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Aviation Africa 2018 gets under way in Cairo

Posted 17 April 2018 · Add Comment

The Aviation Africa Summit and Exhibition 2018 is under way in Cairo with over 980 delegates and visitors at the two-day event.

The conference has one main aim - securing strategy for Africa's success. Topics that will help to address this include cyber security, infrastructure investment, single skies, harnessing MRO development, women in aviation and how to survive in a competitive marketplace amongst many other sessions.

In his conference opening speech conference chairman Alan Peaford. said: “On behalf of the organising team of Aviation Africa, I would like to thank His Excellency, Sherif Fathi, the Minister of Civil Aviation of Egypt, for his invitation to bring the Aviation Africa summit and exhibition to Cairo.

For me, it was very refreshing to meet a government minister who is an industry professional and who understands the particular needs of the air transport business and recognises the value of civil aviation to a country’s economy and reputation - above the political demands that thwart so many ambitions in other countries.

It is perhaps no surprise then that there are so many people now employed in aviation in Egypt.  Undoubtedly, the largest employer of all is the EgyptAir Group. From the flag carrier to the regional airline, from the aviation medical centre to the MRO, from training to ground services, in flight services, tourism and duty free from cargo carrying to supplementary industries. The support we have received from the EgyptAir Group, its component companies and its staff has been excellent and I would like to thank Mr Safwat Musallam, chairman of the holding company ,for leading that support and being out host sponsor.

I talked about the minister – himself a former chairman of EgyptAir holding company – and his hands-on approach. Indeed he was very clear when we first outlined the summit concept that there were certain things that we need to be covering, specifically security.

Egypt – like many other countries in the Middle East and Africa – are very conscious of the impact a single lapse in security, or failure to put robust systems in place can have on the travel market, trade, national economy and reputation.

Security is not just for the airlines or government officials. Security is the responsibility of all of us. With what is going on around us today we have never before needed to be aware of the challenges. We will be hearing later from global experts about the risks we face and the systems and processes that can reduce that risk.

We will also be talking airline business, from strategy, finance, MRO, training and another vital risk area – human resource. We are in great danger of becoming victims of our own success.

We can easily sit back on our recent successes.  If we look at North Africa for example the four main aviation hubs in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Egypt have contributed to the high growth rate of passenger traffic, increasing by 94%, 95%, 75% and 108% respectively from 2005 until 2015, according to data from the World Bank.

Aviation is the critical link that not only connects Africa to the world, but also builds bridges among the various African countries. It is only when there are better airline connections, enabling the movement of goods and people, that business activities can flourish. With lower business travel costs, countries can then better attract foreign investors and create better business opportunities.

And lets remember Africa has one of the biggest populations in the world, yet its aviation industry is still small, representing only 2% of the global market.

In the last week or so we have heard that American regional airlines and even the Gulf’s biggest player, Emirates, have had to cancel routes because of staff shortages.

Despite all of the attractions of lifestyle and tax free income, the Emirates solution has been investment in its own training academy to bring through first nationals and then overseas students to fill their need. 

The UAE has been developing an ‘aviation culture’ through its schools and colleges for close to two decades. It is paying off.

Boeing has forecast that the airline market will more than double in the next 20 years in the Middle East and Africa with more than three thousand extra aircraft delivered before 2035 with sub-Saharan Africa looking at its fleet increasing from 720 aircraft to 1600

Air traffic for Africa’s carriers is forecast to grow 5.9 percent annually over the next 20 years, which is above world average

Where do the engineers, the 23,000 NEW pilots, cabin crews, handlers, air traffic controllers, and aviation management come from.

Peaford ended by saying: "I hope that throughout this conference we will get answers to some of those questions that will allow Africa to develop in the way it deserves.”

Over 980 delegates and visitors are at the event from over 56 countries and include 220 personnel from 34 airlines and 50 speakers from across Africa and the international sector, as well as there being an exhibition hall made up of 118 aerospace companies including Gold Sponsors; Airbus, Boeing & GE Aviation and Silver Sponsors; AerCap, Bombardier, Dubai Aerospace Enterprise & Rolls-Royce.

Exhibitors are finding the networking at the show the key to their participation, Simon Knechtli, Executive Director Aerospace, Willis Towers Watson said; “In being committed to Egyptian aviation, the Aviation Africa 2018 is a great opportunity for us to meet our network.”

 

Aviation Africa 2018 conference chairman Alan Peaford

 

 

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