Aircraft on show in Tshwane
Africa’s largest display of commercial, civil aviation and military aircraft and equipment is taking place at Air Force's Africa Aerospace and Defence 2012 show this weekend.
AFRICA’s largest display of commercial, civil aviation and military aircraft and equipment is taking place at Air Force
Base Waterkloof in Tshwane until Sunday.
The City of Tshwane sees the return of Africa Aerospace and Defence 2012 (AAD2012), which was held at Air Force Base Ysterplaat in Cape Town in 2006, 2008 and 2010, after extensive renovations and upgrades at the base.
Until tomorrow, trade and static displays will attract trade visitors from more than 28 countries, followed by an air show on Saturday and Sunday that will be open to members of the public. It’s expected that the open days will attract a crowd of more than 50,000 each day.
The AAD2012’s lead partner, the Commercial Aviation Association of Southern Africa (Caasa), will draw attention to the important role that commercial aviation plays in the country’s economy, and will highlight business and career opportunities in aviation.
“We have organised nearly 70 commercial aircraft to participate in AAD2012, giving the exhibition’s trade visitors
a unique insight into the
diverse aviation products and services offered by the South African commercial aviation sector,” says Leon Dillman, CEO of Caasa.
“Some of these aircraft will also take part in static and aerobatic displays at the air show that will be open to members of the public, giving them an insight into the wide range of functions that these aircraft serve every day.”
The trade days will feature 12 national pavilions from India, Russia, Turkey, Italy, Germany, Belgium, China, the US, the UK, Romania, Pakistan and Brazil, and are expected to stimulate business for local and international companies involved in the growing defence, general aviation and security industries.
Dillman says AAD2012 will open doors for local manufacturers and the interest from the international defence and aerospace industry creates opportunities to exploit emerging markets in the southern African region as well as the continent as a whole.
“AAD2012 is recognised globally as an opportunity to introduce new products to the southern African and African markets, as well as a chance to find out about the innovative solutions that are being created here,” he says.
“The event has grown in scale and reputation over the years. We started in 1995 with one exhibition hangar, yet this year all exhibition space was sold out with a waiting list of more than 45 companies eager to participate.
“AAD2012 has seven exhibition hangars with 93 confirmed civil and military static aircraft. We are expecting about 20,000 trade visitors over the first three days and about 120,000 members of the public over the last two days.”
Dillman says AAD2012 is 40% larger than the last event, which was held in Cape Town in 2010. This year’s event is expected to make a contribution of more than R151m, create more than 1,300 jobs and generate revenues of R40m.
While SA no longer manufactures military aviation hardware, the country is well known for its capabilities in servicing, maintaining and upgrading aircraft, and it is
in this field that Dillman
expects the long-term economic impact to be felt.
“AAD2012 provides us with the wonderful opportunity to display our skills to customers on the African continent and further afield,” he says.
Dillman says SA’s commercial aircraft sector includes aircraft such as helicopters and light fixed-wing aircraft, as well as the bigger aircraft used in transporting goods. It encompasses services such as emergency medical services, courier services, vehicle theft recovery, wildlife management, eco and adventure tourism, and agriculture. There is also a strong business sector that supports aircraft used in these fields, including service and maintenance, sales and
re-sales, and training and logistical support, such as civilian airfields and airdromes.
“While there are certainly a number of aircraft that are used purely for recreational purposes, the vast majority of aircraft that fall under the auspices of Caasa’s member associations are used in the day-to-day business of keeping our country running,” he says.
“We’re looking forward to showing them off, and possibly inspiring entrepreneurs to join this sector of the economy.
“At Caasa, we work hard
to support the growth and
wellbeing of a sustainable general aviation industry in
SA. We believe that the
industry is a vital cog in the everyday functioning of this country, and that its growth is essential for the further expansion of the economies of southern Africa. We are looking forward to highlighting its importance at AAD2012.”
Dillman says for the public, the allure of the show will be in the form of breathtaking aerobatic displays, static displays of aircraft, trucks and armoured vehicles and an entertainment park for children.
There will also be a youth development programme where youngsters can experience the world of flight and vehicle simulators. Industry representatives will be on hand to provide more information about careers in the aerospace and defence industries.
Dillman says AAD2012 has invited between 3,000 and 4,000 pupils from the Dinaledi schools — who are strong in science and mathematics — who will enjoy activities such as model building, virtual aviation, target shooting, first aid and investigating crime scenes.
For the first time, in
co-operation with the Aero Club of SA and Recreational Aviation Association of SA, a dedicated fun fly park for light sports aircraft types has been allocated, thanks to the growing popularity of home-built and kit aircraft, microlights and gliders.
Visitors can also expect tanks, amphibious vehicles and personnel carriers to show their mettle on a specially designed track that will include water troughs, ditches, steps, steep inclines, out-of-phase cobbles and tight turning circles.