At the heart of AviaDev Africa lies the commitment to foster interconnectivity across the African continent. This year, the prestigious aviation event brought together a diverse and influential array of airports, airlines, tourism authorities, governments, and industry suppliers. It set a perfect stage for insightful discussions, strategic networking, and knowledge sharing.

Representing Ink Innovation at AviaDev, our Chief Sales Officer, Blaine Powell, and our Chairman of the Advisory Board, Javed Malik, were there to showcase the transformative potential of technology.

From master plans to new revenue streams: lessons for African airports

In the panel session ‘Raising Capital for Airport Projects in Africa: Understanding the Financing Landscape and Investors’ Priorities’, Javed Malik joined other distinguished panellists in delving into the complexities of the African airport investment scene. They shed light on the evolving financing landscape and the driving factors behind investors’ choices.

Drawing upon his rich experiences from Malaysia and India, Javed underscored the importance of leveraging underutilised airport facilities. He cited the success story of the drone academy in Malaysia, where a formerly vacant airport warehouse was repurposed into a subscription-based drone training centre. This academy soon gained immense popularity among local farmers, prompting the engagement of more trainers and revealing how adopting innovative approaches facilitates generating revenue from untapped resources.

Shifting focus to Bangalore Airport in India, Javed recounted the unexpected success of ‘the Quad’, a temporary food and beverage pop-up that eventually turned into a major source of revenue.

Javed urged African airports to learn from these experiences and to adopt a long-term vision, paired with an equally comprehensive master plan. He believes that by embracing these strategies, African airports could create a conducive environment that attracts investment, and ultimately, fosters sustainable growth.

Embracing innovation: the role of technology in African aviation’s growth

The panel session ‘Innovating for Success: How technology is driving efficiency, building resilience, and improving profitability across the African Aviation Industry’ brought together experts Richard Ortega (Kiu System Solutions), Judy Waruiru (DPO Pay), Brett Mark Preston (Technodyn International), and Manish Shrivastava (Tourish) who explored the potential avenues for heightening resilience in the airport sector. Habba Adijah Kamwesiga from RwandAir expertly moderated the session.

Ink’s Chairman of the Advisory Board was also one of the speakers at the session. Javed imparted his unique perspective, encouraging African airports and airlines to leapfrog traditional development pathways. Proposing a move away from outdated kiosk check-ins, he suggested harnessing mobile and biometric technologies to repurpose the legacy infrastructure, a transition that Ink is actively facilitating. Our unique ecosystem of solutions for the travel industry is geared towards creating a more efficient, passenger-focused airport environment, a critical step in helping Africa redefine its aviation landscape.

Javed also illustrated the potential of data in creating personalised passenger experiences and opening up new revenue generation opportunities. By offering vivid examples, he illustrated how airports could provide value-added services to their customers by leveraging data. However, to truly harness this opportunity and future-proof their operations, airports must have a strategic IT plan integrated into their overall master plan.

Finally, Javed championed Ink’s bold approach to data ownership, advocating for passengers to have the option to monetise their data. Such a groundbreaking idea could result in a uniquely African model of aviation. It would be crafted around its demographics and economic conditions, leading to potential opportunities for individual empowerment and revenue generation.

Ink’s perspective on propelling innovation in African aviation

Despite constituting only 2.1% of the global air passenger market, Africa’s aviation sector is a sleeping giant with undeniable potential. Challenges like insufficient airport infrastructure and underinvestment may be hindering growth now, but they also open the doors for innovative solutions.

Years of collaboration with Menzies Aviation, a provider of ground services, and airlines such as LIFT, FlySafair, and FlyNamibia, have deepened our understanding of the region’s unique challenges. This knowledge shapes our efforts in bringing innovation to Africa’s aviation sector.

For Ink, technology affordability extends beyond offering competitive pricing. Our mission lies in ensuring that solutions such as self-service and biometrics become commonplace, without prohibitive costs. As Ink’s CSO, Blaine Powell, states, “We aim to offer technology that is more accessible and also brings substantial savings.”

Contact us for a demo and see how Ink technology can empower your business.