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Post COVID-19: How an Asian Flight Academy Seeks to Help West Africa Develop Aviation Human Resources

Maritime, Port & Aviation Post COVID-19: How an Asian Flight Academy Seeks to Help West Africa Develop Aviation Human Resources
NOV 2, 2021 LISTEN

Although the COVID-19 pandemic still lingers on, the introduction of vaccines and other COVID-19 innovations has led to the easing of global travel restrictions to make it possible for people to travel around once again.

In 2020, the global aviation industry was on its knees, and signs of the industry’s rebound were nowhere near encouraging. However, 2021 has seen significant improvement in the industry’s recovery. Although passenger numbers on the global scale are not near pre-pandemic levels, airlines in recent times appear to be adjusting their capacities to meet the gradual growing travel demands.

New aviation professionals and retrenched staff are today being employed and re-employed respectively into the industry. This action paints a positive future for the industry.

Into the Future

Going into the future, one of the largest aircraft manufacturers, Boeing in its 2021 industry outlook report says "Long-term demand for newly qualified aviation personnel remains strong, as 612,000 new pilots, 626,000 new maintenance technicians and 886,000 new cabin crew members are needed to fly and maintain the global commercial fleet over the next 20 years".

To make more sense of the data, Africa will account for 63,000 of these aviation personnels of which 19,000 will be pilots. Again, airlines are projected to grow their fleet by 3.6% per year to accommodate passenger traffic growth of 5.4% annually. Further estimates by Boeing shows that over 1,000 aircraft will have to be purchased to meet these demands.

The pandemic has provided an unfavourably environment for African airlines considering how some airlines have been liquidated and others also entering into business rescue. However, the positive predictions by Boeing and other industry experts about Africa’s aviation can only be reaped if the right investments are made.

The Asian Support

With aviation-related developments being capital intensive and also dependent on corporations one way or the other, one of Asia’s key aviation players, Lombok Institute of Flight Technology (LIFT) seeks to establish its footprints in Africa by fostering partnerships to develop highly skilled aviation human resources to take advantage of existing and new opportunities.

According to the African Representative of LIFT, Mr Richard Kyereh, ˝̋̋The institution sees a population of vibrant youth in West Africa and it seeks to leverage its experiences and state-of-the-art facilities to prepare a labour force ahead of the industry’s full recovery”.

The Asian flight academy seeks to partner with institutions of higher learning to provide theoretical and practical lessons to students who desire to pick up piloting roles in aviation.

Mr Kyereh further added that ˝̋̋The initial strategy of LIFT is to provide theoretical studies in the countries of their partner institutions and practical flight training at LIFT’s facilities in Indonesia. However, there is a possibility to have a training aircraft stationed permanently in the countries of its partners depending on market response”.

More on Jobs

Asia-Pacific continues to enjoy a significant market share in the aviation industry creating room for more employment opportunities. Between now and 2040, Asia-Pacific will have new opportunities for over 100,000 new pilots (Boeing 2021 forecast).Within the region, Indonesia has the largest market in South-East Asia and according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), it will be amongst the top five largest global aviation markets by 2036.The country boasts of over six hundred airports, hundreds of aviation companies and tens of airlines.

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