Following a year of planning, the African Business Aviation Association (AfBAA) marked its official launch yesterday at EBACE, with the goal of “establishing business aviation as an asset that is recognized, valued and supported by governments, their respective civil aviation authorities and enterprises throughout Africa,” according to Tarek Ragheb, chairman of the new organization.
According to AfBAA, 368 business jets are registered in the 56 countries comprising the African continent, the majority of them long-range, large cabin aircraft–“because of the distances and geography” they typically traverse. Concurrently, increasing interest in the continent’s mineral and oil resources are drawing in a growing number of transient business aircraft. Yet the continent’s regulatory and operating environment is not conducive to safe and efficient operation.
“There are many challenges to business aviation in Africa,” Ragheb said. “There are overflight issues, lack of infrastructure, high fees and a lack of consistency in regulations.”
The first step in having the association’s voice heard is creating a “white paper” on the state of African business aviation and a “road map” for its future, said the Egyptian-born chairman, who is also a senior advisor to business-jet manufacturer Gulfstream. “By this time next year we should be well on the way to finalizing that study.”