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Aviators Africa Conference and Tower Awards Successfully Wraps-Up

It's a wrap! The fourth Aviators Africa Conference and Tower Awards have successfully come to an end with a call from stakeholders to work towards resetting the African aviation industry with a view of harnessing the benefits of sustainable energy and technology-driven operations.

The three-day event which took place from the 20th to 22nd of October at the Protea Hotel by Marriott Johannesburg Wanderers in South Africa kicked off on Thursday, 20th October, with an outreach program in partnership with the Girl Fly Program Africa (GFPA) Foundation, Walk for Love Africa, and South African Tourism.

Day two of the conference began with an expository keynote address by Aaron Munetsi, the Chief Executive Officer of the Airlines Association of Southern Africa (AASA) which highlighted the imperative and the urgency of resetting the African aviation industry post-COVID-19 pandemic, rather than restarting it.

Welcoming delegates to the event, the Founder and the CEO of Aviators Africa Conference and Tower Awards, Toni Ukachukwu said the conference's core mandate was to carve a niche and continue to pioneer sustainability initiatives in the African aviation eco-system whilst connecting it with tourism.

"I would like to welcome everyone to the 4th Aviators Africa Conference with the theme: 'Sustainability in African Aviation.' This year saw us being true to our objective as a pan-African organization by bringing the event to South Africa, having hosted it in Nigeria for three straight years." Mr Ukachukwu said.

"We intend to look at sustainability in the broader sense of the word covering diverse areas with inclusivity from the stakeholders and academia to explore not only aviation but its allied industries for a more sustainable development of Africa." He added.

The conference which was held under the theme "Sustainability in African Aviation", featured three engaging and brainstorming panel sessions, all of which x-rayed the various challenges bedevilling the aviation and tourism industry in Africa, as well as recommended possible recovery paths.

The first panel, which was moderated by Derek Niseko, took a look at "Assets Finance & Airline Sustainability in Africa". The panellists who included Sean Mendis, an airline executive and Monica Rubombora, Uganda Airlines Country Director for South Africa, critically appraised airline operations in Africa with respect to access to credit facilities, funding and sustainability.

Moderated by Sean Mendis, the second panel critically discussed "Sustainability in African Aviation". The insightful session featured Akie Chhabra, Embraer Sales Director for Africa, Yvonne Winter, Co-Founder of Fly Now, and James O'Shea, CEO of Seefin Aviation. Evoking interest, the panel discussed current and future technologies helping the global aviation industry to achieve a green approach to zero CO2.

The third panel of the day which featured hospitality and tourism experts, including Professor Marina Novelli, Didier Bayeye, and Ifeanyi Ogochukwu, examined the"Impact of Airlines on Sustainability of Tourism Destinations. It was moderated by Kojo Bentum Williams, Senior Expert on Communication in Africa at the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).

The international conference was attended by delegates and airline executives from across the world and provided excellent business-to-business (B2B) opportunities for aviation and tourism players to network on a global platform for sustainable business impacts.

The last day (22nd October) saw the event begin with a CEO Leadership Breakfast Meeting sponsored by Marriott International. The forum provided yet another opportunity for informal business-to-business as well as business-to-consumer meetings. The conference wound up in the evening with a well-attended gala night and the Tower Awards.

The highlight of the Tower Awards was the induction of Ato Girma Wake, Board Chairman of Ethiopian Airlines and Irene Koki Mutungi who is a Captain on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner at Kenya Airways, into the Aviators Africa Hall of fame for their meritorious and trailblazing services to the development of African Aviation.

In its fourth year, the Aviators Africa Conference and Tower Awards is a hybrid aviation and tourism event designed to bring together aviators and travel professionals. The event seeks to discuss and find solutions to the challenges of the aviation industry in Africa as well as recognise outstanding players in the travel and tourism industry.