The write-up X-rays the underlying dynamics at work in the Association of African Aviation Training Organization (AATO) of which many have a faint knowledge. The paper will explore the driving force behind its establishment, Core objectives, Membership categorization, Benefits, achievements, challenges and opportunities in Africa, and provides a perspective on the collective thinking and coherent action to create value on the continent and improve performance.

I was privileged to attend the 26th African Aviation Conference: MRO Africa 2017 Co-located with the 5th African Aviation Training Conference and Exhibition and African Aviation Military MRO held at Emperors Palace, Johannesburg, South Africa March 13-15, 2017. I felt compelled to compile this write-up for the benefit all key payers and stakeholders in the Aviation Sub-sector


In recognition of the fact that African countries are literarily dragged along like a rail-road passenger coach in virtually every ICAO implementation strategy towards ensuring Safe, Secure, Efficient and environmentally sustainable air navigation system at the national, regional and global levels, it became necessary for African nations, from the Atlantic to Indian Ocean; from Cape to Cairo, to take appropriate steps to curb the endemic trend of backwardness and endow States with critical tools to build a strong and vibrant air transport industry manned by adequate and competent aviation professionals in quality and quantity.

It gives me grave disquiet every time I come to the realization that Africa, unlike other regions of the world, has a high degree of reluctance to develop a competitive disposition to catch-up with emerging technologies in global Civil Aviation. Really, we should all be concerned because ICAO safety targets are vaguely met and in most case a mirage. This is incomprehensible.


The idea of an umbrella Association that unites all Aviation Training Organization (ATOs) on the continent, was conceived and thoroughly articulated into Recommendation 5/8of the ICAO Special African and Indian Ocean Regional Air-Navigation Plan (AFI-RAN) meeting held in Durban, South Africa in 2008. Recommendation 5/8 reads thus;

“AFI Comprehensive Implementation Plan (ACIP), (now  ICAO AFI Plan), in cooperation with AFCAC and other Stakeholders organize Pan African Training Coordination Conferences that will serve as a framework for closer cooperation and harmonization of training requirements as well as standardization and quality assurance.”

Pursuant the promotion of co-operation among African Training Organizations to cope with the emerging and growing needs of the African aviation industry, and the fact that the current supply of aviation trainings in Africa does NOT meet the needs of African aviation in terms of quality and quantity, several Training Expert Work Group (TEWG) meetings, in consultation with ICAO, IATA, ACI, AFCAC, EASA  and other reputable international bodies, came to the conclusion that the creation of an umbrella body to ensure safe, secure and efficient air transport in Africa, was of critical importance. TEWG worked-out the modalities that led to the convocation of a Consultative Assembly of Aviation Training Organizations in Abuja.

Based on their report, the African Training Organizations present at the Consultative Assembly in Abuja, Nigeria in October 2013passed a history resolution and established the Continental body called Association of African Aviation Training Organizations (AATO)thereby fulfilling the yearnings and aspirations of Aviation experts on the Continent in line with recommendation 5/8 of the Special AFI-RAN meeting held in Durban, South Africa, 2008.

A business plan was charted and a Council of 13 members elected with Mr. TchagbeleSadamba (Former Director, CEO, EAMAC, and now General Administrator ASECNA) as Pioneer President and Chairman AATO Council with Mrs. Margaret Kyarwenda (TCATC, Tanzania) as pioneer AATO Secretary General and Secretary of AATO Council. The Council was empowered by the Assembly to champion the strategic goals of this continental body.

Since the Consultative Assembly in Abuja, Nigeria in October 2013 which witnessed the establishment of AATO, several other African countries have played host to AATO in its quest topromote co-operation among African Training Organizations to cope with the emerging and growing needs of the African aviation industry. AATO is making positive impact through the propagation of the African Ideal encapsulated in the slogan,

“Committed to the provision and sustainability of aviation training in AFRICA.”

AATO is a versatile platform where all reputable aviation training organizations on the African Continent (Government and Private), have golden opportunity to collectively chart a counsel direction for Aviation training on the Continent and can access the right talents to execute training strategies of individual organization.


 For administrative convenience, AATO is structured into three organs of authority;

Ø             The Assembly; highest authority.

Ø             The Council; the Executive Organ

Ø             The Secretariat; the Administrative         Organ

AATO Headquarter is located in the premises of Ethiopian Aviation Academy, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.


AATO’s paramount focus is the promotion of cooperation among its members through collaboration of African Training Organizations (ATOs) and stakeholders in Africa. Its existence as a Continental body for ATOs, provides a vital link among Training Organizations, Airlines, Maintenance Organizations, Airports, Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) and Regulators in the Continent. Already AATO has developed a framework for the establishment of Centers of Excellence (CoE) in every region.

Its activities are anchored on several core objectives, namely;

Ø             To ensure standardization of training programs and instructor qualifications.

Ø             To encourage ATOS’s to comply with national and international standards, and eventually publish reports on the status of aviation training needs and resources.