Africa’s aviation industry has the potential to make important contribution to economic growth and develop-ment within Africa if investment is made in aviation infrastruc-ture, Mr. Chris Diaz, Marketing Director of Kenya Airways, has said.
“Air transport can open and connect markets, facilitating trade and enabling African firms to link into global supply chains,” he said.
Speaking in an interview with a section of the media at a cocktail organised by the Kenya Airways to fraternise with the executives of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, Ghana in Accra he said the aviation industry played an especially pivotal role in just-in-time global manufacturing production and in speeding fresh produce from agricultural communities in developing economies to markets in the industrialised world.
Mr. Diaz is in the country to participate in the ongoing regional conference on “Enhancing brand Africa. Fostering tourism development.”
Enhancing air connectivity he said could help raise productivity, by encouraging investment and innovation, improving business operations and efficiency.
To contribute its quota to further enhance connectivity in Africa Mr. Diaz said the airline which currently operates in 42 cities out of the 54 countries in Africa was poised to extend its services to cover the entire Africa continent.
Kenya Airways, a member of the Sky Team Alliance, is a leading African airline flying to 51 destinations worldwide, 42 of which are in Africa and carries over three million passengers annually.
Mr. Diaz said the airline continues to modernise its fleet with its 41 aircraft being some of the youngest in Africa.
This he said included its flagship B787 Dreamliner aircrafts and other huge investments in equipment and facilities to ensure smooth operations of the airline.
“The on-board service is renowned and the lie-flat business class seat on the wide-body aircraft is consistently voted among the world’s top 10. We have won a couple awards because of our quest to achieve the best in the industry,” he said.
Kenya Airways Cargo won the title of African Cargo Airline of the Year for the second time running at the esteemed Air Cargo Africa awards, cementing the airline’s position as a leading player in the industry.
The airline he said takes pride for being in the forefront of connecting Africa to the World and the World to Africa through its hub at the new ultra-modern Terminal 1A at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi.
Mr. Diaz said fostering the African aviation industry could be one of the driving forces of regional integration on the continent.
Better connected African countries and regions through a viable air transport industry could be the catalyst that could boost intra-African business, trade, tourism as well as cultural exchange.
He said Africa has a lot of tourists sites which needed to be promoted to earn more foreign exchange.
Between 2000 and 2014, international tourist arrivals to Africa more than doubled, from 26 million to 56 million.
Despite a challenging 2014, the region still grew 2 per cent compared to 2013, and the future outlook remains positive with 134 million arrivals forecast by UNWTO for 2030.
By David Adadevoh