African Aviation

Regulatory disarray crippling Sub-Saharan Africa’s Bizav sector

Sub-Saharan Africa’s business aviation industry is yet to achieve its full potential as a result of chaotic regulatory regimes. Citing speakers at the Aviation Africa conference held in Kigali, Rwanda, Peter Shaw-Smith reports in his 18 March 2017 AINonline news article: “The business aviation industry in sub-Saharan Africa faces several challenges to profitable and efficient operations.”

Operators are expressing concerns over the lack of tenable domestic regulations in the African countries where they are in service. Shaw-Smith quotes Nuno Pereira, BestFly’s Managing Director, as saying: “For BestFly, relations with the Department of Civil Aviation are always a continuous effort. When we did our application for an AOC [aircraft operator’s certificate] four years ago, they wouldn’t even look at us. They would only evaluate us on the same requirements as [national airline] TAAG Angola Airlines.”

BestFly’s predicament in Angola more or less mirrors the challenges experienced by private aviation operators in the rest of sub-Saharan Africa. These operators are particularly crippled by a lack of laws providing separate and appropriate regulations for private aviation companies. The tendency to recognise private aviation operators in the same breadth as national airlines is not realistic in terms of operational capacity, financial resources and market competition, according to several of the conference’s speakers.

The regulatory challenges may be attributable to a lack of understanding of the industry’s dynamics rather than outright ignorance by government aviation agencies. Some Sub-Saharan African countries do not have any private aviation regulations in place to implement licensing procedures, address infrastructure needs and monitor operational standards. Shaw-Smith quotes Pereira as elaborating on this reality with the statement: “It took us about two years to get the AOC in the first place. Most of the process was explaining to them that what they wanted us to demonstrate was not possible.” This is a trend that operators want reversed in order to open up the full market potential of sub-Saharan Africa’s private aviation industry.