Africa’s aviation authorities have acknowledged there is a shortage of qualified personnel on the continent, after a study revealed the global need for pilots and maintenance staff will reach 1.0 million in the next 20 years (BuaNews, 27-Jul-2011). A study by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) East & Southern African Office stated that Africa needs to train about 1500 aviation operators, 600 aircraft maintenance personnel and 4000 airport operators urgently. Currently 67% of training centres in Africa have less than 10 instructors, while only four institutions have a staff number over 40 instructors. Delegates at the Pan-African Civil Aviation Training Organisation conference decided to adopt criteria on how to recognise qualifications and establish a Centre of Excellence board to combat the problem.
Africa acknowledges aviation professional shortage
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Europe's aviation strike spike could signal a cyclical peak - with downturn to follow
One swallow does not make a spring and nor does a rash of aviation strike news guarantee a turning point for the aviation industry. But the signs are ominous. In the month of Jun-2016 (to 20-Jun-2016), there have been 136 articles on CAPA's website mentioning the word 'strike'. This compares with 81 for the first 20 days of Jun-2015. For 2016 so far (1-Jan-2016 to 20-Jun-2016), the 's' word has occurred in 594 articles – about 20% more than in the same period in each of the past two years. If this rate continues, 2016 could be the biggest year for strike-related articles since before the global financial crisis.
The vast majority of the Jun-2016 articles – 80% – relate to Europe. A significant source is air traffic control disputes, particularly French ATC. There have also been strikes and/or strike threats involving airport workers and ground handlers. Among European airlines, Air France has generated the most coverage for its ongoing dispute with its pilots, and it may also face a cabin crew strike. Lufthansa has not yet faced a strike by its employees this year, but has not yet reached new agreements with pilots or cabin crew after industrial action last year.
History tells us that labour's demands grow as profits rise. The apparent increase in industrial action this year could be a signal of an approaching peak in the airline profit cycle. There are other causes of unrest, such as impending French labour legislation, but the correlation reflects some history.