HIGH FLYING: Premier Thandi Modise, left, and some of the guests admire a model aeroplane during the ICAD event at Mahikeng Airport.
Despite growing interest among the youth in aviation, Premier Thandi Modise highlighted the need for efforts to improve the limited participation of previously disadvantaged individuals, including children with disabilities, in the industry.
Speaking during the International Civil Aviation Day (ICAD) held at the Mahikeng Airport under the theme “Aviation: Your reliable Connection to the World”, Modise said lack of complete and reliable information resulted in pupils from historically marginalised communities overlooking the possibility of a career in aviation.
She expressed appreciation that 3120 pupils and 200 teachers from across the province were exposed to different aviation careers.
“Aviation is a lucrative business providing 56.6 million jobs worldwide and $2.2 trillion (R19.7 trillion) of the global domestic product.
“The industry should benefit everybody including those of our people from rural communities. Improving teaching in mathematics and science should start at early childhood development centres to prepare our young people to opt for careers in aviation for them to claim and dominate their skies,” said the premier.
Ahead of ICAD, pupils including children living with disabilities from different schools, participated in the Joint Aviation Awareness Programme empowered by different aviation experts through presentations about various careers conducted by the South African Air Force and South African Police Service Air Wing.
The pupils were also granted an opportunity to build model aircrafts which they took home.
“In South Africa, the industry has played an extremely essential role in the achievement of our sustainable growth, adding to the expansion of domestic and international air services and has become a prerequisite for the development and growth in our various sectors such as business, tourism and trade facilitation.”
Acting director of civil aviation at South African Civil Aviation Authority, Poppy Khoza, said: “South Africa’s scheduled flights have a proud record of many safe landings and that is one of the authority’s most important goals, to assist in keeping alive this reputation of reliable aviation transport”.
The objective of the ICAD annual celebration is to establish and reinforce worldwide awareness of the importance of international civil aviation in the social and economic development of states.