At Sabre tech expo, Keyamo, Olowo, others highlight investment in technology to drive travel growth

The Minister of Aviation, Festus Keyamo said Nigeria and many other African countries like Egypt, Ethiopia and Kenya are investing in cutting-edge aircraft, embracing sustainable aviation fuels, improving infrastructure, and fostering partnerships that will propel them into a new era of connectivity.

He noted that by harnessing emerging technologies, the country aims to create an aviation sector that is not only efficient but also environmentally conscious.

Olowo and Special Assistant to the  Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Janet Oputa represented Mr. Festus Keyamo at the event 

The Minister was represented by his Special Assistant, Janet Oputa stated this at the Sabre Technology Expo entitled, “The Future of African Travels”, held at the Civic Centre in Lagos on Wednesday.

Sabre Corporation is a travel technology company based in Southlake, Texas. It is the largest global distribution systems provider for air bookings in North America. American Airlines founded the company in 1960, and it was spun off in 2000.

He said, “The Future of African Travel” is a narrative of progress, collaboration, and sustainability, explaining that it was time to explore new horizons and pave the way for a future where African travels are not just a journey but a testament to the boundless spirit of our continent.

The Minister noted that in the coming years, “You can expect to witness the rise of smart airports equipped with artificial intelligence, enhancing passenger experiences from check-in to boarding. We envision a seamless journey facilitated by biometric authentication, reducing wait times and ensuring security.”

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“We have played the catch-up game for too long. The energy is soaring and the determination to step out of the backwoods of development is electric.”

Olowo

Space exploration, once a distant dream, is said to be within reach in the continent, stressing that Africa is poised to contribute to the exploration of the cosmos, opening new frontiers and opportunities for scientific collaboration.

The development of satellite technologies, he reiterated would not only bolster communication and navigation but also play a pivotal role in monitoring and managing our precious natural resources.

“We may be at the early stages of this developmental trajectory, but the reality is so palpable and the time to flourish is here. As we chart the course for the future, inclusivity is paramount. Africa is committed to developing aviation infrastructure that connects even the remotest corners of our continent, fostering economic growth and cultural exchange.

He stated further that the African skies should be accessible to all, noting that the government was actively working towards affordable air travel for every citizen, hinting that nations like Nigeria were poised to build a hub to enhance connectivity.

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“From advancements in technology to expansion of our aviation infrastructure, Africa is undoubtedly on a path towards greater heights in the travel domain. The relentless efforts of our researchers, engineers, and aviation professionals have propelled Africa into a position of recognition and respect on the international stage.”

“Many of our pilots trained in Africa are in high demand in different parts of the world. At the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) headquarters in Montreal, Africa occupies an enviable pedestal that confers on us a prominent position in the aviation sector in the world.”

Chairman of Sabre, Central and West Africa, Dr. Gabriel Olowo went down memory lane of Sabre, a travel solution tool came to Nigeria.

He said, ‘When we wanted to invite Sabre to Nigeria, they were hesitant for its success in Africa. Travelling was difficult and tariffs are high. Government is not doing enough to promote travel”.

Olowo said he hoped that the country and continent would get serious going by what is happening to air travel, stressing, “With what I am seeing, I want to weep. It is a sorry situation because we failed to embrace technology. I attended IATA’s AGM in South Africa in 2004. They said to us that paper ticket was going to be a thing of the past. We never thought of E-ticket in Africa then because of poor electricity supply”.

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“A boy in IATA told me that the world would not wait for Africa. Like a joke, we have electronic ticket. Manifest was done manually but today, everything is electronic. Technology is ruling the world of travels. The Americans are very robust in technology. Technology will deliver on travels and any other things you need to do”.

The United States Consular General represented Commercial Counselor, US Department of Commerce and International Trade Administration; Julie LeBlanc lauded Sabre and Olowo for the use of technology to drive travel in Nigeria and many parts of Africa.

President of National Association of Nigerian Travel Association (NANTA), Mrs Susan Akporiaye admitted that technology is the future of travel and praised Sabre for simplifying travel through cutting-edge technology.

Chairman of Sports Writers’ Association of Nigeria (SWAN), Lagos Chapter, Olatutu Oladunni stated that sports through technology has helped to bolster travel in many ways.

Wole Shadare