While the air transport recovery trajectory continuespost-COVID-19 and with the headwinds arising from other geopolitical-related developments, it is critical for the air transport ecosystem stakeholders put their weight behind concerted actions for air transport business to thrive and contribute to the continent’s sustainable rapid development. It is timely to redefine the narrative of Africa’s air transport industry to that of interconnectedness, affordability, profitability, efficiency, and sustainability. This was the impetus of the much-awaited Convention, held under the theme “Changing the African Aviation Narrative”.
The Convention was held at the Ethiopian Skylight Hotel in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from07 – 09 May 2023 under the patronage of the Government of the Federal Republic of Ethiopia and was graced by two Ethiopian Ministers – Her Excellency Nasise Chali, Ethiopia Minister of Tourism and His Excellency Dr Alemu Sime, Ethiopia Minister of Transport and Logistics- who was the Guest of Honor.
Speaking at the Convention on the importance to change the future of our industry with transformative ideas and actions, Mr Abdérahmane Berthé emphasized that African Airlines face many challenges that the industry needs to contemplate and find lasting solutions with serious consideration. “Critical among the challenges facing our industry is sustainability.
Only 10% of African citizens can afford air transport, meaning there is a huge room for growth. Reducing the cost of operation, cooperation among airlines, partnerships, and consolidation are part of AFRAA’s initiatives and advocacy to make air transport affordable for Africans.” He said.
The main objective of the Convention was to convene stakeholders to dialogue and deliberate on subject matters to pave the way for the air transport industry’s development and change the narrative of African Aviation.
This Convention also aimed at establishing lasting interactions and partnerships among aviation players and airlines in the aviation value chain for win-win relationships that will benefit African aviation.
A total of 31African airlines attended the conference, out of which 14 were represented at the CEO level. Overall, the event was attended by 455 participants from 42 countries.
Aviation ecosystem stakeholders at the Convention deliberated on the following key subjects that were lined up in the programme:
- The Pillars for African Aviation Sustainability
- Roadmap to Fast-Track the Implementation of SAATM
- Enhancing Cargo Operations, E-Commerce Networks, and Logistics
- Keeping Track of Abuja Safety Targets for Africa
- How to Remarket Aviation
- Training the Next-Gen Aviation professionals for the Sustainability of Africa’s Air Transport Industry
- Accelerating Intra-Africa Tourism for Sustainable Growth
- Digitalization: Enhancing the Digital Customer Journey
There were master classes where cutting-edge ideas, industry best practices, new opportunities, and practical solutions were presented and discussed. The following masterclasses took place:
- Class 1: The journey towards more efficient and sustainable flights by: SITA
- Class 2: The Digital Twin by Star Navigation
- Class 3: Showcase of AFRAA Data intelligence tool and Avi Analysis solution.
- Meeting of the Air Transport Sustainability Steering Committee
The Steering Committee of the Laboratory on Air Transport Sustainability in Africa held a meeting at the Convention to take stock of achievements made since 2022 and deliverables for 2023 and beyond. The laboratory brings together air transport, trade, and tourism stakeholders under a roadmap structured into five projects for the sustainability of the industry, namely:
Project 1: Taxes (Fuel and customs)
Project 2: High Taxes and Charges
Project 3: Navigation – Free Routing Airspace (FRA)
Project 4: Implementation of the Single Air Transport Market (SAATM)
Project 5: Partnerships – Airlines and Tourism Bodies to improve intra-African Tourism
In the discussions, stakeholders took note of the following achievements made under the roadmap of the laboratory outcomes, among others:
- On the development of a new model of sharing critical infrastructure to reduce investment costs, a data gathering process has been launched in the field of technology used by Air Navigation Service providers (ANSPs), procurement, and investment practices. This will be used for comparison and best practices to guide all the ANSPs.
- Regarding the FRA progress, two member airlines volunteered participation in a total of 5 city pairs in the FRA trials. FRA implementation on these routes is estimated to avoid burning 3,200 metric tons of fuel, emitting 10,100 metric tons of CO2, and yield savings of US$ 2,784,000 annually. The FRA trials are planned to start in 2023.
- On SAATM, a total of 20 States have committed to the Pilot Implementation Programme (PIP) as of April 2023. For each of the States lined up for the PIP roadshows, States are being engaged to sign MoUs to carry out the gap analysis of the BASAs.
- CSR event for youth development in aviation
After the conclusion of the Convention, AFRAA, in collaboration with Ethiopian Airlines and Collins Aerospace, staged a 1-day youth event on 10 May 2023 as part of CSR activities aimed at empowering and motivating the next generation of aviators at the Ethiopian Aviation University. The event was sponsored by Ethiopian Airlines and Collins Aerospace. A total of 130 high school students from 10 schools in Ethiopia benefited from the initiative, which is aimed at supporting youth development in aviation.
A total of 21aviation-related companies showcased their products and solutions through an exhibition at the Convention. The current exhibitors include:ACI Africa, Aeroplay Entertainment Pte Ltd, African Airlines Association, African Civil Aviation Commission, ATNS, Aviators Africa, Boeing, Collins Aerospace, East African Aviation, EgyptAir Holding Company, Embraer, Ethiopia Ministry of Tourism, Ethiopian Airlines Group, Fokker Services Group, Lufthansa Systems, Rolls Royce, Silks of Sheba, SITA, South African Airways Technical, Star Navigation Systems Group, and Turkish Airlines Aviation Academy.
Sponsors: The Stakeholders Convention was proudly sponsored by: Ethiopian Airlines, ASECNA, ATNS, Boeing, Collins Aerospace, Rolls Royce, and South Africa Tourism.