Despite the debilitating attack on South Africa’s institutions by its government, general aviation is showing remarkable resilience. While it is true that many investors in the industry are sitting on their hands waiting to see what happens in the ANC leadership race, the industry is nonetheless getting on with business as usual.
This is reflected in the aircraft register which still shows a steady stream of aircraft being imported and making it on to the South African register. While there has been an increase in the number of aircraft leaving our shores to take advantage of the weaker Rand vs the US Dollar in particular, the net movement in and out has not been nearly as negative for South Africa’s balance of payments as previous periods of political crisis.
The ‘bloodless coup’ in Zimbabwe also gives hope that there are limits to the abuse Africans will take form their leaders.
It’s heart-warming too, to see that general aviation accidents are down. Thankfully there have been no large accidents. Most accidents have been limited to single-engine aircraft with relatively few deaths. This is, however, partly due to the fact that we are flying less.
The Commercial Aviation Association of South Africa (CAASA) has produced a very useful Activity Index and this shows that the activity level is still up from the Index’s inception level in Quarter 1, 2014. For 2017, the key reasons behind the upward trend of the Index has been the value of aircraft imports and air traffic movements at the country’s busiest airports.
The durability of the South African general aviation industry is supported by the fact that our advertisers are reporting that they are still getting good value from advertising in SA Flyer and FlightCom. I attribute this to our ability to deliver our loyal readers to our advertisers’ market. A specialist, and respected, publication will always be an effective bridge between businesses and their markets. Despite the general assault on print media by ephemeral online marketing, our business model remains sound and the publication is financially strong. For this I am immensely grateful to the colossal efforts of our indefatigable Sales Manager Wayne Wilson and the small tightly-knit team that produce the 170 or so pages of this magazine each and every month, without fail, and on time and quality.
In particular, I must thank Emily Kinnear who pulls it all together and willingly picks up the many loose ends in a business where everyone works from home, and our unflappable Tami van Heerden who calmly manages the assembly and flow of advertising. Deputy Editor Graeme Wuth has done great work sourcing and assembling articles and rounding up our columnists. And finally, Catherine Goosen, our newest member of staff, who is based in Cape Town, is ably handling all the accounts, subscriptions and admin.
Thank you everybody, I look forward to an even better 2018.