In a significant stride towards advancing the future of aviation in Africa, Mr. Festus Keyamo, Nigeria’s Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, has reiterated the unwavering commitment of the Africa Aviation Training Organisation (AATO) to propel the continent towards a sustainable, safe, and secure air transport industry.
According to sciencenigeria.com, Keyamo announced this the 29th AATO council meeting symposium and the 10th-anniversary celebration held in Abuja under the theme ‘Advancing African Aviation Training Excellence.’
Recognising the strategic importance of the aviation sector in supporting economic and social development, the minister, represented by the permanent secretary of the ministry, Mr. Emmanuel Meribole emphasised the need for comprehensive planning, coordination, management, operation and oversight of various aviation infrastructure complexities.
Keyamo stated, “The growth of the industry will be influenced by the pace at which African organisations can develop and retain adequate and skilled human resources in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) provisions, plans, programmes and required performance specified in ICAO SARPS”.
Addressing the role of AATO, Keyamo underscored its significance as an association of aviation training organisations in Africa and related institutions and individuals committed to promoting aviation with the overarching goal of enhancing aviation safety in Africa.
“AATO plans to implement measures to train adequate personnel to work in the industry and guarantee a sustainable aviation industry in Africa,” he added.
He outlined some of the objectives and achievements of AATO, including promoting the interests of its members and aviation training in Africa, fostering cooperation among its members, and encouraging the sharing of expertise among its members and other aviation organisations. AATO has also entered into memoranda of understanding (MoUs) with African aviation services and other entities.
However, Keyamo acknowledged challenges such as inadequate funding, low membership, lack of awareness, and a fragile institutional framework. Expressing gratitude to stakeholders and participants, he urged them to prioritise safety and success in flight, emphasising the industry’s reliance on teamwork.
The president of AATO, Ms. Tendani Ndou provided additional insights into the organisation’s mission, emphasising its establishment to harmonise and standardise individual training in Africa. She highlighted the strategic importance of AATO in supporting economic and social development while ensuring the safety of citizens.
“AATO envisions bringing together aviation training organizations in all 54 states in Africa. Audits and assessments conducted by ICAO and other industry organisations have revealed a shortage of qualified personnel in crucial areas of civil aviation throughout Africa, which has the potential to negatively impact safety and security in the long term,” she said.
Addressing financial challenges, Ndou expressed confidence that AATO could achieve its global goals with financial support from stakeholders.
The technical coordinator of AATO West Africa, Dr. Yakubu Ibrahim explained that AATO aims to harmonise curricula and syllabi across African countries, streamlining certification processes. He urged stakeholders to collaborate in overcoming aviation challenges and pooling resources for Africa’s progress.
The regional director of ICAO Eastern and Southern Africa, Ms. Lucy Mbugu stressed the importance of strategic partnerships and collaboration with regional and international institutions, development partners, and industry leaders. She encouraged participants to embrace innovation and digital learning platforms to bridge the technology gap and offer state-of-the-art training programmes aligned with global standards.