Successful first AfBAC expo

Focus — 01.04.18 BY Iris Savage

Conference highlights also came from Poppy Khoza, the Director of the South African Civil Aviation Authority who spoke of a “hopeful” not “hopeless” future for African aviation, stressing the business aviation sector needs to think creatively about evolving the opportunities presented. “The need for stronger regulators and supportive governments are key for creating an environment in which to thrive,” said Khoza. Her speech also called for a consultative approach towards creating regulatory environments, improved standards, infrastructure development, and the need for consistency across the sector.

One of AfBAA’a initial goals was to create a single pan-African voice that represented a unified approach to raising the standards of business aviation across the continent. So it was with pride that the organisers welcomed Kurt Edwards, Director General of the International Business Aviation Council, to the stage following the announcement that the organisation had become the international institution’s fifteenth member. As IBAC also represents a coordinated, and global, voice for business aviation that addresses international standards, policies, and best safety practices across the world, Ragheb welcomed the council’s decision to add the young Association to its membership.

Edwards took the opportunity to explain the impact of the global ICAO Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation – CORSIA – initiative for business aviation. CORSIA has been developed to address carbon emissions with a view to reaching carbon-neutral growth from 2020. It focuses on operational improvements, air navigation infrastructure improvements, and technology – both aircraft-related and sustainable alternative fuels usage. Edwards stayed for the rest of the three-day meeting joining other eminent figures from business aviation including Doug Carr, NBAA’s vice-president of regulatory and international affairs, and Ed Smith Senior VP of International and Environmental Affairs for the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, GAMA.

With the conference theme focused on exploring African Business Aviation Evolution, panels and presentations explored fundamentals that could potentially stimulate African business aviation growth. Inspired by the TED series of conferences the organisers chose shorter panels, speeches and presentations for the format, and alongside the regular panel discussions and presentations used technology to engage the audience, encourage interaction, and direct the conversation in real time using interactive platforms.

Dr Roelof Botha, leading African economist from the University of Pretoria gave an enlightening presentation about the areas showing most potential growth including Kenya and South Africa, while Terry Yeomans, an IBAC ISBAH programme director graphically illustrated the potential disasters if safety procedures are not followed. Dave Coleman of Duncan Aviation gave a lively presentation highlighting the complexities of cross border transactions elucidating the need to consider all the angles. Panels provided practical solutions to common challenges and the RPAS sessions brought some glamour as Oscar winner, Emmanuel Prévinaire of Flying Cam, debated the positive uses of unmanned aerial vehicles, and how they can contribute economically to the African landscape. Remember the opening of James Bond Skyfall, with the bikes riding across the Istanbul rooftops, Emmanuel’s technology filmed the scene and exemplifies the value of RPAS in the civil aviation space.


A “roving-mike” session at the end of the day had audience members on their toes as conference Chairman Al Peaford took the floor to ask unsuspecting delegates their thoughts on the future of business aviation. It kept the audience’s attention, and most notably many conference veterans were still in-situ at the end of the day.

The conference set solid foundations for the subsequent Expo, which took place at ExecuJet’s Lanseria facility. A static display of 11 rotary and fixed wing aircraft including a Bombardier Challenger 350 and Gulfstream G550, was set against the backdrop of a stunning South African landscape. 43 exhibitors including leading international firms such as Standard Aero, Panasonic Avionics, and Pratt & Whitney Canada showcased their products and services, met existing colleagues, and established new connections throughout the two-day event. Close to 1000 delegates attended with exhibitors coming from as far afield as New Zealand, Canada, the USA, Europe and the Middle East.


The Expo was supported by a series of workshops. Led by industry experts covering a diverse range of topics including the challenges of ground handling in Africa given by Universal Weather and Aviation Inc, RPAS integration into controlled airspace by Aerial Vision Africa, and the benefits of power by the hour maintenance strategies from JSSI.

In line with AfBAA’s commitment to training, Jeppesen’s workshop focused on the options for digital education. Design Aviation was also the theme for educational workshops, which inspired local school children to consider aviation as a career. More than 50 young students went through a workshop led by Women and Aviation founder Refilwe Ledwaba. The event concluded with a typical South African braai, hosted by Gulfstream, JSSI and Global Jet Capital where speakers, exhibitors, workshop hosts, and delegates could relax and network. Located by the Lanseria runway the event turned into a “pop-up” plane spotting party, which was relished by all.

“It is AfBAA’s role to bring together executives from across the sector to share and exchange valuable knowledge and information. We wanted to prove there is demand for a rounded convention in Africa, and what we have created is an outstanding foundation for years to come. We received a lot of positive feedback from delegates, exhibitors and conference attendees and I am extremely proud of what we achieved,” concluded Fahmy.