa 2015 (http://www.aviationafrica.aero) which opens on 10th May at Le Meridien Hotel, Dubai will underscore the immense potential of the African aviation market. The two-day event, held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al Maktoum, President of Dubai’s Department of Civil Aviation and Chairman of Emirates Airline, 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.
Aviation in Africa currently supports more than 6.9 million jobs and over $800 billion in GDP across African nations. But this is nothing compared with what it can become. Annually, a further 155,000 jobs and $1.3 billion in GDP can be added through the effective liberalisation of just 12 key markets, including Ghana, Kenya and South Africa among others, according to an independent report published by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
‘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 MBE, 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. We are really pleased with the support we are getting from the industry across all levels of government, as well as airlines of all shapes and sizes. 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, It’s really exciting to see some of the new and smaller carriers represented at the event. There is a great hunger for the knowledge that will get this growth challenge right‘he added later on.
Africa’s prospective growth, as well as the potentially vital role the Middle East’s aviation industry can play in the creation of a burgeoning African market will be the focal point of the various case studies and panels at Aviation Africa 2015.
Hon. Dzifa Aku Attivor, Minister of Transport for Ghana, will present the Keynote Address. The Ghanian transport minister is one in a long list of top-level industry speakers, delegates and experts who will share ideas and experiences with their Middle Eastern counterparts to bring Africa’s inevitably pivotal role in the future of aviation front and centre.
‘There are many striking similarities between the Middle Eastern aviation market of 20 years ago and the African market of today. 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‘ ended Alan Peaford.
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.
Speakers confirmed from African and Middle East airlines already include Girma Wake, Chairman, RwandAir (formerly CEO, Ethiopian Airlines); Yves Naninque, CCO ECAir; Many other CEOs and COOs are attending including Africa’s leading cargo operator Astral Aviation, South African Airlines and Daallo Airlines.
One session of particular note will see Ed Winter, CEO of Fastjet – Tanzania’s low cost carrier which has been enjoying great success since its launch in 2011 – he is on a panel with Air Arabia’s group chief executive, Adel Ali, exploring the impact LCCs have had 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.
There are also senior figures from aviation authorities and associations, who include Hussein Dabbas, VP Africa & Middle East, IATA; Tawanda Gusha, Director Airports, Civil Aviation Authority, Zimbabwe and Paul Murphy, Vice President, Africa, SITA.
The event also features an exhibition with over 40 companies including Boeing, Jeppesen, African Open Sky, Ethiopian Airlines and Astral Aviation. The event is supported by AFRAA – African Airlines Association, AfBAA – African Business Aviation Association and the Gold Sponsors are UAE International Trip Support and DAE – Dubai Aerospace Enterprise. For information and to register visit www.aviationafrica.aero.
The only open question of course is why an African Aviation Conference should be held in the Gulf from where the greatest competitive threat comes Africa’s way and not on the African continent itself where enough options exist to house the exhibition and conference, from Nairobi to Cairo to Johannesburg and beyond.