This week’s Aviation Africa summit and exhibition discussed how a focus on sustainability and investment in infrastructure would help the continent to live up to its potential.

Delegates from some 32 African countries joined a further 38 from around the world met for the fifth edition of the show, which took place at the Ethiopian Skylight Hotel in Addis Ababa.

Sustainability was the theme of the conference with debates on fuels, technology improvement, carbon reduction on the ground and future design.

Manufacturers keeping a close eye on developments within the African market include US-based Ampaire, which has an electric hybrid plane in the air now which it promises will be certified years ahead of its competitors.

Engine-maker Rolls-Royce also impressed the African market with developments and capabilities within its products, which include the use of sustainable aviation fuels within gas turbine engines.

Unanswered questions on Max for Ethiopian Airlines

FINN editor-in-chief Alan Peaford introduced Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde Gebremariam on stage in an interviewed which covered topics including last year’s Boeing 737 Max crash and projected tourism growth within the country.

One year after the crash of Flight 302 from Addis Ababa Bole International Airport in Ethiopia to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, Kenya, which killed all 157 people on board, Gebremariam said there were still questions which remain unanswered. He explained: “When Boeing gives us the exact date when the airplane is going to fly, then we will make the assessment. Will we be able to convince our crew, our pilots, our customers and how long does it take us and those kind of questions we will be answering at that time.”

Innovative solutions for infrastructure investment

Projections for an increase in tourism have led to the development of a new airport in Ethiopia. Ethiopian minister of Transport, Dagmawit Moges, also called on other countries to step us their investment in infrastructure. In doing so, she said, the continent would be able to live up to its potential.

In her opening address to the Aviation African Summit, H E Mrs Moges said: “Airport infrastructure in most African countries is outdated and is now unable to handle the increasing volume of passengers or cargo.”

She added: “Modernising infrastructure and operations require both investment and expertise. These could come through public-private partnerships or through opening doors for private capital investment.”

“This will bring innovative solutions; it will increase competitiveness; it will bring additional routes, more frequent flights, better connections and lower fares.”

Ethiopia’s transport market set to expand by 226 per cent

The International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) latest study on the importance of air transport and tourism to Ethiopia revealed that the sustained prioritization of air transport, connectivity and tourism as a strategic asset, would support an additional 900,000 jobs and at least USD 9.3 billion of GDP by 2037.

An economic report by IATA presented at Aviation Africa identified air transport and tourism as significant economic enablers in Ethiopia. Air transport and foreign tourists arriving by air currently support 5.7 per cent of the nation’s GDP valued at USD4.2 billion and about 1.1 million jobs.

If current trends persist, Ethiopia’s air transport market is set to expand by 226 per cent over the next 20 years, with annual passenger journeys increasing from 7.2 million in 2017 to 23.5 million a year by 2037.

Abu Dhabi based Royal Jet announced new deal with Royal EEswatani to base a head of state boeing business Jets for charter operations from the former Swaziland, other Exhibitiors were already answering the call to support the tourism boost with new services.