Routes Africa to spotlight African aviation in July
Africa stands in dire demand of aircraft and aviation manpower
(eTN) - There are a few months to go before the Routes Africa 2012 forum takes place in the Seychelles, and Africa stands on big demands for aircraft, new trained pilots, and other cadres of aviation experts.
The Routes Africa 2012 forum, to be held in the Seychelles in July, will bring airlines, civil aviation authorities, and tourism boards together to see how the challenges facing the world of aviation and tourism can best be tackled.
Africa’s position in the global aviation industry will highlight the forum, with stakeholders looking at best alternatives to make this continent feature at the world aviation industry with competitive images.
“The world economics is changing fast, the aviation climate has changed, and it is so important for everyone to meet and discuss the situation. Cooperation and the spirit of working together is today more important than ever before,” Seychelles Minister responsible for Tourism and Culture, Alain St.Ange said.
The Seychelles Tourism Board will be the host for the 7th Routes Africa event, which will take place from July 8 to10, 2012 in the Seychelles capital of Victoria. The Tourism Board will work in partnership with the Seychelles Civil Aviation Authority to deliver this key aviation industry event.
Boeing Commercial Airplanes’ International Sales Director, Miguel Santos, told Engineering News Online that Africa would need more than 800 new airplanes over the next 20 years and between 14,000 and 20,000 new trained pilots.
Santos said that Boeing would announce revised estimates later this year and that these numbers could increase.
“We are seeing a greater demand for air travel, as the middle class in Africa expands. According to the International Monetary Fund, seven of the world’s ten fastest-growing economies will be from the African continent in the next five years,” Santos said.
He added that the growing demand for trained airline pilots on the African continent pointed to the importance of partnerships between pilot training schools and aircraft manufacturers, such as the one between 43 Air School and Boeing.
“Africans are increasingly turning to air travel as road and rail infrastructure remains underdeveloped. These partnerships will play an important role in providing qualified pilots to the industry in Africa,” Santos stated.
Further, he said that significant opportunity existed for local air schools to attract international students, as training in the US, the UK, and Europe was expensive and their air spaces congested.
South Africa’s 43 Air School Port Alfred CEO, Attie Niemann, told Engineering News Online that, over the next 20 years, Africa would require about 1,700 new trained air crew a year.
He said the air school had already increased its capacity to accommodate growing demand and was looking at further developments.
As part of its air traffic control training (ACT), the school expanded its ACT simulator facility to include a radar simulator. A radar module would be launched in the next three to six weeks, while investments in electronic learning formed part of the school’s overall expansion.
Further, Niemann said the air school was also looking at setting up a private school aimed at youngsters who were interested in aviation training.
“We have identified partners and will make an announcement later this year,” he said.
The first group of students for the 43 Air School and Boeing’s Street to Right Seat program was expected to arrive in the next three to six months to undergo about 24 months of training to become co-pilots on a Boeing 737NG narrow-body airliner.
Routes Africa will bring together route development professionals from across Africa, the Middle East, and beyond to discuss the latest developments within the region and establish potential for new air traffic routes to, from, and within Africa.
This annual event is the only network development forum for the entire African region and, this year, will build on the successes of previous events.
Katie Bland, Routes’ Future Hosts Director, stated: “We are delighted to announce the Seychelles as the host of Routes Africa 2012. The Seychelles team’s passion, professionalism, and commitment to air service development, combined with the suite of excellent facilities available in the Seychelles and the stunning backdrop, convinced us that they were the right choice for this year’s event.”
“Seychelles is after the Routes Africa to showcase the needs of Africa and the Indian Ocean islands in the world of aviation. We echoed this message, and we were happy to confirm to Routes that the South Africa Minister responsible for Tourism would be addressing the forum on aviation in Africa today,” Minister Alain St.Ange said.