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State must consider greater funding for aviation tech development: deputy transport minister

Says innovation costs in the industry have been absorbed solely through air travel fares

20 June 2022 - 13:21
Aviation industry stakeholders are in Durban for the week-long International Flight Inspection Symposium. File photo.
Aviation industry stakeholders are in Durban for the week-long International Flight Inspection Symposium. File photo.
Image: 123RF/KANTVER

The need for innovation in SA's aviation space may require additional funding in future,  including from the public purse.

This is according to deputy transport minister, Sindisiwe Chikunga.

She made the remarks while giving the keynote address at the opening of the International Flight Inspection Symposium at the Durban International Convention Centre on Monday.

Chikunga said the industry had been absorbing the cost of technological innovation, often by adding costs to air fares.

She said there was a greater need for collaboration, “even in these highly technical matters”, to prevent the  risk of travel fares skyrocketing.

“The need for innovation may require extra funding in future. Innovative technologies in areas other than aviation may have a potential to affect and accelerate changes in aviation, enabling us to keep the net cost per passenger at a steady or reduced pace.

“Industrial research and development and the implementation of innovation require close collaboration of the aviation industry. This is so potential risks and threats can be understood and managed at an early stage, thereby minimising development risks. This sector again reminds us of the crucial need to collaborate, even in these highly technical matters.”.

The bi-annual symposium is hosted by the Civil Aviation Authority. It is being held in Africa for the first time since its inception in 1974.

Due to Covid-19, the event was not held in the past two years.

Hundreds of stakeholders in the global aviation sector from countries such as Germany, US, Canada, Turkey and New Zealand are attending the symposium to discuss, among other things, flight inspection system solutions, increasing efficiency and managing errors within the flight inspection space.

Other topics to be discussed include the influence of 5G communication interference on flight inspections and the verification and certification of new flight inspection systems.

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