President, International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), Dr Bernard Aliu, has advocated development and modernisation of local aviation infrastructure and optimisation of airport capacity to ensure sustainable prosperity in Africa’s aviation sector.
A statement by ICAO released in Abuja on Tuesday, said Aliu made the call while addressing African aviation and government leaders at the ongoing Airports Council International’s (ACI) 2018 Africa Regional Conference in Lagos.
Aliu said that Africa’s rapidly-expanding air traffic could only be sustained and optimised through the continued development and modernization of local aviation infrastructure, particularly the airports.
He said the aviation industry in the continent had generated positive impacts on tourism and trade, directly and indirectly supporting about 6.8 million jobs and generating 72.5 billion dollars in Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
According to him, due to the more recent and effective focus on air transport liberalization, many African airports are now expected to exceed their capacity in 2020.
“Airport modernisation and capacity is a key reason why ICAO’s Global Plans are designed to establish globally-harmonized aviation objectives and requirements in support of the worldwide modernization which is now underway.
“ICAO’s goal in this respect is to ensure that there are no constraints of infrastructure capacity, technology and financial resources for aviation development.
“ICAO’s World Aviation Forum events are specifically designed to address these concerns and bring project planners and financiers together,” he said.
Aliu said related enhancements in human capacity development, through improved education and training, should be seen as directly supportive to the sustainability of any new infrastructure or capacity being considered.
He drew attention to the fact that airport facilities were much more than just impressive new terminal buildings.
The ICAO president said that the organisation was concerned that many African airports were seeking to attract international flights without the requisite certifications.
“More attention must continue to be paid to the airside safety priorities at Africa’s airports, including international airport perimeter fencing, taxiway and runway safety, effective fire services and better wildlife management,” he said.