This year’s Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) exhibition will have a primary focus on the African continent, according to Kevin Wakeford, chief executive of Armscor, which co-hosts and partners with the exhibition.
The theme chosen for AAD 2016, to be staged at AFB Waterkloof in Centurion, is “unlocking Africa’s aerospace and defence potential” and the exhibition will, for the first time, feature an African unity pavilion.
“The African aviation sector is set to boom in the next five years as the growth of the middle class opens new markets and as countries continue to reform the industry and open their skies to competition,” Wakeford said.
The pavilion is, according to the AAD organising committee, an opportunity not to be missed to showcase products and services to more than a hundred thousand visitors from more than 80 countries during the trade days.
South Africa’s top defence and technology manufacturers as well as a number of aviation companies have already committed to the 2016 exhibition, AAD organisers said.
AAD is a partnership between the Department of Defence and Military Veterans; the Commercial Aviation Association of SA (CAASA); the Aerospace, Maritime and Defence Industries Association (AMD) and Armscor, which is the lead co-ordinator for 2016.
Sudan’s SAFAT Aviation Group will be one of the first-time African participants at AAD and it is aiming to bring aircraft to take part in the air show as well as for static display. Established a decade ago, SAFAT offers maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services to helicopters and fixed wing aircraft operating in East and North Africa.
Namibia, Uganda and Zimbabwe have also confirmed participation in AAD 2016 and will take up space on the Africa Unity pavilion.
“Exhibitions such as AAD help to shape the future of industry globally and emerging companies can and should use them as a platform to make their way into the larger supply chains. For African companies AAD is a major opportunity to meet and network with some of the larger players in industry internationally,” Wakeford said.
Whilst the primary focus of the Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) exhibition is to allow defence and security companies the opportunity to showcase their products, it is the array of static and flying aircraft that draws the crowds on the open days.
The exhibition trade days run from September 14 to 16 at AFB Waterkloof in Centurion, with the public airshow taking place on September 17 and 18.
The exhibition organisers have indicated that trade visitors should register as soon as possible using the website www.aadexpo.co.za.
“This is to avoid disappointment as indications are that a large number of visitors are planning to attend between September 14 and 18,” said AAD marketing and communications manager Nakedi Phasha.