- 17 October, 2017:
The setting up of a China–Africa Civil Aviation Academy in Mauritius will address the present shortfall in training capacity in Africa as well as in the region. It will also cater for high skilled personnel which in turn will help the aviation and airport sector in the African region to grow to its full potential.
This statement was made this morning by the Prime Minister, Minister of Home Affairs, External Communications and National Development Unit, Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Mr Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, during his keynote address at the opening of the 27th Airports Council International (ACI) Africa/World Annual General Assembly, Conference and Exhibition which is being held from 16 to 18 October 2017 at the Swami Vivekananda International Conference Centre in Pailles.
The Prime Minister pointed out that discussions for the setting up of the Academy are underway with the Government of the People’s Republic of China. He underlined that the Academy will not only cater for Mauritians aspiring to become aviation professionals but will also offer unique opportunities for African neighbours and for countries in the region.
Furthermore, Prime Minister Jugnauth announced that as a first step to enhancing aviation training capabilities, the Airports of Mauritius Co Ltd (AML) Aviation Training Centre at the airport has recently secured the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Trainair Plus Certification and has thus joined the acclaimed international network of ICAO approved aviation training institutions.
He stated that Government is continuously working towards making the national airline stronger and more resilient to face challenges ahead. He announced that the national carrier, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, will be welcoming its first Airbus A350-900 this week. This is the first of six new generation aircrafts being delivered to the airline as part of its expansion and fleet renewal strategy, he said. Furthermore, he emphasised that with the additional seat capacity and other benefits offered by these modern aircrafts, Air Mauritius will be in a better position to increase its frequencies to existing destinations but also to explore new routes.
Speaking about the success of good airlines which relies heavily on the effectiveness of the airports servicing them, the Prime Minister reiterated Government’s commitment to ensure that the airport and its associated infrastructure are ready to support the aspirations of the country.
Several initiatives have been put in place to that end. They include: extension of the airport terminal facilities; review and update the Airport Master Plan; construction of an Integrated Clearance Centre for the prompt processing and clearance of transiting goods; implementation of the “speed to market initiative” whereby Government can cover for up to 40% of air freight costs for the export of locally manufactured products; enhancing ease of doing business and promotion of the continuous upgrading of the skills and knowledge of the workforce.
For his part, the Chairman of AML, Mr Johnny Dumazel, stated that airports are drivers of growth and modernisation as well as symbols of growth. Hence the need, he said, to ensure resilience of operations and facilities. He added that airports are continuously facing challenges such as security, rapid technological evolution, high cost of developing innovative services, environment impact of operations, and airport maintenance and modernisation. These factors, he added, need to be taken into consideration when developing policies for the airport sector to be dynamic and resilient.
ACI World director general, Ms Angela Gittens, reflected on the role played by airports in the socioeconomic growth of a country. Speaking about traffic volumes, Ms Gittens underlined that passenger and cargo travel processes will need to change dramatically in the near and distant future in light of projected air traffic growth.
ACI World forecasts that traffic volumes will exceed 40 billion passengers and 145 million tonnes of cargo by 2029, meaning that airports, airlines and their contractors and suppliers will increasingly be challenged to optimise the use of emerging technologies, processes and design developments, she said. Airports will also need to continuously improve their service level, she concluded.
The 27th ACI Africa/World Annual General Assembly, Conference and Exhibition
The Conference brings together around 500 airport industry leaders from more than 70 countries, focusing on topics of high interest shaping the way in which the airport industry is quickly evolving.
Some of the Conference’s key topics include: Creating a strong security culture; Transforming the journey through technology and innovation; Connectivity and sustainable tourism; Customer experience and Airport Service Quality.
The theme chosen is “Bold leadership in a time of change.” It recognises that whatever the set of changes, airports play a crucial role in the economic and social health of communities, countries, regions and the world at large, and they must craft a strategy for their sustainable development to continue providing those benefits.
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