in Features / Airports

It's good to talk why collaboration is the name of the game

Posted 12 August 2019 · Add Comment

With significant growth forecast across the continent’s aviation sector, Chloe Wilson reports on how the industry is tackling challenges to safety and security in African airports.

Home to some of the fastest-growing economies on the planet, Africa’s growth rate has been trending upwards in recent years.
Subsequently, the number of air passengers travelling to and across the continent is also on the rise.
While the continent’s aviation sector has the potential to grow significantly in the years to come, Angela Gittens, Airports Council International (ACI) World’s director general, also underlined during the 2018 ACI Africa Annual General Assembly that airports need to realistically assess challenges together and implement aviation-related safety and security actions and initiatives, in line with this growth.
“One of the main challenges facing African air travel remains safety and security,” noted Ali Tounsi, director general, ACI Africa. And with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) predicting that air travel growth in Africa will outpace all other regions of the world over the next 20 years, this will not only put additional pressure on the continent’s existing airport infrastructure, but it will also pose new challenges for safety and security management.
Whether it is due to acts of terrorism, inconsistency in the implementation and enforcement of internationally accepted standards; threats from insiders; aviation cybersecurity; security on the ground; or conflict, the aviation industry around the world continues to be highly exposed to operational safety and security risks and African airports are no exception.
Papa Diery Sene, deputy director general, Teranga Sureté Aéroport, the agency that handles security at Dakar Blaise Diagne Airport in Senegal, elaborated further, citing the “political will of governments” as a significant challenge to the industry. “We need to move from security operated by public security forces (police or governmental bodies) to join the global movement of outsourcing security measures to private security operators,” he said.
Meanwhile, Sene’s colleague, Yacine Kebe, safety, environment and quality manager at Dakar Airport, underlines that achieving aerodrome certification (a requirement for all airports by 2022 under the Abuja Declaration) is another challenge for airports, when it comes to ensuring safety standards.
“Certain requirements that comply with modern safety standards can be difficult and costly to implement,” Kebe stated. While “training costs can be a significant challenge for smaller hubs with low traffic, especially when it comes to airport rescue and fire-fighting training”.
To address the threats faced by African airports, measures, including the deployment of new screening technologies, implementation of safety management systems, and effective management practices and training, alongside a solid safety and security culture, are imperative, according to ACI Africa.
Capacity building is one area where Kebe believes airports can work together to address their challenges. “If we work as a unit, we could pool our human resources and create an African experts pool. All airports could then benefit from expertise throughout their region. We could develop ‘train the trainers’ programmes to share competencies among ourselves, which would also reduce the cost of training.”
It’s an idea, she adds, that is being implemented by ACI Africa under its African airports development programme (AADP).
Tom Kok, director of AviAssist Foundation, agrees that the cost of training can be prohibitively expensive for some airports. He suggests that, as an alternative, airports could buy in-house editions of a training course of an industry branch association.
But he would also like to see more opportunities being created “closer to home” to enable the volume of training that will be needed in the coming decades. He highlights Kenya Airports Authority as doing a great job with its internal academy. “But those kinds of initiatives are still too few,” he added.
Fostering exchange programmes between African airports is also key to overcoming the challenges. “During Dakar’s aerodrome certification process, we welcomed experts from other airports in the region, which encourages collaboration and learning from each-other’s experiences,” explained Kebe. “Many issues faced by African airports are common and sharing best practices can save us time and resources,” she added.
While industry associations have undertaken various actions such as ACI’s airport excellence (APEX) programme, which actively supports Africa’s airport sector in raising the bar on aviation safety and security, Sene points out that the continent’s airport community now needs “strong support from its governments to better understand and consider the economic potential of airports in developing countries going forward”.
Concluding that airports have become businesses in their own right and have to excel in a full range of activities, Gittens highlights that safety and security remain “top priorities” and airports are urged to embrace risk-based safety and security concepts, advanced technologies and process innovation in order to tackle the challenges. But most important is the call for collaboration.
As Kebe rightly summed up: “We can only succeed if we work together, making sure we do not leave any airport behind.”
 

* required field

Post a comment

Other Stories
Advertisement
Latest News

Aviation Africa Summit & Exhibition wins ‘Best International Event’ at EN Indy Awards

Aviation Africa has won 'Best International Event' for the 2019 event held in Kigali, Rwanda in February this year.

Cairo joins the Emirates A380 network

Following the recent debut of its flagship A380 aircraft to Cairo, Emirates will introduce a regular scheduled commercial A380 service to the Egyptian capital starting from 27 October 2019, four times a week.

EgyptAir Training Academy completes training courses

EgyptAir Training Academy has completed its latest training courses accredited by international and regional organisations to help to improve the performance of employees of the company.

MEBAA insurance tailor made its medical insurance to suit members in UAE

MEBAA has entered into an Agreement with National General Insurance Company (NGI) UAE, to provide uniquely designed Medical Insurance Scheme for its member companies operating within UAE.

Congolese Air Force cargo plane crashes

An Antonov An-72 transport plane operating for the Air Force of the Democratic Republic of the Congo crashed near Punia last week.

Joramco and Kenya Airways sign maintenance agreement

Joramco and Kenya Airways, the flag carrier airline of Kenya, have signed a heavy maintenance agreement for the first time to perform OOP check for six B787 from the carrier’s fleet in addition to major modification tasks related to

AVAFA20SK2207050320
See us at
Dubai AS BT2006211119AVAFA20BT2207050320AVMENA20 BT1309100620