The State Minister in Charge of Transport, Jean De Dieu Uwihanganye, Tuesday night officially opened a three-day event dubbed the ‘African Ground Handling International Stakeholders’ Conference’, the first to be held outside South Africa.
It is a major conference that is bringing together executives, policy makers and service providers in the aviation industry to discuss issues surrounding safety and professionalism, among other things.
The conference, the fourth of its kind, particularly seeks to provide a platform for stakeholders to advance talk to break down the barriers to safety excellence, achieving safety, quality and efficiency.
According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), safety management has been progressively improving in the region for the past few years.
Data for the 2017 safety performance of the commercial airline industry shows that airlines in the region had zero jet hull losses (jet accidents) and zero fatal accidents involving jets or turboprops for a second consecutive year.
However, they say there is a need to prepare countries as traffic continues to increase with the growth in aviation industry.
“I expect heated and constructive debates during the discussion of the presentations so that the resolutions derived from your three days’ work can make impact to the development of African Aviation Industry,” the minister told the participants, before declaring the conference, officially open.
The conference is running along the African Aviation Week, which began Monday and ends on Monday at the Kigali Convention Centre.
Organisers say both the conference and African Aviation Week are facilitating people to learn best practices that would contribute much to promoting aviation business on the continent.
There is so much energy to advance actions, and Max Gosney, one of the organisers of the event, thinks it is time for the rhetoric to stop and the growth start happening.
“There is so much talk about the potential within African aviation [industry]. But I think it’s time to stop talking and we want to start seeing actions and results,” he told The New Times.
“There is no doubt the opportunities are there, but we need to make sure that people are working together in order to enable those opportunities and make growth reality,” he added.
Africa is tipped to be the world’s fastest growing aviation market with nearly 6 per cent annual growth in passenger volumes over the next 20 years.
African Aviation Week aims to support that growth in an orderly and safe manner.