Aviation trainers from across the African continent have adopted guidelines aimed at standardizing the training of pilots and air aviation navigation personnel as one of the crucial steps that are considered essential in the development of the continental air transport.
The meeting of aviation experts and regulators from across Africa that took place at Imperial Royale Hotel in Kampala, resolved to adopt a number of minimum standards that must be observed by aviation training organizations in order to be allowed to operate.
According to a framework document for harmonization of aviation training in Africa, the guidelines seen by The Sunrise, range from the structure of the aviation training institution, to governance and management, track strategy and relationship with the regulator.
And as Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) officials pointed out, the guidelines are an important step in improving the supervision and oversight of aviation training in the country.
For example, participants debated and adopted the idea of designating regional centres of excellence and their characteristics as well as the criteria for selecting them.
The framework suggested minimum requirements for training facilities that must include; relevant laboratories, training manuals, projectors, accommodation or agreement with local hostels/hotels suitable for students. The framework also provides for approval of courses developed by the relevant training centers.
At the 2nd African Aviation Training Organizations (AATO) conference held in Kampala, a Ugandan, Fred Bamwesigye, one of the outstanding trainers in aviation training, was elected the president of AATO, deputized by Nigeria’s Samuel Akinyele.
Uganda’s Minister of Works and Transport, Monica Azuba Ntege, hailed the creation of a continent wide organization aimed at standardizing aviation training.”Meetings such as this are therefore very instrumental in shaping the future of training in the industry,” Ntege said.
She explained that Uganda was waiting for the meeting conclusions and recommendations, especially in areas they must implement, in order to improve standards of aviation training organizations. “By so doing, Uganda will not be doing AATO a favour, rather, as a member, Uganda will be emphasizing the importance of the association and the role it plays in ensuring harmonization and standardization of aviation training in Africa,” she added.
Ntege explained that Uganda’s offer to host the general assembly was partly based on the experience of being one the first African countries to have an aviation academy that was started by the three East African partner states of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda in 1971.
In her opening remarks Engineer Ntege noted that; “Training and retraining is vital for the dynamic aviation industry. Aviation training organizations are crucial in availing the industry the professionals it requires to thrive and grow, which is why regular consultations and interactions of this nature under professional associations like AATO are very necessary.”
During the closing ceremony, the Minister of State for Works, Aggrey Bagiire said that by pooling resources together, we would be in a position to raise the quality and standards of the training institutions and that of the students. “The future of Africa’s aviation industry lies in continuous training of aviation personnel to match the changing technological trends in the industry. And in order to realize the required levels of excellence, synergies on the continent are very vital,” he added.
Bagiire also urged participants to put to good use the lessons learnt from the engagement for better collaboration to overcome challenges and maximize on partnership opportunities and sufficient resource persons for that purpose.