Although Africa’s current share of world trade is hovering around only 3%, this number is expected to grow significantly. As airports across the continent scramble to accommodate increasing air traffic demand, the need for expanded facilities and improved infrastructure becomes strikingly apparent.
Many African countries have already recognised that they play a key role in improving aviation policy and providing the necessary public infrastructure and support to cushion the high cost of initial capital injections that are a necessary catalyst for growth. Spiralling fuel prices, taxes and high airport tariffs are already some of the challenges facing both airlines and airports in Africa, and the expenditure required to build and modernise aviation infrastructure places further strain on rising costs.
Airport leaders and aviation executives from Africa and beyond are demonstrating their commitment to Pan-African airport modernisation with intensive plans and regional collaboration to develop world class facilities and strategies to fund, manage, and maintain a profitable aviation sector.
But economic growth in the region coupled with rising demand for air traffic is also attracting the attention of international stakeholders. Overseas airport operators have turned their interest towards Africa and opportunities to lend their expertise to airport management and operations in the region. Both the South African – Netherlands Chamber of Commerce and the British Aviation Group have both recently become strategic partners of the African Airports Evolution Forum, a gateway into 21st century African aviation.
Aviation stakeholders from over 10 African countries will be meeting next month in Nairobi, Kenya for the African Airports Evolution Forum, a strategic think-tank opportunity for discussion on airspace and market liberalization, regional trade collaboration, and the role of the aviation industry in decreasing the cost of doing business in Africa.
Colonel (rtd) Hilary K. Kioko, Director General of the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority will deliver the Keynote Address at the African Airports Evolution Forum and other featured experts contributing to the keynote discussion include Eng. George Sambali, Advisor to the Director General of the Tanzania Airports Authority and Barry Kashambo, Executive Director of the Civil Aviation Safety and Security Oversight Agency (CASSOA) in Uganda.
Open dialogue and cross border collaboration are key to aligning supply with demand in Africa’s aviation industry as air traffic demand continues to grow. Passenger traffic volumes are increasing at a rate of over 7% and cargo traffic volumes are increasing at a rate of almost 6%. Daniel Manduku, Executive Director of the National Construction Authority of Kenya will highlight how the construction sector is gearing up for airport upgrades and expansion projects and Cornwell Muleya, CEO of Air Uganda will highlight how the airline is successfully driving traffic to the region. Engineer Swaleh Kassera, Executive Secretary of the Institution of Engineers Tanzania, says of the event, “This forum provides an opportunity for engineers to learn about and prepare for upcoming projects in airport engineering, terminal design and runway construction in Africa.”
The African Airports Evolution Forum is hosted by the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority and sponsored by leading international companies in the field including Egis Avia, Hella, Thales ATM, Touchwork and Youyang Airport Lighting Equipment Inc who will be at the event to foster collaboration with African aviation stakeholders and design and develop airports that meet the new compliance, capacity and efficiency demands required to bring the world to Africa.