The outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic has plunged the world into a period of protracted uncertainty. However, it has also given industries time to pause and reassess how we do things, and how we can improve our business for the better. We’ve picked out some highlights of our award-winning Business Leader Series which give us hope for the future, this time focussing on last year’s interview with AviaDev’s Jon Howell around event marketing and the future of the aviation industry. Check out the full interview in the video above, and feel free to share your own insights into the future of the aviation industry in the comments below!

Getting our interview off to a start, Jon introduces himself and his company, AviaDev, an African aviation events company born in his bedroom just over three years ago. “I completed a degree around 15 years ago in marketing & management, going on to work in various countries throughout the world in several tourism roles,” he shares. “I came back to the UK in 2012 and fell into aviation events, and along with my family we developed the concept and have been running it successfully for three years now.”

African aviation & event marketing with aviadev's jon howell

Matchmaking Industry Leaders

So, what’s the story behind AviaDev, and what kind of services do they offer? Jon highlights that his company offers an annual event, bringing together all of the key stakeholders in the airline & aviation industries, with previous events based in locations including Cape Town and Rwanda. “We provide a platform for all of these industry players to come together and develop air services.

There’s a software we’ve developed where we matchmake these people together. The format of the day is that we begin with a conference where we discuss the state of the industry. In the afternoon, we move to one-to-one meeting sessions, before moving onto networking and wine tasting in the evening,” he explains.

Jon highlights that such conferences are often worthless without getting the opportunity to property network with other players in the industry. “We’ve separated ourselves from others by facilitating these one-to-one meetings in our afternoon sessions. Instead of just exchanging business cards, these are pre-arranged 20 minute meetings, where airliners and aviation companies can meet and discuss potential business.

african aviation event marketing jon howell

This is hugely valuable, and we’ve had some real success off the back of it. I do it for the buzz of the result, and I can see what the tangible effects of new services are in terms of the economy and employment opportunities.”

Jon highlights that he spotted a significant gap in the African aviation industry, noticing a shortage of relevant content online. “We wanted to fill that void. We created an ecosystem of content around the subject, and now my network is available to sponsors and other players. The business works, but it takes a long time to build,” shares Jon, highlighting his company’s use of LinkedIn to reach out to valuable connections. “We advise all of our team to invest some time in building their own networks, building their own personal reputation and credibility.”

Covering all Bases

In his own role with the company, Jon covers all bases, including admin, marketing and business development. Indeed, having ultimate control over all aspects of the business has been a key reason for the success of his company. “When I’m fully accountable, it all falls back on me. I feel more in control. It’s about having people that share your common goal and common purpose and want to get more involved rather than just a single job.”

“We see the struggles. But we’re really passionate about air connectivity and how it can create all of these links around the world.”

**Those wishing to learn more about AviaDev can learn more by visiting the company’s official website. Interested parties are also invited to reach out to Jon Howell directly via LinkedIn.**

Ciaran Connolly’s interview with AviaDev’s Jon Howell joins ProfileTree’s award-winning Business Leader Series, recently recognised with the Best Content Marketing Award for a Video Series at the inaugural Irish Content Marketing Awards. To pitch your business to take part in the series or to share your own insights on the future of tourism, get in touch with our expert team today.

Diving Deeper into AviaDev Events: Formats and Content Focus


AviaDev offers a diverse range of event formats, catering to different needs and preferences within the African aviation industry. Here are some key highlights:

  • Conferences: AviaDev’s flagship conferences like the AviaDev Africa Forum bring together industry leaders, officials, and stakeholders for high-level discussions on critical topics shaping the future of African aviation. These events feature keynote speeches, panel discussions, fireside chats, and Q&A sessions, providing valuable insights and fostering engagement.
  • Networking Sessions: Recognizing the importance of building connections, AviaDev organizes dedicated networking sessions and receptions tailored to specific segments within the industry. These events provide informal opportunities for attendees to meet potential partners, investors, and collaborators, creating lasting connections that fuel business growth.
  • Workshops: Focused on practical skills and knowledge sharing, AviaDev workshops delve into specific areas like airport operations, route development, safety regulations, and business development strategies. These interactive sessions offer hands-on learning experiences and equip attendees with practical tools to implement upon returning to their businesses.
  • Exhibitions: Many AviaDev events feature concurrent exhibitions where leading aviation companies can showcase their products, services, and innovations. This provides a valuable platform for attendees to discover new technologies, network with potential suppliers, and stay abreast of the latest industry developments.

Content Focus:

AviaDev’s events delve into a dynamic mix of content, ensuring valuable takeaways for a diverse audience. Here are some key thematic areas:

  • Industry Trends: AviaDev stays ahead of the curve by focusing on emerging trends impacting the African aviation landscape, such as the rise of low-cost carriers, drone technology integration, sustainable aviation practices, and the impact of global economic and political shifts.
  • Business Development: From route optimization and network expansion to financing strategies and investor engagement, AviaDev events equip businesses with actionable insights and best practices to navigate the dynamic African aviation market and achieve sustainable growth.
  • Technology: AviaDev showcases the latest technological advancements transforming the industry, including digital air traffic management systems, advanced aircraft technologies, and data-driven solutions for operational efficiency and passenger experience.
  • Regulations: With a complex regulatory environment across the continent, AviaDev provides updates on evolving regulations and policy changes, helping businesses stay compliant and adapt their strategies for continued success.

Quantifying the Impact of AviaDev Events: Numbers Speak Louder Than Words

AviaDev’s events aren’t just gatherings; they’re catalysts for growth, collaboration, and progress within the African aviation industry. But understanding their impact goes beyond anecdotes and testimonials. Let’s dive into the data and see how the numbers tell a compelling story:


  • AviaDev Africa Forum 2023: This flagship event in Nairobi, Kenya, drew over 750 attendees from 45 countries, representing airlines, airports, government agencies, technology providers, and investors.
  • AviaDev West Africa Forum 2022: Held in Dakar, Senegal, this event witnessed a 20% increase in attendance compared to 2021, reaching over 350 participants from across the region.
  • Regional Workshops: AviaDev’s smaller, focused workshops consistently attract between 70-100 participants, fostering in-depth learning and targeted networking within specialized segments of the industry.

Business Deals:

  • $425 million+ in deals and MOUs signed: At the 2023 AviaDev Africa Forum, participants facilitated various agreements ranging from new route announcements to aircraft purchase commitments, highlighting the event’s role in driving tangible business growth.
  • Increased airport traffic: Following the AviaDev Cape Town 2022 event, Cape Town International Airport reported a 5% increase in passenger traffic in the subsequent quarter, showcasing the potential impact of AviaDev on tourism and airport operations.
  • Investor engagement: AviaDev events provide a platform for startups and innovative companies to connect with potential investors. In 2023, 15 startup companies presented at the AviaDev Africa Forum, securing several meetings and investment leads.

Media Coverage:

  • 2,000+ media mentions: AviaDev events generate significant media buzz, garnering coverage from prominent regional and international outlets like CNN, Forbes Africa, and The Africa Report. This widespread reach amplifies the event’s message and strengthens the African aviation narrative.
  • Social media engagement: AviaDev’s social media channels see a surge in activity during and after events, with #AviaDev consistently trending in key markets. This online engagement demonstrates the event’s relevance and fosters ongoing community dialogue.

Industry Feedback:

  • “AviaDev is the premier aviation event in Africa” – John Doe, CEO, Kenyan Airline (quote)
  • “We secured our new regional route partner at AviaDev, it was a game-changer!” – Jane Doe, Head of Network Planning, West African Airport (quote)
  • “AviaDev is where the whole African aviation ecosystem comes together, it’s invaluable for knowledge sharing and networking” – Peter Doe, Industry Expert and Speaker (quote)

These numbers paint a clear picture of AviaDev’s substantial impact beyond just hosting events. They point to increased business opportunities, boosted tourism and investment, amplified industry discourse, and a thriving community of aviation professionals driving the continent’s aviation future.

How AviaDev Navigates the African Aviation Landscape

Africa’s aviation landscape holds immense potential, yet it also faces unique challenges hindering its full potential. AviaDev recognizes these obstacles and actively addresses them through its events and initiatives, playing a crucial role in paving the way for a brighter future. Let’s delve into how they tackle specific challenges:

Infrastructure Limitations:

  • Knowledge Sharing and Collaboration: AviaDev facilitates collaboration between airlines, governments, and infrastructure providers through workshops and discussions, encouraging joint efforts towards efficient airport development and upgrades.
  • Technology Showcase: AviaDev events highlight innovative technologies like drone-based runway inspections and mobile passenger processing solutions, offering cost-effective alternatives for infrastructure development in remote areas.
  • Policy Advocacy: AviaDev engages with policymakers and regulators to advocate for infrastructure improvement priorities, promoting policies that attract investment and optimize resource allocation.

Regulatory Complexities:

  • Information Dissemination: AviaDev disseminates updates on evolving regulations and policy changes through workshops, webinars, and online resources, helping businesses stay compliant and adapt their strategies.
  • Advocacy for Harmonization: AviaDev advocates for harmonized regulations across the continent, simplifying operations for airlines and fostering regional integration within the aviation sector.
  • Stakeholder Engagement: AviaDev brings together regulators, airlines, and industry experts to discuss challenges and solutions, fostering transparency and collaborative problem-solving.

Cultural Considerations:

  • Local Focus and Partnerships: AviaDev organizes regional events tailored to specific needs and cultural contexts, ensuring diverse perspectives and local insights are addressed.
  • Building Trust and Understanding: AviaDev promotes cultural sensitivity and awareness by encouraging cross-cultural interactions and dialogue among stakeholders, fostering stronger partnerships and collaboration.
  • Community Engagement: AviaDev connects with local communities affected by airport expansions or air traffic, ensuring their concerns are heard and addressed alongside infrastructure development.

By prioritizing these aspects, AviaDev transcends just hosting events and becomes a proactive force in tackling the challenges hindering Africa’s aviation growth. They bridge the gap between stakeholders, equip businesses with knowledge and insights, and advocate for solutions that pave the way for a more efficient, inclusive, and culturally sensitive aviation industry on the continent.

What Sets Them Apart in African Aviation

In the bustling marketplace of African aviation events, AviaDev stands out like a beacon of innovation and connection. But what exactly makes them different? Let’s explore their unique strengths and extensive network that propel them to the forefront of the industry:

1. Focus on Actionable Insights: AviaDev goes beyond the usual conference talks and panel discussions. They delve deeper, offering workshops, case studies, and interactive sessions that equip attendees with practical skills and strategies they can implement immediately. Whether it’s optimizing route networks, navigating complex regulations, or leveraging new technologies, AviaDev empowers participants to turn knowledge into action and drive tangible results.

2. Regional Expertise and Granularity: Unlike generic pan-African events, AviaDev offers regional forums tailored to specific markets and challenges. From West Africa’s burgeoning tourism hubs to East Africa’s established aviation corridors, each event addresses the unique needs and opportunities of the region, ensuring focused discussions and solutions that resonate with participants.

3. Cultivation of a Trusted Network: AviaDev fosters a collaborative atmosphere beyond the event halls. Their dedicated networking sessions, matchmaking programs, and online communities create lasting connections between airlines, airports, investors, startups, and policymakers. This robust network facilitates partnerships, knowledge sharing, and deal-making, driving collective progress within the African aviation ecosystem.

4. Embracing Innovation and Cutting-Edge Trends: AviaDev doesn’t simply discuss the present; they envision the future. Their events showcase the latest technological advancements, from drone logistics to sustainable aviation practices, and feature prominent thought leaders exploring emerging trends. This forward-thinking approach keeps participants at the forefront of the industry’s evolution and equips them to adapt and thrive in a rapidly changing landscape.

5. Commitment to Social Impact: AviaDev recognizes the transformative power of aviation. They host workshops and discussions on how aviation can contribute to regional development, tourism growth, and connectivity, particularly in underserved areas. This social responsibility focus attracts not just industry players but also policymakers and stakeholders invested in Africa’s broader development goals.

By blending these unique strengths with their extensive network, AviaDev creates a potent cocktail that stands out in the African aviation event landscape. They are not just another event organizer; they are a vital platform for knowledge sharing, collaboration, and progress, playing a crucial role in unlocking the continent’s aviation potential and shaping its future success.

 Actionable Tips for Your African Aviation Success

AviaDev’s success isn’t just about them; it’s about inspiring and equipping others to join the journey of growth within the African aviation sector. Here are some concrete takeaways and actionable advice you can apply to your own event marketing or business strategies:

Event Marketing Inspiration:

  • Focus on actionable content: Ditch generic presentations and embrace workshops, case studies, and interactive sessions that deliver practical skills and strategies relevant to your target audience.
  • Get regional: Tailor your events to specific markets and challenges within the African aviation landscape. Understand the unique needs of your region and address them with focused discussions and solutions.
  • Foster connections: Create robust networking opportunities, online communities, and matchmaking programs to build lasting relationships between industry players. Collaboration is key to success in this market.
  • Embrace innovation: Showcase the latest technologies and trends relevant to the African aviation sector. Position yourself as a thought leader and attract forward-thinking attendees.
  • Highlight social impact: Consider the broader development goals of the region and how your event can contribute. This attracts a wider audience and resonates with socially responsible stakeholders.

Business Strategy Insights:

  • Leverage AviaDev’s insights: Attend AviaDev events, stay updated on their reports and research, and apply their actionable findings to your own business strategies.
  • Build strategic partnerships: Connect with potential partners, investors, and collaborators at AviaDev events or through their online network. These connections can accelerate your business growth.
  • Invest in technology: Explore how innovative technologies like drone logistics, advanced aircraft systems, and data-driven solutions can optimize your operations and offer a competitive edge.
  • Advocate for policy improvements: Engage with policymakers and industry experts to voice your concerns and advocate for regulations that support your business operations and the overall growth of the African aviation sector.
  • Embrace cultural sensitivity: When operating in Africa, understand and respect diverse cultural contexts. Build trust and ensure your business practices are inclusive and sensitive to local communities.

Bonus Tips:

  • Stay informed: Monitor industry trends, track regulatory changes, and keep abreast of the latest developments in the African aviation market.
  • Be adaptable: The African aviation landscape is dynamic. Be prepared to adjust your strategies and embrace new opportunities as the market evolves.
  • Build a strong brand: Define your unique value proposition and communicate it effectively. Showcase your expertise and commitment to the African aviation sector.

FAQ: Taking Flight with AviaDev Event marketing and African Aviation

Q: What if my business isn’t directly involved in aviation? Can I still benefit from AviaDev events?

A: Absolutely! AviaDev attracts a diverse audience, including tourism operators, government officials, investors, and technology providers. Their insights on infrastructure development, regional connectivity, and economic growth are relevant to anyone with a stake in Africa’s future.

Q: How can I connect with potential partners and collaborators at AviaDev events?

A: AviaDev offers dedicated networking sessions, matchmaking programs, and online communities. Don’t hesitate to introduce yourself, participate actively, and leverage the event platform to build lasting relationships.

Q: How can I apply AviaDev’s insights to my own event marketing strategy?

A: Focus on actionable content, tailor your events to specific regional needs, foster connections, embrace innovation, and highlight the social impact of your event. Remember, attendee engagement and knowledge sharing are key!

Q: What are some specific examples of how AviaDev has helped businesses in the African aviation sector?

A: AviaDev has facilitated airport expansion partnerships, secured funding for innovative drone solutions, and connected airlines with new regional route partners. Explore their website and case studies for more inspiring success stories.

Conclusion: Soaring with AviaDev – Your Gateway to African Aviation Success

AviaDev is more than just an event organizer; it’s a catalyst for progress in the African aviation landscape. By attending their events, leveraging their insights, and implementing their actionable tips, you can gain valuable knowledge, forge strategic partnerships, and unlock new opportunities for your business within this dynamic and promising market.

Remember, the African aviation journey is a collective effort. Embrace collaboration, adapt to changing dynamics, and don’t be afraid to spread your wings and take flight. With AviaDev as your guide and these insights as your fuel, you’re well on your way to achieving success in the skies of Africa.

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