Speakers (in alphabetical order)

Profile picture        

Ivana Alvares-Marshall
Founder and governor of the African Section 99s

Born and raised in Malawi, Ivana has been flying for 20 years. She overcame a tragedy, aged 17,  losing her best friend in an aircraft crash when learning to fly. She gained her private pilot licence in Malawi, then went to South Africa to obtain a commercial pilot licence (CPL). Thereafter, she gained Federal Aviation Administration and European Aviation Safety Agency qualifications. She has always flown in the corporate sector, piloting a Learjet 45, Cessna Citation Bravo Jet, and recently working for a private bank in Malawi on the King Air B200.

Profile picture        

Patrick Baudis
Vice president, market insights at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries aero advisory services division

With almost 30 years of aviation industry experience, Patrick Baudis leads the aero advisory services team providing market studies and consulting services to other Mitsubishi divisions and to many aviation industry stakeholders, including airlines, airports, lessors, financial institutions, service providers and suppliers. He previously worked for Bombardier as vice president marketing, where he successfully re-launched Bombardier’s C Series aircraft, CRJ regional jets, and Q400 turboprops. Before that, he worked for Airbus for more than 19 years in various positions in France and the US.

Profile picture        

Abdérahmane Berthe

Secretary General

African Airlines Association (AFRAA)


A native of Mali, he has 29 years’ experience in the airline industry, serving on many influential committees and governing bodies during that time. Before joining Air Burkina in 2013, he built his career, both in Europe and Africa, working in positions such as aircraft performance and dispatch engineering, maintenance and operations quality and ground operations. He had a total of 16 years’ CEO experience before joining AFRAA

Profile picture        

Israel Bimpe
Director of Africa go-to-market, Zipline

Israel Bimpe joined medical product delivery company, Zipline, in 2017 and has served as global partnerships lead, head of global health systems integration, and head of national implementation in Rwanda. Before Zipline, he was Rwanda country manager for GLOBHE, a Swedish drone services provider. He is a member of the board of directors at Irembo, whose pioneer product, IremboGov, is the main government services platform in Rwanda. He was president of the International Pharmaceutical Students Federation for the 2016-17 term. He has a BPharm from the University of Rwanda.

Profile picture        

Paul Chen
Managing director VX Consulting

Paul has multi-disciplinary experience across the aviation value chain, from commercial
and business aircraft OEMs, airlines, and MRO to business intelligence. Iconic global brands to have benefited from his creativity and versatility include United Airlines, Continental Airlines, Bombardier, Gulfstream, OAG, Aviation Week and GE. He holds a master’s degree in industrial engineering and management from Purdue University (US), and a Master of Science with honours in aerospace engineering from the University of Kansas (US). Based in Chicago, VX Consulting helps clients improve passenger experience and operational efficiency through holistic use of data analytics.

Profile picture        

Neil Fraser
Business development director, Spectrum Aviation

Neil has worked as business development director of Spectrum Aviation, the leading Dublin-based pilot recruitment and ferry flight management specialists, for seven years. Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, the company has maintained its airline customer base and grown the ferry flight business six-fold. Neil was a licenced aircraft engineer for five years and a private pilot for 31 years in the UK before moving to Ireland in 2004. He has had success in researching, marketing, and selling leading-edge technology into worldwide aviation simulator training and airport security software markets.

Profile picture        

Sanjeev S Gadhia

Founder and CEO

Astral Aviation


Astral Aviation, is a dedicated all-cargo airline based in Nairobi, Kenya, which operates a fleet of seven cargo aircraft into Europe and within Africa and has been one of the most successful airlines in Africa for 17 years. A banker by profession, he has a bachelor and a master’s degree in business administration from the Schiller International University in London. He was appointed vice-chairman of the African Airlines Association (AFRAA) cargo taskforce in September 2016 and is a member of The International Air Cargo Association (TIACA) board.

Profile picture        

James Geldenhuys

Head of Nedbank CIB aircraft finance business


Geldenhuys has 36 years’ experience in South African banking, spending the last 28 working in structured finance. He has held senior positions at both ABSA and Nedbank, with particular experience in international tax structured finance and African oil industry transactions. Since 2001, he has had a special interest in aircraft leasing and, in 2008, he established Nedbank’s aircraft finance business. He also served for five years as a non-executive director on a regional airline board. He holds specialist qualifications from the University of Johannesburg and Gordon Institute of Business Science.

Profile picture        

Allan Kilavuka

Group MD & CEO

Kenya Airways


Allan has over 23 years of working experience, He is currently the Group MD & CEO at Kenya Airways, having previously held that position at Jambojet. He started his career at Deloitte and then General Electric Company where he held various senior leadership positions in their Sub Saharan Africa businesses before joining Jambojet. He has extensive experience in strategy, business development, business process improvement, financial leadership and strategy, people leadership, offshoring, controllership & compliance, business start-ups, process design and Financial Planning & Analysis. He has operated throughout Africa and has vast experience in doing business in Africa.

Profile picture        

Simon Knechtli

Executive Director, Aerospace

Willis Towers Watson


Simon Knechtli joined Willis in June 2014 as a member of the leadership executive. His 32-year career in the aviation insurance broking industry included 27 years at Aon, where he rose through the ranks to become chairman of its aviation division from 2009. He is recognised as having a keen focus on airlines in Africa, the Middle East and Europe, with a more recent broader experience in Asia. 

Profile picture        

Frédéric Legrand
Senior project manager, FoxLima Consult

Frédéric was an air traffic controller (ATCO) at the French Directorate General for Civil Aviation (DGAC). He managed ATCO instructor training at Toulouse Airport and the Ecole Nationale de l’Aviation Civile (ENAC). He worked for the DGAC research-and-development division to coordinate activities related to ACAS/TCAS incidents, as well as development of future airborne separation applications. He was appointed head of air traffic control centre in Guadeloupe, French West Indies and then managed the ICAO’s African flight procedure programme (AFPP), hosted by ASECNA in Dakar, Senegal to assist African states in performance-based navigation (PBN) flight procedures implementation.

Profile picture        

Yvonne Manzi Makolo




Yvonne Manzi Makolo was appointed RwandAir’s CEO in April 2018. She joined the carrier in April 2017 as deputy CEO in charge of corporate affairs.

Previously, she worked with MTN Rwanda, the largest communication company in the country, as the chief marketing officer and briefly as the acting CEO.

She brings over 11 years of commercial experience to her current position.

With a fleet of 12 aircraft serving 26 destinations in Africa, Europe, the Middle East and Asia, RwandAir is one of the fastest-growing airlines in Africa.

Profile picture        

Edward Njeru
Captain, Safarilink Aviation

Edward is a captain with Safarilink Aviation, the regional airline based at Wilson Airport in Nairobi, Kenya. He has been passionate about aviation since he was a youngster and, hence, pursued his career as a commercial pilot. Outside of flying, he holds various postgraduate diplomas in air cargo & airline management and leadership. He is also “trying his hand” in aviation safety, as well as article writing and podcasting, so as to contribute more to the industry at large. Safarilink has a network of connecting domestic scheduled services to safari destinations within Kenya and in northern Tanzania.

Profile picture        

Jonathan Norman
Head of business development at AviaPro Consulting Group

Jonathan is an aerospace professional with more than 20 years’ experience of managing complex off-shore business ventures and projects related to aviation and international businesses, with a strong focus on business strategy, airport business development, mergers and acquisitions, and multiple stakeholder negotiations. Current focus areas include strategic consulting, aerospace business development, partnerships, and IT integrations along the entire aviation ecosystem. Jonathan, a former airline pilot and aerospace engineer, also has extensive experience in corporate management and international trading along several markets including North America, Latin America, Asia, and Europe.

Profile picture        

Gidon Novick
Co-founder LIFT Airline

Gidon is a socially minded entrepreneur, who has created innovative and high-growth opportunities within large businesses, as well as built new businesses from inception. His focus is on continuing to build large-scale, innovative, and high-impact businesses based in South Africa. He was previously joint CEO with Comair Group. He launched Africa’s first low-cost airline, kulula.com, grew Comair to 2-million passengers in five years, and launched the premium SLOW lounge concept with a banking group. He co-founded LIFT airline with a different and more flexible operating model. He has a BCom CA and an MBA.

Profile picture        

Alan Peaford, MBE.


Aviation Africa


Alan Peaford is an aviation writer, broadcaster and commentator. He is editor-in-chief of Times Aerospace publications including African Aerospace , ADS Advance, and Arabian Aerospace magazines

He is also the chairman of Aerocomm Ltd, a UK-based media consultancy and support company specializing in aviation and aerospace. In this role he has been consultant editor for Flightglobal for almost three decades and was responsible for developing the Flight Daily News at the world’s major airshows and for FINN, the digital media channel wearefinn.com. He is also author of the Pocket Guide to Business Aircraft, and is a regular commentator on African aviation for the BBC World Service.

Profile picture        

Mark Pilling


Mark Pilling is an experienced journalist, editor and publisher covering the global airline and aviation industry for 25 years. In the 1990s and 2000s he was editor of several leading industry titles, including Airline Business, Airports International and Airport World. He went on to become publisher of the FlightGlobal aviation brands, featuring flightglobal.com, Flight International and Flight Daily News, and helped establish FlightGlobal (now Cirium) as a leading aviation data and information business. Today, Mark is a consulting editor at FlightGlobal, editor of Airline Routes & Ground Services magazine, a contributing editor at Arabian and African Aerospace and anchor at Times Aerospace TV, and contributing editor for leading aviation sustainability website GreenAir News.

Profile picture        

Craig Rooney
Partner, Clyde & Co

Craig represents airlines and their insurers in all aspects of dispute resolution and his experience includes, but is not limited to, major losses, subrogated actions, aircraft and related property damage claims, and general liability matters such as personal injury, cargo and baggage claims. He also has considerable experience in handling matters involving EU consumer rights legislation in the field of aviation law, in particular the carriage of passengers with reduced mobility. His practice focuses on European, African and Middle Eastern jurisdictions and his understanding of his clients’ expectations often enables him to achieve commercially viable and pragmatic solutions.

Profile picture        

Fadimatou Noutchemo Simo
Director of strategy and business development at Cronos Airlines

Fadimatou is founder of the Young African Aviation Professional Association (YAAPA), a non-profit organisation that creates a platform for exchange between aviation professionals and young people. She advocates for stakeholders to invest more on human capital development through innovative methods in Africa to ensure a safe and secure industry for the next generation. Cronos Airlines, was founded in 2007 by Andrew Artemio Kaiafas. With its HQ in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, it has a proven track record of service and safety in west and central Africa.

Profile picture        

Jason Sutcliffe

Regional marketing director – Middle East, Africa & Central Asia, Rolls-Royce Plc


Sutcliffe, a former UK RAF aircraft engineer, joined Rolls-Royce in 2006 as a fleet planner in the Derby operations centre. After three years, and following a one-year secondment with Singapore Airlines, he became customer fleet director with International Aero Engines (IAE) in East Hartford, USA, where he was responsible for the day-to-day management of the V2500 engine fleet in the Middle East. In 2012 he returned to Rolls-Royce in the UK as marketing director. In 2017 he took on his current role.

Profile picture        

Colonel Silas Udahemuka

Director General

Rwanda Civil Aviation Authority


Col Silas Udahemuka is a member of the board of directors of the EAC- Civil Aviation Safety and Security Oversight Agency which is a Regional Safety Oversight Organization (RSOO). Currently serving as the Director General of Rwanda Civil Aviation Authority. Before being promoted to the position of the Director General in 2014, Silas deputized the Director General in the same organization and he was responsible for Airports Management and Operations, a position he served in for 7 years. Silas joined the Civil Aviation Authority in Jan 2007.

Profile picture        

Krista Vandermeulen
CEO Wecair

Krista, a top marketing professional, started her own company in 2009 where, as a business developer, she helped many companies to acquire new business partners and close deals. A major foray into the aviation industry was on a project with Ecair Aviation regarding upset prevention and recovery training (UPRT) and she soon became a key player in this high-level pilot training field. In 2017, together with Captain Philippe Borghini, she co-founded the Wecair international pilot training school in Bordeaux. She has recently signed an agreement with Air Côte d’Ivoire to train of cadet pilots under EASA regulations.

Powered by Eventsforce