Transformation in aviation sector remains challenge: Mbalula

“We must agree on transformation targets and introduce innovative measures to create access for young people who come from previously disadvantaged communities,” Mbalula said.

Devdiscourse News Desk | Pretoria | Updated: 08-04-2021 19:58 IST | Created: 08-04-2021 19:58 IST
Transformation in aviation sector remains challenge: Mbalula
“Technology and innovation will certainly play a pivotal role in simplifying processes and making air travel more attractive to the masses,” the Minister said. Image Credit: Twitter(@MbalulaFikile)

Transformation in the aviation sector remains a challenge, with the 2020/21 financial year aviation statistics showing that no meaningful progress has been made in terms of transformation, particularly for previously disadvantaged individuals.

Virtually addressing the National Aviation Conference on Thursday, Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula said Africans, Coloureds and Indians represent 11% of licence holders, while at 89%, the proportion of White licence holders is still significantly higher.

"This scenario needs to change. The statistics must reflect the racial demographics of the country. Among other things that must be prioritised is the demystification of the industry from being an exclusive haven that is the sole preserve of a particular class in our society.

"We must agree on transformation targets and introduce innovative measures to create access for young people who come from previously disadvantaged communities," Mbalula said.

While the economic impact on local and international operators experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating, the Minister has called on the sector to be ready for the lifting of travel restrictions that were brought about by the onset of the pandemic.

"There is no doubt that the aviation industry will eventually take off. However, when it does, the entire value chain must be ready to hit the ground running and take advantage of the opportunities of the new economy.

"Moreover, we must be ready to assimilate air taxis and other remotely piloted aircraft systems into the currently well-oiled, well-organised and well-managed conventional airspace.

"Very soon, airspaces across the globe will resemble nothing we have witnessed before. We must rise up and be equal to the challenge," he said.

According to a report released by the Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) at the beginning of March, the number of departing passengers in 2020 fell by 65.8% compared to 2019, from 21.6 million to 7.4 million passengers.

The decline in domestic departing passengers was 61.9% and the international departing passengers fell by 74.6%.

"Seats made available by airlines for destinations within South Africa and between the country and international destinations were 41% of the previous year's levels. In 2021, seats published by airlines are at 74% of the 2019 levels. This is the evidence of the serious economic impact on local and international operators," Mbalula said.

The sluggish growth in the passenger numbers remains a source of concern, as this has a direct knock-on effect on the country's gross domestic product (GDP).

"For the local aviation industry to expand and fulfil its potential, government, the regulators and operators must collaborate to ensure that the aviation industry is well-positioned to recover and capitalise on the opportunities presented by the pandemic.

"Technology and innovation will certainly play a pivotal role in simplifying processes and making air travel more attractive to the masses," the Minister said.

According to Mbalula, aviation skills are in short supply across the world.

"In our case, we have seen many of our well-trained and experienced aviators being lured away from South Africa to jobs and opportunities in countries that are offering much better remuneration.

"The aftermath of the COVID-19 outbreak will only serve to intensify the competition for limited scarce and critical skills. It is critical, therefore, to plan ahead for such a reality, as this may compromise our country's sterling record in relation to upholding civil aviation safety and security," he said.

(With Inputs from South African Government Press Release)


TRENDING

OPINION / BLOG / INTERVIEW

Viral variants and vaccine nationalism pose two-pronged threat to Covid victory

... ...

Tracking Fintech during COVID-19: Harnessing power of technology

Its abundantly clear now that as fintech cements its place in the financial sector, accelerated further by the COVID-19 pandemic, it could open the sector to new possibilities by harnessing the power of technology to deliver financial ...

Tectonic turns: How technology shaped healthcare over the decades

Tracing an episodic evolution, with technology at the interface of human and his health....

World Water Day sees crises of inequality in countries both rich and poor

... ...

Videos

Latest News

COVID-19: PM asks officials during review to ensure seamless, free movement of tankers carrying oxygen throughout country.

COVID-19 PM asks officials during review to ensure seamless, free movement of tankers carrying oxygen throughout country....

Iran nuclear chief Salehi says 60% enrichment has started at Natanz site

Irans nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi said on Friday that Tehran had started 60 uranium enrichment at its Natanz site, days after an explosion at the site that Tehran blamed on Israel.Earlier the speaker of Irans parliament said Iranian scie...

Indian-origin man says his niece among those injured in Indianapolis shooting

An Indian-origin man has said his niece was among those who were injured in a mass shooting incident at the FedEx facility in the US city of Indianapolis that left 8 people dead, according to a media report.The Indianapolis Metropolitan Pol...

NALCO gets mining lease for Utkal-E coal block in Odisha

Public sector enterprise National Aluminium Company Ltd NALCO said on Friday it has been granted mining lease of Utkal-E coal block in Odisha. The lease has been granted by the state Department of Steel and Mines.The initial capacity of Utk...

Give Feedback