AfBAA regional symposium 2017 was a 2 day joint meeting between African Business Aviation Association (AfBAA) and Nigerian Business Aviation Conference (NBAC) and the first of its kind.
The organiser of the symposium Segun Demuren, CEO of EAN Aviation said the main thrust of the event was finding ways to manage the commercial future of business aviation in a sustainable and accountable way. Attention was drawn to the challenge of giving business jet owners and operators a unified voice that would make them stakeholders in regulations made concerning the aviation industry. A proposed solution was to form an association to be called Nigerian Business Aviation Association (NBAA) as a platform for business jet owners and operators to have a say in policies affecting the aviation industry.
Another issue raised was improving the competitive advantage of fixed based operations so maintenance of private aircraft can be done locally and at cheaper rates.
In response the moderator of the event Nick Fadugba, CEO of African Aviation Services Limited, suggested a meeting between Execujet, a top-notch aircraft management & charter company and business jet owners to find ways of reducing maintenance costs. Transferring engineering skills to Nigerian jet maintenance personnel as against taking aircraft’s outside the country for maintenance was a point soundly applauded as it presented an opportunity to move the African aviation industry forward.
The 2nd Day session featured top female aviators such as Mariama Njiemoun, Vice President of Young African Aviation Professionals Association (YAAPA), Dr. Ola Orekunin, founder of Flying Doctors Nigeria who raised a call for increased participation of women in the integration into the industry. Dr. Ola Orekunin also highlighted the need for regulations permitting night time helicopter operations in Nigeria as medical emergencies often occurred during midnight hours. She cited the sad case of a patient who died because he could not be flown to receive medical treatment.
Kiky Cyrus, Aviation Consultant (Kenya) for Stafford Aviation intimated that problems facing the aviation industry in Nigeria such as decrepit aircraft, stiff regulations, and poor operating environment were not unique to Nigeria but they were present in other African countries.
The meeting was livened up when Andrew Woolfson, Vice President of Air Finance (Europe, Middle East and Africa) suggested the use of BitCoin to purchase jets; a suggestion which did not sit well considering the recent MMM debacle in Nigeria.
In Atedo Peterside’s words, “Don’t venture into something you don’t understand”.
The event was graced by Dr. Harold Demuren, the former Director General of Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).
It was a lively affair that left attendees armed with new concepts and strategies to prepare for the next phase of West African business aviation.