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AVI Afrique Demos Unmanned Aerial Vehicle

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By peter oluka

The recent AVI Afrique Africa Innovation Summit held at CSIR International Convention Centre in Pretoria once again featured as the leading aviation event in South Africa, attracting hundreds of delegates from all over the continent and beyond.

Under the theme “In Africa. For Africa. By Africa”, the summit facilitated a platform for the African aviation industry to engage around innovation and improvements in the industry and acted as an exploratory infrastructure development tool for the participation of small and micro enterprises (SMMEs) in the aviation market across the continent.

“Collaboration throughout Africa, to ensure a sustainable market, is the key focus of this event,” said Thabani Mthiyane, CEO of the Air Traffic and Navigation Services (ATNS), hosts of the summit.

Global overview of safety

Barry Kashambo, regional director ICAO Eastern and Southern African Office, was the guest speaker on the first day.

He has been in the international civil aviation community for over 30 years and comes from a background of aircraft maintenance engineering and flight safety standards. Kashambo has worked with the Civil Aviation Authority in Uganda as an Airworthiness surveyor/Inspector and Accident Investigator for 21 years. He has also served as an aviation safety officer for the UN MONUSCO, performing oversight and accident/incident investigation for the biggest UN fleet, at that time.

His experience in the sector, coupled with the various positions held across the globe, enabled Kashambo to give a worldly view on the sector and how to ensure valuable, consistent development.

Upper airspace panel discussion

“ICAO’s ‘No Country Left Behind’ campaign: Effective implementation of Safety, Security, Infrastructure Development, Technology Innovation and Environmental Sustainability was discussed at length. The panelist looked at what can be done to harmonise the effectiveness of this objective by the States and/or Air Navigation Service Providers.

Top award for UAV

Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) and the Air Traffic and Navigation Services (ATNS) sponsored the AVI Awards for 2017. At the evening awards function, Mark Van Wyk walked away with the top Innovation Award, renamed the OR Tambo Cumulus Award, for his prototype UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) that will become the first hydrogen powered aircraft, fully developed in South Africa.

Van Wyk, founder of the company FlyH2 Aerospace and his partner, OnnoHuyser, are developing a large, fixed-wing unmanned aircraft for survey and environmental research purposes. The aircraft will be powered by novel miniaturised hydrogen fuel cells designed, prototyped and trialled by TIA seed fund recipients at the University of Cape Town, HySA Catalysis.

Innovator in STEM

On day two, delegates listened to Soweto-born Mr Nthatho Moagi, a young emerging innovator who designed a Low Cost Educational Robotics Toy (LCERT) kit developed to provide learners and educators wit affordable access to educational resources in their Science, Technology, Education and Mathematics (STEM) classrooms. His company, CRSP design, was established to commercialise his invention. Named as one of the Mail & Guardian’s Top 200 Young South Africans of 2017, Moagi is highly focused on empowering SMMEs in the innovation sector.

Black Hornet launch

As the summit ended, the world’s smallest, most capable personal reconnaissance system, the Black Hornet, was launched by Desert Wolf Consulting.

The drone, also known as an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), is an American military equipment aircraft that can fly without a pilot, relying solely on its autonomy which allows for it to be controlled by remote control or by a human operator. The Black Hornet’s small size and electric motors makes it virtually inaudible and invisible once airborne.

The system will be only available to military, police and government clients in South Africa, with local support and training. South Africa’s first female military drone instructor, trained by the manufacturer in Norway, is already training another Black Hornet pilot in South Africa.

At 18 grams, the Black Hornet is inherently safe, organic and covert. Despite its small size, the Black Hornet provides live motion video and snapshots back to the operator. The system can be delivered with both day/ lowlight and night vision cameras, covering a 24/7 operational requirement.

“There is no doubt that innovation within the aviation sector is of utmost importance, not only to ensure competitiveness across the sector, but also to enhance and advance the industry with a focus on safety and security. As the transport of people and cargo across countries, continents and time zones becomes increasingly complex, airlines, airport owners, operators and investors are challenged to adapt and provide efficient aviation solutions,” continues Mthiyane

“This event was again a resounding success and it was important that we gathered some of the greatest minds to engage on how we could work together to elevate the African aviation market and ensure the participation of African SMMEs on this journey,”concludes Mthiyane.

 

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TRT World Now Live on Turkish Airlines

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TRT World channel is now active on Turkish Airlines, delivering live television programming for passenger consumption.

Turkish Airlines now extends live TRT World broadcast across its wide-body aircrafts for its passengers to enjoy programming from Turkey’s first English broadcaster.

Commenting on the initiative Turkish Airlines Chairman of the Board and the Executive Committee, M. İlker Aycı said; “As the national flagship airline of Turkey, where the East and West meet, we offer Turkish hospitality to our guests on board. Today we are proud to offer TRT World’s objective perspective and alternative approach to news making to 122 countries we fly.”

İbrahim Eren, Director General and Chairman of TRT, said; “It is important to stay informed and up-to-date on world events. Passengers tune in to different outlets for news and it is vital to have variety in your sources to have a more well-rounded view of current events.

We are grateful to Turkish Airlines for delivering our content in-flight and making this challenge a lot easier during flight. Being accessible also onboard is a major achievement to fulfill our promise to offer our service everywhere, whatever platform our audience prefer to receive it.”

TRT World, international news platform launched in 2015 and headquartered in Istanbul, offers an alternative viewpoint on global and domestic events, challenging perceived narratives and providing a much needed new perspective on news.

Turkish Airlines’ in-flight entertainment system allows passengers to watch eight channels on board, including TRT World, that broadcast live over satellite.

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Air Peace Receives Fifth Embraer Regional Jet

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Air Peace has taken delivery of its fifth Embraer 145 Regional Jet, assuring that the development has deepened its capacity to relaunch its flights to Sokoto and start its Katsina service.

The carrier, which had earlier received four of the six 50-seater Embraer 145 Regional aircraft it recently acquired, said its goal of unifying Nigeria through air transport and extending its flight operations to unserved and undeserved cities was fast being realized under its subsidiary, Air Peace Hopper.

A statement signed by Air Peace Corporate Communications Manager, Mr. Chris Iwarah said the latest delivery touched down at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos at the weekend.

The new aircraft, marked 5N-BUX and named Udoka Ozor (Nee Onyema), the statement added, would be deployed on the Sokoto and Katsina routes in about two weeks’ time.

“We are pleased to announce the arrival of our fifth Embraer 145 aircraft in Lagos. The aircraft, which is marked 5N-BUX and named Udoka Ozor (Nee Onyema), landed at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos about 6.30 p.m. on Sunday, October 14, 2018.

“We have now received a total of five of the six Embaer 145 aircraft we recently acquired as part of our fleet expansion project. We are delighted that with the arrival of the aircraft, we will relaunch our Sokoto operations and start our Katsina service in the next two weeks.

“Air Peace is committed to our no-city-left-behind project under our subsidiary, Air Peace Hopper. We are honoured that our involvement in the aviation industry is fulfilling our goal of uniting Nigeria through air transport, creating thousands of direct and indirect job opportunities and lifting Nigeria’s economy.

“We assure the flying public and Nigeria that we will continue to deliver exceptional flight services and create massive employment opportunities for the people with our domestic, regional and international operations.

“We our indeed grateful to our valued guests and solicit their continued support as we take greater steps to make our dear nation proud in the global aviation community,” Air Peace said

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AMCON Says Some Local Airlines May Collapse Over Debt

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Some Nigerian airlines are facing the risk of collapse under the weight of huge debts, according to the country’s Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria, set up to rescue banks from bad loans.

“The industry remains in the throes of airlines burdened with debts, under administration or on the borderline of collapse,” Amcon chief executive Ahmed Kuru said at the 2018 Colloquium of the Nigeria Travels Mart (NTM) in Lagos.

The colloquium had the theme: “Corporate Governance and Airline Industry Development in Nigeria”.

Amcon acquired the country’s biggest airline Arik last year because of difficulties arising from huge debts and poor corporate governance, it said.

Nigeria’s more than 10 domestic airlines are struggling with difficulties arising from the country’s first economic contraction in a quarter century in 2016, and have seen reduced access to capital and limited leasing opportunities.

The AMCON boss said that lack of regulations and good corporate governance were the main factors responsible for the failure of Nigerian airlines, including the defunct national carrier, Nigeria Airways.

According to him, there are two major problems with the airlines in Nigeria; one being lack of an effective Board of Directors, thereby affecting internal policies and discipline, the other problem has to do with regulation.

“Given the ownership structure of most airlines in Nigeria, the board’s veritable check on management and excesses of airline owners who show very little patience for orderly and planned conduct of business, is practically absent.

“A functional board is necessary for the effective operations of airlines with long term survival and profitability objectives.

“Individuals with independence, experience and expertise from relevant sectors of the economy are not identified and engaged,” Kuru said.

He said on the other hand, regulations were either weak and lack the courage to enforce compliance based on current standards, or need more fine-tuning to ensure effectiveness of the airline.

Kuru said: “The aviation industry is as important as the health industry because it deals with the lives of travellers. It requires more regulations than even the banking industry.

“It is only in Nigeria that an airline can abandon you at the airport for more than five hours without any recourse.

“Indeed, there are consequences for frequent cancellations, however, I cannot recall any airline punished in the recent past.

“That is why I want to use this opportunity to appeal to the NCAA and other regulatory agencies in the aviation industry to show courage and ensure that sound corporate governance systems are enforced.

“A starting point can be the domestication and adoption of the draft Nigerian Code of Corporate Governance 2018.”

Also, Mr. Chris Amenechi, Vice-President, Pricing and Revenue Management, Copa Airlines, Panama, said Nigeria could become an aviation hub if the country addresses the infrastructure deficit in the sector.

He added that the NCAA should not be an economic regulator of airlines but should rather stick to the technical and safety aspects of the business.

On his part, Mr Simon Tumba, Chief Executive Officer of NTM, said the government should focus on airports concession following its decision to jettison the establishment of a new national carrier.

“I believe the government should give more priority to the issue of airports concession. This will give Nigeria an edge and hopefully catapult us to the needed growth in this sector.

“It is very important that this is executed in a transparent manner with full support of the workers,” he said

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