Sky is the limit for civil aviation

Updated: 2012-02-29 08:05

(China Daily)

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Sky is the limit for civil aviation

New regulations improve industry performance

For a long time, aviation served as the backbone for the transportation infrastructure of Angola.

During the long years of civil war, much of the overland infrastructure was damaged, which made flying the only reliable mode of transportation.

Nonetheless, aviation did not always enjoy a first-rate reputation. Just as in the aviation sector in many African countries, the industry inherited an infrastructure ravaged by years of war, under-development and lack of regulations.

Fortunately, the State regulator and the major airline carrier of the country are changing opinions and breathing new life into the aviation business to establish a new and stronger reputation.

The National Institute of Civil Aviation (INAVIC) has taken great strides in rehabilitating the infrastructure and has upgraded several airports over the past few years.

Gaspar Francisco dos Santos, director-general of INAVIC, feels energized about the results-driven strategy to transform the fortunes of the sector.

"We are making every possible effort to rebuild necessary infrastructure and in partnership with the government we are rebuilding or rehabilitating every airport in the country," he said.

A law passed in 2008 ensures that Angola most comply with the Chicago Convention - known as the Convention on International Civil Aviation, which forms the bedrock of international safety standards.

Acting under the Ministry of Transport, INAVIC found that observing the convention gave it the teeth required to develop the industry and Angolan airspace has become much safer and more regulated market.

Going global

Sky is the limit for civil aviation

The director-general is aware that civil aviation remains an international business and he stayed relentless to ensure that internationally best practices are adopted in Angola.

"Bringing international standards and international-grade training has been a priority for us," he said.

A good example of how far the sector has come will be its soon-to-be-built new Luanda International Airport. The plans are ambitious and would link national infrastructure by connecting the railways and road networks.

It comes as no surprise that Chinese investments are responsible for financing the new airport.

"We have built the new airport with Chinese credit and investors," he said.

Due to a strong stance by INAVIC to make the skies safer for airports, better opportunities had arisen for airlines such as TAAG, the national flag carrier.

This airline was one of the first national flag carriers in Africa when starting operations in 1938.

The airline maintains the vision to lead the modernization of air transportation, to be reliable, to have an impeccable safety record and to promote the nation.

As its administrator, Rui Carreira said: "We are the national flag carrier and that means we have the responsibility to carry the Angolan image wherever we go and that is why we must be as good as we can be."


TAAG appears to be a reflection of Angolan expansion.

As the national economy grows and reaches out to the world, TAAG has expanded its flight destinations while China, Brazil and Dubai have become natural additions in recent years.

The airline has increased its list of European destinations after obtaining permission to fly to airspace in the continent in 2010.

This landmark event shows the world that TAAG has made great strides in safety and reliability, while the airlines was awarded IOSA certification from the International Air Transport Association.

Until recently, European routes were serviced by other airlines in code-share agreements, but TAAG can use its own aircraft and hopes to increase passenger traffic and fly the Angolan flag.

The airline had recently purchased two brand-new Boeing 777-300ER aircrafts - the most modern of that type. It holds options to buy another two in the near future.

"This proves the commitment to our financial strength and responsibilities to our passengers," said Carreira.

Buying new aircraft is a big step for any airline. Carreira hopes to change Luanda into a hub for the region.

"Traveling within Africa has never been easier, we focus on new routes within the region," he said. He added , "TAAG is entering a new phase in its history."

2011 was a year of operational consolidations, while 2012 looks like a year of growth with a new fleet and targets. TAAG seeks to be classified as a three stars airline on the international Skytrax ranking.

The airline's management has chosen four key areas to stand as benchmarks for the company this year, which are known as the 4 Cs. The airline will concentrate on Crescimento (growth), capacity, control, and clients.

According to TAAG, growth will come through new routes, such as the regional route to Cotonou. Capacity will come from internal developments; control will improve with better procurement and handling solutions, while clients could find satisfaction with the planned mobile check-ins and performance improvements.

China Daily

(China Daily 02/29/2012 page37)