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Ethiopia to host Africa’s top summit

Posted 15 November 2019 · Add Comment

Africa’s most prestigious aviation event heads to Ethiopia for the first time, as Michael de Klerk reports.

Addis Ababa is becoming to Africa what Dubai is to the Middle East.
A pro-aviation government, the continent’s largest and most modern airline fleet, and an ambition to drive up standards through partnerships across the whole of Africa, means it is no surprise that the fifth annual Aviation Africa Summit and Exhibition is making its way to the Ethiopian capital.
The summit will take place at Addis’ new and ultra-modern Skylight Hotel on March 4-5 2020 and will be hosted by Ethiopian Airlines and Ethiopia’s Civil Aviation Authority. The event is bringing top names in the African industry to the nation’s capital.
Ethiopian Airlines Group chief executive, Tewolde GabreMariam, said he is excited that the event is coming to the carrier’s home base. “I will be encouraging Ethiopia’s industry to join us at Aviation Africa 2020, both government and privately owned businesses. I will also be personally inviting friends, colleagues – and even competitors, to join us in Addis Ababa for the summit,” he said.
Aviation in Ethiopia is a high-growth sector with increasing demand for air transportation, both passenger and cargo, meaning it is expanding at a staggering rate. Investment has been made in expansion and upgrades to the Bole Airport in Addis as plans are being developed for a new showcase hub at Abusera in Bishoftu, 50km from the capital, with a capacity of 80 million passengers per year.
This new major airport will be built at a lower elevation, reducing jet fuel consumption and enabling flights of a greater distance.
“Aviation is an important element of Ethiopia’s economic growth plan,” Tewolde said. “Ethiopian Airlines is a cornerstone of that plan, exhibiting sustainable fast growth to become Africa’s largest airline with multiple hubs established through strategic partnership with African national and local carriers. We are at an important point in Africa’s whole aerospace industry transformation.”
The airline and the government will be sharing the strategic plan and discussing some of the challenges ahead.
“Throughout our development, Ethiopian has raised and tackled issues affecting the potential of the industry. This summit, we believe, will also help in facilitating a stage of engagement to positively change our industry,” Tewolde said
“The international community will be present, paving the way for first-class opportunities to share ideas, debate issues and help shape a thriving Africa aviation industry.”
Tewolde will appear on stage for a one-on-one discussion with summit chairman and African Aerospace editor-in-chief, Alan Peaford.
“There is a lot to talk about,” Peaford said. “Ethiopian’s model of partnership and investment in other countries, the opening up of the Ethiopian market and, of course, the rebuilding of the airline’s spirit and confidence after the tragedy of flight ET302 in March 2019.”
The theme of this year’s conference covers sustainability and how the industry will create a viable long-term future.
Airline and other industry leaders will be taking part in the debate. “Last year we had around 60 airlines represented at the event,” said Mark Brown, managing director of the event organiser, Times Aerospace. “One OEM fed back that he had meetings with 17 airline CEOs over the two days, the most he had done at any event.”
With the plans for airport growth across the whole of Africa, a session on sustainable growth and social responsibility involving airport management from across the continent, as well as from Europe and the Middle East, is expected to draw a large audience.
A sustainable finance programme is also key to industry success and former CEO of Ethiopian Airlines and chairman of RwandAir, Ato Girma Wake, will lead a discussion with airlines, finance houses and manufacturers, about how this can be achieved.
Mark Tierney, director of Crabtree Capital, will be outlining how airlines can ensure survivability with a plan that works for the operators as well as the banks.
The potential for Africa to lead the way in the development of unmanned autonomous aircraft and the new urban air markets will be explored in a business and general aviation segment.
“This is a great programme being developed with great speakers. I share Tewolde’s view that this could be the most successful Aviation Africa summit yet,” Peaford said.
Further details about the summit, the programme, and how to become an exhibitor or a sponsor can be found at www.aviationafrica.aero.
 

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