Africa has been training pilots and other aviation professionals for decades, but never in large enough numbers to meet stringent international certification requirements for its own burgeoning aviation industry.
Few organizations are presently authorized to train and issue an African ATP certificate and the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority doesn’t have enough inspectors trained to ICAO standards. To fill the void between supply and demand for qualified personnel, Kenya Airways plans to hire at least 40 expatriate captains while the airline’s Africa-trained first officer population matures.
ICAO Secretary General Raymond Benjamin was in Nairobi last week to help organize the new African Aviation Training Organization (AATO), a cooperative effort between government and business to build a workforce more easily capable of moving around the continent to address shortages. AATO plans to develop a number of regional aviation training centers to keep the industry supplied with ICAO-qualified personnel.
The group also hopes that investing in more African-operated training facilities will spur more foreign investment in the region.