African Airports – A path to a brighter future

The recently concluded 6th Africa Airport Expansion Summit in Addis Ababa presented a great opportunity for government officials, investors, civil aviation authorities, airport management groups and service groups to discuss the future of airports development across the continent.  Accordingly to IATA reports, eight of the ten fastest growing aviation markets will be in Africa by 2034. This forecast growth in passenger traffic to African destinations underpins the urgent need for rapid, coordinated airport infrastructure developments across the region.

As an active participant in these discussions, ASM’s CEO and Founder, Mr. Vito Gomes, addressed some thought provoking questions to the participants and Key Government representatives at the Summit. He concurred that growth in Aviation is vital for the economic success of the African economies. However, for Airport Expansions to generate maximum value, it should recognize the needs of all the stakeholders in the demand and supply network. Global Aviation Solution providers like ASM play a critical role in the industry, serving every segment from international airlines to general aviation and charter operators. In the coming decade, African skies must welcome and cater to each of these segments in equal measure to boost both business travel and tourism.

In Vito’s view, there were 3 special areas to focus on:

  • Improving connectivity between African countries, which has hitherto proven to be major stumbling block in developing pan-African tourism and business opportunities. The recently agreed Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) agreement is a step in the right direction which must be implemented with speed.
  • Most African hubs lack dedicated infrastructure catering to high value VIP/CIP travellers. Investments in state of the art facilities with time saving, integrated check-in, immigration and exit processes are essential to boost this lucrative segment.
  • Civil Aviation Authorities across Africa need to facilitate non-scheduled and private aircraft movements with 24/7 services manned by responsive personnel enabling quicker permits and navigation.

The accelerated growth and expanding airports infrastructure should coincide with the number of international and local airlines, ground support and flight supports services infrastructure – suggested Mr. Gomes. At this stage, he noted, with inefficient links between African countries, there was little clarity on when and how all major stakeholders would become a part of these developments.

Vito’s comments at the Summit raised the awareness and led to discussions amongst Africa’s Policy makers on the urgent need for a more holistic, pan-Africa Aviation development programme. We hope these valid and constructive suggestions take root in the minds of policy makers to hasten a bright, efficient, value generating and comprehensive future for Aviation in Africa.

 

Vito Gomes  The founder and CEO of Aviation Services Management. Commentary given during the Africa Airport Expansion Summit, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 22 February 2018

 

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