More steps on the path to correct South African flight deck demographics will be taken next month when the Department of Transport hosts an aviation transformation conference.
The one day gathering, at which aviation agencies such as the SA Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA), Air Traffic and Navigation Services (ATNS) and the Airports Company of SA (ACSA) will be present, comes after Deputy Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga said a skills shortage was one of the key factors behind the lack of transformation in the local aviation industry.
“This must change,” she said during her budget vote in Parliament adding that the “CAA, ATNS (incorrectly referred to as ‘Aeronautical Traffic Navigation Services’) and ACSA will together invest R52.4 million in a robust, scarce and critical aviation skills development programme”.
The August 8 gathering at the Birchwood Conference Centre in Boksburg comes on the heels of a joint SAA/SA Express initiative to train more pilots of colour and the national carrier’s announcement that this year’s intake of 40 cadet pilots are all from previously disadvantaged population groups.
Chikunga told Parliament: “Our aviation agencies, in conjunction with the Department of Transport and the relevant stakeholders are currently developing an all-inclusive civil aviation transformation strategy. This is a first for the country and will address transformation issues. Currently only about four percent of pilot licence holders are previously disadvantaged individuals”.