World Tourism Network Reports Lively Discussions at African Aviation Summit

Vijay Poonoosamy

African airlines need better governance and stronger leadership to grow and attract funding.

This was the key message from Vijay Poonoosamy, Aviation Chair of World Tourism Network (WTN) and Barrister and Partner of Dentons Mauritius, at the African Aviation Summit in Johannesburg last week. Vijay moderated a lively panel on “Aircraft Fleet Considerations & Legal Perspectives” and participated in the “The Way Forward – Positioning for Growth” closing session.

Vijay Poonoosamy pointed out the interconnected nature of Africa’s socio-economic status and its aviation sector by stating that “Africa’s socio-economic status is not where it should be and, as a result, African civil aviation is not where it should be either. This is because one impacts the other.” 

He added that “Excellent governance and the right leadership will help deliver safe, secure, viable, and sustainable African airlines, which will help African socio-economic growth, and which will also help these airlines in return in a virtuous circle.”

“The growth and sustainability of African airlines hinge on strong leadership and governance,” Poonoosamy concluded. “Government officials should work towards implementing policies that foster strong governance and leadership in the aviation sector. Financial institutions and investors, on the other hand, play a crucial role by providing the necessary funding and support to those airlines demonstrating good governance and leadership. This, in turn, will drive the socio-economic development that is essential for the continent’s overall progress.”

“The national leaders who choose to do so will enable these national airlines and the related government entities in aviation to take off, thus enabling their countries to take off too,” said Vijay Poonoosamy.

He added that countries that can create such a conducive environment for their airlines will allow them to have better chances of securing fair and reasonable terms for aircraft and financing, both of which are crucial for providing the intra and inter-continental air connectivity Africa desperately needs. 

Vijay also believes that financial institutions and investors should provide funding and support to African airlines, particularly those demonstrating good governance and leadership. 

“With more companies worldwide embracing ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) principles and the need to do both well and good, I urge aircraft vendors, lessors, and financiers to offer well-managed African airlines as attractive terms or even better terms than those offered to the well-established and profitable airlines elsewhere,” Poonoosamy said.

About Vijay Poonoosamy

Vijay Poonoosamy is Aviation Chair of the World Tourism Network. He is a Barrister and Partner of Dentons Mauritius and an Honorary Member of the Hermes Air Transport Organization, a Non-Executive Member of the Board of the Veling Group, and a member of the Advisory Board of the World Tourism Forum Lucerne and of the World Economic Forum’s Gender Parity Steering Committee.

Poonoosamy was the Managing Director of Air Mauritius, Special Adviser (International Civil Aviation) and Member of the Public/Private Consultative Group in the Prime Minister’s Office of Mauritius, the Executive Chairman of Airports of Mauritius, the Vice President International Affairs of the Etihad Aviation Group and Senior Adviser, International Civil Aviation Affairs, UAE Mission to ICAO. He was also Chairman of the 4th ICAO Worldwide Air Transport Conference, the ICAO Special Group on the Warsaw Convention Governing International Air Transport, the Air Transport Committee of the African Civil Aviation Commission, IATA’s Industry Affairs Committee, IATA’s Legal Advisory Council and IATA’s Task Force on International Aviation Issues. Vijay was a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Mobility, the World Travel & Tourism Council Advisors Circle, the World Routes Advisory Panel, the Board of Directors of US Travel Association and the Board of Governors of the International Aviation Club of Washington, DC.

Vijay is a barrister (Middle Temple) with a law degree from the University of Nottingham, a master’s degree in international law from the London School of Economics and Political Science (with specialization in Air & Space Law), a Post Graduate Diploma in Air & Space Law from the London Institute of World Affairs and a Certificate in Company Direction from the Institute of Directors in New Zealand. He is blessed with a supportive wife and 2 wonderful daughters.

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About the author

Juergen T Steinmetz

Juergen Thomas Steinmetz has continuously worked in the travel and tourism industry since he was a teenager in Germany (1977).
He founded eTurboNews in 1999 as the first online newsletter for the global travel tourism industry.

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