PS' speech SADC CAC Meeting

Chairman of the SADC-Civil Aviation Committee, Mr. Victor Likando
Director of Infrastructure of SADC, Ms. Mapolao Mokoena
Members of the SADC Secretariat and ISASO
International delegates,
Chief Executive Officer of SCAA, Mr. Garry Albert
Management of SCAA
Colleagues, friends

Good morning,

Thank you Ms. Mokoena and Mr. Likando for the very kind words about our beautiful islands and the service you’ve experienced so far.

We are blessed indeed by our the splendor of our islands, and we try to deliver a matching service and all thanks to the organizing team of the Seychelles Civil Aviation Authority for impeccable logistics and customer care; they’ve had a lot of practice over the years, and they continue to get better and better, on their journey to a five-star organization.

It gives me great pleasure to welcome you all to our idyllic island of Mahé, in the Seychelles, for the 22nd meeting of the SADC Civil Aviation Committee (CAC).

As a signatory state of ICAO, and an active member of SADC, Seychelles is fully committed to collaborate with other member states in the community, to tackle issues of consequence, affecting the delivery of aviation services.

Mr. Likando and Ms. Mokoena, your entreaties for advancing the agenda of the CAC here in Seychelles were heard, loudly and clearly.

Our country is also very keen to collaborate in aviation safety and security matters.  It will without any doubt, provide its support to any initiative that will improve them within the SADC community and globally.

Seychelles acceptance to host this meeting is proof of our dedication. It attests our commitment to support the many initiatives set by our regional partners. We are following the progress that you have made with much interest, and it is heartening to see that we all have common vision in upholding socio-economic development within all our states.

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Dear Delegates,

The annual CAC meeting is a platform, which allows the member states to take stock of commitments made, and objectives set, in the development of strategies to ensure a safe and secure regional airspace.

We heard this morning about some of the frustrations in getting concrete action and signatures completed.  We hope here in this amazing venue, this can happen.

One of our secret weapons when we negotiate air service bilaterals, is wherever possible, to have the meetings here.  There’s something about the peace, tranquility of the Seychelles that’s conducive to making people more flexible and open to new ideas.  Let’s hope that same will be true for this week’s meeting.

The next three days will be marked with discussions focusing on topics of mutual interest to all the SADC countries. This is in a bid to build greater synergy and enhance comprehension and understanding amongst member states. The points which are to be covered are of high value to the development of Seychelles Aviation industry.

We note that many important areas will be covered in the next three days. I am aware that the CAC is very much looking forward to take stock of the work done by the Interim SADC Safety Organisation (iSASO). We were heartened to learn that their performance is congruent with set expectations. We commend the small but hard-working team in Eswathini on this.

Other partners such as AFCAC, will also present to us an updates on the Yammousoukro Decision and the Single African Air Transport Market; an ambitious and bold endeavor set forth by the African Union.

The meeting will also embrace new potential and possibilities through an interesting technology being brought to our attention by Google Loon. A technology that is set to transform airspace globally into a safer and secure area.  Ms. Mokoena earlier spoke about the digital economy and the increasing importance of technology and in civil aviation.  I’d like to expand on this, as I think aviation will soon experience a great inflection point with respect to technology.

I had the pleasure of attending a Global Civil Aviation Summit in India earlier this year, were drones were an important topic.  The number of drones worldwide is growing exponentially, in the millions.  Controlling their interaction with normal flight paths is clear, but as well they fly in urban environments, and will in the future deliver merchandise as well as people, with initiatives such as UberAir.  As matter of pure logic, it is impossible to imagine that human air traffic controllers could possibly manage a thousand, perhaps tens of thousands of drones simultaneously, so immediately artificial intelligence will be needed. 

And these new technologies and means of oversight will spill over into the commercial aircraft space, as both Boeing and Airbus are developing fully automated passenger aircraft.  The Civil Aviation of the future will have to become as familiar with Google, Amazon, and Microsoft as they have been with Airbus, Boeing, Rolls Royce in the past.

And we should not underestimate the speed at which these changes will come.  The first cars were introduced in 1896, when horse drawn carriages were still the primary means of transport.  By 1910, hardly anyone was riding horses in New York City. 

The future will come faster than we think.

Beyond the meeting, the CAC offers a platform for all of us to meet and interact with one another and truly measure where we are in the region. I sincerely hope that Seychelles is the place where you uncover new avenues for cooperation; inspired by our scenic views.

Dear Delegates, ladies and gentlemen,

We acknowledge the hard work being done by the SADC secretariat in a bid to bolster and encourage the cooperation between member states. We have witnessed over the last few days their dedication and tenacity- I hereby congratulate them for their efforts.

Allow me to also commend the work done by the SADC Technical Committee, on Civil Aviation Upper Airspace Management Centre over the past two days.  We look forward to discuss the outcome further, in this meeting.

Before I end, I wish to invite all the delegates who are here with us for the very first time, to take some time out of the rather busy schedule and explore our islands. Seychelles is a luxurious destination and is a true getaway from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Seychelles is also a true source of inspiration; to all those who wants to free their minds of any stress. Our waters the sound and feel of our waters is one that is truly mesmerizing. Allow yourself to be submersed in everything that my home country has to offer.

On this note, which I hope has not swayed your minds too far from our meeting, I wish you all very fruitful deliberations in the coming days.

I now have the supreme, sublime pleasure to declare the 22nd SADC-CAC meeting officially open.

Thank you and have a pleasant day