Air Transport and Aeronautics Education and Research Association

International Student Competition

The ATAERA network, with special mention to the Aviation Academy of the Amsterdam Uniersity of Applied Sciences, are excited to launch an international student competition in cooperation with the AviAssist Foundation. 14 Student teams from 7 ATAERA universities will be competing to come up with the best plan to improve safety during aircraft turn around at Kigali International Airport in Rwanda. The two top student teams will be selected during the AviAssist conference in Amsterdam (25 April 2018), and will go on a sponsored trip to the African airport in May/June, with the goal to present their final plan during the INAIR conference in Autumn 2018.

Coöperation ATAERA / AviaAssist

14 teams of four students each from seven different universities are participating in the African Safety Challenge. The students are asked to propose a number of measures to improve the safety & efficiency of ground operations during fixed-wing aircraft turn around at Kigali International Airport, Rwanda. The measures are to be based on a thorough understanding of state-of-the-art literature, current safety issues in ground handling.

Challenge description

Kigali International Airport is the primary airport serving Kigali, the capital of Rwanda. In the last two consecutive years, Kigali International Airport was ranked twice amongst the top ten best airports in Africa after surveys based on client feedback confirmed that they highly rated the overall service received at the airport. 

For the last three years, the airport has undergone major upgrades and is still ongoing with a new apron, three taxiways and hangar and continues to equip air navigation services with top-notch technologies like the Bird Avoidance System to eliminate bird strikes along the runway, advanced weather observing systems and air traffic management technologies.

By improving safety related to ground operations processes at Kigali Airport, the African Safety Challenge will support the further development of aviation in Rwanda and the rest of Africa.the African Safety Challenge will support the further development of aviation in Rwanda and the rest of Africa.


Purdue: “The ATAERA student competition give us an opportunity to understand and learn ground handling operations safety issues in a very dynamic and interesting way. Being able to be part of this event will contribute to our professional profile and towards our goal of becoming future aviation leaders” - Esteban Aguirre

"In a world where fierce competition drives more efficient operations, sometimes safety goes regrettably overlooked. Safety should never be a trade-off, and should be the focus of every operation. This is what drives me to compete and play any role I can in the implementation of new safety protocols to keep aviation personnel from harm."  - Joshua shipman

“I am ready to the extraordinary challenge – discover and solve aviation safety issues in a land of infinite possibilities.” - Qiaoxu Ye

"I am excited to be contributing to the development and improvement of safety issues in one of the fastest growing regions in the world. Africa needs a new generation of aviation professionals to realize its great potential. It is such an honor to be a part of this change."  - Caroline Marete

Uniza Hawks: 

„At university, professors ask you questions, but they already know the answer. In this competition, nobody knows the correct answer and it is up to us to come up with the solution. There comes a point where you have done enough theoretical study and you need to start applying your knowledge. This is the opportunity to find out what we are capable of and whether we can help Africa grow professionally.“    

All four of us have a different, yet beautiful affinity for aviation. We intend to set up a worthy and applicable safety plan for the turnaround process at Rwanda Kigali Airport. Even though it is a competition, ATAERA has provided the opportunity to get in touch with other aviation related studies/universities all around the world! Therefore, we do not only hope and wish our competitors good luck, but we are also looking forward to meeting each other and to share the passion and knowledge about aviation!   

Maple Jack - Coventry University 

UNAQ - Universidad Aeronáutica en Querétaro






 Important dates

25 April 2018 – Presentation by each student team through pre-recorded videos at AviAssist Conference in Amsterdam

May/June 2018 - 2 teams will go on a sponsored trip to Kigali Airport, Rwanda

Autumn 2018 - Final presentation of the 2 teams during the INAIR conference

More information

For more information you can contact your respective ATAERA university:

  • Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, Aviation Academy, Sanne van Dorp. For students with the Aviation Academy, participation in this international student competition will qualify as 30 ECTS for a minor. You will be expected to work on this student competition during the second semester of 2017/2018, instead of taking a regular minor.
  • University of Zilina, Benedikt Badanik
  • Vives University College, Gwendolyn Rogge
  • Zurich University of Applied Sciences, William Agius
  • IUBH International University of Applied Sciences Bad Honnef –School of Business and Management, Hansjochen Ehmer
  • Aeronautical University on Querétaro, Catya Zuniga Alcaraz
  • Coventry University, Coventry, Jenni Fernando
  • Instituto Superior Técnico, Vasco Reis
  • Purdue University, Mary Johnson
  • Institute of Technology Carlow, Claire Power
  • Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - Worldwide, Bob Walton