The resounding message from Africa’s aviation community attending this year’s buzzing Aviation Africa summit held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, was that all stakeholders must cooperate and collaborate to achieve a sustainable aviation future. Delegates debated existing and new challenges as discussions surrounding coronavirus, sustainability, and the need for more open African skies, unified 722 attendees from 81 countries.
IATA special envoy to Africa, Raphael Kuuchi, outlined CORVID-19 impact on the year’s projected 3.8% African RPK growth Kuuchi used the Aviation Africa forum to call on governments to relax taxes and charges through this crisis and called for air traffic control slot retention rules to be moderated.
On environmental sustainability the panel underlined the call for multilateral engagement to achieve the goal. Africa boasts more hours of bright sunshine than any other continent and solar energy is increasingly being used as a renewable energy source at airports across the continent. All were in agreement that it’s a matter of when, not if, and that the introduction of eVTOLs into African airspace requires collaboration across the board.
Abderahmane Berthé, Secretary General AFRAA, said more efficient use of airspace would make a significant contribution to carbon reduction. “Currently 22% of Africans travelling between two cities on the continent are forced to travel through non-African hubs.”
Day Two of Aviation Africa Summit addressed three key areas Finance, Airports and Business Aviation with frank discussions involving regulators, manufacturers, airlines and aviation services.
The impending financial crisis and the risk of the coronavirus came under the microscope with Simon Knechtli, Executive Director Aviation, Willis Towers Watson outlining the liability that airlines would face. In a hard-hitting panel chaired by former Ethiopian CEO Girma Wake, bankers, brokers airlines and manufacturers debated the challenges the industry is facing and said that now is a time that would benefit those airlines which had adopted conservative growth.
Sustainable development for Africa’s airports shone through in the airport debate with details outlined for the Ethiopia’s new super hub. Meanwhile a future for electric and hybrid regional air transport plus the broad range of humanitarian and civic missions were key for the business aviation sector.
Royal Jet’s Simon D’Oyly and Ampaire’s Brice Nzeukou both called for airport infrastructure improvements ranging from electric resourcing for the next generation of aircraft through to improved FBO facilities.
“You can’t have a VIP passenger or high-end executive fly in on a private jet and then have to be processed through the standard terminal precures,” D’Oyly said. “That high level of service has to be maintained all the way through the passenger journey.”
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