The Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport (SSRIA) is a leading airport in the African and Indian Ocean region. For the past three consecutive years, starting in 2014, the airport has been awarded Best Airport in Africa, in the category of less than 5 million passengers. The year 2016 was particularly rich in accolades for Mauritius Airport with its induction to the ACI Director General’s Roll of Excellence, for its sustained good performance in the ASQ programme and also for receiving the Best Airport-Safety Award from ACI Africa.
Presently, some 18 airlines, members of the 3 major airline alliances, connect Mauritius to more than 30 destinations around the world through Mauritius Airport. The country has thus good connectivity with the major capital cities in Europe, Asia and Africa. In 2016, the airport has processed more than 3.5 million passengers and has recorded a traffic growth of nearly 11% as compared to the previous year.
Being the only airport serving as gateway for air access to the island of Mauritius, SSRIA plays a strategic role in the socio-economic development of the country. Conscious of the challenges ahead, Airports of Mauritius (AML) a public company which is the owner and licensed operator of Mauritius Airport, has through the years continued to invest in the modernization of the airport infrastructure to enhance services, passenger comfort, safety and security.
The airport has recently put into operation a new 49 hectares Freeport and Cargo Zone to boost the country’s freight and transhipment business. Located midway in the Indian Ocean between Asia and Africa, Mauritius aspires to serve as a bridge for commercial exchanges between these two continents. Among the forthcoming projects, the construction of a 70m high Air Traffic Control Tower wit start of works by end of 2017, will lead the way to further infrastructure development at the airport.
Mauritius Airport is a symbol of both regional integration as well as sustained international cooperation. As a dedicated member of ACI Africa, the airport joined its Board in 2016 to enhance its contribution to the deliberations and formidable work being done by the organization in favour of the community of African Airports. In parallel, Mauritius Airport has been keeping up with sector initiatives taken at international level. It thus joined the ACI APEX Safety programme in 2014 and has since then been participating actively by sending its expert personnel for reviews at peer airports. In recognition of its outstanding contribution to the APEX Safety programme, ACI World has presented a special award to Mauritius Airport during its 26th World Annual General Assembly in Montreal, Canada in 2016.
In March 2016, AML took another bold step by being the first airport in the world to implement the APEX Security Programme. Since then the programme is being implemented in numerous airports internationally by ACI, with security experts of AML participating in security reviews at peer airports. Mauritius Airport also enjoys privileged relationships with counterparts in other regions around the world. In November 2016, AML signed a “Sister Airport Agreement” with Beijing Capital International Airport, opening the doors to new opportunities of cooperation in terms of training and access to new technologies.
AML has always considered investment in its human resources to be equally important to that in infrastructure. In this regard, it has enhanced its training capabilities by refocusing its training resources and setting up an Aviation Training Centre within the airport precinct. The Training Centre successfully met the requirements of the ICAO TRAINAIR Plus Programme and became an Associate Member of the network in April 2017. Presently, the centre is hosting a series of courses both for the continuous learning and development of airport staff, as well as for new entrants aspiring to become the next generation of airport personnel.
In its quest towards better managing the ecological impact of its operations, Mauritius Airport is embarking on the ACI Carbon Accreditation Programme. An independent specialised consulting firm has already been appointed towards implementing the first phase of the programme, namely the carbon mapping process. The airport already has a well-structured and detailed environment protection framework but wishes to improve further by benchmarking with the best international practices in the field.
Year 2017 promises to be a marking year for Mauritius Airport, as it prepares to host the 27th ACI Africa/ World Annual General Assembly, Conference and Exhibition from the 16 to 18 October. This event is much awaited locally and has aroused the interest of all airport and aviation stakeholders. This year’s conference theme which is focussed on “Bold leadership amidst changing times” is a perfect opportunity for airports to reflect on the means and ways to improve their resilience and charter the way ahead. There are already very high expectations regarding the outcomes of the conference and high level symposiums scheduled during the 3-day event.
The ASQ Award Ceremony of the best performing airports of year 2016 will also be held during a special gala dinner on 17 October 2017. Mauritius Airport will have the special honour of receiving its Best Airport in Africa award at home. AML is working hard with all its partners to make of this assembly and conference a memorable event for all the 600 plus foreign delegates expected to attend.