Aviation leaders, policy makers, manufacturers and exhibitors from around the world gathered in Kigali, Rwanda, for the sixth Aviation Africa Summit & Exhibition earlier this month, at a time when the continent’s aerospace sector is beginning to boom.

And the message from those at the show was clear: now is the time for action for Africa’s aviation industry.

President of the republic, Paul Kagame, opened the show, praising the industry for its work in leading the post-Covid recovery.

Minister of infrastructure, Patricie Uwase, who was also present at the two-day event, called on the aerospace industry to begin looking at developing a manufacturing and distribution service within the African continent.

Airline partnerships

Fifty-two airlines were at the show, and Embraer was keen to demonstrate its aircraft for existing and new customers.

Elsewhere, Kenya Airways CEO Allan Kilavuka outlined details of plans between his airline and South African Airways to develop a group of pan-African carriers: “Both airlines, South African and Kenya Airways, need to clean up or restructure so that they’re ready to move into this new alliance because we don’t want to have the new airline group operate with legacy issues.”

Qatar Airways CEO, Akbar Al Baker, added: “Up to now, alliances have been using smaller airlines to stifle competition. And me as the chairman of One World, I want to create an alliance that is win win for every single member of the alliance.”

History made

Yvonne Makolo, CEO of RwandAir, will make history next year as the first female chair of the board of governors at the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

She said: “It’s great that I’m in this position now but at the same time it’s also very disappointing that in 80 years of IATA’s existence that this is the first time a woman will be chairing the board, or an African will be chairing the board.”

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