“For once you have traversed the African sky; everything else will always be your second love”. In almost every single conversation I have had with any pilot that has flown the African skies, it all tends to gravitate towards the beauty of Africa. The picturesque landscape never gets tiring to fly over.
While the landscape may be a pleasure to cross, there are several challenges that do face the industry. The industry has not enjoyed a good reputation in safety. There was a period when aviation did have a high rate of accidents. This was largely due to older fleets, inadequate training, and poor airport facilities.
This has changed over the years. There has been an improvement in Air Traffic Control, Radar, Ground Instrument Systems (ILS, GPS, etc.), and airports in general. This can be seen in large aviation markets such as: South Africa, East Africa, and West Africa.
There are many tangible milestones. The growth of aviation can be seen from the ground up. The number of flight training schools that have opened up around the continent is evidence of the direct demand for pilots. The number of airlines setting up base and operating in Africa is also proof of the demand for air travel.
Aviation in Africa is the next big frontier. Many investors have been flocking in to see where to best double their currency. Regional airlines seem to be a good bet. RwandAir is a good example; they recently purchased two Airbus A330-200. Many other African Airlines are modernizing their fleets with bigger and better aircraft.
Companies such as Gainjet Aviation are planning to expand to Africa. While existing airlines from different African countries are contemplating opening one multinational airline. Countries and aviation companies are trying to compute new aviation models that will work for Africa.
There is a big push for the liberalization of African Aviation. Connectivity is a must if the continent wants to realize its universal potential. This will help in the expansion of trade in several African industries such as tourism, agriculture, business and social travel.
The combination of diverse industries and businesses is what makes Africa unique. With a lot of them raising the demand for air travel. There are a lot of untapped potentials and raw materials. There will soon be a big rush to enter the African aviation market. I believe that there will be nothing but happy ‘footprints’ left across the African sky.