A quarter of a century of experience
AviAssist is the only independent, non-profit organisation dedicated to promoting professionalism in African aviation safety. For over 25 years we have been acting as a catalyst for safety improvements in African aviation: impartial & independent. We are the only regional partner to the renowned Flight Safety Foundation.
We were founded to provide affordable access to world class safety promotion in Africa and that is what we still do today. Always learning, improving and developing. Our BIG vision is a series of three AviAssist Safety Promotion Centres throughout Africa, starting in Rwanda.
Ron Louwerse - Schiphol Group
Ron started his career in the Netherlands police. From there, he joined the airport security world and Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. He served as director safety, security & environment at Amsterdam. He currently is managing director of Rotterdam The Hague Airport, an airport that is part of the Schiphol Group.
Auke Dros - KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
Auke joined KLM in 1992 and until recently held the position of Chief Pilot of KLM's Airbus 330 fleet, the KLM fleet that flies into many African destinations. He now serves as Vice President Crew Training at KLM.
Kees holds the position of board treasurer. He has over 22 years of experience in accountancy, ranging from working at accountancy giant KPMG to being finance consultant in Tanzania’s
tourism industry. He holds a master’s degree
in accountancy from the University of
Amsterdam as well as a private pilot license.
Hellen Ndichu - RwandAir
As RwandAir's director of safety, Hellen provides leadership to the growing airline's safety performance and regional leadership since 2014.
Christopher McGregor - ATR
Christopher has spent the majority of his career in Flight Safety and Customer Support roles within aircraft manufacturers. He started his career in aero-engine development from where he grew into aspects of commercial aircraft flight operations, maintenance and safety. His current role and leadership position is that of ATR's flight safety officer.
Frank van de Laar - marketing lead
Frank has spent well over a decade with the KLM as General Manager and Marketing Director and Revenue Manager and in other challenging roles, often in marketing and business development. Frank holds his private pilot license and has passion for aviation technology and serves as a Simulator Test Pilot for a manufacturer of level-D flight simulators.
Bert Kraan - honorary board member
Bert started his career as a navy pilot. After moving to civil aviation, Bert's aviation safety roles included head of flight operations and Deputy director Civil Aviation Authority Netherlands. During his tenure at ICAO (Air Navigation Commissioner and Council member), Bert founded the TANZAVIA project that grew into what is nowadays AviAssist. Bert works in the domain of flight operations.
Having lived, worked and flown (PPL) in Africa for many years, Tom has gained unique expertise on African aviation safety issues. For well over two decades, Tom has been working to connect African aviation professionals to best safety practices that are essential to their work. Tom studied air law and African studies.
Ada Aukje Engel
Communications & PR
With a degree in business management and marketing, Ada Aukje works with aviation start up companies and provides aviation insurance services. For the Foundation, she works on our communication and PR, among others through our social media channels.
Our student assistant Ariane assists Felicien at the ASPC-Rwanda with administrative tasks while completing her transport engineering studies. She is based at the College of Sciences & Technology campus of the University of Rwanda. The position enables Ariane to learn about aviation (safety) and obtain a valuable reference. Ariane is a member of the international student association AIESEC
Senior program manager
As a trained aviation lawyer, Marily lived and worked in Kenya and Dubai over the past 20 years, spending 3 years in the ICAO Regional Office in Nairobi and many years working in various roles related to African aviation.
Hans van Dijkhuizen
With a bachelor's degree in aviation engineering and a masters degree in technology, innovation & policy, Hans works as a qualified Six Sigma quality engineer in the transport sector, analyzing & improving business processes. For the Foundation, he works on quality management.
As a qualified psychologist from the University of Rwanda, Felicien is currently attached to the Foundation as a trainee, fulfilling a crucial liaison function towards the University of Rwanda and supporting the Foundation's back office.
As a passionate freelance photojournalist based in Kigali-Rwanda, Cyril specializes in aviation & wildlife. A passionate aviation blogger, Cyril has completed a number of aviation courses, including human factors, ground operations safety as well as an IATA course in airport operations. He is a regular photojournalist at IATA and other aviation events around the globe.
Michelle has lived in and reported from Ghana, Tanzania and Zimbabwe as an editor and journalist both for printed media and TV. As a graduate from the Journalism Academy in the Netherlands, she writes for our SafetyFocus magazine and edits copy and PR materials for the Foundation.
Jordan is enhancing his Digital Marketing career with AviAssist. Currently studying at the University of Plymouth, Jordan is a qualified creative, with an affection for drone aviation and business development. For the foundation he is an integral part of the marketing & communications team, working to generate leads, unify our approach, and build the foundations for a remote sales team in Rwanda.
Our instructors include
Gwen Dudok van Heel
Gloria Kirabo Bitebekezi
Jan Dirk Steenbergen
Do you want to contribute to our story?
Have a look at our volunteering page and get in touch.