South Africa all set to host premier global aerospace and defence trade exhibition

The economic impact that the AAD has on South Africa’s economy is significant and makes this event stand out.
The economic impact that the AAD has on South Africa’s economy is significant and makes this event stand out.

The 12th biennial Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) trade exhibition and air show, with the theme ‘Exploring New Paths, Sharing Solutions, Showcasing Innovation and Capability,’ will take place at Air Force Base Waterkloof on the outskirts of the City of Tshwane from 18 to 22 September 2024. It is considered to be one of the top six events of its kind in the world and is the only aerospace and defence exhibition and air show on the continent.

The AAD is presented in partnership with South Africa’s Aerospace, Maritime and Defence Association (AMD), the Armaments Corporation of South Africa SOC Limited (Armscor), and the Commercial Aviation Association of Southern Africa (CAASA), in collaboration with the South African Department of Defence and Military Veterans (DOD).

More than half of the available exhibition space has already been booked and confirmed. This reflects a significant vote of confidence in the event that has continued to record success and is truly in a class of its own. The event will see exhibitors coming from several countries, including the United States, Belgium, and China. The exhibitors include Sweden’s SAAB, Airbus, Turkish Aerospace Industries, and L3Harris Technologies. The event has been designed to provide the perfect platform to strengthen existing and establish new partnerships within the defence and related industries.

This year’s AAD will introduce several hubs that showcase the latest innovations. For instance, there are Energy and General Aviation hubs, as well as a third hub that features drone and anti-drone technologies. Drone operators can book space to demonstrate live at AAD through the UAV Hub online by visiting

“As organisers, we want to position the country as the global pinnacle of innovation, excellence, and a preferred investment destination. We anticipate that more than 30,000 trade visitors will engage with over 300 exhibitors. Visitors can also attend our maiden conference edition to hear thought leaders in the industry, academia, and the defence sector provide insights into topical issues that directly impact the industry. Furthermore, we project at least 60,000 visitors will attend the public air show days to witness the exhilarating aerobatics spectacle,” says Ms Nakedi Phasha, Exhibition Director at AA

Another unique initiative of the AAD is its youth development programme (YDP). This sees youth from disadvantaged and marginalised communities being exposed to science and technology disciplines and related career opportunities. In 2022, AAD hosted over 9,000 learners through its YDP initiative. For this year’s event, 12,000 learners from across all nine provinces are expected to descend on the base to benefit from this impactful programme.

The economic impact that the AAD has on South Africa’s economy is significant and makes this event stand out. International visitors to AAD 2022 contributed over R135 million to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) while public and trade visitors generated a staggering R150 million in revenue. R65 million of taxation revenue was raised and more than 1,350 jobs created, which bodes well for the importance of this notable showing on the Southern African landscape.

“Looking to the future, our focus will be on further increasing international participation, fostering collaborations, and exploring new sponsorship and partnership opportunities to grow the event’s footprint into Africa. We want to provide our partners with a premier event that contributes to the global aerospace and defence market,” concludes Ms Phasha.

For exhibitors keen on securing their space, contact us as soon as possible ( Space is running out with just a few stands available for booking. Tickets will go on sale soon for the general public. So, if you are an enthusiast or a newcomer to the aviation sector, join us as we look forward to a truly spectacular event.