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Key trends and future plans discussed at 4th Africa Airport Expansion Summit 2016
The summit was concluded with warp-up panel discussing about profitability and how to guarantee sustainable future of Africa’s airports
New airport technology is required in the air and on ground to improve runways, taxiways and other parts of airports

Africa is home to 12% of the world’s population, but it accounts for less than 3% of the global air traffic. However African airports are very important for many international airlines due to their high profit and stable growth. Growing affluence across Africa has definitely generated greater demand for air travel. By 2034, eight of the ten fastest growing aviation markets are expected to be in Africa, while nearly 300 million passengers will travel to and from African destinations.

New technology for African airport infrastructure

Much of this growth is anticipated in routes within the African continent. But this outstanding expected growth in passenger and cargo will put a pressure on the airport infrastructure to adapt to the growing demand, changing technology and stricter regulations. Although major improvements have been achieved, often airport infrastructure is aged, the size impropriated, technology not updated and safety and security is deficient.

The implementation of new airport technology is required in the air and on ground to improve runways, taxiways and other parts of the airport to enhance safety, efficiency and sustainability in aircraft movement and operations. Despite the challenge of poor funding holding back African airports in terms of meeting the technology needs of the airports, it is still vital that African airports learn of such efficient technologies as there is no substitute to safety.

Pascal Komla, President of Airports Council International, ACI Africa took the audience through the airport development in Africa, key trends, current outlook and future plans for the region and noticed that passenger traffic in Africa decreased slightly compared to previous year, but cargo traffic considerably increased, even more compared to world cargo traffic which has decreased. Smaller airports with less than one million passengers in general remains unprofitable in terms of net profit and thus less attractive for investors but remains important for linking regional social and economic activities.

Key trends, current outlook and future plans

Ashish Dongre, General Manager of GVK Airports, India, presented how innovative international Pascal Komla, President of Airports Council International, ACI Africa took the audience through the airport development in Africa, key trends, current outlook and future plans for the region and noticed that passenger traffic in Africa decreased slightly compared to previous year, but cargo traffic considerably increased, even more compared to world cargo traffic which has decreased. Smaller airports with less than one million passengers in general remains unprofitable in terms of net profit and thus less attractive for investors but remains important for linking regional social and economic activities.

Samson Fatokun of IATA West Africa followed in providing the view from the airlines perspective and highlighted the importance of a liberalised air transport for lower fares and the importance of an open sky as per the Yamoussoukro Decision, which is still not implemented in most countries.

Despite the challenge of poor
funding holding back African
airports, it is still vital that African
airports learn of such efficient
technologies as there is no
substitute to safety

The second day started with a focus on runways commenced by Dider Pade of Cyclone Technology by looking on how life of pavement can be extended considering that the most persistent contamination problem is the rubber deposited from aircraft, causing a significant loss in available skid resistance during wet conditions. Baoliang Yu of China Airport Construction Group Corporation then showed based on projects example how runway pavement rehabilitation can take place without interrupting the airport operation.

Approaches for airport expansions with special view

Klaus Lauth of Gauff Consultants presented approaches for airport expansions with special view on Jet Blast and Collision Avoidance issues followed by Thomas Varughese of Cellcommon how facilitations of passenger traffic can be achieved by strengthening communication systems and enhancing security.

Flora Wakolo, Chief ATC at Kenyan CAA then presented how ATM technologies can support safe and efficient expansion of airports and in same time benefit ATC through the plan developed by ICAO for a global Aviation System Block Upgrade (ASBU), which would improve Airport Operations through Airport CDM. ASBU initiative is intended to constitute the framework for a worldwide agenda towards ATM system modernisation under the concept of One Sky. The airports will benefit from increased capacity and better stand and gate utilisation and ATC will benefit from a decreased workload due to reduced traffic holding in the terminal area.

Deressa Mosisa, CEO infrastructure at Ethiopian Airports Enterprise then presented the expansion plans of Addis Ababa Bole International Airport and other regional expansion. And Ethiopia is also about to break ground on a new mega-airport just outside of Addis Ababa to be developed in phases. It is an impressive move which might just make Ethiopia the aviation capital of Africa. It is no more a secret that the land-locked Ethiopia has big plans to turn itself into Africa’s chief aviation hub.

The Africa Airport Expansion Summit

The summit was concluded with a warp-up panel chaired by Frederic Thenevin, Aéroport de Paris’s ADPi, discussing about profitability and how to guarantee sustainable future of Africa’s airports as well as the challenges of non-aeronautical revenue streams.

It has been concluded that Airports being built today are the airports of the future and need to be designed as such. An airport will be successful only if it has the flexibility to adapt, expand and absorb the increase in traffic. Airports are the most complex in terms of operations. To be successful any airport must be able to cover multiple facilities and technological advancements. Consequently, it is important to choose right the first time, whether it is taxiways, terminals, ATC or IT solutions, security or simply passenger conveniences, such as passenger seats and trolleys.

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