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Jinja to host Uganda's first Aviation Expo

Wednesday, 14th January 2015
Jinja to host Uganda's first Aviation Expo

JINJA will host Uganda¡¯s first aviation expo that will allow young people explore opportunities and careers in aviation, a crucial support segment to the economy.

The 'Uganda Aviation Expo' running from January 15-29 at Kimaka Airfield will enable the public to see new trends, market developments, air facts and acquire aviation memorabilia.

Capt. Dodd Katendeigwa, chief executive of Vine Air, who are organising the expo, said they are targeting young people in the age group of 15-22 years, mainly those looking for careers in aviation. There are only 60 slots available and the expo will end with air shows.

"Many Ugandans want to take up careers in aviation, but they do not know what to do in terms of the desired educational background, training opportunities in Uganda and the East African Community (EAC)¡±

"Before you go to the rest of the world, what are the costs and opportunities in Uganda, EAC, Africa. What are the employment opportunities, how marketable is aviation training for engineers or pilot. How much money do I make?¡± asked Katendeigwa, saying more of such questions will be answered during the three-day expo.

There will be sessions and presentations on flight crew careers, training, employment and earnings. 

There will also be sessions on engineering and maintenance. The expo will cost $1,500 (sh4m) per person, covering transport, accommodation for two nights, full-day aviation industry career workshop and one-hour flight experience in the cockpit.

Katendeigwa said currently young people and aviation are in the dark and there is a general shortage of skills with engineers coming from outside the country.

Aviation traffic in Africa is projected to grow by over 6% per annum for the next 20 years, driven by improving incomes, demographic boom, increasing urbanisation and the emergence of the middle class.

All of these indicators are increasing in Uganda, especially with the young population. Because of its significance in driving trade, aviation here will strongly benefit from Uganda¡¯s demographics.

But the local industry has a shortage of technocrats, which Katendeigwa says requires a gap analysis to evaluate the future of the industry.

"Information indicates that China is projected to be short of air traffic controllers in the next five years, which creates opportunities for those with requisite skills elsewhere, including Uganda.

Katendeigwa also weighed in on the need to revive a national carrier. He said many international companies are based in Nairobi partly because of connectivity, which is a big concern mainly for investors.

"It is critical. It is true aviation is expensive and for that reason, you don¡¯t leave it to the private sector,¡± notes Katendeigwa. 

He said the fear of corruption that seems to weigh down the debate on reviving a national career should be dealt with head on.

"Emirates is managed by a Briton not an Emirati. If there are no competent Ugandans, hire others, train people, have this framework in place instead of hiding and talking,¡± said Katendeigwa.

 He said Vine Air is determined to make a difference in the Uganda aviation industry by contributing to the growth of the industry by developing local skill.