100 African women shaping the airline industry in Africa and around the world

Cover story

The aviation industry remains a male-dominated field. According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) which represents 290 airlines in 120 countries, the proportion of women holding C-level roles in the industry is just 3%.

Nevertheless, in Africa, several women have broken through the barriers to occupy leadership positions in this sector, which is experiencing a post-covid recovery on the continent. They are CEOs or executives in airlines, directors of airports, airport management organizations or civil aviation authorities.

 Africanshapers has selected 100 African women who are significantly contributing to the development of the sector on the African continent. The personalities on this list were placed randomly and the ranking is not synonymous of the importance of one personality over another.

Paule Assoumou Koki, Managing Director, Cameroon Civil Aviation Authority (Cameroon)

Paule Assoumou Koki is the Director General of the Cameroon Aviation Authority (CCAA) since 2015. The CCAA is the Cameroonian authority for air transport and civil aviation activities in general. In her position, Paule Assoumou Koki is responsible for safety, air transport and infrastructure development. She also defines strategies and policies for security measures in all airports in Cameroon.

A civil aviation engineer, Paule Assoumou Koki graduated from the National School of Civil Aviation (ENAC) in Toulouse, France, in 1988. She also trained as a private pilot and obtained her private pilot license.

She returned to Cameroon in 1989 to join the Directorate of Civil Aviation in the Ministry of Transport where she successfully served as an officer and deputy head of the air transport unit. Subsequently, she was appointed Head of the Air Navigation Department at ASECNA, the provider of air navigation services in 18 African states. In this assignment, she managed the provision of air navigation and aerodrome services at all major airports in Cameroon.

Between 1996 and 2008, Paule Assoumou Koki worked with the United Nations in various locations and capacities before returning to Cameroon to set up the first accredited training school (ATO) in Cameroon in her capacity as Training Manager. In the meantime, she also trained as an air operations inspector.

In 2012, Paule Assoumou Koki joined the Cameroon Civil Aviation Authority as the Director of Aviation Safety. For four years, she coordinated all activities related to safety oversight in the aviation industry in Cameroon, including oversight of airlines, air traffic service providers, aerodrome service providers and maintenance organizations.

Subsequently, she was promoted to the position of Executive Director in December 2015, a position she still holds today.

Paulel Assoumou Koki served as Vice Chair of two AFI Regional Planning and Implementation Group (APIRG) meetings in 2013 and 2014. At the 39th session of the ICAO Assembly held in 2016, she was elected Vice Chair of the Technical Committee.

She has also served as a member of the ICAO Safety Management Group. She has participated in several working groups within the framework of AFAC activities and the European Union project on improving air transport in Central Africa.

On 10 January 2019, Paule Assoumou Koki was awarded the title of Knight of the Order of Cameroon.

Adefunke Adeyemi, Secretary General of the African Civil Aviation Commission (Nigeria)

As of 15 July 2022, Adefunke Adeyemi is the new Secretary General of the African Civil Aviation Commission, an agency of the African Union, based in Dakar, whose objective is to promote the safe, secure and harmonious development of civil aviation in Africa. Prior to her appointment, Adefunke Adeyemi was Regional Director, Advocacy and Strategic Relations, Africa, International Air Transport Association (IATA) (Nigeria). In this position, she worked for the sustainability and growth of the aviation sector in Africa and was responsible for the conceptualisation and implementation of a campaign on transforming Africa’s socio-economic prospects through improved air connectivity on the continent, which will culminate in the launch of the Single African Air Transport Market by African Heads of State, which could translate into billions of dollars in GDP and thousands of jobs for Africa. Adefunke Adeyemi was IATA’s focal point for its implementation on the continent. She also spearheaded a pilot campaign in the Middle East of Africa on aviation’s contribution to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. She participated in IATA’s strategic review for the aviation sector and was also part of the steering group tasked with revising the strategic direction of the global aviation sector and reorganising IATA to better meet the needs of members and the industry.

Prior to that, Adefunke Adeyemi headed the Diversity & Inclusion initiative of IATA in Africa Middle East, also leading its Women in Leadership program in the region, and has mentored several women and men, both within and outside her organisation.

She attended the University of Lagos for her undergradualte law degree followed by a Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree from University of Cambridge, U.K. She also holds a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the Nanyang Business School, NTU, Singapore, during which she simultaneously completed a collaborative Advanced Management Program in Aviation, Leadership and Innovation between the Nanyang Business School, Berkeley Haas School of Business, University of California and the Wharton Business School, University of Pennsylvania.

Fatou Gueye, director of strategy, business transformation and customer experience Air France (Senegal/France)

Since November 2019, Fatou Gueye has been the Director of Strategy, Business Transformation & Customer Experience at Air France, a company where she has worked for over 13 years. In her current position, Fatou Gueye collaborates with the heads of the different business units to make recommendations to the Air France Board of Directors on strategic projects.

Between May 2014 and October 2019, Fatou Gueye was Head of Customer Experience at Air France, where she managed a team responsible for designing the customer experience for 15 million passengers worldwide, generating €4.8 billion in revenue. She ensured the improvement of the product, which rose five places in international rankings, and obtained approval for multi-million euro capital expenditures in a context of budget restrictions.

Fatou Gueye joined Air France in December 2008, where she started as Manager and Business Intelligence Trainer, before being promoted to Program Management Officer (PMO), Operational Transformation. In this position, she notably co-led a €13 million digital transformation project for the Air France KLM joint venture covering pilot data operations on all Airbus and Boeing fleets (350 aircraft), between the Netherlands and France. She also successfully implemented a new pilot mapping system for both airlines, resulting in a reduction of operating costs by several million euros per year.

Subsequently, Fatou Gueye was promoted to Operational Transformation Program Manager, a position she held from March 2013 to June 2014. While in this position, she helped Air France obtain regulatory approval for the innovation of flying paperless on 105 aircraft using only onboard electronic systems. This digital transformation has reduced on-board paper consumption by more than 80%, making Air France the first major European airline to achieve this result. Managing a team of 7 people and with a budget of 60 million euros, this has impacted 4,200 pilots and improved the profitability of flight operations by more than 20%, thanks in particular to the reduction in fuel consumption of several tens of millions of euros.

Reem Oraby Vice-President Alliance & International Relations at Egyptair (Egypt)

Reem Oraby has been with Egyptair for more than 23 years and began her career in 1999 as a reservation officer.

Since October 2021, she has been Vice President of Alliances and International Relations. Prior to that, she was a senior sales consultant. From September 2016 to November 2020, Reem Oraby was the Director of Eyptair in Belgium. Prior to that, she held several other positions as General Manager Alliances & Partnership Development and Manager Alliances & Partnership Agreements.

Reem Oraby holds a Master’s degree in Aviation Management and Operations.

Habiba Laklalech, Director General of the National Airports Office (Morocco)

Since February 2021, Habiba Laklalech is the director general of the National Airports Office (ONDA) of Morocco. ONDA manages 18 international airports in Morocco and 6 national airports.  Habiba Laklalech is the first woman to hold this position in Morocco. ONDA is a public establishment of an industrial and commercial nature, in charge of airports and air navigation control in Morocco. Prior to her current position, Habiba Laklalech was Deputy Director General, Finance and Support, of Royal Air Maroc, the Kingdom’s national airline. Habiba Laklalech joined Royal Air Maroc in 2006. In charge of finance and support, she was responsible for management control, organisation, purchasing, the information system, the legal department and insurance. She obtained her scientific baccalaureate at the age of sixteen, in 1988, with honours and won the Hassan II prize in the general mathematics competition.

A graduate of the prestigious engineering school, Polytechnique Paris, Habiba Laklalech also holds a DEA in opto-electronics (optical fibre and its various uses, including underwater) from the École Nationale Supérieure des Télécommunications (ENST), now Télécom Paris. She spent her final year at Alcatel, at the time. In 1995, Habiba Laklalech joined the famous marketing and communication company Procter & Gamble in Morocco as Assistant Brand Manager. Later, she was appointed product manager. After 7 years with the multinational, in 2002, she joined Méditel (now Orange Morocco) as Marketing Director. In 2006, RAM offered her to head the new “audit and organisation” department. She had to lead the intern audit operation and later the setting up of the “purchasing” department, which had to be professionalized in order to pool and group together the purchases of the whole group, whose subsidiaries were sourcing in isolation. This resulted in savings of 15 to 20%.  She was then appointed Director of Strategy for the group, before being appointed Deputy Managing Director of Finance and Support for Royal Air Maroc in 2010. After 11 years in this position, she took over the general management of ONDA.

Martha Tilahun Paulos, Vice President Commercial Operations, Qatar Airways (Ethiopia)

Based in Doha, Qatar, Martha Tilahun Paulos is the Vice President Commercial Operations, Qatar Airways, the position she has held since June 2017. She has worked for Qatar Airways since 2011, where she successively held the positions of Commercial Manager and Senior Manager Commercial Operations, before becoming Vice President Commercial Operations. Long before joining Qatar Airways, Martha Tilahun Paulos worked for 22 years at Ethiopian Airlines, where she started in 1989 as a Customer Relationship Analyst. She subsequently held several senior positions such as Country Manager – Tanzania, Zanzibar and Comoros, based in Dar-Es-Salam; Country Manager – France, Algeria and Morocco, based in Paris, before being appointed Marketing Director, in charge of global advertising, sales promotions and public relations. She held this position for 6 months before joining Qatar Airways.

Martha Tilahun Paulos holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Management from Addis Ababa University and has completed a Manager Mentor programme at Harvard Business School.

Patience Bonsu, British Airways Airport Manager & Vice President, Airport Operators Committee of Ghana

Patience Bonsu has over 27 years’ experience in the aviation industry and has successfully overseen the servicing of British Airways flights between Heathrow, UK and Accra, Ghana for the past 25 years, starting in 1996.

Maureen Kahonge , Senior Manager Business Development & Communications at African Airlines Association (AFRAA). (Kenya)

A Passionate aviator with 11 years’ aviation experience at the African Airlines Association – AFRAA, the leading trade Association of African airlines, Maureen Kahonge, currently Senior Manager Business Development & Communications at AFRAA, has coordinated various initiatives that facilitate beneficial cooperation among African airlines and with the view to adopt and implement cost-effective common solutions to address market needs. Within AFRAA, she also held the position of deputy director business development, business development manager and PA – director, commercial, corporate & Industry Affairs.

Maureen Kahonge holds a Master in business administration (MBA), strategic management and finance, from United States international university-Africa, in Nairobi; and also holds a Bachelor of education from Kenyatta University.

Racheal Ndegwa, CEO of Swissport Kenya Limited (Kenya)

Innovative and accomplished CEO with over 16 years’ experience, having held senior positions, among them, Chief Finance Officer (CFO), Chief Operating Officer(COO) & now CEO mainly in the aviation industry, Racheal Ndegwa is currently the CEO of Swissport Kenya Limited, having been promoted to the position of CEO after having provided excellent leadership as COO. Swissport has been active in Kenya for 24 years and is currently the largest global player in passenger, ground handling and cargo.

Racheal Ndegwa began her journey at Swissport Kenya in December 2005 as an accountant for the cargo business line. In August 2006, she was promoted to business controller with a focus on cargo, and after three years, she took the position of Chief Finance Officer (CFO) in which she was responsible for the cargo handling as well as the ground handling business. During this time, she gained the full understanding of all Swissport services and obtained the “know-how” of all business lines, preparing her for the operational support. In 2017, Racheal Ndegwa was elevated to the position of the Chief Operating Officer. She offered leadership to the ground handling, cargo operations, fleet maintenance, training and quality health and safety departments. Finally, in 2020, she was offered the role of CEO at Swissport Kenya.

Racheal Ndegwa is passionate about the Aviation Industry and is among the first female Kenyan CEOs in the aviation industry. She has been able to steer her company’s growth for the past 16 years by spearheading the company to achieve financial goals. She is a Certified Public Accountant with KASNEB. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree having majored in Economics and a Master of Business Administration (Finance) both from the University of Nairobi.

Rahel Assefa, Vice-President Marketing, Ethiopian Airlines (Ethiopia)

Rahel Assefa joined Ethiopian Airlines in 1988 as a college trainee in the Sales Department after graduating from the Addis Ababa University in Management & Public Administration. She worked in various Managerial positions within the Airline such as Sales, Commercial Planning, Revenue Management, as Regional Representative (U.K) and she is currently serving Ethiopian as Vice President Marketing the position she is holding since October 2013. In February 2015, she was named among the Worlds’ 30 Most Compelling Women in Travel by the U.S based Premier Travel Magazine.

Nadine Nathalie Awanang EP Anato Lalou, Director General of the National Civil Aviation Agency of Gabon (Gabon)

Since November 2020, Nadine Nathalie Awang EP Anato Lalou is the Director General of the National Civil Aviation Agency of Gabon. She joined the professional world in December 2004 as an NA Engineer at the General Secretariat for Civil and Commercial Aviation (SGACC) which will become a few years later, the National Civil Aviation Agency (ANAC) following the recommendations of the ICAO audits to make the Civil Aviation authorities completely autonomous entities.

She Joined ANAC in September 2010 as NA engineer and successively held the positions of Head of Air Navigation Services, within the framework of safety supervision activities, Air Navigation Services Inspector – Air Traffic Specialty, Aeronautical Information Service and PANS-OPS (Procedure for Air Navigation Services – Technical Operation of Aircraft), since May 2016.

In the framework of Project and Team Management, she is Focal Point of the ICAO SAFE Project related to the assistance in the implementation of the fundamentals of a safety oversight system for ANAC-Gabon, which was completed with ICVM from 29 January to 06 February 2019; and is also Team Leader for the preparation of the European Union audit for the exit from the secure list.

Zineb Kaddioui, VP Management Control & Participations at Royal Air Maroc

Zineb Kaddioui has been in her current position since October 2017. She is specialized in managing the production of financial information and the tax policy of Royal Air Maroc. Zineb Kaddioui joined Royal Air Maroc in 2002, after graduating from the ISCAE and preparing for a chartered accountant degree. At the beginning, she was in charge of the overall financial process.

W/ro Zenebework, Acting Vice-President Human Ressoures Management, Ethiopian Airlines (Ethiopia)

Since April 2022. W/ro Zenebework is serving Ethiopian as Acting Group VP HRM at Ethiopian Airlines. She joined the group on January 22, 1996 and served the Airlines in various positions including Sr. Accountant, Analyst, Analyst — Compensation, Sr. Analyst Compensation, Sup. Compensation, Mgr. Compensation & Suggestion, Mgr. compensation, Mgr. Reward & Retention, Dir. Personnel Admin, Mgr. HR & Finance — EAA, Mgr. HR & Finance — Ground Services, Mgr. Employee Reward & Time Management, Dir. Personnel Administration, and Secondment Mgr. HR & Finance Tchadia Airlines on secondment bases.

W/ro Zenebework holds BA Degree in Accounting from Asmara University, MBA degree in Business Administration from Addis Ababa University, and MBA in Executive Business Administration from Open University.

W/ro Zenebework is married and a Mother of two daughters.

Helina Teshome, Managing Director, Krimson Aviation (Ethiopia)

Helina Teshome is currently the managing director of Krimson Aviation, an airlines company, based in Ethiopia, and   committed to delivering customized solutions, whether to facilitate aeromedical, charter and leasing, consulting or other services. Helina Teshome, who joined the company as a flight support officer, was promoted to CCO just a year later and is now managing director. She was outside aviation when the Krimson opportunity emerged, but previously worked at Ethiopian Airlines, where she developed a passion for the sector. As Managing director, Helina Teshome is responsible for overseeing the team’s operations across the company business, commercial and military aviation requirements, and she works very closely with government regulatory authorities, including the CAA and Ministry of Transport, over the company daily operations and expansion plans.

Yvonne Makolo, CEO Rwandair (Rwanda)

Yvonne Makolo is the CEO of RwandAir since April 6, 2018. She is also the first vice president of the executive committee at African Airlines Association (AFRAA). In 2023, she will become the first woman to serve as IATA’s chair of the board of governors after being named chair-elect at its AGM in Doha on June 20.

A computer science graduate, Yvonne Makolo began her career as a software developer before joining the Rwandan subsidiary of MTN, the South African telecommunications group, in 2006. She rose through the ranks, successively holding the positions of marketing manager and then acting general manager. Subsequently, Yvonne Makolo joined Rwandair, where from April 2017 to April 2018, she held the position of deputy general manager, in charge of corporate affairs. Yvonne Makolo holds an Honors Bachelor’s degree from McGill University in Canada and a Graduate Diploma in Applied Information Technology.

Pamela Djamson-Tettey, Managing Director, Ghana Airports Company Limited (Ghana)

Since February 2022, Pamela Djamson-Tettey is the Managing Director of the Ghana Airports Company Limited (GACL) established as a result of the decoupling of the existing Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) in line with modern trends in the aviation industry. The company was registered in January 2006 with specific responsibility for planning, developing, managing and maintaining all airports and aerodromes in Ghana including Kotoka International Airport (KIA), Kumasi Airport, Tamale Airport, Sunyani Airport, Ho Airport, WA Airstrip as well as various Airstrips. GACL is an implementing agency under the Ministry of Transport. The Company commenced business on 1st January 2007.

Pamela Djamson-Tettey is an experienced Corporate Executive with over 35 years in employment and has over 25 years of proven track record in Senior Management, including 9 years in the mining industry, 9 years in the manufacturing sector and 5 years in the Energy Development sector.

Her areas of expertise include the following: Strategic Communications, Media and Public Relations, Sustainable Development, Corporate Social Responsibility, Corporate Research, Government and Diplomatic Relations, Branding, Marketing and Investor Relations.

From 2001 to 2019, Pamela Djamson-Tettey was Executive Director and Corporate Relations Director at Diageo Ghana, Guinness Ghana Breweries Limited (GGBL). As member of the Board of Directors of GGBL and a key member of the GGBL Executive team, her responsibilities included a wide range of business critical agendas including; Corporate Communications, Public Policy, Stakeholder Engagement, Strategic Planning, Corporate Brand Reputation, Sustainable Development and key Spokesperson for GGBL.

She was the Director, Communication and Outreach at the Millennium Development Authority, MiDA, Ghana. Her previous employment engagements include; Director, Africa Practice Ghana, Head of Corporate Affairs at Goldfields Ghana Limited (2010-2012) and Senior Investor Relations and Public Affairs Officer, Ashanti Goldfields Co. Ltd (1994 -2000), Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1991-1993) and Manpower Services U.K (1988 – 1991).

An accredited member of the Institute of Public Relations, Ghana, Pamela Djamson-Tettey holds a BA (Cum Laude) degree in International Relations from the United States International University Herts, UK, and San Diego California, USA (1982-1985), Postgraduate Diploma (Merit), Politics & Diplomacy, University of Kent at Canterbury, UK (1985 -1986) and an MA degree in International Relations, University of Kent at Canterbury, UK (1986-1987).

Nathalie Zongo, Commercial Director at Air Burkina (Burkina Faso)

Nathalie Zongo has been working for Air Burkina since 2008, where she held various positions before being appointed Commercial Director in 2018. Prior to her current position, she was in charge of the revenue management and e-commerce department, after having held the position of pricing & alliances and e-commerce manager for 8 years.

Nathalie Zongo started her career at Air Burkina as a sales executive and quality auditor.

She holds an MBA in International Business from Uttar Pradesh University in India, a Diploma in Business Management from Amity University, Dheli, India and a Master’s degree in Business Management from the Free University of Burkina Faso.

Capt. Sakhile Reiling, Interim Chief Operations Officer, South African Airways (Botswana/South Africa)

Born in Zimbabwe, Captain Sakhile Reiling spent most of her life in Botswana. She is currently the Interim Chief Operations at South African Airways, since April 2021. She holds an MBA from University of West London.

A woman of many firsts, Sakhile Nyoni-Reiling became, in 1988, the first female pilot in the Republic of Botswana when she began flying planes for that African country’s state-owned airline Air Botswana. In 2011, she became also the first woman to serve as general manager of Air Botswana. She has a demonstrated history of working in the aviation industry with strong business development experience and skilled in operations management, freight, airworthiness, and pricing strategies.

Since July 2013, she is also the CEO of Saxon Wings Aviation Consultants, which provide compliance solutions including the production of operational manuals and training. From November 2018 to May 2021, Captain Sakhile Reiling was a board member the civil aviation authority of Botswana.

Agnes Tsholofelo Khunwana, CEO Air Botswana and Deputy Chaiperson The Airlines Association of Southern Africa (Botswana)

Agnes Tsholofelo Khunwana is currently the CEO of Air Botswana, company and the deputy chairperson of The Airlines Association of Southern Africa (AASA), since March  2021. She joined Air Botswana in 2015 as a Finance Director. Six months after, she was appointed to act as the General Manager. She was in this acting capacity for three years until May 2018 when she was substantively appointed as CEO of Air Botswana. Following her appointment as CEO, she has overseen the Airline during its period of significant growth, leading cross-functional teams in execution of complex large-scale projects, including the Fleet Modernisation Project intended to achieve enhanced operational efficiencies and organisational sustainability. Her executive leadership experience is drawn across diverse strategic roles she served over the years, including Senior Management positions held at Vivo Energy Botswana, First National Bank of Botswana, Debswana Diamond Company and Sefalana sa Botswana. As the Air Botswana General Manager, her deliverables include to strategically focus the Airline towards operational excellence through implementation and execution of long term operational plans and strategies, and will see to the impending Privatisation of Air Botswana.

Agnes Tsholofelo Khunwana has extensive exposure in corporate governance issues, having served on several advisory committees and Boards including the Civil Aviation of Botswana (CAAB), Legal Aid Botswana, former BTA (BOCRA), CEDA and NBFIRA. She currently serves on the Botswana Oil Board as member of Finance, Risk and Audit Committee and also Catholic Women’s Association Executive Committee.

Agnes Tsholofelo Khunwana is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants globally with nearly 20 years of post-qualification experience. She graduated from the University of Botswana with a BCom Accounting degree, is an Associate Banker and also has an MSc In Strategic Management.

Zuks Ramasia, CEO Board of Airline Representative of South Africa

Former acting CEO of South African Airways, Zuks Ramasia is currently the CEO of Board of Airline Representative of South Africa, which represents the interests of its African and International members to government, airport operators and other stakeholders in the airline industry with the aim of facilitating and further developing a safe, efficient and viable aviation industry in South Africa.

Zuks Ramasia’s illustrious career in Aviation runs more than 25 years of great exposure in the industry. She worked for South African Airways for 28 years in operations. From 2012 to 2019, she was the General Manager: Operations and a Member of the Executive Team, providing strategic leadership to the national carrier. Zuks Ramasia also served as a Director on the Board of Aviation Co-ordination Services “ACS”, a private company incorporated in terms of South African laws and operates on a non-profit distributing basis that provides operational support services to international, regional, and domestic airlines operating from, to and within South Africa. She also served on the IATA Operations Committee (OPC). This committee serves as an advisory body to IATA’s Board of Governors and Director General. For October 2019 to April 2020, she was the Deputy Chairperson of the Airlines Association of Southern Africa (AASA).

Jenifer Bamuturaki, CEO Uganda Airlines (Uganda)

Jenifer Bamuturaki is the Chief Executive Officer of Uganda Airlines. Before being appointed the CEO in July 2022, she served as Ag. CEO and as the Commercial Director of Uganda Airlines and Head of Sales & Marketing for Air Uganda, responsible for Commercial, Sales & Marketing, end-to-end management and support of sales and service support to all markets and countries of operation.

With over 14 years of experience in Commercial, Sales and Marketing roles in the Aviation, Travel and Hospitality industries, Jenifer Bamuturaki brings a wealth of technical expertise and a proven track record in delivering on the organizations key objectives. Her roles included the setting up of Airlines and Hotels and through these projects she’s had active and forefront involvement in research and development, recruitment processes, budge implementation, strategic planning and numerous deliverables.

Jenifer Bamuturaki studied at Makerere University, Uganda’s oldest and largest public university, where she obtained a degree of Bachelor of Arts in Social Work and Social Administration. She also has qualifications in IATA sales training for airlines, hotel sales and marketing, in addition to training in revenue management.

Refilwe Ledwaba, Founder Girls Fly Programme for Africa (South Africa)

Refilwe Ledwaba is an entrepreneur, a qualified pilot (Fixed wing and Rotor wing), an academic passionate about youth development and the economic empowerment of women in Africa. She is the founder and executive director of Girls fly programme in Africa (GFPA) foundation, a STEM education programme in Africa currently operating in South Africa, Botswana and Cameroon.

Refilwe Ledwaba is a member of the Royal Aeronautical Society, council member of the Aeronautical Society of South Africa (AeSSA) outreach team and a recipient of The Amelia Earhart Memorial Scholarship (AEMSF) for flight training.

Refilwe Ledwaba is a recipient of numerous scholarships, international awards and honours for her visionary work with the NPO organizations she founded. The success of the NPO has led to Refilwe Ledwaba being the recipient of multiple social entrepreneurship awards such as the winner in the entrepreneurship category at the inaugural South African Youth Awards in 2012, the winner of the aviation category of CEO Communication’s most influential Women in Business and Government in 2012 and 2015; and she was listed as one of Top 35 Africans Under 35 to watch by the Young people in international affairs (YPIA) in 2014. In 2018 she was named as one of the Inspiring fifty women in STEM.

Refilwe Ledwaba holds a Bachelor of Science degree (Microbiology and Biochemistry) from the University of Cape Town (UCT), A Post Graduate Diploma in Business Administration from UCT graduate school of business and an MBA from the University of Pretoria’s Gordon Institute of business science. She is pursuing her PhD.

Agness Chaila, Aviation Development Director at Aviadev Africa (Zambia)

Agness Chaila is the current Aviation Development Director at Aviadev Africa, an African Aviation Development Hub, dedicated to growing connectivity to, from and within the African continent. Prior to that, Agness Chaila was the Director Airport Services at Zambia Airports Company Limited (ZACL). Having joined ZACL in 2002 as the Assistant Airport Manager, she was promoted to Airport Manager in charge of Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula International Airport (HMNIA) in 2003.

In 2008, Agness Chaila moved to ZACL Head Office as the Planning and Business Development Manager responsible for planning, business development, billing, service levels, client interface, contracts management and marketing whilst overseeing these activities at the airports.

In 2015, Agness Chaila left ZACL to join the Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) as Director Investments in charge of investment promotion for Zambia; facilitating international and local business forums; and providing aftercare to the establishment of new business ventures in Zambia through cross-liaison with other government departments.

Agness Chaila rejoined ZACL in 2016 as the Director Airport Services responsible for business development, marketing and operations at the four international airports: KKIA, SMKIA, HMNIA and MFU; and responsible for liaison with stakeholders which includes airlines and other clientele.

Agness Chaila holds a Master’s Degree in International Economics and Political Relations, specialising in International Trade from the University of Economics in Poznan, Poland.

Poppy Khoza, South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA), Director of Civil Aviation (South Africa)

Poppy Khoza is currently the Director of Civil Aviation at the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA). She is the only woman to have occupied this position since the inception of the SACAA. She has over 15 years’ experience in senior aviation management positions.

Until recently, Poppy Khoza served as Chairperson of the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) Aviation Security Panel for two consecutive years, a historical position for a woman.

ICAO is a specialised United Nations agency responsible for standardising and administering the safety and security of civil aviation operations around the world.

Poppy Khoza is the recipient of a many awards, the most recent being the Best Chief Executive Officer Award, which was conferred on her during the 2018 Annual Transport Awards, hosted by the Minister of Transport (also won in 2015, and runner-up in 2016); named the Business Leader of the Year during the annual Oliver Empowerment Awards held in April 2018; winner of the 2016 Public Service Leader of the Year award, conferred during the 15th Oliver Empowerment Awards; winner of the Agencies and Regulatory Authorities category during the 2012 South Africa’s Most Influential Women in Business and Government Awards; a 2014 finalist in Africa’s Most Influential Women in Business and Government.

In addition, and under her stewardship, the SACAA scooped the Best Performing Institution in Transport Award on four occasions; was bestowed with the Top Performing Public Service Award at the 2015 National Business Awards; and in 2017, won the National Business Awards’ Public Service Award, as well as the Investing in People Award.

The SACAA also received, for five consecutive years, the Auditor-General of South Africa’s Clean Audit Award. Under Poppy’s leadership, the SACAA continues to make strides in improving aviation safety and security in South Africa, as attested by the results of the May 2017 ICAO Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme (USOAP) audit. The results indicate that South Africa has increased its compliance rating and, notably, did not attract a significant safety concern.

Poppy Khoza has championed the transformation of the SACAA and it now boasts 50% capable women Executives, a historical achievement under her stewardship. She is passionate about meaningful change and aspires to provide good leadership in the aviation sector, in the interests of continued outstanding performance.

Zoelisoa Rajohnson, Commercial and Marketing Director Ravinala Airports (Madagascar)

Zoelisoa Rajohnson is the sales and marketing director of Ravinala Airports, which manages Ivato and Nosy Be Fascene airports in Madagascar.

Graduated from a Master in Business Management at the University Paris 12 – Créteil / France in 2005, Zoe Rajohnson returned to Madagascar with the ambition to bring her experiences to develop the country.

After a first job of 3 years, in a company specialized in the export of high-end linens – the textile industry is also a sector that has an important place in the economy of Madagascar -, she decided to create her own business with her husband. They have created a restaurant bar in the capital, which still exists today, 10 years after its opening.

After a few months of launching the restaurant, Zoe Rajohnson joined Airtel Madagascar, a leader in the telecommunications industry and present in several operations in Africa, where she stayed  for 10 years, going through several positions in BtoB and BtoC sales and launching new products.

Zoe Rajohnson joined Ravinala Airports as Commercial and Marketing Director in March 2019 because, she explained, the project itself represents an economic turning point for Madagascar. “An airport is the first showcase of a country and I really wanted to be part of this beautiful adventure because my country deserves to be known and recognized for its wealth and beauty”. Zoe Rajohnson’s team is mainly responsible for providing services to international standards for passengers, their companions, airlines and they also take care of the promotion and the development in terms of traffic of the 2 airports that they manage: Antananarivo and Nosy be.

Margareth Kyarwenda, Secretary General, African Training Organizations (Tanzania)

Margareth Josephath Kyarwenda joined the Association of African Training Organizations (AATO) in January, 2015 as the first Secretary General of the Association. She is responsible for the standardization and harmonization of aviation training in Africa.

Prior to that, Margareth Kyarwenda worked for Tanzania CAA as the principal of Tanzania Civil Aviation Training Centre and an air navigation engineer. She is an expert in radio navigation systems, data and voice switches, VHF radio transmitters and receivers, and airport weather observing systems. During her 34 years of service at the Tanzanian CAA she worked as a maintenance engineer, project manager for the modernization of ATM systems, and On-Job-Training instructor. She also served as the secretary general and president of the Tanzania Air Traffic Safety Electronics Association (TATSEA) which is affiliated to the International Federation of Air Traffic Safety Electronics Association (IFATSEA). She sat in the technical committee which developed the training manual for licensing ATSEPs (Air Traffic Safety Engineering Professionals). In 2010 she was appointed the principal of Tanzania Civil Aviation Training Centre where she actively participated in the Training Experts Work Group that led to the creation of AATO. In October, 2014 she successfully organized and hosted the 1st AATO general assembly.

Margareth is an ICAO certified instructor and course developer, has a degree in computer systems and Information Technology, and an MBA.

Carla Da Silva, Airlink (South Africa)

Since October 2021, Carla Da Silva is executive manager of sales and marketing at Airlink, an airline based in Johannesburg, South Africa. The Privately-owned regional airline operates independently to over 45 destinations in 13 African countries and to St Helena Island.

Carla da Silva has an extensive background in airline commercial business and is widely respected in the industry.  Prior to joining Airlink, she served as a non-executive director at Aviation Coordinating Services, chairperson of the Board of Airline Representatives South Africa and as the Africa and Latin America regional manager for Air Mauritius.

At Airlink, she is responsible for, amongst other functions, increasing the company’s brand presence with customers and industry stakeholders, marketing, communications, e-commerce and the development of Airlink’s loyalty program.

Mpumi Mpofu, Chief Executive Officer Airports company South Africa

Nompumelelo (Mpumi) Z. Mpofu is the Chief Executive Officer at Airports Company South Africa (ACSA), where she is also Executive Director and member of the Social and Ethics Committee and the Board Investment Committee. She was appointed Chief Executive Officer from 1 February 2020. ACSA owns and operates South Africa’s nine principal airports, including three international gateways; O.R. Tambo, Cape Town and King Shaka International Airports. ACSA also participate in equity investments abroad and provide technical advisory and consultancy services to airports, such as in Sao Paolo and Mumbai.

As leader of the company Nompumelelo (Mpumi) Z. Mpofu is responsible for strategy implementation in all its facets. Mpofu is further responsible for the company’s reputation and to ensure that it is known for what it has achieved and what it can do.

As a state-owned company, Mpumi Mpofu views stakeholder management as an additional critical element of her role that requires continuing engagement with government, as the main shareholder, and Parliament. She says that this engagement is essential because Airports Company is accountable for what it does to the people of South Africa on whose behalf it owns and operates nine airports.

Mpumi Mpofu joined Airports Company South Africa from the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation in the Presidency where she was Director-General. She has extensive experience spanning over 25 years in the fields of transport, infrastructure development, local government and town, urban and regional planning.

In her career of public service, Mpofu has held three other positions of National Director-General in the Departments of Defence, Department of Transport and Department of Housing. She has served on numerous Boards as Chairman of Joburg Fresh Produce Market, Joburg Metro Bus, and as member of Board of Mvelaphanda Group, Municipal Demarcation Board the National Housing Board, the Gauteng Development Tribunal, the National Housing Finance Corporation, National Home Builders Registration Council.

During her tenure as Director-General in the Department of Transport, Mpofu ensured the development, implementation and monitoring of transport policies and strategies in fields including aviation, rail, maritime, road transport, search and rescue. She played a leading role in the following projects: Gautrain, Bus Rapid Transit particularly Rea-Vaya in Joburg, Taxi recapitalisation, King Shaka International Airport amongst others. She was also the leader of the Government Transport Plan for the FIFA World Cup 2010 and oversaw Airports Company South Africa’s airport development and redevelopment programme for 2010.

Mpumi Mpofu was instrumental in the development and approval by Cabinet of the South African Airlift Strategy and the National Airports Infrastructure Strategic Framework, which sought to assess the country’s airport infrastructure and capability, expand air transport services and to apply a holistic approach to global aviation opportunities to support South Africa’s national interests.

Mpumi Mpofu holds a Bachelors Honours Degree in Urban and Regional Planning and postgraduate degree in Town Planning from Coventry University in the United Kingdom, as well as a Certificate in Local Government Management from the Local Government Management Board (LGMB) in the UK and was a fellow at the South African Advanced Education Programme (SAAEP) at Oxford University.

Sylvia Baah, Airport Services Manager Emirates Airlines (Ghana)

Sylvia Baah, is one of the Ghana’s first trailblazers in aviation. She joined Emirates when it first launched services to Ghana in 2004. In 17 years, she has commanded roles across airport operations, starting her career as a supervisor, then as an officer, and now holds the role of Airport Services Manager for the international airline– a position she has held since 2011. She oversees a team of 52 staff, who handle several weekly flights between Dubai, Accra, and Abidjan. Broadly, she has the important task of ensuring the operational readiness of all Emirates flights from Kotoka International Airport through the Dubai hub to the rest of the world. She also ensures that all ground handling activities, catering, refueling are taken care off. Additionally, it is her responsibility to ensure that check-ins close in good time to enable the plane depart on time and  also makes sure that the high standard of the Emirates brand in terms of uncompromised excellent customer service is maintained.

Sylvia Baah received the highest Award (NAJM) for Emirates employees and the Chairman’s Award in 2012. She is also the first Emirates Airport Services Manager to receive an Emirates A380 in West Africa and Ghana.

Zebiba Miftah Nassir, Manager Group Advertising and Sales Promotions at Ethiopian Airlines (Ethiopia)

Zebiba Miftah Nassir is the Manager Group Advertising and Sales Promotions at Ethiopian Airlines, the largest airline in Africa. She manages the development of company advertising and sales promotions policies, objectives and plans; develops, manages, and controls policies, procedures and guidelines to ensure that the brand image of the company is up to the highest standard and ensures that the corporate image is adhered to at all levels of the company functions; manages the planning, controlling and the performance management activities related to Ethiopian’s advertising and promotions including production of creative works both in-house and outsourced, advertisements, sponsorships and tactical and strategic promotional campaigns; and ensures that the Marketing and Communication efforts of the sections under the IMC department are fully integrated.

From December 2016 to October 2018, she was Area Manager in Jakarta, Indonesia, where she led the solicitation of all sources of passenger, cargo and mail revenue including agency, interline commercial, military and government accounts and led activities of reservations and ticketing and ground services; the performance of all administrative activities including the control and administration of expenses to obtain maximum revenue at minimum cost; represented the Airline with local government agencies and local industrial bodies and coordinated local public relations and civic affairs programs as directed.

Zebiba Miftah Nassir joined Etiuopian Airlines in 2004 as Sr. Marketing Officer Alliances Network Planning.

Zebiba Miftah Nassir earned a Bachelor of Arts with Great Distinction in Language and Literature and a minor in history from Addis Ababa University before joining Ethiopian Airlines in 1996.

Sauda Said Rajab, CEO Precision Air at Kenya Airways (Kenya)

Sauda Said is the CEO of Precision Air Services, the only IATA and IOSA certified airline in Tanzania. Precision Air was founded in 1993 and for the last 25 years has defined both the inception and growth of the airline industry in Tanzania.

Sauda Said began her professional journey as a management trainee in 1989 at Kenya Airways (KQ), the company that currently owns 41% of Precision Air Services. In the 22 years that she worked in the commercial department, Sauda Said rose from a reservation officer to regional general manager for Europe, Americas and Asia.

In 2002, as country manager Uganda, she closed the co-share agreement with Uganda Airlines thus increasing the number of flights to Entebbe from one to four a day. This quadrupled the KQ sales in the Ugandan market.

In 2010, Sauda Said was appointed general manager Cargo. In this role she spearheaded the conversion of the 2-737/300 aircrafts into freighters and increased Kenya Airways Cargo sales from KES 8 billion to 9 billion.

When Precision Air went through a major financial crisis after having grown from a local carrier into an international airline, Kenya Airways owned 41.23 percent shareholding, as of 31 March 2016.

Sauda Said was hired as CEO in 2013 to turn around the airline. In less than three years she reduced the operational costs by 59% and grew the fleet from one ATR-72 to seven aircrafts, five ATR-72 and two ATR-42.

Jessica Asiedu, Air Traffic Control Officer, Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (Ghana)

Jessica Asiedu, Air Traffic Control Officer, Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (Ghana)

Jessica Asiedu has been working in the Aviation Industry for the past 9 years. She currently works as an Air traffic Controller in aerodrome and approach with the air traffic services department of the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority. She is also executive vice-president-professional at Ghana Air Traffic Controllers’ Association (GHATCA) in charge of the GHATCA professional committee and Technology Committee. GHATCA is a non-profit professional that represents the professional interest of all Air Traffic Controllers in Ghana. The association that promotes the highest standards in all aspects of air traffic management and is dedicated to the safety of all who travel by air.

Jessica Asiedu is also trained to work with the Search and Rescue Team in the Accra flight information region (FIR). In aviation, a flight information region (FIR) is a specified region of airspace in which a flight information service and an alerting service (ALRS) are provided. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) delegates which country is responsible for the operational control of a given FIR. FIRs are the largest regular division of airspace in use in the world today, and have existed at least since 1947.

Prior to this Jessica Asiedu worked as a Geographical Information System (GIS) consultant which has many aspects linked to the aviation industry.

Jessica Asiedu holds a BSc in Computer Science from Ashesi University in Ghana and has also studied at Ghana’s GCAA Aviation Training Academy, South Africa’s ATNS and Spain’s SENASA for various Air traffic Control courses. She also has certification in various areas of her expertise.

Tigist Eshetu, Rgional Director India and Sub-continents Ethiopian Airlines (Ethiopia)

Since January 2020, Tigist Eshetu is the Rgional Director India and Sub-continents Ethiopian Airlines

Tigist Eshetu obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in management and public administration from Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia and a Master in Business Administration from Lincoln University in Pennsylvania. She has enjoyed a two-decade stint at Ethiopian Airlines, gaining experience in operations, cargo and pricing. She worked as area manager Zambia for the airline, prior to assuming her current role in Mumbai.

Susan Nambusi, Jet Fuel Data Analyst, Kenya Airways (Kenya)

Susan Nambusi is an Aviation environment specialist with a focus in Fuel Data Analysis, Fuel efficiency and Carbon emissions reduction at Kenya Airways, where she drives resource and process optimization through recommendation of policy and process improvement. She oversees Kenya Airways critical data collection and coordinates with the Kenya CAA in the review of State action plan for CO2 mitigation activities in accordance with Doc9988.

Her tenure has seen the airline achieve savings through various fuel saving initiatives.

Susan Nambusi is a licensed Flight Dispatcher with over 9 years extensive technical knowledge in Boeing and Embraer aircraft performance which has complemented her current role.

Susan Nambusi sits as a member, in the Airline’s Occupational Safety and health committee where she champions the improvement of employees working environment. She also shares her expertise as an observer, in the IATA Sustainability and Environment Advisory Council (SEAC), and as a member of the ICAO Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection (CAEP) LTAG task group.

Pumla Luhabe, Manager Brand, Marketing, Loyalty, Guest Experience, South African Airways (South Africa)

Since January 2021, Pumla Luhabe is Manager Brand, Marketing, Loyalty, Guest Experience at South African Airways, after serving as acting chief commercial officer. Pumla Luhabe is part of the leadership team whose main focus is to execute the turnaround strategy and grow the airline into a sustainable business.

Pumla Luhabe has been in the airline industry for more than 26 years having started out as one of the first Management Trainees at South African Airways where she spent two years in New York getting to grips with the Sales and Marketing environment. She was the General Manager – Commercial at Mango, a subsidiary of South African Airways where she successfully managed the growth of the Low Cost Carrier’s sales revenue.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Media Studies from Rhodes university; she followed an Executive Development Program at Wits Business School and holds a Postgraduate Diploma , Business Administration and Management, General from Wits Business School, in South Africa.

Yvonne Stéphanie Yalla Beteye, Country Manager Kenya Airways Cameroon and Gabon (Cameroon)

Since August 2014, Yvonne Stéphanie Yalla Beteye is Kenya Airways’s Country Manager Kenya in Cameroon and Gabon. Prior to that, she worked for Ecobank in Cameroon as Head Market & Customer center, responsible for execution of the strategic marketing plan including product development, pricing and marketing communications. Stéphanie Yalla Beteye holds a MBA from University of Liverpool and a Master in management from Essec de Douala.

Angeline Simana, African Civil Aviation commision (AFCAC), Director Air Transport (South Africa)

Until July 2022, Angeline Simana was the Acting Secretary General of the African Civil Aviation Commission (ACAC), where she is also Director of Air Transport. She holds an M. Phil (Transport and Logistics) with the University of Stellenbosch, Western Cape Province, in the Republic of South Africa and an Undergraduate Bachelor’s Degree; with majors in Economics and Management Science with the University of Namibia.

She started her professional career with the South African Ministry of Works and Transport as a Transport Economist in 2000 and was subsequently promoted to Deputy Director Transportation Policy in 2006 and Director Transportation Policy and Regulation in 2007. Her appointment as the Director of Civil Aviation concurrently with that of the Director of Transportation Policy, marked one of the most significant opportunities for her professional growth, awareness of self and self- knowledge of her God-given propensity to influence her private and public life and workspace for the common good of society.

Andile Mtetwa-Amaeshi, Director General, E-Swatini Civil Aviation Authority (E-Swatini)

Andile Mtetwa-Amaeshi is the director general ar E-Swatini Civil Aviation Authority and the Vice-President Southern Region at African Civil Aviation Organization (10 states) Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi. Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, Zimbabwe).

Beatrice Muthoga, Assistant Security Manager – Quality Control, Kenya Airports Authority, (Kenya)

Since 2015, Beatrice Muthoga works for the Kenya Airports Authority as the Assistant Security Manager in charge of Aviation Security Quality Control at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA), Nairobi, Kenya. She is responsible for the quality control activities such as Audits, Surveys, Inspections and Tests at the JKIA

From 2012 to 2015, Beatrice Muthoga was the Aviation Security Instructor responsible for the security training at JKIA. Prior to that, she was a Security Supervisor at Wilson Airport, Nairobi. She started off as a screener in 2004.

Beatrice  Muthoga is a certified Aviation Security Professional Manager by ICAO and the University of Concordia.She is also an ICAO certified National Inspector and.

Beatrice  Muthoga holds a Diploma in Economic Crime Management and Bachelors in Business Administration both from Kenya Methodist University. She is also a Holder of an MBA in Aviation Management from Moi University.

Sally Osure, Area Manager – Eastern Africa IATA (Kenya)

Sally Osure joined IATA in February 2014 as IATA’s Area Manager for Eastern Africa based in Nairobi. In this capacity, she is responsible for fifteen countries: Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Reunion, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda

Sally Osure began her career at Air France and worked in the sales team. She then joined Kenya Airways working in the distribution arm (Galileo – Kenya), as the sales and support co-ordinator, and was also part of the team that set up Galileo Kenya. Sally Osure then served as country manager – Ivory Coast after which she was transferred to Senegal as country manager – Senegal, Mali & Burkina Faso. Her final position at Kenya Airways was alliances & partnerships manager for Africa.

Sally Osure is a graduate of the university of Nairobi in economics & french, and holds a management diploma from Strathmore College.

Adelaide Amaro, Manager Quality Control & Integrity at Kenya Airways (Kenya)

Adelaide Amaro has over 27 years’ experience in the aviation industry in various administration and management positions and is currently holding the position of Manager Quality Control & Integrity at Kenya Airways.

Adelaide Amaro started her airline career as a Flight Attendant with the reputable Gulf Air based in the Royal Kingdom of Bahrain where she held various capacities in the cabin. She’s trained locally and internationally and is rated on various air crafts:- Boeing, Airbus, Fokker & Embraer.

Before joining the aviation industry, Adelaide Amaro used to work at the Egyptian Embassy in the defence department of the defence attache’s office meaning she is a veteran in the field.

Adelaide Amaro has worked as an Aviation Consultant for various local airlines with approval by Kenya Civil Aviation Authority. She has specialized in operational planning, business process improvement, safety auditing, professional development programs as well as development of operation manuals. Adelaide Amaro has extensive knowledge in aviation training in both safety & aviation security among other corporate prerequisite programs. Displayed proficiency in VIP customer service and was recognized by several Heads of State for exceptional onboard service delivery, diplomacy & etiquette.

Susan Mashibe, founder and CEO VIA Aviation Limited (Tanzania)

Susan Mashibe is FAA certified commercial pilot and an aircraft maintenance technician, the first female with both qualifications in Tanzania. At present she runs VIA Aviation Limited “VIA”, formerly Tanzanite Jet Centre, a Fixed Base Operation company she founded in 2003, specializing in logistical support for private jets in the Africa region. VIA Aviation Limited e’s clients include heads of state, monarchs, Fortune 500 executives, celebrities and the military staff.

Since 2012, Susan Mashibe has been the Africa Regional Lead for the National Business Aviation Association and also a board member of ONE.org Africa Policy Advisory Board.

Susa Mashibe studied Aviation at Western Michigan University and completed leadership modules at Oxford and Harvard University.

She is a 2011 WEF Young Global Leader and an Archbishop Tutu Fellow of 2009. I am also a 2011 Fortune Most Powerful Woman mentee and Jennifer Potter Emerging Leader Fellow of 2013.

She strives to promote math and science, paying special attention to female pupils in primary and secondary schools in Tanzania. She is passionate about the environment and nature.

Sibongile Sambo, founder and Managing director of SRS Aviation

Sibongile Sambo is the founder and Managing director of SRS Aviation, an Air Charter Company that operates Fixed Wing Aircrafts, Helicopters, and Drones. Sibongile has also expanded her business into Aerospace Manufacturing through Dynamic Aerotech and Aero Metals (Pty) Ltd.

Sibongile Sambo received many awards. In December 2014, She has been nominated by the International Civil Aviation organization (ICAO) and The International Aviation Womens Association (IAWA), to be honored as one of the women pioneers in aviation.

Bongiwe Pityi, General Manager O. R Tambo International Airport at Airports Company South Africa

Fotografia:Cacalos Garrastazu2014

Since august 2014, Bongiwe Pityi is the General Manager of Oliver Tambo International Airport at Airports Company South Africa. Oliver Tambo International Airport is South Africa’s largest airport and Africa’s busiest airport for passenger traffic.

Graduate in law, Bongiwe Pityi-Vokwana is an admitted attorney of the High Court of South Africa with a 21 year track record in the aviation industry who has fulfilled several management and Executive roles for Airports Company South Africa, both locally and abroad. In her role as General Manager, she manages O.R. Tambo International Airport, the biggest and busiest airport on the African continent.  Under her leadership, as General Manager of O.R. Tambo International Airport, the airport contributed R30.3 billion to the South African economy and directly supported 60 662 jobs.

Prior to that Bongiwe Pityi-Vokwana was Deputy director Operational Readiness Planning,GRU international Airport, in Sao Polo, Brazil. GRU Airport regarded as the busiest, biggest airport serves as the main gateway in South America which handled 36 million passengers per annum, at the time.

In the run up to 2014 FIFA Soccer World Cup, the portfolio was entrusted with the responsibility to integrate new infrastructure into current operation (project cost $R3bn). Using the ORAT methodology this task was achieved with great success- on time and within budget.The construction, testing, commissioning, trialing and the Go-Live operations of this mega infrastructure remains the first of its kind in Brazil with all works having been undertaken in 18 months. Globally, records of similar sized airport passenger terminal buildings (capacity to handle 12 million passengers per annum) indicate the time taken to build and operationalize the facility as being unprecedented. The new international passenger terminal building at GRU was seamlessly opened to the public on 11th May and officially inaugurated by the then Brazilian President, the Honourable Dilma-Rousseff on 20th May2014.

Bongiwe Pityi began her career at Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) as Manager: Landside & Parking Operations at Oliver Tambo international airport. She was the first Manager to be entrusted with the management of ACSA’s parking business in November 2001 post a decision taken by ACSA to in-source the management of parking operations at the then Johannesburg International Airport. The challenge in those years was to provide convenient, accessible and available parking. The method of paying was archaic- cash and at exit.

Bongiwe Pityi managed the transition and upgrade of ACSA’s parking business and in her tenure introduced further innovation such as pay on foot system, credit card payment system at pay-points, available bay detection system, number plate recognition system improving safety and security for passenger vehicles. This was complemented with installation of visible signage directing passengers to various parkades and products.

At the time of her promotion to Assistant General Manager at Durban International Airport in 2005, the parking revenue grew at a much higher compound rate than is currently being achieved. In the financial year 2004/05 the parking revenue accounted for 8,02% of the total ACSA income.

From June 2008 to May 2010, Bongiwe Pityi was Operational Readiness Planning Director-new King Shaka International Airport, at Durban, South Africa.

The portfolio was entrusted with the responsibility to manage,lead the transition of the old airport and Go-Live operations at the new airport. In 2006,the South African Government took the decision to have a new green field airport built in Durban in time to host the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup Tournament.

Using the ORAT methodology, the new airport with a capacity to handle 7,5 million passengers per annum was built and operationalized in 33 months, on time and within budget (project cost R7.2 billion). On 01 May, the new airport named King Shaka International Airport was seamlessly opened to the public. It was officially inaugurated by the then South African President, Jacob Zuma on 08 May 2010.

After commissioning, Bongi Pityi, was responsible for the operational stabilization as well as the day-to-day management of all operational, regulatory and licensing functions of the airport.

Firiehiwot Mekonnen, Country Manager Germany at Ethiopian Airlines (Ethiopia)

Since July 2020, Firiehiwot Mekonnen is the Country Manager in Germany and central Europe office for Ethiopian Airlines, after serving in the same capacity in Nigeria from December 2017 to June 2020. Prior to that, she was traffic and sales manager for Ethiopian airlines in Abuja and supervisor corporate accounts.

She began her career at Ethiopian Airlines in 2006 as ticket agent, before becoming sales representative.

She holds a Master’s degree, Integrated Marketing Communications from the University of Mississippi, USA, and a Bachelor of Arts – BA, Marketing/Marketing Management, General, from Addis Ababa University.

Nicola Smith, King Phalo Airport Manager (E-Swatini/South Africa)

Nicola Smith is the first woman to manage King Phalo Airport, an airport serving East London, a city in the Eastern Cape province on the southeast coast of South Africa. The King Phalo Airport has experienced the fastest growth in South Africa, post-lockdown, with passenger growth at aorund 34%, compared to an average of 10% for other airports.

Nicola Smith joined the King Phalo team in March 2021, after running Kimberley Airport (South Africa) for two years, during which time it won an airport service quality (QSA) award.

As King Phalo Airport’Manager, Nicola Smith is responsible for driving a well-organised end-to-end operation, to ensure the highest level of customer service and an improved airport experience. This also entailed building and maintaining healthy and diverse internal and external relationships.

From January 2015 to September 2018, Nicola Smith was Manager Occupational Health and Safety at Airports Company South Africa. Prior to that, she was Manager Safety Health Environment et King Shaka International Airport, after serving as HOD Safety,Health and Environment (Durban International Airport).

Nicola Smith started her career in the aviation sector in 2005 as Ground Safety Specialist at South African Airways.

Nicola Smith studied business management at Varsity College in Durban, but halted her studies in her second year. she dreamed of becoming a flight attendant but did not know where to start. “I used to take flights from Durban International Airport to Matshapa Airport in Eswatini to visit my family while I was at high school. Every time I boarded a flight, I felt like, this is where I belong.Though I am originally from Eswatini, I have spent most of my life in SA”, she said in an interview with dispatchlive.co.za.

Her foray into aviation was by chance, or providence, in 1995. “One day, I had taken a flight from Durban to Johannesburg to visit a friend, and happened to be smartly dressed. Apparently there were interviews going on [in Johannesburg] and a woman there thought I was an interviewee. She said I should take part and I took that chance. And what do you know? I got the job!”

Nicola Smith got to travel the world with SAA on international routes, and said some of her favourite destinations included New York, Lagos and Ghana.

A chance stint to assist with data capturing for a month led her to a new job at SAA and she had a passion to learn everything she could about aviation.

“When I was data capturing, I used to ask what it is I am capturing — I had a lot of questions. Reading those flight safety reports ignited a desire to know more about operations, particularly aviation ground safety. I went on every aviation safety course that was available, eventually obtaining a diploma in airline safety management, going on to obtain accreditation in international airport management. It was not easy. Hard work and commitment are essential”, she told dispatchlive.co.za.

Nicola Smith stayed with South African Airways for 12 years, before joining Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) in 2008.

Tigist Terefe Teshome, Country Manager Ethiopian Airlines- Kenya (Ethiopia)

Since august 2020, Tigist Terefe Tereshome is the country manager of Ethiopian Airlines in Kenya. She holds a master degree in marketing management from Addis Ababa University with over twenty years progressive experience at Ethiopian Airlines, where she began in 1998 as head of training-commercial & ground services. At this position, she primarily led and managed the team of instructors in training needs assessment, training program development, training, coaching, mentoring, e-learning development (from subject matter expert end), training planning, training tracking, development of standard working procedures/manuals, bench marking best in class similar training and services, training evaluation. After that, she was promoted manager sales & business development  at Ethiopian Aviation Academy in Addis-Ababa. She was also Manager Customer Service

Maggie Banda Kaunda, Zambia Airports’ acting Managing Director and Deputy Manging director (Zambia)

Since April 2021, Maggie Banda Kaunda is the acting Managing director and the deputy Managing director at Zambia Airports Corporation Limited, which manages 4 airports: Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (Lusaka); Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe International Airport (Ndola); Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula International Airport (formerly Livingstone International Airport); and Mfuwe International Airport. Zambia Airports Corporation Limited has recently invested $1 billion into new airport facilities, including a new terminal (pictured) that has increased annual passenger capacity from 2 million to 6 million at Lusaka’s Kenneth Kaunda International Airport. Maggie Banda Kaunda’s role at Zambia Airports Corporation is to oversee aspects relating to air navigation around the Zambian airspace, oversight of the Technical Services Unit; comprising engineering professionals and airport services, which includes operational oversight of the four (4) International Airports and 10 Aerograms in Zambia.

Maggie Banda Kaunda holds a Master of business Law from the university of Cumbria (UK) and a postgraduate diploma in trade policy and law from Lund University (Sweden), in collaboration with the Trade Policy Training Centre Africa (TRAPCA).

Maggie Banda Kaunda is a legal practitioner with over 16 years’ experience. She obtained her undergraduate Bachelor of Laws Degree from the University of Zambia Great East Road Campus in 2004 and her Legal Practitioner’s Qualifying Exams (Zambia Bar Exam) Certificate in 2005. She has qualifications in Legislative Drafting and has experience in Corporate Governance and Corporate Law having worked in the corporate sector specifically State-Owned Enterprises as Company Secretary for over 10 years. She is a qualified Arbitrator, a qualified Commercial and Court Annexed Mediator as well as a Trade Policy and Law Expert. She is currently Board Chairperson of the Zambia State Insurance Pension Trust Fund.

Lahou Keita, co-founder of Keitas Systems (Mali/Canada)

Aircraft inspector and aviation maintenance expert, Lahou Keita is the first black woman in the world to have created and run a company in aviation maintenance. Originally from Guinea, she is the co-founder, with her sister, of Keitas Systems, an aviation consultancy and expertise company supporting aircraft operators, airlines and maintenance workshops. In particular, the company is a subcontractor for Dassault Falcon Service at Le Bourget, for Falcon inspections in the context of aircraft purchases and sales.

Lahou Keita has also created Tempeus®, the 3rd Ground Data Black Box® that did not exist yet in aviation. Tempeus® is the Ground Data Black Box®(GDBB) with an aircraft failure profile per aircraft, and an MRO portal which is connected to the OEM MRO Marketplace (the Maintenance Hub). Tempeus® aims to close safety gaps. “The aviation industry has created 2 flight recorders that are the black boxes onboard: the flight data recorder (FDR) and the cockpit voice recorder (CVR). But there is one problem, one black box is missing. It is the ground data black box®. Keitas Systems has created this ground data black box®: Tempeus®. Tempeus® records the ground data, that is to say, the evolution of the aircraft’s configuration since the manufacture exit, in order to detect and correct the ground safety issues, to protect the crew, and the passengers. The ground data black box® is always available to be open first, while locating the other two”, explains Lahou Keita.

“Tempeus” is now used by European aircraft operators and maintenance companies.

Lahou Keita prepared for the competitive exams of the National Civil Aviation School (ENAC) in France, Civil Aviation Operations Technician and Civil Aviation Operations Agent, in order to enter the aeronautical maintenance professions. She is a multilingual and speak 6 languages, including Finnish. She started her aeronautical career at Aéroports de Paris, at Roissy Charles de Gaulle, in the aircraft centring department. She continued her career in customer support for maintenance management at Dassault Falcon Service (a subsidiary of Dassault Aviation) at Le Bourget airport. Then, she moved to Switzerland (Geneva), where she worked in maintenance centres such as Ruag Aviation (owned by the Swiss Confederation) and Jet Aviation. She then co-founded Keitas Systems in 2011 with her sister Fatou Keita, a medical doctor and HEC graduate in Corporate Finance.

Fadimatou Noutchemo Managing Director of Afrijet in Cameroon

On April 2022, Fadimatou Noutchemo, a Cameroonian national, has been appointed General Manager in Cameroon of Afrijet, a Gabonese airline operating scheduled flights to a number of airports throughout Cameroon, Gabon, São Tomé, and the Republic of Congo.

Founded in 2005 in Libreville, Afrijet became the first airline in the CEMAC zone in 2019. Afrijet employs 250 people in Gabon, Congo, Cameroon, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Sao Tome and Benin and operates a fleet of 6 turboprops from the European manufacturer ATR.

Since July 2014, Fadimatou Noutchemo Simo has been the founder and president of the Young African Aviation Professional Association (YAPA), based in Douala, Cameroon. Her goal is to address the shortage of qualified professionals in the aviation and aerospace industry in Africa, as well as in other science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields, by motivating and encouraging young people to pursue careers in these areas.

Fadimatou Noutchemo is also the founder of Hefa group Sarl, an aviation business development consultancy. In December 2021, the Cameroonian was appointed independent expert of the new French Observatory of Sustainable Aviation.

From November 2018 to April 2019, Fadimatou Noutchemo served as director of strategy and business development for Cronos Airlines, a company based in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea. Previously, she was head of logistics, head of administration, executive secretary in operations at Camair-Co, the national airline of Cameroon, where she worked for 6 years, from 2010 to 2016, and also held the position of head of administration.

After Camair-Co, Fadimatou Noutchemo worked, for a little over a year, as Business Development Manager and Account Manager in Cameroon at SITA (Société Internationale de Télécommunication Aéronautique), an international organization established in 1949 that provides communications and IT services to the aviation industry.

Fadimatou Noutchemo began her professional career at Huawei Technologies in 2006 as a human resources generalist, before joining the customer service department of the Nigerian bank United Bank for Africa.

In 2019, Fadimatou Noutchemo was the first African to receive the “High Flyer Award” from the International Air Transport Association (IATA). The award was presented to her on Monday, June 3, 2019 in Seoul, South Korea, at the end of the Global Air Transport Summit held after the 75th IATA Annual General Meeting. It also won the Commonwealth Point of Light 2019 award was selected for the Global leadership in international aviation. In 2021, she became second vice president of African Sports Tourism Week (ASTW).

Fadimatou Noutchemo holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Buea, Cameroon, and an IATA diploma for airline management. She is the president of the Cameroon chapter of Women in Aviation International, a U.S.-based nonprofit organization that provides networking, education, mentoring and scholarship opportunities for women and men in careers in the aviation and aerospace industries.

Nozipho Portia Mdawe, CEO of Air Traffic and Navigation Services (South Africa)

Since April 1 2022, Nozipho Portia Mdawe is the CEO of Air Traffic and Navigation Services in South Africa, the second woman to hold his position.

Air Traffic and Navigation Services SOC Limited (ATNS) provides air traffic, navigation, training and associated services within South Africa and a large part of the Southern Indian and Atlantic Ocean, comprising approximately 10% of the world’s airspace.

Nozipho Portia Mdawe is a former Chief Operating Officer and acting Chief Executive Officer at Transnet National Ports Authority, which is part of Transnet, major South African railway, port and pipeline company. Her Transnet career spans 14 years. She began in the Transnet Corporate Office in 2001, where she drove organizational transformation and worked to align the company’s Human Resources development strategies with organizational objectives and strategies. At Transnet Port Terminals she served for three years as a Business Unit Executive before moving to Transnet Freight Rail (TFR), first as Area Production Manager for the Gauteng Cluster’s production and operations activities and then as Deputy General Manager for Inland Operations. She was promoted and served as General Manager: Mineral Mining and Chrome at TFR between March 2012 and 2015, managing a complement of 1285 employees, turnover of R5.7 billion per annum with total volumes that grew from 18.6 million tons in 2013 to 24 million tons in 2014.

Between July 2015 and April 2018, Nozipho Portia Mdawe has also served as Secretary General of the Port Management Association of Eastern and Southern Africa (PMAESA), based in Mombasa (Kenya), a non-profit intergovernmental organization composed of port operators, government ministries, logistics and maritime service providers and other stakeholders in the port and shipping sector in the East, West and Southern Africa and Indian Ocean regions. She was also a member of the strategic committee of the Crans Montana Forum Ports Club.

Sara Pires, President of Transportes Aéreos de Cabo Verde

In August 2021, Sara Pires was elected President of the Board of Directors of Transportes Aéreos de Cabo Verde, the country’s national airline. Sara Pires is the first woman to hold this position. Prior to that, she was President of the Board of Directors of the National Radio and Television of Cape Verde. She holds a postgraduate in risk management and postgraduate in applied econometry and forecasting in addition to a bachelor’s degree in applied mathematics to economics and management (Portugal). She worked as auditor in the insurance field and has also an international experience, after working as higher statistical technician at the national institute of statistics in Portugal.

Esmaralda Barnes, Airport manager, Upington Airport, South Africa

Esmaralda Barnes has 27 years of Aviation Management experience and 14 years of Customer Care experience. She is currently the airport manager of Upington Airport. She was appointed as South Africa’s first woman manager of an international airport in 1996. She then moved to Matavia Airlines where she managed their South African operations before moving to the UAE, followed by a short stay in the Gambia. In 2001, Esmaralda Barnes was approached by the South African Civil Aviation Authority to take over the management of Pietermaritzburg Airport, the primary airport serving the city of Pietermaritzburg and surrounding areas, including the Midlands and the outer west areas of Durban. In 2003, Airports Company South Africa appointed Esmaralda Barnes as airport Manager at Upington International Airport, a South African airport located in Upington, in the Northern Cape Province. She was transferred to Bram Fischer International Airport in 2013. Bram Fischer is the main airport in Bloemfontein, a city in the Free State province of South Africa.

Esmaralda Barnes followed a Management Development Program, Business Administration and Management at GIBS Business School (Gordon Institute of Business Science), in South Africa.

Sophia Ghezai, aviation safety expert (Ethiopia/USA)

Sophie Ghezai is the first female pilot in the history of Ethiopian airlines. Originally from Eritrea and raised in Ethiopia, She is currently the Director of Safety and Operations for Airlines for America, an association that advocates on behalf of its members for critical policies and actions to promote safety, security and a healthy airline industry in the United States. The association works with major U.S. airlines, unions, the U.S. Congress, the U.S. government and other groups to improve the aviation industry for travelers and shippers. Founded in 1936, Airlines for America is one of the oldest aviation associations in the world and is the originator of many aviation standards in the US. Each year, commercial aviation generates nearly $1.5 billion in economic activity in the U.S. and more than 10 million jobs in the country.

Sophia Ghezai now works closely with the country’s major airlines to advise, evaluate and develop standards and procedures that maximise safety and improve operational efficiency.

Sophie Ghezai is also Vice-President, Events at The International Aviation Womens Association (IAWA).

Ewemade Atake, Manager Industry Solutions, Africa and Middle East (AME) at International Air Transport Association (Nigeria)

Since July 2018, Ewemade Atake is the Manager Industry Solutions, Africa and Middle East (AME) at International Air Transport Association (IATA). In this position, she oversees IATA’s commercial activities (with emphasis on training) in the Gulf, Near East, and English-Speaking West Africa (The Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone). She connects the Region to IATA’s various aviation training and financial services by working closely with the appropriate stakeholders. Before joining IATA, Ewemade Atake worked in Nigeria as chief operations officer and commercial manager at Silhouette Travel & Tours Limited. She began her career in the banking sector, working for Consumer Banking Unit, Head Office at Oceanic Bank and as Manager at Zenith Bank plc.

Ewemade Atake holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) Aviation/Airway Management and operations from the university of Coventry. She also holds an executive MBA Aviation/Airway Management and operations from Emirates Aviation University.

Raffaella Irie, Manager, Data and Statistics, African Airlines Association (Ivory Coast)

Raffaella Irie is Manager Data and Statistics at African Airlines Association (AFRAA), since January 2019. She is responsible for formulating and implementing the objectives of the Association’s data strategy and for carrying out all data and statistical activities. Prior to that, she worked for 6 years for Air Côte d’Ivoire as Revenue Management Analyst, where she used her data analysis skills to ensure revenue optimization.

Rafaella Irie holds a Master in applied data science and big data from Data ScienceTech Institute, Paris, France. She also have a diploma in marketing management from The Institute of Commercial Management.

Boni Dibate, Director Africa Affairs Canso (South Africa)

Boni Dibate is the Executive Director at Aviation Africa Plate-Forme and Director Africa Affairs at Canso South Africa. CANSO is the global voice of the air traffic management industry. As the industry association, it brings the world’s air navigation service providers, leading industry innovators and air traffic management specialists together to share knowledge, develop best practice and shape the future for secure and seamless airspace.

Boni Dibate holds a BA Social Science and a MSC degrees in  Clinical Psychology from the Medical University of South Africa. She obtained  her Top Management Program for Public Enterprises in SA certificate at the National University of Singapore , Senior Executive Development Program certificate from Harvard/Wits Business Schools, has Airline Management Integration Program certificate from IATA Aviation Training and Development Institute in Singapore and also possesses a Creative Airline Alliances and Strategic Partnerships  certificate from  Amman Jordan.

She was Executive  Human Resources Manager at TRANSWERk, Chief Executive officer of both Esselen Park centre of excellence and South African Express Airways; Group executive manager support services at Transtel; Chief Operating Officer and Executive Manager Service Delivery at the  Air Traffic and navigation services (ATNS) and currently director CANSO Africa Affairs.

Boni Dibate was the Chairperson, Tourism Business Council of S, Board Member of the  University of Pretoria, President of the Business Women Association and chairperson of  East Gate Airport. She is the director of Dark Fiber Africa (DFA) and worked at South African Express Airways where she was the chairperson of the remuneration committee.

Meseret Tekalign Bekele, Sales and Marketing Manager(Middle East, Gulf and Asia) Ethiopian Airlines (Ethiopia)

Working for Ethiopian Airlines for over 22 years, Meseret Tekalign Bekele is currently Sales and Marketing Manager(Middle East, Gulf and Asia), based in Addis-Ababa. Prior to that, she was the country manager of Ethiopian Airlines Ireland (North Ireland and Republic of Ireland ), after being the country manager of Ethiopian airlines in Seychelles. At this position, she successfully relaunched the station and developed the Ethiopian brand in Seychelles, identified and developed new business opportunities and increased the flight frequency, load, and successfully extended the sales channel from local to an international level by coordinating with  Seychelles tourism board regional directors. She also set up business goals and assigned targets to the general sales agent and achieved productive results for the company; directed the performance of all administrative activities including the control and administration of expenses and obtaining maximum revenue at minimum cost.

Meseret Tekalign Bekele started his career at Ethiopian Airlines in 2000 as reservation agent, before holding several positions of responsibility: senior transportation agent, compliant Resolution and customer service officer, senior sales representative and supervisor sales support.

Charity Muthoni Musila, Representative of Kenya to international civil aviation organization  (Kenya)

Since May 2021, Charity Muthoni is the representative of Kenya to the International Civil Aviation Organization(ICAO), based in Montreal, Canada. Before that, she worked for over 17 years for the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority as director of air navigation services, instrument flight procedure designer and Manager AIS. She also worked as Aeronautical Information Management Advisor for ICAO.

Charity Muthoni holds a MBA from Moi University, Kenya and a bachelor in computing and information systems from university of Portsmouth (UK).

Yemesrach Alemayehu, Area Manager-Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone at Ethiopian Airlines (Ethiopia)

Yemesrach Alemayehu has been working with Ethiopian Airlines for the past thirteen years. During this period, she has moved up the ladder from junior marketing officer to Area Manager at Africa’s largest airline. At this position, Yemesrach Alemayehu enabled Ethiopian airlines to win numerous awards in Ghana, including the Chartered Institute of Marketing Ghana (CIMG) International Airline of the Year 2019 and the ‘Customer Choice Airline of The Year Award’ (2020) at the National Customer Service Awards held in Accra.

Yemesrach Alemayehu also has won “Women in MICE” award of the year in 2020. The award is a recognition given for the great contribution made to improving tourism in Ghana & efforts made behalf of Ethiopian Airlines while repatriating Ghanaian who were stranded in many countries due to Covid-19 worldwide travel restrictions.

Sheila Sdudla Ngidi, Aviation Security Expert at AFCAC (South Africa)

Sheila Ngidi is currently seconded by the South African government to African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC) as an Aviation Security Expert.

Sheila Sdudla Ngidi started her career in 1988 as a Police Officer. During her tenure in the South African Police Service, she was honored to be seconded to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission as an investigator. She was honorably discharged at the rank of Detective Captain.

Sheila Ngidi has 13 years of experience in aviation security. Between 2004 and 2008, she managed Aviation Security at a number of South African Airports, owned and managed by Airports Company South Africa (ACSA). In 2008, she joined the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) as Senior Manager responsible for security of airports and airlines operating in South Africa. During this time, she was a member of two ICAO AVSEC Panel Working Groups.

Sheila Ngidi holds a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree (University of South Africa) and is a certified AVSEC Professional Manager (ICAO in conjunction with John Molson School of Business Leadership, Concordia University, Montreal). She also holds a variety of other courses and diploma’s such as a Diploma in Aviation Security and a Diploma in Police Administration.

Iyabo O. Sosina, Former Secretary General, African Civil Aviation Commission (Nigeria)

Prior to her appointment to the position of Secretary General of AFCAC on 9 January, 2012, Iyabo O. Sosina  was Director, Air Transport Regulation in the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), where she supervised the preparation of the Air Transport Economic Regulations incorporating the Consumer Protection Regulations. She also supervised the automation of the Department as well as the automation or collection from source, of the Sales Charge which formed 95% of the organization’s revenue.

Her aviation career began with the International Relations Department of the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Aviation. A pioneer staff of the NCAA, she held various positions and was part of the team whose work led to the commercialization and liberalization of the air transport industry in Nigeria and the institutionalization of consumer protection programs.

Ms. Sosina has been instrumental in organizing several international and regional conferences and assisted in negotiating more than forty (40) Bilateral Air Services Agreements (BASA) between Nigeria and other countries.

The holder of a Bachelor’s Degree in History/Political Science from the University of Ife, Ile- Ife, Nigeria, Ms. Sosina later obtained her Master of Science Degree in International History from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), University of London. She also has two Diplomas from the IATA Training and Development Institute in Civil Aviation Management and Airport Management. Ms. Sosina has over the course of her career, received training in general management, air transport economics, aviation law, airport, airline and air navigation management. She is a past member of both the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Facilitation Panel (FALP) and the TAG/MRTD and of several other International and Regional Committees and Working Groups.

Ms. Sosina is a recipient of the Merit Award – State House and Merit Award – Federal Ministry of Aviation of Nigeria.

Omoh Anna Ohiomoba, director of investment, aviation and transport logistics at Invest Alberta (Nigeria/Canada)

Omoh Anna Ohiomoba is the director of investment, aviation and transport logistics at Invest Alberta which works directly with investors globally to start up or scale up in Alberta, Canada. As the Director of Investment, Aviation and Transport Logistics, Omoh Anna Ohiomoba is responsible for managing portfolios and providing strategic support to the Aviation and Transport Logistics sectors as enablers to economic development in the Province.

Omoh Anna Ohiomoba has 15 years of business operations experience working in Africa, Europe and North America. She has experience in airport operations and management focusing on strategic planning to deliver revenue growth and support major capital investments. While working as a manager with Airports Council International (Africa Region) she supported economic and market research, airport training, marketing, business development and Government relations leading to growth and development in the African aviation industry.

Omoh Anna Ohiomoba is board member at Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance, a non-profit organization made up of coalition of aerospace companies that serve North America’s largest commercial aerospace manufacturing cluster.

Omoh Anna Ohiomoba holds a Master in international finance from Leeds University

Winnie Muchanyuka Zimbabwe Tourism Authority CEO and former Acting Regional Manager Southern Africa and the Indian Islands of South African Airways (Zimbabwe)

Winnie Muchanyuka is the newly appointed Zimbabwe Tourism Authority CEO et  the immediate past Acting Regional Manager Southern Africa and the Indian Islands of South African Airways. She oversaw Zambia, Malawi, Namibia and Zimbabwe, where she is also the country manager of South African Airways since 2007. She was also the BAR chairperson for past five years, and Zimbabwe Council of Tourism (ZCT) vice-president for the last three years.

She is seasoned airline executive with 30 years of experience working in the commercial & airport operations space. She has extensive experience in commercial activities. Her experience has also exposed her to advocacy and stakeholder relations with public and private sector bodies.

Winnie Muchanyuka holds a Master in tourism and hospitality management from the university of Zimbabwe, a Master of business administration from the university of Gloucestershire (UK) and is and currently studying towards a PhD in Tourism Management and the area of study is Tourism Development in southern Africa looking specifically at increasing tourist arrivals through increased airline access and infra regional connectivity.

After her advanced level, she joined Air Zimbabwe, where she spent 3 years working in the reservations call center and later the Harare city ticket office. She then moved to Swissair where she worked as a sales representative for seven years. She joined Austrian Airlines, Sabena and finally South African Airways in 2000, rising to country head for Zimbabwe from a sales executive position.

Winnie Muchanyuka sits on the IATA Local Carrier Advisory Group, Board of Airline Representatives, Tourism Business Council of Zimbabwe and on the advisory board of Amena Africa, an aviation consultancy entity.

Chrizelda Natasha George, 35, Airport Manager for Walvis Bay International Airport (Namibia)

Since February 2016, the 35 years old Chrizelda Natasha George  is the airport manager for Walvis Bay International Airport, the second major gateway that is developed and managed by Namibia Airports Company (NAC). The Airport is strategically located in the dunes of the Namib Desert about fifteen (15) kms from the harbor town of Walvis Bay. The airport operates daily flights to Windhoek, Johannesburg and Cape Town, while enjoying the spectacular scenes of the Namib Desert, the world’s oldest desert. George has 15 years’ experience in civil aviation, which includes working as a commercial pilot; in air traffic operations; airport certification and surveillance; and in the approval of airport manuals and safety management systems. She worked for the International Civil Aviation Organisation as a senior aerodrome (airport) inspector from January 2015 and primarily assisted with the implementation of the Namibia aviation regulatory provisions related to the operation and licensing of aerodromes and heliports.

She also worked for the Directorate of Civil Aviation in Namibia between September 2011 and December 2014 as an aerodrome inspector, and as an air traffic controller before becoming an inspector.

Kaone Kamanakao, Board Member, Civil aviation authority of Botswana

Kaone Rubicellé Kamanakao is a decorated Commercial Pilot, Flight Instructor and an International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Aviation Safety Inspector. She was appointed to the Board of the Civil Aviation Authority of Botswana (CAAB) in May 2021, bringing with her over 10 years of varied aviation experience.

At the age of 21, Kaone Kamanakao received her Commercial Pilot License from Blue Chip Flight School in Pretoria, Republic of South Africa where she was honored with the 2012 South African Designated Flight Examiner Award for demonstrating a superb level of aircraft handling and professionalism. She received her Flight Instructor’s Rating from the same school. After graduating she became a flight instructor at Botswana Flying Academy.

Kaone Kamanakao has previously worked as a Line Pilot, Training Captain, Flight Operations Manager. She has also held the position of Flight Operations Inspector with CAAB. Before joining the Board, Kaone Kamanakao had been working as an Aviation Ground Manager for Wilderness Air Botswana. A graduate of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), Kaone Kamanakao is also the Executive Director of the “Girl Fly Program in Africa Foundation (GFPA) Botswana” and the Founding President of “Women in Aviation: Botswana Chapter. Both organizations have been set up for the mentoring and education for women and girls in the aviation and aerospace industry.

She is the Chairperson of the Human Resource and Remuneration Committee of the CAAB Board.

Thabile Mathe, Director: Facilitation, Technology and Innovation, Aviation Council International (ACI) – Africa (South Africa)

Thabile Mathe has joined ACI Africa on January 2022 as director facilitation, technology and innovation. Prior to her appointment as the director facilitation, technology and innovation, she served, for 4 years, as the chief strategy and performance officer responsible for strategy formulation, monitoring and evaluation, and management of strategic initiatives at Airports Company South Africa.

Zahira Bouaouda, first woman to head an aerospace company in Morocco

As of July 3, 2019, Zahira Bouaouda has been appointed president of MATIS Aerospace, a joint venture owned 50/50 by Safran Electrical & Power and Boeing, specialising in aeronautical electrical wiring. She is the first woman to hold this position and also the first woman to head an aerospace company in Morocco.

Zahira Bouaouda, 43, began her career in 1997 as an auditor with “Dorlian & Associés” and then “MCA & Associés”. She then joined KPMG Morocco in 2001 as a Senior Manager, before joining MATIS Aerospace in 2006 as Finance Director. In 2017, she was appointed Director of Operations, a position she held before her appointment as President of Matis Aerospace.

Zahira Bouaouda holds a double degree in business administration and management and in public accounting from the Institut Supérieur de Commerce et d’Administration des Entreprises, obtained in 1997 and 2005 respectively.

Toyin Olajide, Chief Operating Officer, Air Peace (Nigeria)

Toyin Olajide led Nigeria’s first “all female flight crew” when Air Peace Airline, a leading airline in Nigeria, operated a round trip flight from Lagos to Abuja and finally landed at Owerri Airport in Imo State, for the first leg and a return journey to Lagos through Abuja, amid thunderous, carnival-like celebrations. The successful flight marked a milestone in Nigeria’s aviation history.

Toyin Olajide holds a First Class Honours degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Lagos with over 20 airline industry professional certificates in her kitty.

After being pilot, Toyin Olajide applied as Head of Safety and was employed in February 2014, for the same position. Two months after, she went to the School of Aeronautics, in Sheffield, United States of America and got her Federal Aviation Authority (FAA licence). When she came back In Nigeria in early June, she was still functioning as Head of Safety, whose responsibility then was to oversee functions of the whole operations, all the departments and was involved to review many things in maintenance and operations. Then, she has been appointed as Chief Operating Officer of Air Peace.

Khangi Khoza, CEO of Swissport South Africa

Khangi Khoza is the first woman appointed as CEO of Swissport SA, which  provides airport ground services and cargo handling. An experienced economist with a demonstrated history of working in the public and private sector, she worked in the banking sector before becoming involved in international relations at the Swiss embassy in Pretoria as an economic adviser.

Khangi Khoza has a strong public and private finance professional with a Master’s degree focused in Economics from Stellenbosch University.

Ana Francisco da Silva Major, President of the Board of directors, TAAG Angola Airlines

Ana Francisco da Silva Major was elected Chairperson of the TAAG Board of Directors in October 2021, having worked for 28 years as Legal Director for the US multinational Chevron in the Southern African region.

Ana Francisco da Silva Major holds a Master of Laws degree from the University of California (Davis School of Law) and a Bachelor of Laws degree from Agostinho Neto University, Angola.

Patricia Kra-Aka, Area Manager West Africa at Kenya Airway (Ivory Coast)

Patricia Kra-Aka has worked for Kenya Airways for almost 20 years. Since April 2003, she is Area Manager West Africa ( both Anglophone and Francophone), after having held the position of Area Manager North -West and Central Africa Francophone.

Gloria Wilkinson Mensah , Country Manager at South African Airways Ltd. (Ghana)

Gloria Wilkinson Mensah is the country manager at South African Airways in Ghana, the position she held since 19 years (June 2003).

Gloria Wilkinson has 23 years working career in Airline Aviation and Customer care in Hospitality industries. 17 years of her work experience and exposure is in Airline Commercial and Operations management, leading teams to deliver on business target results.

She is a graduate in management from the University of Stellenbosch Business School (South Africa) and has completed IATA training in sales and marketing, airline management and international negotiations.

Esmee Samson, general manager Air Navigation Services, Seychelles Civil Aviation Authority

Esmée Samson has been working for the Seychelles Civil Aviation Authority (SCAA) for more than 32 years and she is among the few Seychellois women who have ‘made it’ in the aviation industry. She currently holds the post of general manager of the Air Navigation Services at Seychelles Civil Aviation Authority.

.Esmée Samson joined civil aviation on July 1, 1987 and has been in this fields since 37 years.

Elize Petersen, Deputy Chaiperson, Namibia Airports Company

Elize Petersen is the deputy Chaiperson at Namibia Airports Company which develop, manage and operate eight (8) airports in Namibia.

Elize Petersen is a seasoned retired administrator with great experience in diplomacy, negotiations and being a strategist throughout her career with key Government Agencies, Diplomatic Partners as well as the Private Sector.  She served Air Namibia as the Head of Government, Bilateral and International Relations, Sales Manager and Human Resources Manager respectively.

Elize Petersen holds a bachelor’s degree of Business Administration/Management obtained from the University of Stellenbosch South Africa and a Human Resources Management Certificate, 2007 from the International Air Transport Association  (IATA).

Ruth M. Maweu, Country Manager Kenya Airways Zambia (Kenya)

Ruth M. Maweu has worked for Kenya Airways for 16 years. Currently country manager in Zambia, she has held the same position in Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Malawi.

She holds an MBA from the East and Southern Africa Management Institute and a Bachelor of Education from Kenyatta University.

Juliet Mutheu Kyeva, Air Traffic Controller,Serco (Kenya/ United Arab Emirates)

Since June 2022, Juliet Mutheu Kyeva in Air Traffic Controller at Serco in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Prior to that, she was Head of Training (A GCAA Post Holder) internal quality and compliance in Fujairah Air Navigation Services in UAE.

Juliet Mutheu Kyeva is a dedicated and motivated Aviation Professional with over 20 years of solid experience working in various capacities in aviation operations and training within Air Traffic Management (ATM), Air Navigation Services (ANS), Safety Management Systems (Civil Aviation) and Human Factors in Aviation. Her love for aviation has seen her render her expertise in three countries, that is, active Air Traffic Control, Air Traffic Control On-Job-Instruction and ATC Unit Incident Investigation in South Africa (Air Traffic and Navigation Services SOC) and Kenya (Kenya Civil Aviation Authority). In the United Arab Emirates, she has served in various capacities, that is, Air Traffic Control Classroom Instructor (Fujairah Aviation Academy), Air Traffic Services Instructor, Course Developer and volunteer Internal Auditor (Fujairah International Airport). Currently, she is serving as the Head of Training (A GCAA Post Holder) in Fujairah Air Navigation Services Air Traffic Control Approved Training Organization. FANS Training Center offers Air Traffic Control Training (Initial, Rating, Conversion, Refresher and related developmental training relevant to ATCs). Also, the centre conducts specialized Aviation Industry Training relevant for all Aviation Professionals. Juliet Mutheu Kyeva has a passion for training, coaching and mentoring young aspiring aviation professionals and watching them bloom into their full potential. Apart from Air Traffic Control and Training, she also has a great interest in Aviation Safety which led her to pursue an IATA Diploma in Safety Management Systems (Civil Aviation) and completed a Master of Science in Psychology. Her long-term objective is to transition to Aviation Safety as a Human Factors Specialist as she loves working with people and also to continue working in active Air Traffic Control and Aviation Training.

Juliet Aboagye-Waife, deputy director General of the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority

Since September 2020, Juliet Aboagye-Wiafe, a seasoned auditor, is the deputy director General, Finance and Administration of the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), appointed by the Ghanaian president, Nana Akufo-Addo. She is the first female to be appointed to this position. Ms Aboagye-Waife has an in-depth knowledge of the Aviation Industry having worked with the Ghana Airports Company Limited( GACL) as the Director of Audit for over 10 years, where she ensured the restructuring of the Audit department to make it more efficient and also helped improved controls , and overall governance processes of GACL. Prior to joining the Ghana Airports Company in 2010, she worked with Pannel Kerr Forster Charted Accountant as Management Trainee and later joined Ghacem Limited, a member of the Heidelberg Cement Group for 17 years.

She is, among others, the President of the Women in Aviation International, Ghana Chapter, and a member of the Association of women Accountants Ghana.

Flora Alphonce, Director of Air Navigation Services, Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority

Flora Alphonce is director of Air Navigation Services at Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority, since March 1, 2022. She was the Chief Air Navigation Engineer prior to this appointment. She has over 14 years working experience and she is passionate about science and solving technical and operational challenges that are brought about by advancement in technology. She has a very good knowledge of the National and International aviation system; She joined TCAA in April 2006 as Air Navigation Engineer and has also worked from 2014 to 2017 in Dakar Senegal with EGNOS Africa, a joint programme of EU and Africa for Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS).

Flora Alphonce has developed over the years extensive experience on Planning, implementing Managing Air navigation Services; As Aviation expert in the JPO, she played a key role in the development of the Roadmap for implementation of GNSS/EGNOS aviation applications in Africa.

Flora Alphonce is a member of the Science and Allied Technologies (SAT) Subject Board of the National Council for Technical Education (NACTE) and is registered Professional Engineer with Tanzania Engineers Registration Board and Institution of Engineers Tanzania – Women’s Chapter.

Flora Alphonce is a graduate from the University of Dar-Es-Salaam, with a BSc Degree in Telecommunications Engineering, she also holds a specialized Masters in Satellite based Communication, Navigation and Surveillance, including GNSS, for Aviation from Ecole Nationale de lAviation Civile (ENAC) of France and pursuing Masters of Business Administration from University of Birmingham – UK.

Maria Makalla Memba, Director Legal Services, Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority

Maria Makalla-Memba is the director of legal services at Tanzania civil aviation authority(TCAA, since March 01, 2022. She was principal legal officer prior to this appointment.

Maria Makalla-Memba is a versatile legal counsel of the TCAA with 15 years of experience. In the aviation industry. She played a big role in ensuring the civil aviation regulations within the East Africa Community are developed and harmonized, the team comprised of members from all the EAC states. Furthermore, she continues to play leading role in ensuring the compliance level to all aviation laws in the United Republic of Tanzania is always maintained.

Maria Makalla Memba is an advocate of the High Court of Tanzania and its subordinate courts with the exception of the Primary Court and a graduate of the Faculty of Law of the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM), she possess a huge experience of litigation, negotiation, consultation and legal counseling which she gained while working in at the Attorney General chambers, Private Law Practices and the Ministry of Lands and Urban Settlement in Tanzania. She has participated in various professional training programs within Tanzania and outside and attended several workshops and seminars. She also holds a master’s in law Degree in Information Technology and Telecommunications, from the Open University of Tanzania.

Tendai Mubwanda, Paint technician at Emirates airline engineering (Zimbabwe/United Arab Emirates)

Tendai Mubwanda joined Emirates Engineering on 2 March 2015, as a Senior Paint Hall Mechanic at the Aircraft Appearance Centre. She worked in the paint shop for the first six months before moving to the aircraft paint hangar. She carries out the full repainting process, and is proud to give Emirates aircraft’s appearance a new lease of life. Painting is a complex process which involves a lot of preparation before, during and after stripping off the old paint — all before the application of new paint. As a paint mechanic, it’s her duty to ensure that all her colleagues work safely, as their job entails working at heights and handling harmful chemicals. Personal safety, as well as aircraft and equipment safety, are priorities in the paint hangar.

Tendai Mubwanda is the only woman on the team and this initially came with its own share of trials. In her first year, she worked extra hard to prove herself, and felt a duty to set a precedent for other women to join the team in the future.

Tendai Mubwanda was part of the team which repainted Emirates first A380 in-house. “It was a mammoth task painting the world’s largest passenger aircraft. Being a part of the team that achieved this milestone in aviation history was truly memorable”, she said . Apart from painting aircraft, the Aircraft Appearance Centre also installs livery decals on Emirates fleet.

Growing up, Tendai Mubwanda was always curious and fascinated by aircraft. When she was younger, she wanted to be cabin crew, but as she grew older, her fascination shifted to the engineering aspect of aviation. When the opportunity presented itself, she realised there aren’t many women who specialize in aircraft painting. She turned out there weren’t any trained female aircraft painters in her country, Zimbabwe, so she figured why not become the first registered female aircraft painter? She trained for it and have enjoyed every bit of her journey so far, she said. Before joining Emirates, Tendai Mubwanda was Aircraft Painter at Air Force of Zimbabwe. Prior to that, she was Aircraft Technician at Air Zimbabwe Private Limited.

She has a diploma in aircraft spray painting from the School of Technical Training

Amélia Domingues Kuvingua, Chair of the Board of Directors Autoridade Nacional de Aviação Civil (Angola)

Since May 2022, Amélia Domingues Kuvingua is the chair of the Board of Directors of the Nacional de Aviação Civil (ANAC) , in Angola. Prior to this appointment, she was, since September 2021 deputy Coordinator of the Transition Board of the National Institute of Civil Aviation (INAVIC) which is called now Nacional de Aviação Civil. From 2017 to 2021, she was the Deputy Director General for the Administration and Finance area of INAVIC. From 2013 to 201, Amélia Domingues Kuvingua  was the Head of the Legal and Regulation Department of the National Institute of Civil Aviation. From 2008 to 2013, she was Senior Technician of the Legal and Regulation Department of the INAVIC

Clara Mpili, Ag. Director Safety Regulation, Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (Tanzania)

Clara Mpili has extensive experience in the aviation industry. She is currently Acting Director Safety Regulation at Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority, since November 11 2020. She was the Chief Air Navigation Services Inspector prior to this appointment.

As an Inspector, Clara Mpili has gained valuable expertise in safety regulatory system. She has very wide range of responsibilities including: carrying out efficient and effective safety oversight activities with the objective of enhancing safe operations of aircraft in compliance with national and international standards.

Clara Mpili completed Advanced Diploma in Telecommunication and Electronics Engineering. She also holds Masters of Communication Engineering specialized in Microwave Technology and Masters in Business Administration.

Ines Uwimbabazi, board member, Rwanda Airports Company (Rwanda)

Ines Uwimbabazi is a board member at Rwanda airports Company (RAC), a subsidiary of  “The  Aviation, Travel and Logistics Holding Limited”, a Holding  Group wholly owned  by the government of Rwanda with the mission to bundle air transport businesses for sustainable growth of the sector. Rwanda Airports Company Ltd  has within its purview the daily management, operation and provision of air navigation services  for all airports in  the country.

Ines Uwimbabazi is a Project Engineer in charge of airports infrastructure development at Aviation, Travel & Logistics (ATL). She is also a Professional Quantity Surveyor with a Master’s degree in Construction Project Management from the United Kingdom who possesses a diverse skill set and experience in airport technical operations.

Violet Vuguza Anyonge, Cabin Crew Training Manager, Emirates Airlines (Kenya/United Arab Emirates)

Violet Vuguza Anyonge joined Emirates in 2008 as an induction and support manager looking after the Induction and Cabin Crew Training (CCT) administration team. As the business grew, the role was split and she now looks after CCT as the Training Manager – Induction. She manages a team of full-time Induction Specialists and part-time trainers, and as a team they welcome every new joiner, both cabin and flight crew. Last year, they inducted 2,563 cabin crew and 379 pilots into the Emirates family.

Violet Vuguza Anyonge and her team support and guide new joiners to ensure they have a hassle-free induction and seamless transition when they move to Dubai, to join Emirates; she also works closely with her colleagues in Training (across all disciplines) in supporting and guiding new joiners to ensure they set themselves up for success and meet Emirates high standards. Violet Vuguza Anyonge also manages Service Delivery’s full-day My Service Personality training program; supports her colleagues in Commercial, and Corporate Communications, Marketing and Brand, by hosting tours at Emirates crew training facility at Emirates Aviation College, for media, travel agents and VIPs. Last year, she hosted 715 visitors on 57 tours.

When Violet Vuguza Anyonge joined in 2008, Emirates had 10,000 cabin crew. Today, the airlines have almost 22,000 cabin crew who come from all over the world.

Violet Vuguza Anyonge helped implement several productive initiatives, which have either helped to save costs, or improved the employee experience – or both! One example was streamlining the week-long induction period for pilots and cutting it down by half. “We saved time and money by doing so, but haven’t compromised on the quality of the training”, she recalls.

Violet Vuguza Anyonge and her team also discontinued hard copies of the Employee Regulations Manual for new joiners, as it was available on groupworld. This resulted in a saving of around Dhs450,000 a year, and it’s now much easier to maintain and communicate updates. She implemented a cabin crew ab initio meet and greet on arrival at the airport to welcome new joiners, and received a Najm for offering 24-hour support to new colleagues when they moved into Emirates Sarab buildings (crew accommodation).

Organising a visit for Dubai Expo 2020 delegates to the Emirates Aviation College was also a great experience for Violet Vuguza Anyonge . With her team, she received a letter of praise from Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Management for how well it was organised.

Violet Vuguza Anyonge worked for a hospitality chain for 15 years before joining Emirates. She believes that effective development and performance management is crucial for the success of any business. “I get great satisfaction in supporting individuals to be the best they can be, which is why I gravitated toward a career in training and development”, she said.

Captain Mary Kai, Manager Flight Operations, Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (Kenya)

Captain Mary Mukulu Kai is the manager of flight operations for Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA), one of the most powerful position in this organization. She is also a co-owner, with her husband, of Penial Air Ltd, a leading provider of on-demand air charter and private jet solutions for corporate, government agencies and other clients. She is a pilot since many years.

Winnie Ngamije, Deputy Director General, Rwanda Civil Aviation Authority (Rwanda)

Since June 2021, Winnie Ngamije is the Deputy Director General of Rwanda Civil Aviation Authority. She holds a Masters of Business Administration specialising in project management from Oklahoma Christian University which she obtained in 2017. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the former Kigali Institute of Science and Technology, which has since become part of the University of Rwanda,  where she studied Computer Science Engineering.

Winnie Ngamije previously worked with MTN Rwanda before moving to Rwanda Civil Aviation Authority in 2011 where she has been working till her appointment as deputy director. From august 2017 to June 2021, she was also engineer at Rwanda Airports Company.

Juliette Pascal, head of Cargo at Air Seychelles (Seychelles)

Since December 2019, Juliette Pascal is the head of Cargo at Air Seychelles, the national airline of the Republic of Seychelles.  Juliette Pascal has been working with the cargo department for over twenty-four years. Bringing a wealth of experience to the business, she oversees the overall strategy of the cargo department including the day-to-day cargo operational activities ensuring the department remains compliant with the safety and security regulations as set by the regulatory authorities.

Olive Birungi Lumonya, deputy director general of the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (Uganda)

Since November 2021, Olive Birungi Lumonya is the Deputy Director General of Uganda Civil Aviation Authority. She holds a Master’s Degree in Business administration from ESAMI, a degree in Mass Communication from Makerere University and she’s a chartered Marketer (UK), a certified Balanced Score Card Champion (USA), and an Africa Board Fellow (ABF).

Olive Birungi Lumonya previously worked with Nile Breweries Limited as a Brand Marketing Manager, National Social Security Fund as Head of Marketing and Communications, and SOS Children’s villages Uganda as Country Director. She has vast experience in corporate governance and has served on several Boards in Private, government, and NGO sectors.

Olatokunbo Fagbemi, Director Springfountain (Nigeria)

Since 1993, Olatokunbo Fagbemi is the executive Director at Springfountain Infrastructure Limited (SIL), one of the leading Infrastructure Development Companies and Aviation Solutions Providers in Nigeria. She is also the Managing Director of the African Aircraft Leasing Company (AALC) and the former managing director of  Nigerian Aviation Handling Company Plc (NAHCO Aviance), a major player in the ground handling service sector of the nation’s air transport industry, with presence in all the major Nigerian airports.

Olatokunbo A. Fagbemi is an Airports Council International (ACI) and International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) certified International Airport Professional (IAP). She is one of the few African women to have achieved the highly rigorous standards for expertise in the field of airport management.

In addition to the IAP Certification, Olatokunbo A. Fagbemi holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from IESE (“Instituto de Estudios Superiores de la Empresa”) University of Nevara, Spain. She also holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Pharmacy from the University of Ibadan. She also attended Maryhill Convent School Ibadan, Queens School Ibadan, Harvard University USA, and Cranfield University UK.

Olatokunbo A. Fagbemi holds Certificates in Air Transport Management, Airport Commercial Revenue Development, from Cranfield University, UK. She holds a Certificate in Leaders in Development from Kennedy School of Government (KSG), Harvard University. She also holds a Certificate in Infrastructure in a Market Economy from KSG, Harvard University. She is an IATA certified Leasing Professional, an expert in Infrastructure Provision and Public-Private Partnerships. She has facilitated several training programs for Airport Council International (ACI), several Airlines, Ground Handling Companies and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).

An alumnus of the Lagos Business School, Olatokunbo A. Fagbemi has had the privilege of working and training in various aspects of Airport Management, Passenger Handling, Ramp Handling and Cargo Handling at Dubai International Airport, Changi Airport Singapore, Murtala Muhammed International Airport Ikeja and Dallas Fort Worth Airport amongst others. She has hands-on Consulting, Business Advisory and Financing expertise haven worked with several Ground Handling Companies, Civil Aviation Authority in Nigeria, Gambia and Sierra Leone.

Olatokunbo A. Fagbemi has attended several International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), International Air Transport Association (IATA), IATA Ground Handling Council (IGHC), Airports Council International (ACI) courses and seminars.

Nicolette Bamboche, Head of Airport Services at Air Seychelles (Seychelles)

As the head of airport services at Air Seychelles since December 2019, Nicolette Bamboche is responsible for all the ground services duties at the Domestic Terminal in Mahe as well as that of the Seychelles International Airport. As part of her role, she also manages both the guest services agents and the ramp team involved in ground handling related tasks besides supervising the daily operations at the Salon Vallée de Mai and VIP Lounge facilities.

Nicolette Bamboche has occupied several key positions within the ground services department at Air Seychelles where she works since over seventeen years.

Ilham Kazzini, Senior vice-president Commercial at Royal Air Maroc (Morocco)

Ilham Kazzini, an engineer who graduated from Supélec Paris, is the current commercial director of Royal Air Maroc (RAM), a company she joined in 2000 to be in charge of revenue management and revenue optimization. From 2008 to 2009, she was regional representative of RAM in the Greater Casablanca region, in charge of managing travel agencies and the corporate part with a turnover of 1.2 billion dirhams.

From 2009 to 2011, Ilham Kazzini held the position of Head of International Agreements and Commercial Management, before becoming Director of Marketing and Customer Service between 2011 and 2012, then Director of Development and Support. In this capacity, she managed the Human Resources Department, the Organization and Information Systems Department and the Purchasing and General Affairs Department.

Senait Ataklet, Traffic and sales manager Abuja, Ethiopian Airlines (Ethiopia)

Senait Ataklet is the traffic and sales manager for Ethiopian Airlines Abuja operations. She joined the airline in 2002 and has served in different departments where she has acquired vast knowledge and experience in the airline’s affairs. She is among others a specialist in customer services and sales. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Management Information System, with different certification in customer services and aviation management. She was in charge of the airline’s holiday product development team in Addis Ababa before her posting to Abuja.

Senait Ataklet is noted for her contribution to the development of Ethiopia’s tourism where she boosted its tourist flow with her inbound and outbound tour packages, attracting different types of visitors to new and existing destinations.

Fatine Azghari Vice-president, Customer Proximity at Royal Air Maroc (Morocco)

Fatine Azghari has been working for Royal Air Maroc for over 19 years. She started her career in 2002 as an executive attaché in the information systems department, before becoming an executive attaché in the Operations Control Center. She occupies her current position since November 2021. Previously, for 12 years, she was responsible for the Operations Control Center.

Fatine AZGHARI is a graduate of the Institut de Formation Universitaire et de Recherche du Transport Aérien – Aix Marseille III. She also holds a Certificate in Network, Fleet and Schedule Planning from the International Air Transport Association’s Training and Development Institute and a Certificate in Safety Management System from IATA.

Mary Mukuna Ntumba, Maintenance Manager at Congo Airways (Democratic Republic of Congo)

Since May 2022, Mary Mukuna Ntumba is Maintenance Manager at Congo Airways, the national airline company of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Prior to that, she was Deputy Maintenance Manager/Aircraft Maintenance B2 at Congo Airways, after serving as Engineer Officer/ Aircraft Maintenance B2 in the same company.
Graduated in computer management from the Higher Institute of Commerce of Kinshasa, she also followed a training in aircraft maintenance.

Brenda Vorster, Manager George Airport (South Africa)

Brenda Vorster ist he Manager of George Airport in South Africa. The town of George lies halfway between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth on South Africa’s ever-popular Garden Route. With more and more visitors travelling to the region’s mountains, beaches and forests, George airport now welcomes over 700,000 passengers each year. The increasing popularity of the area as a tourist destination is expected to boost traffic even further. George Airport has been awarded the South African Airport of the Year award six times.

Sylvie Zanou, Sales manager, Air France (Togo)

Currently based in Lomé, Togo, Sylvie Zanou has a total of 26 years of career at Air France (1995 – 2021). This career path has been rewarded with two honors: the Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Mérite medal (French Republic) in April 2018 and the Air France Labor Medal (Decoration for 20 years of service) in June 2015. She started as a sales associate in 1995, before being promoted to sales manager, a position she has held since 2005.

Yacine Kebe, Safety, Environment, and Quality Manager at Dakar Blaise Diagne Airport (Senegal)

Yacine Kebe is safety, environment and quality manager at Dakar Blaise Diagne Airport in Senegal. She is also on the board of the Africa chapter of the Airports council international, where she is Manager strategy and program development/ Secretary regional committees on human resources and environment.

Flora Wakolo, former Chief Air Traffic controller in charge of operations in the Kenyan Airspace (Kenya)

Until the of 2021, Flora Wakolo was the Chief Air Traffic controller in charge of operations in the Kenyan Airspace. She was based at the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority, Head office and oversaw Air Traffic Operations at 9 Air Traffic Services facilities (Area Control Center, Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA), Moi International Airport (MIA), Eldoret International Airport (EIA), Kisumu, Wilson, Malindi, Wajir and Lokichoggio). Her duties included liaising with other Air Traffic Control Officers in charge of operations at the facilities to ensure that the KCAA mandate of planning, developing, managing and operating a safe, economically sustainable and efficient civil aviation system in Kenya is achieved.

Regionally, Flora Wakolo led a team of experts in the East African Community (EAC) study on seamless upper airspace from 2014. She has also been an active member of Africa ATS Incident Analysis Working Group (AIAG) and was the recipient of the AIAG 2017 award for her unfailing participation in AIAG since its inception. Her active participation, guidance and leadership in in the AIAG sessions has greatly contributed to making AIAG task a great success by reducing the number incidents in Kenya and Africa and Indian Ocean (AFI).

Flora Wakolo led an International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) AFI region in the implementation of AFI SSR Code Management Plan that has seen AFI move from one Participating Area to Multiple Participating Areas that was aligned with the CANSO Mombasa Road Map on ATFM during the AFI Planning and Implementation Group (APIRG) 22 meeting.

Flora Wakolo qualified and was licensed as an Air Traffic Controller in 1985. Has worked at different positions including Aerodrome, Approach, Area and Radar in major stations in Kenya. Flora Wakolo is also a trained Search and Rescue Administrator and Mission Coordinator, Accident/Incident investigator and ATM system analyst.

Flora Wakolo succeeded in gaining recognition for women in air traffic control in Kenya by getting some regulations changed in 2002.

Flora Wakolo has been recognized as an eminent speaker by various regional groupings that bring aviation stakeholders together and uses such fora to drive the wider regional agenda that will in future see Africa plug into the ICAO Global Air Navigation Plan (GANP).

In addition to being a speaker, she was instrumental in the hosting of CANSO Africa Conference in Mombasa, Kenya and ICAO Air Services Negotiations (ICAN) event 2018 among other international conferences hosted by KCAA.

Sarafina Maxwanu, Senior Manager at Air Navigation Services Safety Oversight (ANSSO) at Namibia Civil Aviation Authority (Namibia)

Sarafina Maxwanu is Senior Manager at Air Navigation Services Safety Oversight (ANSSO) at Namibia Civil Aviation Authority.

The primary mandate of the ANSSO department involves oversighting of Air Traffic Services; Search and Rescue; Aeronautical Information Services; Cartographic Services; Flight Procedure Design; Communication, Navigation and Surveillance Services; and Aeronautical Meteorological Services. The department ensures that such Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) within the Windhoek Flight Information Region (FIR) maintain a safe, regular and efficient ANS system and comply with the provisions

Marianne Séri-Gnoleba Station Manager Jetex FBO (Fixed Base Operator) Abidjan (Ivory Coast)

Marianne Séri-Gnoleba is Station Manager at Jetex FBO Abidjan, the first and exclusive FBO in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. Jetex is an international network of fixed base operators (FBO), global flight support, ground handling, and jet fuel available 24/7 with over 30 locations worldwide.










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