Editor’s comment: Africa’s calling

Regional Gateway editor Chloë Greenbank summarises the latest happenings across airports serving business, regional and low-fare routes.

The countdown is on with less than a week before the 4th Aviation Africa summit takes place in Kigali, Rwanda from 27-28 February.

Leaders from across Africa’s aviation sector and its support industries will gather in the Rwandan capital for the two-day summit, which this year promises to host more director generals and airline heads than ever before. It’s certainly exciting times for the continent, with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) forecasting that Africa is set to become one of the fastest growing aviation regions in the next 20 years, with an extra 199 million passengers for a total market of 334 million passengers by 2037.

But, the continuing debate over the commercial and political value of Africa’s Single Air Transport Market (SAATM), alongside the challenges of weak airport infrastructure, poor connectivity and high ticket prices mean the continent’s aviation industry still faces its fair share of challenges.

Alongside discussions on these issues, topics to be covered during the summit will include how Africa is leading the way forward in the development of drone usage, why private-public partnerships can drive Africa’s infrastructure and modernisation faster and further. Plus, while wildlife recognises no borders, one panel will discuss how airport operators are sharing knowledge and techniques to make flying safer for both passengers – and animals, and there’s survival stories from the challenged airlines, flag carriers, regional and low-fare about what works and what doesn’t in the changing world of African aviation.

So, while challenges exist within Africa’s aviation sector, so too do opportunities and I’m looking forward to reporting back from the event with exactly what those opportunities are!

The editor’s comment is published weekly as an accompaniment to the Regional Gateway e-newsletter. If you do not currently receive our email updates, you can subscribe here.

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