Nairobi is preparing to play host to the upcoming Modern Airports Africa Conference to be held between 18th and 20th January 2017. The African aviation industry has experienced a flood of activity over the last few years, with air traffic in the East African region specifically expected to almost double by 2030. Amidst this growth, many African airports are faced with several challenges including inadequate infrastructure and financing, operational and environmental inefficiencies and safety and security threats.
Against this background, Modern Airports Africa will bring together government and aviation authorities as well as industry stakeholders from around the continent to address these and other challenges. Organised by International Quality & Productivity Center (IQPC) and themed ‘Unlocking Africa’s Aviation Potential’, items lined up for discussion during the three day conference include airport modernisation, policy, investment, risk assessments, co-operation and air traffic management.The opening key-note speech is expected to be delivered by Tourism Cabinet Secretary Hon. Najib Balala. Others expected to speak at the event include Irungu Nyakera, Principal Secretary, Transport; Capt. Gilbert Kibe, Director General, Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA); Mr. Robert Mwesigwa, Executive Director, East African Community Civil Aviation Safety and Security Oversight Agency (EAC-CASSOA) and Flora Wakolo, Chief Air Traffic Control Officer, KCAA.
Kenya is the key aviation hub for East Africa and in 2015, the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) opened a new terminal with enhanced security to ease congestion, boosting airport capacity to 7.5 million passengers annually. In March 2016, plans to construct a 56 billion shilling terminal at the airport were shelved, with the Transport Minister James Macharia citing that the project dubbed ‘Greenfield’ would not provide value for money. Construction of a new runway is however expected to commence later this year. The conference comes at a time when Norwegian aviation expert, Mr. Johnny Andersen has recently entered office as the new managing director of The Kenya Airports Authority (KAA). Speaking during the handover ceremony, Mr Andersoen said, “we aim to not only provide bespoke infrastructure for the aviation industry, but also, from a commercial point of view, to efficiently deliver safe and secure aviation services for the country into the future. At the centre of our work will be people, strategy and execution.”
The writer is the Business Development Director at Mkutano Business Events & Travel.
(Mkutano Business Events & Travel is the leading East African conferences and trade events bureau. See more at www.mkutanotravel.co.ke).