By Vladimir Zubkov, Secretary General, TIACA
The African Airlines Association (AFRAA) this week celebrated its 50th Annual General Assembly in Rabat, in the Kingdom of Morocco.
The annual event brings together more airline chairmen, CEOs, top executives, and principal decision-makers in the aviation industry, than any aviation event in Africa.
Like any other Annual General Meeting, it will be dealing with the most important issues – the trends, challenges and opportunities in Africa. This year the theme is “Strengthening African aviation in a liberalized environment”.
AFRAA membership consists of 32 airlines spread across the entire continent and includes all the major intercontinental African operators.
The Association’s members represent about 83% of total international traffic carried by all African airlines. Hence the importance of the meeting and the deliberations which are taking place.
I attended last year’s meeting in Kigali, Rwanda and reported then that surprisingly, there was virtually no reference to the air cargo issues in the course of the whole meeting.
I made a statement and after the meeting signed with the outgoing Secretary General of AFRAA Elijah Chingosho a Memorandum of Understanding which set up the principles of our collaboration.
Shortly after, the former Air Burkina and Air Mali CEO Abderahmane Berthé firmly took the helm, and we started turning the MoU intentions into real actions.
TIACA and AFRAA have many commonalities in the objectives amongst which are: to facilitate the establishment of industry best practices in safety and security; provide a platform for consensus building among members; actively contribute in human capital development; interact with the regulatory bodies to support and protect the common interests of members; provide forums for members and industry partners to enhance their knowledge base and mutual cooperation; and several others.
It’s a noteworthy change in the attention the Assembly will be paying to the air cargo issues this year. TIACA is invited to actively participate.
The main review of the air cargo issues is anticipated at the panel titled “What strategies can airlines and airports adopt to enhance passenger experience and cargo operations?”.
Customer expectations, industry solutions, the specifics and constraints of markets in Africa, the human factor and the growing role of digitalization will be among many important issues.
My report on the Assembly’s work will follow.