Civil aviation plays a great role in moving people and cargo and thereby contributing to national and international development. The Malawi Government launched the National Transportation Master Plan, which aims at improving efficiency and security of the transport sector as a whole among others. The 2019 International Civil Aviation Day falls on Saturday, 7 December. We reflect on the benefits of the aviation sector, and focus on the benefits of civil aviation to the world at large.
Working together to ensure no country is left behind
The theme for year 2018 was “working together to ensure no country is left behind.” In Malawi, civil aviation has evolved significantly. The country now shows extreme potential for a thriving aviation sector. Previously aviation training was only available in South Africa and a few other African countries. Today, aspiring pilots can learn to fly within our borders and obtain a pilot licence in Malawi that is recognised worldwide. The country also saw the first all-female commercial flight, a significant milestone in Malawi’s history that has motivated girls to work towards their dreams.
History of International Civil Aviation Day
The International Civil Aviation Day was officially declared by the United Nations in year 1996. Since then, many countries celebrate the day, highlighting the critical contribution that the civil aviation sector makes to humanity as discussed below.
Helping solve the world’s greatest problems
Climate change has resulted in forest fires and flash-floods which have over the years claimed both human life, infrastructure and the natural environment. In year 2019, for example, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and other parts of Malawi were hit by cyclone Idai. Relief supplies were moved in pretty quickly by aircraft as the roads were impassable. If it were not for the aviation sector, people would have been hopeless and helpless.
Civil aviation makes a significant positive economic and social impact. According to the International Civil Aviation Organisation, the aviation sector supported almost 37 million jobs in year 2016 within the tourism sector only, and 1.2 million jobs in the aerospace (aircraft manufacturing) sub-sector. This was a contribution in the amount of USD 897 billion to global GDP.
In the country, the civil aviation sector holds prospects of creating jobs and reducing economic inequality. For example, there is no formal aviation maintenance organisation in Malawi. Aircraft owners either fly their aircraft to Zimbabwe or South Africa for maintenance. This opportunity could be exploited and has potential of creating jobs, improving livelihoods and ultimately contributing to economic development.
Facilitating international trade
Aviation is the only rapid worldwide transportation network. In 2016 for example, civil aviation ferried over 58 million tonnes of cargo worldwide, bringing efficiency, facilitating international trade, and supporting other economic sectors.
How does civil aviation contribute to humanity? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.