Formed in 1968 as a lobby and trade organization for African airlines, AFRAA, the African Airline Association, is now based in Nairobi, Kenya, and has become the continent’s foremost voice for the aviation industry. Starting off with just 14 founding members at the time, it has now risen to over 30, bringing together all the continent’s leading airlines.
Working hand in hand with IATA, the global aviation body, and also with organizations like ICAO, AFRAA has engaged, on behalf of Africa’s airlines, in such key objectives like facilitating the establishment of industry best practices in safety and security, facilitating joint projects between member airlines aimed at reducing their costs and increasing their revenues, and to promote HR development and skills transfer to industry personnel. Additionally AFRAA provides forums for members and industry partners to enhance their knowledge base and enhance mutual cooperation while taking the lead in the development of environmental policies in keeping with industry best practices.
High on AFRAA’s agenda are, needless to say, issues concerning aviation safety and security, cost reduction – AFRAA’s model to combine aviation fuel purchases to obtain better terms and conditions for member airlines is a case in point – addressing environmental concerns, and helping to formulate practical solutions which can be implemented across the continent and collect, co-relate, interpret, and distribute industry data to members.
Special task forces were established in the recent past dealing with route coordination, environmental challenges, a group dedicated to promoting the implementation of IATA’s IOSA certification, and the pressing issue of taxes and fees heaped upon airlines by African governments hampering indigenous aviation development. The latter point has been driven home by AFRAA at every opportunity while also speaking out for member airlines in regard of opening the African skies to foreign carriers while often denying fellow African airlines traffic rights and fifth freedom rights to the detriment of having Africa come together as a continent united.
After holding the AFRAA Annual General Assembly in Diani last November, the organization will now also hold its Aviation Suppliers and Stakeholder Convention in Kenya, with the event taking place at Nairobi’s Safari Park Hotel Conference Centre between May 3 and 6.
Ahead of the convention, AFRAA’s Secretary General has spoken out, once again highlighting how African governments have of late treated airlines as cash cows with sharp rises in regulatory fees and costs, high landing fees, the attempted and in some cases real introduction of VAT on aircraft spare parts, and on aviation fuel which could set back efforts to bring African airlines to a global par with those operating from other continents by years.
Maureen Kahonge, AFRAA’s Business Development Manager, has described the forthcoming third such meeting as one of crucial importance for African airlines as the association stands to focus on such topics as:
• Develop aviation business support base on the continent
• Develop synergy among sector players in the industry (airlines, airports, CAAs) through interaction, identifying and proposing joint solutions to industry challenges
• Facilitate interaction among aviation organizations & industry suppliers
• Discuss emerging technologies
• Share industry knowledge, information and experience
• Create a competitive environment & choice to aviation companies in Africa
According to Miss Kahonge: “… the convention provides outstanding profile building, networking, and direct sales opportunities for suppliers of equipment, goods, and services who are interested in engaging with top corporate buyers in airlines, airports, civil aviation authorities, Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs), and training establishments. Delegates at this convention will benefit from innovative strategies, proven solutions, best practices, and information on a win-win, supplier-customer relationship.”
Registration for the event is still open and can be done with ease online via http://asasc.afraa.org/index.php/register-now.html?view=form