Following the success of TIACA’s first regional event last year, the association communicated early on, during its Miami Air Cargo Forum in NOV22, that regional events would be held in India and on the African continent in 2023. The second of the two took place 19-21JUN23 in Nairobi, Kenya and was by all intents and purposes, a well-attended, fruitful event. “TIACA Regional Event Africa – a Collaborative Success”, was the title of its subsequent press release.
Kenya Airports Authority hosted the event
Steven Polmans, Chair, TIACA, declared: “We were pleased to have such great support from the Kenyan government, African Airlines Association (AFRAA), our host Kenyan Airports Authority and our many sponsors, as well as the membership, the industry and its leaders. The event’s success is vital to uniting the air cargo industry by bringing the international community together to discuss, debate and network in regions throughout the world.”
Alex Gitari, MD, Kenya Airports Authority, said: “As Kenya Airports Authority, we are delighted to have played host to TIACA Event Africa. The event provided an excellent platform for networking, sharing insights, and exploring opportunities to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of air cargo operations within Africa. We remain committed to working collaboratively with industry stakeholders to address challenges, capitalize on the potential of the African air cargo market, and foster an environment that promotes innovation, embraces modern technologies, and supports sustainable growth.”
The event was the backdrop for business development
Jacob Bwana, General Manager, Marketing and Business Development, Kenya Airports Authority, added: “KAA was very excited to host the TIACA Event-Africa that brought together industry experts across to discuss both futuristic and current affairs affecting the airfreight business environment in Africa. Indeed, this was long awaited, and we can't wait to be part of the next event. As a matter of fact, Airlink signed its first formal partnership agreement with an African carrier, the Nairobi-based cargo airline, Astral Aviation, during the TIACA Event-Africa! Such success stories and business development are among the salient reasons why we will always be part of the TIACA community.”
Though the release does not disclose when and where the next Regional Event Africa will take place, the positive feedback accorded to Glyn Hughes, Kenneth Gibson and Rachel Negron for the organization of the first event is indicative that the second will not be too long in coming. What it does underline, however, is that “TIACAs regional events are designed to identify specific issues on a regional level that TIACA can incorporate into our overall work on behalf of the industry. Each regional event will develop an action plan that will be incorporated into TIACAs strategic objectives and activities.” It will be interesting to learn of the details of that action plan.
Collaboration is crucial
Mr. Abderahmane Berthé – AFRAA Secretary General, emphasized: “AFRAA is constantly seeking ways to create more value to its members and, in doing so, we are very excited to deepen the cooperation with TIACA. This collaboration is crucial for AFRAA to tap into TIACA's expertise and knowhow on air cargo for the development of air transport industry in Africa. Staging the first-ever edition of the TIACA Event Africa is a major stride to contribute to the overall sustainability of African aviation. We believe that the synergies will be beneficial African airlines and TIACA members.”
Glyn Hughes, Director General, TIACA, concluded: “Each regional event that we organize shows us the importance of the role each region plays in the overall air cargo market. We find connecting with the members and the air cargo community during these regional events vital in our mission to unite the industry. We are able to establish stronger relationships and identify issues that we as a membership-driven association may need to take up. We now look forward to the next event, the global TIACA Executive Summit [6-8NOV23 in Brussels, Belgium] and invite everyone to join us and discuss air cargo on the global level.”
One week, two Africa-focused conferences
Earlier this year, IATA issued statistics showing that Africa contributes 2% of the world’s cargo and though it is home to 18% of the world population, its passenger and cargo traffic combined amount to just 2.1% of global traffic. Willie Walsh therefore announced a Focus Africa event: “Closing that gap so that Africa can benefit from the connectivity, jobs and growth that aviation enables, is what Focus Africa is all about,” he said at the time. With Yvonne Makolo, CEO of RwandAir as the first African (and first ever female!) Chair of the IATA Board of Governors since 1993 (for the 2023-2024-year period), pledging to ensure that Focus Africa delivers beneficial results, the event focused on six areas (safety, infrastructure, connectivity, finance and distribution, sustainability, and future skills), to build back the African aviation industry to a stronger place than where it was pre-pandemic. An excellent endeavor and an impressive line-up of speakers (with great gender balance).
The only question that poses itself: Why on earth plan the IATA event to clash completely with the TIACA Regional Africa Event? Focus Africa took place on 20-21JUN23, in 1,166 km-distance Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, whilst the TIACA event in Nairobi, Kenya was scheduled 19-21JUN23. Since many of the topics were of interest to both attendee groups, surely it would have been more beneficial to have them run sequentially?
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