CJI Global 2020: ‘Necessity is the mother of all invention for African business aviation’

Yves Le Marquand

To assess how African business aviation has suffered due to Covid-19 one must analyse through the lens of “necessity is the mother of all invention”, JP Fourie, executive director, National Airways Corporation, told Corporate Jet Investor. 

Speaking on the panel What’s next for Africa?  at CJI Global 2020, Fourie made his comments in response to the question: What factors have allowed African business aviation to weather the Covid-19 storm and are there any new trends emerging as a result?  

Fourie said: “Perhaps I may offer these few points that we have seen to be currently useful. Firstly, use what you have optimally. Treasure and sweat your existing resources. Secondly, reset your business to a certain survival level. Surviving, and getting to the other side is of paramount importance. Thirdly, match your expenditure to your known income level. Lastly, while swimming across these uncertain seas, keep your powder dry, because when you get safely to the other side, there might be interesting opportunities upon reflection back over the waters.” 

The most important all of those however, is survival. “First, survive, innovate change, optimise. As specific points, I would look at cargo, tourism and fractional ownership for those reasons mentioned.” concluded Fourie. 

Fellow panelist, Jane Stanbury, President, Arena Group, said: “Due to Africa’s previous experience with epidemics, natural and human disasters, it was perhaps better prepared than some. However, the big difference is that normally these are isolated to countries or regions, but this time it was in a global context.” 

Stanbury has also seen some trends emerging in African business aviation. “I suspect we will see some convergence of businesses, an increased understanding of how business aviation is a practical solution to issues like this, as opposed to being the domain of fat cats. As we return to a new normal [we will see] innovation, creativity and flexibility amongst businesses in Africa. Each nation will emerge differently and that’s what makes Africa such an interesting location for business aviation.” 

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