Air connectivity in Africa will experience strong expansion, with passenger growth of 4.4 per cent over the next 20 years.
According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) forecast, the upward progression will result from huge economic growth and investment in many African countries.
The revelation came up during deliberations at the African Airlines Association (AFRAA) headquarters in Nairobi in the run up to the Aviation Stakeholders Convention in Rwanda next month.
Stakeholders said the role of aviation in the continent, though beset by operational problems, was huge as it supports about 6.9 million jobs and generates $80 billion (Sh8.1 trillion) in GDP.
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“AFRAA aims to bring together the suppliers of the whole range of aviation products and services, as well as potential customers of these products and services for purposes of networking, knowledge exchange and business negotiations,” said AFRAA Secretary General Elijah Chingosho.
He said the annual convention facilitates the exploitation of opportunities by various stakeholders to improve the industry support base on the continent.
“This event will draw together 400 participants, comprising largely airline and civil aviation authorities, airport personnel, air navigation service providers, round handlers, aircraft and engine manufactures, component suppliers and other stakeholders.”
RwandAir CEO John Mirenge said his airline was an important regional player in the aviation industry.
“Staging the convention at our hub base will be a great opportunity to further strengthen Rwanda’s place as an aviation country in the region,” he said.
The convention will include the exhibition of products, solutions and services from aviation suppliers in different categories.
According to Dr Chingosho, exhibitors will benefit from visibility, networking and direct sales opportunities.
AFRAA is a trade association of airlines from the member states of the African Union, with the mandate to foster commercial and technical co-operation among airlines and to represent their common interests. It was founded in Accra, Ghana in 1968 and represents 85 per cent of the international traffic carried by African airlines.