By Friday Nwosu
“Africa will require 900 new aircraft valued at $120 billion over the next 20 years as the industry expands across the continent,” according to aircraft manufacturer Boeing.
The aviation industry will need 14, 500 pilots and 16,200 technicians over the next 20 years in other to keep up with airlines expansion plan.
This is probably one of reasons the International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced the theme for the 2016 Aviation Day Africa (Abuja, Nigeria, May 23 – May 24, 2016): “Driving African Economies through the Power of Aviation.”
The main focus of the international body will be centered on Aviation in National Economic Planning, Public-Private Partnerships and Funding.
The conference will bring together regional stakeholders to address current issues affecting aviation in Africa including the proliferation of taxes and charges, public-private partnerships, aviation, safety, security, next generation airports and market connectivity.
According to IATA, aviation in Africa carries over 70 million passengers a year, supports more than 6.9 million jobs on the continent and generates over $80 billion in GDP.
It said over the next five years the African economy is predicted to grow at a strong 4.7% per year, well above the global average rate. For the continent to realize its full economic potential, aviation – particularly commercial air transport – must be prioritized.
Raphael Kuuchi, Vice President Africa, IATA said, “Governments and organizations need to focus not only on national issues but also on the strategic development of pan-African aviation. Policies that promote investment in air transport infrastructure, improve safety and enhance air connectivity must be implemented. Aviation has the potential to make a much more significant contribution to economic growth and development within the continent if its power is unleashed.”
“The conference is a great opportunity for Africa’s key stakeholders to debate the industry’s most pressing issues and align actions to address the challenges. Through harnessing the power of aviation we will be helping to build a brighter future—not only for individual airlines and the air transport industry, but for all Africans, who will benefit with greater prosperity through jobs and opportunities,” said Hussein Dabbas, IATA’s Regional Vice President for Africa and The Middle East.
The Africa Day Conference speaker line-up reflects a broad spectrum of aviation stakeholders from governments, policy makers, regulators, airlines and manufactures.