ACI world director general Angela Gittens delivered a keynote address calling on aviation regulators and airports in Africa to realistically assess challenges together and implement aviation-related safety and security actions and initiatives.
The 27th ACI Africa Annual General Assembly, Regional Conference and Exhibition is taking place until 19 October in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, under the theme "Challenges of Safety & Security in African Airports, Issues and Perspectives" convenes regional and global leaders from airports, industry, government officials and regulators to discuss the current situation of African airports with regards to safety and security, while exploring innovative solutions and addressing the upcoming challenges of aviation in the region.
Aviation continues to be highly exposed to a wide range of operational safety risks and to be an attractive target for terrorists, including the landside areas of airports. To address these threats, there is an urgent need to ensure that effective and efficient measures are in place throughout the world. This includes the deployment of new screening technologies, Safety Management Systems but also effective management practices, training, along with a solid safety and security culture. Through products and services like airport Excellence (APEX) and publications, ACI World actively supports the airport community in raising the bar on aviation safety and security worldwide.
"We are undoubtedly at a very dynamic time and entering into a decisive period in the world," said Angela Gittens, Director General, ACI World. "Airports have become businesses in their own right and have to excel in a full range of activities. Yet, we are ever mindful that safety and security are our top priorities and we demonstrate that every day through our APEX missions, training, our work with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and our guidance material.
"Aviation has the potential to grow significantly in this region in the years to come. We have to realistically assess our challenges together, and we have to go forward hand-in-hand because there is so much we can achieve.
"As the second-largest and second-most populous continent, boasting over 1.2 billion inhabitants, Africa is expected to become a vital participant in the global economy. In 2017, the continent was home to some of the fastest-growing economies on the planet and its growth rate has been trending upwards in recent months. African airports are encouraged to urgently adopt risk-based safety and security concepts, advanced technologies, and process innovation.
"I'm confident that in the spirit of collaboration that is vital in moving the African airport industry forward, this event will help us reflect on our achievements, our lessons learned, and the current issues and perspectives for the coming years."
The Conference is also the regional occasion to lay the groundwork for the annual celebration within the African community of the Airport Safety Day.
ACI is committed to supporting ongoing dialogue among airports, aviation authorities and industry on strategic and operational safety and security policy issues. Through both, its Aviation Security and the Safety & Technical Standing Committees, ACI will continue to provide sound advice with the necessary tools to enhance safety and security at airports, and also help shape effective regulation worldwide.