in Training

AASA warns Southern African airlines face skills crisis

Posted 13 October 2017 · Add Comment

Airlines in the region will face a potentially crippling shortage of skills and failure to hit employee transformation targets if governments do not fix basic and tertiary education, warned the Airlines Association of Southern Africa (AASA).

Airlines and the entire aerospace industry are dependent on a pipeline of young, appropriately educated talent who they can prepare, with bridging training, for careers in the sector.   However, poor science, technology, engineering and mathematics learning – especially at schools in townships and rural areas - and the financial squeeze on South African universities and students is causing the pipeline to dry-up. 

“Without this talent pipeline, airlines and other aviation businesses in our region, specifically South Africa, face a calamitous future,” cautioned AASA CEO, Chris Zweigenthal, in his address to the association’s 2017 annual general assembly.

Africa’s unprecedented population explosion is driving increased demand for air transport across the continent, with projected annual 5.7 percent average growth over the next 20 years.   In parallel, around 20,000 new pilots, similar numbers of technicians and engineers together with a range of other professions will be needed to operate and support Africa’s expanded fleet and to succeed the current generation of airline employees. 

“Transformation is a non-negotiable factor and we want to accelerate the pace at which we advance representation and diversity - not just in the cockpits and the executive suites, but in all roles across the industry.  Frustratingly, our combined efforts, which include various industry-funded education outreach initiatives, are hamstrung by the low standards of basic education, especially in poor communities,” he added.

“At the same time, we trade in an open and competitive labour market.  In addition to fixing education, we need to attract the available talent to work in aviation in the region and also find ways to make sure they want to stay,” he said.

Contributing factors identified by AASA for urgent attention include the scarcity of funding (including the current financial squeeze on universities and students), the absence of a specialist aerospace and air transport education institution in Africa and a lack of effective coordination between governments, educators and the industry. 

The latest industry econometric study* shows that aviation supports 6.8 million direct, indirect and induced jobs in Africa and generates US$72 billion for the continent’s combined GDP.  A significant portion of these are in Southern Africa.   It is a key economic and development enabler and driver of domestic, regional and global imports, exports, investments, business and leisure tourism and innovation.

This year’s AASA gathering of more than 200 airline leaders, government policy makers, regulators, industry bodies, manufacturers and other industry players, is meeting to address human capital development challenge for African airlines.

* required field

Post a comment

Other Stories
Advertisement
Latest News

Falcon 6X gears up for first flight

Dassault Aviation is making steady progress toward an early 2021 planned first flight for its latest and roomiest aircraft, the Falcon 6X, despite the upheaval caused by the coronavirus epidemic.

Green recovery must embrace sustainable aviation fuels

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has emphasised the aviation industry’s commitment to its emissions reduction goals.

Iraq repatriation flight returns South Africans home

CemAir has welcomed 80 South Africans home from Iraq and Jordan on a special repatriation flight which touched down at OR Tambo International Airport on Wednesday morning.

Emirates to resume flights to Dar es Salaam

Emirates will resume services to Dar es Salaam from August 1.

Air Namibia service licence reinstated

Air Namibia has released a statement informing the flying public that the decision by the Transport Commission of Namibia to suspend Air Namibia’s Air Service License was overturned by the High Court of Namibia on the evening of 8 July

New cabin enhancements for the Praetor 500 and 600

Embraer has made a series of cabin enhancements for its Praetor 500 midsize and Praetor 600 super-midsize business jets.

See us at