Africa raises the bar with informative IFIS in Durban

The 2022 International Flight Inspection Symposium (IFIS) that explored the future of the aviation industry and the advancement of technological instruments and systems was the most critical IFIS conversation ever staged, according to Onorio Rocca, Deputy Chairperson of the International Committee for Airspace Standards and Calibration (ICASC).

The five-day event themed the “Dawn of a New Technological Era”- hosted by the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) in collaboration with ICASC, concluded on Friday at the International Convention Centre in Durban and was the first of symposium to be hosted on the African continent.
“I would rate this event that we have just staged in South Africa as one of the most excellent conversations we have ever had in the 48-year history of the IFIS,” said Mr Rocca.

“The aviation world has never before experienced a pandemic like COVID-19, where everything, including our industry, came to a standstill…so this exchange of information was pointed and relevant.”

The symposium drew international aviation guests and aerospace experts with over 20 focal topics delivered in thirteen sessions, which included discussions on Human Factors and CRM: managing errors within flight inspection missions by improving non-technical skills and the influence of the new 5G Communication interference on flight inspection, to name a few.

The most poignant debate must be the timeliness and sufficiency of drones in the calibration of navigational aids. The heated debate culminated in the manufacturers and regulatory structures agreeing to disagree on the notion that drones are not yet able to deliver the full scope of the requirements in terms of flight inspection even though they come very close to achieving this. This discussion is evidently going to be topical in the next few years still.

In her keynote address during the opening proceedings earlier in the week, the Deputy Minister of Transport, Hon. Sindisiwe Chikunga, emphasised the need for discussions of this nature aimed at continuously monitoring safety and advancing air travel.

Deputy Minister Chikunga said that the nature of air transport dictates that all aviation stakeholders should collaborate and learn from one another to ensure aviation safety, security and growth for their mutual benefit.

“You would be aware that South Africa was there from the start when our country signed up as a signatory to the Chicago Convention, which led to the establishment of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). South Africa has remained a role player in international civil aviation and has been part of global discussions on aviation security and navigation, among others. This partnership with the international aviation community is a privilege that we appreciate and foster,” the Deputy Minister said.

“By having an increasingly cross-domain and global perspective, the modernisation of the global air navigation system will continue to progress globally, on our continent and in this region. That is our aim, and that is what, I am convinced, is also driving this esteemed gathering of experts and participants here today.”

The SACAA’s Luvuyo Gqeke, who was acting as the Director of Civil Aviation, described the importance of hosting an event of IFIS’s magnitude, while thanking all partners involved in the successful planning of the event.

“Hosting an event of this great magnitude firstly proves our role in the country as a world-class hosting destination. Secondly, it proves the SACAA’s and the country’s determination to be in the forefront of enhancing aviation safety awareness in the SADC region with the creation of a platform for aviation experts to join these discussions,” said Mr Gqeke.

“Networking side events, trade-show exhibitions, presentations, panel sessions, and technical forums provided a kaleidoscope of possibilities for exploration of the many relevant spheres of airspace and flight.

We thank our event partners in Aerodata, Textron Aviation, Safran, the Norwegian Special Mission and the ATNS for having ensured the great success of #IFIS2022. We also thank the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Government and the Convention Bureau for their wonderful support and for ensuring that our international guests enjoyed their stay in eThekwini.”