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Talent supply chain the key to future sustainability

Posted 16 March 2020 · Add Comment

Industry leaders converged on Morocco for the Middle East and North Africa Business Aviation Association (MEBAA) conference and show at Marrakech Menara Airport in late September. Vincent Chappard was there.

This third edition of MEBAA Morocco offered an ideal platform for business aviation suppliers, service providers and buyers to network and tap new opportunities in the region.
According to an International Air Transport Association (IATA) source, there will be 175,000 business aircraft movements in the MENA region by 2020.
Meanwhile, Bombardier anticipates 200 jets to be delivered to Africa by 2025.
Flight hour activity within the African region went up during two consecutive quarters in 2018, taking flight activity to the highest level since 2008.
Morocco sits strategically between the European, Middle Eastern and African markets as a pivotal destination, both in terms of geography and capability. The Moroccan Airports Authority (ONDA) reports that the country’s airports manage 50% of north Africa’s business jet movements.
The country recorded a growth of 6% in business aviation passengers and 9% in business aviation movements between 2016 and 2018. There are currently 70 business and private aviation operators in Morocco.
Mohammed Sajid, Minister of Tourism, Air Transport, Crafts and Social Economy, reiterated Morocco’s support to business aviation during the opening ceremony. “Today, many new companies are operating in this sector. The aviation industry in Morocco has been witnessing considerable growth since it signed ‘open sky’ agreements with both Europe and the United States. This has enabled a certain number of major companies to operate in Morocco and serve our main tourist destinations,” he said.
Ali Ahmed Alnaqbi, founding and executive chairman of MEBAA, addressed the main challenges facing business aviation.
“One important issue is sustainability of business aviation. In future, there will be people retiring. There is no injection of fresh blood in our industry and that is why we are specifically targeting universities and colleges to highlight one of the main challenges in business aviation and aviation in general.”
Noureddine Mouaddib, president of Rabat International University, made an appeal to tackle challenges regarding human resources development in aviation. The number of commercial flights and passengers (4.1 billion) should double by 2030. Over the next two decades, the high demand for a qualified aeronautical workforce, such as pilots, air traffic controllers, maintenance technicians and cabin crew, will need to be correlated with aircraft delivery plans.
According to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) the latest studies show that, by 2037, air transport in Africa will require more than 23,000 additional pilots, 4,200 air traffic controllers, 28,000 MRO technicians and 37,000 new cabin crews.
For Mouaddib, growth in the number of people trained is not happening at the same pace as increases in air transport. Consequently, many sectors will know huge tension.
There’s a need to identify ways to attract and train budding talents to feed the aviation industry so that it can perform efficiently, he argued, adding that people were turning to competing high-tech roles, which looked more exciting and had interesting salaries.
The university cannot work alone; it needs the support of professionals of our industry, he concluded.
The MEBAA event highlighted innovation opportunities such as big data and blockchain.
For Ghita Mezzour, associate director of the ITC Research Laboratory at Rabat International University, big data has a huge impact on improving revenue and reducing cost, customer experience, luggage tracking and predictive maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO). Business aviation is starting to use big data and the sector can do so much more, he said.
Big data can bring a better knowledge and a completely personalised experience for the business aviation customer (preferences, tastes, trips). For example, United Airlines collects more than 150 variables about a customer to devise a tailored offer. The refined approach led to an increase of more than 15% in the year-over-year ancillary revenue.
According to Jorge Montes del Pino, president and CEO of Montesy Asociados Consulting, more than 85% of aerospace and defence companies will be using blockchain in their businesses by 2021.
It offers many advantages – a distributed network of computers, a permissioned access to parts lifecycle records for all involved parties (original equipment manufacturer, lessor, auditor/regulator, MRO, airlines, parts brokers), and a secure, transparent and auditable interaction between stakeholders.

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