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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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FG to Partner Boeing to Launch National Carrier

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Sen. Hadi Sirika, Minister of State for Aviation, has said that the Federal Government is set to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Boeing on the establishment of a national carrier for Nigeria.

Sirika, in his tweet on his handle,@hadisirika on Thursday, said the MoU would be signed during the forthcoming Third ICAO World Aviation Forum (IWAF) in Abuja.

The minister also disclosed that Airbus of France had indicated interest in partnering with the government on the proposed carrier and establishment of Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul facility in the country.

He said that the government and Airbus would also discuss further during the IWAF 3 that would hold from Nov. 20 to Nov. 22.

“Airbus signified interest in our National Carrier and our MRO, we will discuss further during the upcoming ICAO forum,’’ he said.

It would be recalled that the minister had expressed President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration determination to establish a national carrier and MRO in a bid to reposition the nation’s aviation sector.

He had since announced the appointment of transaction advisers for the national carrier and MRO.

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NIPOST at Retreat, Rejigs to Remain Afloat

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Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) is repositioning the post office as a critical national infrastructure to utilize its extensive network penetration for social and financial growth, Bisi Adegbuyi, postmaster general of the Federation has said.

 

Adegbuyi at the NIPOST zonal strategic management retreat in Kaduna, said that the retrest, will help determine the true position of NIPOST strategic milestones in the journey towards actualization of the set objective.

 

He said, “The retreat will provide us with the opportunity to x-ray our position as we analyze our performance so far against set objectives with a view to taking remedial measures in the area of sharp deviations and as well re-invest a new wheel where necessary in our march to the promise land.

 

“In the last five months of uninterrupted strategy implementation, a lot has happened, the corporate restructuring is taking shape, the business units are reshaping their products, the zones are now on ground supported by their districts while the Chief Operating Officer has taken full control of the operations for efficiency.

 

He observed that the greatest challenge to the relevance of NIPOST is in the area of product offering adding that, “For a long time NIPOST has remained a mono-product organization focusing mainly on mail and even that too is challenging.”

 

Malam Abdulrahim Baba, director, Strategy and Business Development, said the post office can help farmers and small businesses scale up their production by repackaging their products so that they can acquire market instead of letting their products rot away.

 

He added, “NIPOST will put internet facilities and computers in our rural post offices so that the children living in the rural areas can learn how to use the computer and the internet because presently, the computer and internet is used in all sectors.”

 

He informed that the NIPOST presently has seven different business from the one that was available in the past adding that, “We have cut down from 36 territories to seven zones to conserve resources and provide good services to our customers in a bid to create a new playing field.”

 

Malam Nasir El-Rufai, governor of Kaduna state, represented by Engineer Mahmud Hassan, commissioner, Kaduna state Ministry of Works and Transport, urged participants to live up to expectation and the sky is their limit.

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Taxify Set to Launch Services in Abuja

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By peter oluka

Taxify, the fastest-growing ride-sharing platform in Europe and Africa, launches in Abuja with hundreds of driver-partners signed up to the platform and ready to accept rides all across the city.

To celebrate, Taxify is offering a 40% discount to riders during the month of November.

Uche Okafor, the operations manager, comments:  “Abuja is an exciting and thriving market with an outgoing population for private urban transport. We’re very excited to launch here and have a solid team on ground.

“We are confident that Taxify can effectively contribute to healthy competition by improving the quality of service and lowering the prices for the end customer.”

Taxify takes only 15% commission from its drivers, compared to the 25% that competitors take.

The lower commission allows Taxify to offer lower prices for riders and ensure that drivers still keep more money in their pockets.

Taxify treats our drivers better so that they can in turn treat our riders better. Taxify does this by ensuring that drivers are able to earn more driving on our platform than on any other platform.

This combined with our end to end support ensures that our drivers are happier driving on Taxify and are ultimately able to provide better quality service for riders. Taxify also believes in providing exemplary customer service to riders, with a local customer support team that offers real time over the phone support.

Taxify is an international urban ride-sharing platform founded and headquartered in Tallinn, Estonia.

Taxify is operating in 20 countries in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Central America. Taxify has a global team of over 300 employees, and is considered one of the fastest-growing ride-sharing platforms in Europe and Africa.

In August 2017, Taxify announced a strategic partnership with Didi Chuxing, the world’s leading mobile transportation platform. The Taxify app is available on iOS and Android.

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