IATA reinforces its commitment to African aviation
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has called on industry and government leaders in Central West Africa to make aviation a more integral part of African economic development.
The Association highlighted three key issues which need addressing for Africa to develop its aviation industry, namely safety, regional co-operation and global standards for infrastructure funding.
Currently, African aviation supports 6.7 million high quality jobs on the continent, totalling $67.8 billion in revenue. According to the IATA, aviation could play an even bigger role in facilitating Africa’s growth and development.
Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and Chief Executive Officer, claimed that African government and industry leaders need to adopt a co-ordinated approach to implementing global standards.
At a keynote address to open IATA’s aviation day in Dakar, Senegal, Tyler said: “The most pressing problem for African aviation today is safety. It should be as safe to travel by air in Africa as it is in any other part of the world.”
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In 2011, the continent experienced an average of one accident for every 305,000 flights using Western-built jet aircraft. This was an improvement over 2010, when the average was one accident for every 135,000 flights. But it was still nine times worse than the global average.
After unveiling a detailed plan to help address the concerns about African aviation, Tyler hopes that it can play a much larger role to the African economy in the future, connecting remote areas and transporting materials.
“Aviation connectivity is about people doing business, products moving to markets and new opportunities being discovered. With a few kilometers of runway even the most remote location can be connected to the global village. This has a huge and positive impact on development. And that is the best reason for governments across Africa to care about aviation and work together to ensure its safe, efficient and sustainable progress,” said Tyler.
SAS: Improving the British Army’s decision making with data
SAS’ long-standing relationship with the British Army is built on mutual respect and grounded by a reciprocal understanding of each others’ capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses. Roderick Crawford, VP and Country GM for SAS UKI, states that the company’s thorough grasp of the defence sector makes it an ideal partner for the Army as it undergoes its own digital transformation.
“Major General Jon Cole told us that he wanted to enable better, faster decision-making in order to improve operational efficiency,” he explains. Therefore, SAS’ task was to help the British Army realise the “significant potential” of data through the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to automate tasks and conduct complex analysis.
In 2020, the Army invested in the SAS ‘Viya platform’ as an overture to embarking on its new digital roadmap. The goal was to deliver a new way of working that enabled agility, flexibility, faster deployment, and reduced risk and cost: “SAS put a commercial framework in place to free the Army of limits in terms of their access to our tech capabilities.”
Doing so was important not just in terms of facilitating faster innovation but also, in Crawford’s words, to “connect the unconnected.” This means structuring data in a simultaneously secure and accessible manner for all skill levels, from analysts to data engineers and military commanders. The result is that analytics and decision-making that drives innovation and increases collaboration.
Crawford also highlights the importance of the SAS platform’s open nature, “General Cole was very clear that the Army wanted a way to work with other data and analytics tools such as Python. We allow them to do that, but with improved governance and faster delivery capabilities.”
SAS realises that collaboration is at the heart of a strong partnership and has been closely developing a long-term roadmap with the Army. “Although we're separate organisations, we come together to work effectively as one,” says Crawford. “Companies usually find it very easy to partner with SAS because we're a very open, honest, and people-based business by nature.”
With digital technology itself changing with great regularity, it’s safe to imagine that SAS’ own relationship with the Army will become even closer and more diverse. As SAS assists it in enhancing its operational readiness and providing its commanders with a secure view of key data points, Crawford is certain that the company will have a continually valuable role to play.
“As warfare moves into what we might call ‘the grey-zone’, the need to understand, decide, and act on complex information streams and diverse sources has never been more important. AI, computer vision and natural language processing are technologies that we hope to exploit over the next three to five years in conjunction with the Army.”
Fundamentally, data analytics is a tool for gaining valuable insights and expediting the delivery of outcomes. The goal of the two parties’ partnership, concludes Crawford, will be to reach the point where both access to data and decision-making can be performed qualitatively and in real-time.
“SAS is absolutely delighted to have this relationship with the British Army, and across the MOD. It’s a great privilege to be part of the armed forces covenant.”