in Training

AASA warns Southern African airlines face skills crisis

Posted 13 October 2017 · Add Comment

Airlines in the region will face a potentially crippling shortage of skills and failure to hit employee transformation targets if governments do not fix basic and tertiary education, warned the Airlines Association of Southern Africa (AASA).

Airlines and the entire aerospace industry are dependent on a pipeline of young, appropriately educated talent who they can prepare, with bridging training, for careers in the sector.   However, poor science, technology, engineering and mathematics learning – especially at schools in townships and rural areas - and the financial squeeze on South African universities and students is causing the pipeline to dry-up. 

“Without this talent pipeline, airlines and other aviation businesses in our region, specifically South Africa, face a calamitous future,” cautioned AASA CEO, Chris Zweigenthal, in his address to the association’s 2017 annual general assembly.

Africa’s unprecedented population explosion is driving increased demand for air transport across the continent, with projected annual 5.7 percent average growth over the next 20 years.   In parallel, around 20,000 new pilots, similar numbers of technicians and engineers together with a range of other professions will be needed to operate and support Africa’s expanded fleet and to succeed the current generation of airline employees. 

“Transformation is a non-negotiable factor and we want to accelerate the pace at which we advance representation and diversity - not just in the cockpits and the executive suites, but in all roles across the industry.  Frustratingly, our combined efforts, which include various industry-funded education outreach initiatives, are hamstrung by the low standards of basic education, especially in poor communities,” he added.

“At the same time, we trade in an open and competitive labour market.  In addition to fixing education, we need to attract the available talent to work in aviation in the region and also find ways to make sure they want to stay,” he said.

Contributing factors identified by AASA for urgent attention include the scarcity of funding (including the current financial squeeze on universities and students), the absence of a specialist aerospace and air transport education institution in Africa and a lack of effective coordination between governments, educators and the industry. 

The latest industry econometric study* shows that aviation supports 6.8 million direct, indirect and induced jobs in Africa and generates US$72 billion for the continent’s combined GDP.  A significant portion of these are in Southern Africa.   It is a key economic and development enabler and driver of domestic, regional and global imports, exports, investments, business and leisure tourism and innovation.

This year’s AASA gathering of more than 200 airline leaders, government policy makers, regulators, industry bodies, manufacturers and other industry players, is meeting to address human capital development challenge for African airlines.

* required field

Post a comment

Other Stories
Advertisement
Latest News

Flight for sore eyes

It's not rare to spot an MD-10 aircraft in African skies but there is one unique jet, owned by Orbis that is saving the sight of thousands and offering life-changing training in eye care.

Etihad Airways adds new B787 to Casablanca route

Etihad Airways is to operate its flagship Boeing 787 Dreamliner on the Abu Dhabi – Casablanca route, effective 1 May 2018.

Conference plots the future direction for drones

Unmanned air vehicles and their potential uses throughout Africa were put under the microscope at the Drones East Africa Conference in Nairobi. Githae Mwaniki reports.

Air Austral accedes to Air Madagascar's shareholding

Air Austral has completed its accession to Air Madagascar's share capital, reports ch-aviation.

The ATR 72-600 tours West Africa

From December 11 to 14, an ATR 72-600 in the colours of Air Sénégal will embark on a demonstration tour in three West African countries.

EgyptAir on cloud nine with latest 737-800 delivery

EgyptAir has received its ninth and final Boeing 737-800NGs on a lease deal from Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE) and valued at $864 million. All nine were handed over during in the course of the past year.

Aviation Africa SK18418
See us at
Aviation Africa BT18418