by Ian Sheppard - November 21, 2016, 8:57 AM
During the African Business Aviation Association's annual two-day conference, held late last week in Cape Town, South Africa, leaders of the association stressed the need to engage local regulators country-by-country to support the growth of business aviation, which they believe has huge potential on the continent. AfBAA founding chairman Tarek Ragheb reflected on the growth of the association in its first six years and said it “cannot be NBAA, and we have a unique environment with unique challenges,” not least of which is having 54 countries in Africa.
A single regulatory environment remains but a dream in Africa, so he suggested the way forward is “innovation.” The first step was taken in August with a roundtable in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where the local industry was able to help regulators understand that the nature of business aviation is distinct from that of the airlines.
Ragheb said that the other great hope is technology. “In Africa we don’t have open skies or much infrastructure, so we should embrace technology to leapfrog,” referring in particular to new business models such as that used by Jetsmarter, which has not yet turned to Africa but did give delegates an update on its growth during the conference.
The AfBAA board also decided that, from now on, its annual conference will be held in Cape Town.