Infrastructure has been seen as one of the barriers to Africa’s growth, but new investment in Airports is changing that. Aviation Africa will be looking at the plans to develop international and regional hubs that could see Africa competing with the Gulf carriers.
Addis has already overtaken Dubai as the leading gateway to Sub-Saharan Africa from the rest of the world, according to the travel intelligence agency ForwardKeys and Ethiopia is now investing $5billion in a new airport to cope with a growth in passenger numbers that could tip 40%. The current Bole Airport is within three years of reaching its capacity and as the country’s flag carrier – and Africa’s most profitable airline, Ethiopian Airlines – continues its reach across the continent and beyond, the rush is on to finance, build and equip the new super hub.
Rwanda – now with investment from Qatar Airways – is also pushing ahead with a new airport outside of the capital Kigali to support the outstanding growth of its national carrier RwandAir.
Aviation Africa 2020 Summit, held at the Skylight Hotel close to Bole International Airport, will be looking at the challenges and opportunities being embraced by African airport companies. « You only have to look at cities around the world with hub airports and their economic success to understand that the two go hand-in hand, » said Chloe Greenbank, editor of Regional Gateway magazine and the moderator of the airport segment of the Summit. « Take London, New York, Hong Kong, Istanbul, Dubai or Doha, they are all flourishing cities with strong economies and major air transport hubs. And now you can add the likes of Addis Ababa and Casablanca to that list. »
Greenbank will be joined on stage by Eskinder Alemu, acting CEO of Ethiopian Airports and Lt-Col Firmin Karambizi, managing director of Rwanda Airports Company to look at how the shift for hub dominance in Africa could be moving from the South when Johannesburg has led and from the west where Dubai has been leading for many years, to the new airports.
Putting this into international context will be key speakers from the leading airport companies with Olivier Baric, director Africa for Egis and Frederic Thenevin, senior business consultant Aeroport de Paris Ingenerie (ADPI). Technology will also play a large part in the development and SITA’s Georges Touma will be sharing how technological infrastructure will boost passenger numbers for those expanding African airport operators.
« This is an important segment for the aviation industry in Africa, » said summit chairman Alan Peaford. « We are seeing phenomenal development in West Africa with Cote d’Ivoire and Senegal having major growth with new airports. It is an exciting time. Anybody with an interest in the whole airport and airline future needs to be in Addis to meet the major players and understand where the strategy to bring passenger hubs home to Africa is going. »
The co-located exhibition in 2020 will feature over 100 global companies. (africanaerospace)