BizAv in Africa: How can AfBAA Help Your Operations?

The African Business Aviation Association (AfBAA) marked its first decade in 2022. As a fledgling association, it has made great strides in unifying the voice of non-scheduled flight across Africa. But why should those operating in and to Africa become a member? Jane Stanbury explores…

Jane Stanbury  |  01st November 2022
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Jane Stanbury
Jane Stanbury

Jane has over 30 years’ professional experience working in the media, communications, Business...

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Three businesspeople talk and work in a private jet cabin

Africa is a thriving landscape where Business and General Aviation is on an upward trajectory. Consisting of 54 countries, African Business Aviation requires a unified voice to support its sustainable growth, development, and evolution. AfBAA provides that voice.

During the last week of October 2022, AfBAA hosted its AGM, conference, and exhibition. Leading lights from the local Business Aviation community and further afield congregated to discuss pressing issues affecting African operations. Maintenance, safety, diversity, workforce, and financing challenges featured on the agenda – all are topics essential to any Business Aviation community, but more pertinent in Africa where movements are burgeoning, yet frameworks, standard operating procedures, and safety management systems are still being defined.

AfBAA was founded by a core group of influential members with a singular vision of establishing Business Aviation as an asset that is recognized, valued, and supported by governments, their respective Civil Aviation Authorities, enterprises, entrepreneurs, and captains of industry throughout the world.

In just ten years AfBAA has become a voice that is listened to at the African Union, is a member of IBAC, and has successfully evolved a community that has a mutual interest to enhance Business Aviation across the continent. 

With Nick Fadugba as its Chairman and JP Fourie as Vice Chairman, Advocacy, Safety, Security, Integrity, Service and Training are the guiding principles informing AfBAA’s strategic activity. Executive VP Dawit Lemma, founder of Krimson Aviation, joined the Association as soon as he launched his Addis Ababa-based business seven years ago.

“The not-for-profit organization fosters shared knowledge, promotes understanding of the value of Business Aviation in Africa, and highlights the tangible benefits that Business Aviation contributes to Africa’s economic development and prosperity,” Lemma explains. “This approach inspired me to join.”

Young Sector with a Single Voice

AfBAA embraces many forms of business aviation which reflects the necessity of aviation across the continent. The organization is as concerned for the farmer flying his King Air to market, a medevac operator conveying patients to centres of clinical excellence, anti-poaching operators, or more traditional charter operators.

It seems obvious, but for a young sector, the need for a single voice to represent and unite operators, owners, and suppliers is significant.

“AfBAA is the voice representing these stakeholders and offers those willing to participate many benefits that enhance and stimulate operational growth,” Lemma highlights. “You need to participate and like most things you get out what you put in, but for me there is no doubt that joining the association has many advantages.”

Dawit Lemma Krimson Aviation and AfBAA

The Advantages of Joining AfBAA:

  • Promoting Business and General Aviation as a positive tool for economic development in Africa, that is valued and supported by African governments, is a key objective for AfBAA. “Thanks to the association’s persistence, governments are beginning to realize the power of BizAv and that it complements, not competes with, commercial operations,” Lemma says. “This was a huge paradigm shift and has already resulted in regulatory change in some countries.
  • Representation and advocacy are essential for AfBAA members. “We are a conduit between individual operators, owners and stakeholders and the Civil Aviation Authorities throughout Africa,” he continues. “We represent members at the government level and seek to influence the improvement of operational efficiencies. This is not something that is easily achieved by an individual entity or person.”
  • AfBAA is establishing close ties with African and international governing bodies, including the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC), the African Union (AU), and the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC). “Only the top tier companies can afford to have an individual representing them at all these association and board levels, yet it is a hugely important part to be connected with each organization,” Lemma stresses. “This is why we are constantly looking to engage in conversation with these powerful groups.” 
  • Raising industry standards can only be effective if action comes from within the sector. AfBAA encourages its members to adopt IBAC’s International Standard for Business Aircraft Operations (IS-BAO) and the International Standard for Business Aircraft Handlers (IS-BAH) as the benchmarks of excellence in Africa. “If we want to be attractive to international operators, we have to demonstrate we operate to the same standards,” he explains. “AfBAA actively supports its members in achieving these goals by adopting, adapting or modifying international standards.”
  • AfBAA members are empowered to share knowledge with like-minded individuals and organizations seeking to strengthen the industry. “I’m delighted to have just been appointed as VP International for AfBAA,” Lemma reveals. “I’ve sat on numerous industry panels in the last year, and this has helped spread my company name and raise its profile. Without my participation as a member, I would not have the required knowledge and confidence. The association has helped grow me personally as well as professionally.”

  • AfBAA creates an open marketplace for the exchange of ideas, information, and commercial relationships. “Interactions with fellow members helps achieve success and supports business growth by sharing market intelligence,” he adds. “This is vital on a continent where it is not always possible to google the service you need. Having colleagues at ground level, sharing local knowledge, is priceless.”
  • AfBAA feeds long and strong relationships through events, conferences, and summits. “The relationships fostered by interacting and engaging with OEMs, operators, MROs, airports, and trip support companies, at a multitude of association events, has formed the foundations of my company,” Lemma shares. “If I’d not made the choice to actively participate, the company would not have grown as quickly as it has.”
  • Moreover, educating the next generation of aviation professionals is vital to Business Aviation’s longevity as an industry, and AfBAA supports training at a variety of levels. “We’ve had young kids take on aviation projects at our conferences, we’ve provided safety training sessions during our events and constantly encourage our members to evolve their workforce. Without this succession plan we have no future,” he warns.

    “Associations are not always given enough credit for their activity,” Lemma concludes. “I feel strongly that AfBAA binds African stakeholders together and presents new opportunities and relationships. It delivers access to key resources that allow us to do things that would otherwise be challenging. We are all responsible for elevating the industry, and AfBAA provides the platform for us to do this.”

If you wish to join AfBAA please see or reach out to Sam Keddle

Read more about all the important issues for African Business Aviation operators

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