With increasing business aviation activity to and within Africa, Tanzania-based Kilimanjaro Aviation Logistics Centre (KALC, Booth X089) has been expanding its regional presence and has set up a regional affiliate in Ethiopia.
“We’ve seen growth in Ethiopian business aviation activity, especially connected to the African Union,” Stanley Joseph, general manager, KALC, told AIN.
KALC is a Universal Weather and Aviation, Inc. affiliate founded eight years ago to meet the growing demand for trip support across Africa. Universal Aviation, the ground support division of Universal, recently added a dedicated supervisory agent in Ethiopia. As a result, it can now provide ground supervisory services to business aviation airports throughout Ethiopia.
“Our agent fully understands the logistical challenges often encountered when operating into Ethiopia, and she [uses] her local knowledge and the global resources of Universal to help clients avoid any unexpected events or delays on the ground.
“Business aviation in Tanzania is dominated by charter operators. Private jets are fairly few but we are anticipating growing demand to travel regionally,” said Joseph.
Part of the company’s strategy in Africa, but also the rest of the world, is to establish a physical presence in locations considered high stress and high risk by clients. This could be due to lack of infrastructure, high-traffic airports where business aviation is not the top priority, remote locations or airports where clients are likely to need last-minute support.
“It was important to establish a presence on the ground in Africa because the continent provides unique logistical challenges and the subtly different aviation regulations with which the 56 countries of Africa are bound,”
Initially KALC served as a permit office, with the capability to support around 10,000 trips a year. However, demand for regional client support has increased and the company has expanded its reach
“Our multilingual team, based in Tanzania and Ethiopia, is available 24/7 to help our clients meet the communication, compliance and regulatory challenges of operating through this region, which can be confusing and complex, as each country has its own rules and regulations,” Joseph said.
With Foreign and Corrupt Practices Act and anti-bribery violations increasing sharply, operators need to use a provider familiar with guidelines and international laws. “Another key differentiator for us is Universal’s compliance department. It’s a common misconception that ignorance is a viable defense, but individuals and corporations have been prosecuted for violations committed by third-party providers who committed illegal acts on their behalf,” he added. “Our clients can rest assured that everything we do is in full regulatory compliance.”
The company is investigating new opportunities to expand throughout the continent outside the traditional business aviation destinations in north Africa and southern Africa. “There is a sharp increase in traffic to the middle of the continent, much of which is multi-national corporations invested in natural resources. I’d expect that trend to continue.
“Even if a client is operating regionally within Africa, and they have an AOG situation, because we’re part of Universal, we can utilize Universal’s other resources and contacts to expedite receiving parts, ensuring they make it through customs and immigration,” said Joseph. “All of our offices around the world communicate, and regardless of whether it’s a flight handled directly by KALC or a trip through Universal trip support headquarters, the entire network is available to mobilize in the event of an unforeseen event.”
In Africa, he said, listening to clients and working with government and airport officials is important. “Because of the global slowdown, I think you will see an uptick in business aviation infrastructure development in Africa, including FBOs, dedicated general aviation terminals [and other facilities].”
KALC is a founding member of the African Business Aviation Association (AFBAA) and participates in regional forums to promote the business. “Business aviation in the region [leaves] a lot to be desired, and we work closely with lobbying groups to ensure civil aviation and airport authorities in the region understand business aviation and the potential impact it can have on the economy,” Joseph said.
“Our goal is to reduce the operational stress and risk for our clients. We have seen the impact our Ethiopia team has had. The goal is to continue meeting our clients’ needs across the region, not only in permits but in handling supervision and coordination,” he concluded.