African aviation industry

Who owns Africa’s skies? A view from the air.

“I gave my editor a stern and solemn promise that, in return for being allowed back into the pages of the Mail & Guardian, I would tell no more stories about things that happen to me at African airports, or on African airlines. This is in spite of the fact that I spend most of my time in those places and on those things and as a result have more to say about what happens in those situations than about, say, life on Earth, President Thabo Mbeki or the ‘African renaissance’.” John Matshikiza.

The African aviation industry is infamous. Our books and newspapers are filled with anecdotes on flying. Aye Kwei Armah’s Fragments and Moses Isegawa’s Abyssinian Chronicles begin on trans-Atlantic flights. Air travel is a persistent theme in Chinua Achebe’s non fiction. John Matshikiza made anecdotes about African airports a calling card in his regular columns.

Plane crashes are regular news in African newspapers – Africa controls only one per cent of air transport and at the same time suffers the notoriety of having the highest rate of air crashes in the world (see Air Crashes: Avoidable Tragedy in Aviation Industry by Chinedu Eze, http://www.thisdaylive.com/articles/air-crashes-avoidable-tragedy-in-aviation-industry/117526/). Yet Africans are flying more than ever before and the industry is apparently booming despite global economic set-backs (see African aviation industry at full flight by Mwangi Mumero http://www.africanreview.com/transport-a-logistics/aviation/african-aviation-industry-at-full-flight).

So where are the in-depth investigations into the industry?

We travel inside the African aviation industry to look at the financial institutes, the systems (and there by-passes), the people and practices that structure it.

To do this we literally take to the skies. Written in flight, from the air, this piece offers an “aero-dynamics” of the African aviation industry – its texture and its uniqueness.

Navigating the wind shears and buffets, the pitfalls and pleasures of global travel, and contrasting the domestic and the foreign; Western technological progress and its appetite for safer, simpler, more intimate forms of transportation with African aviation history; highways of high speed circulation, as well barriers, bureau-crazies, obstacles, and detours, its a first person line of flight, straight into the heart of experience.

Here we confront a world of travel- the airplanes and the airports, the captains of industry and co-pilots, the ground staff and high fliers, the deal-making, bureaucratic bogeymen and money trails, the flight paths and short circuits, the past and the future. Its a jet-lag reality, a confusion of time and place that is both particularly modern and utterly real.

 

 

Reference:

Average age of aircraft per airline in Nigeria, naijablog

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