Aviassist is a non-profit organisation. As a result, we can provide affordable, world-class safety promotion and reinvest all revenue back into African aviation safety.

Highly skilled

Our professionals have a long track record in the industry with a pedigree you can verify. We have earned worldwide respect since 1995 by tailoring our courses for the operational and educational context.


Our volunteers have all walked a very different path in life but they have one thing in common: a profound passion for aviation safety and Africa.


We are uniquely powered by our professional volunteer facilitators, who are fully dedicated to making their contribution to safer aviation in Africa.

We are AviAssist

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.


Chairman Ron Louwerse

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

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 Oudendijk 2

Kees Oudendijk

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

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 cropped

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

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

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.


Tom at SiAA 2018

Tom Kok


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.

Mary Mukulu Kai

Capt. Mary Kai

SafetyFocus editorial review board

Capt. Mary Mukulu Kai is an experienced airline captain and manager, with over 7.000 flying hours on various types including Boeing 737, 767 and 777. She currently works as manager flight operations

Marily van Messel

Marily Heyster

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.

Ariane Mucyo

Ariane Mucyo

Student assistant


Ariane assists Felicien at the ASPC-Rwanda with administrative tasks while completing her transport engineering studies. The position enables Ariane to learn about aviation (safety) and obtain a valuable reference. Ariane is a member of the international student association AIESEC


Felicien Izaturwanaho

Coordinator ASPC-Rwanda

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.

Hans van Dijkhuizen

Hans van Dijkhuizen

Quality management

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.

Ada Aukje Engel

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.

Cyril in ADD

Cyril Ndegeya


Cyril is a passionate freelance photojournalist based in Rwanda who specializes in aviation & wildlife. He is a passionate aviation blogger and holds numerous aviation safety & operations certificates. He is a regular photojournalist at aviation events around the globe.

Adrian Young

Adrian Young

SafetyFocus magazine editorial review board

Adrian was born in East Africa and has extensive experience in SMS programs within European airlines and in difficult environments as well as projects relating to flight operations, crew training, ground operations aerodrome design & operation and maintenance management.

Klaudia Hanssen 2

Klaudia Hanssen

Marketing intern

Klaudia has completed a BA(Hons) degree in TV production, currently doing an MA degree in Professional Writing at Falmouth University. In our marketing team, she helps us better understand our customers and works on our social media platforms.

Our instructors include


Alireza Ahmadi

Airworthiness & engineering
Gwen Dudok van Heel

Gwen Dudok van Heel

Leadership development
Jan Huizing

Jan Huizing

Airport Rescue & Fire Fighting

Gloria Kirabo Bitebekezi

Airport wildlife management
Frank Klap

Frank Klap

Human factors & team work
Erik Lely

Erik Lely

Aviation mental health & CRM
Wout Ruijs

Wout Ruijs

Ground operations & safety
Patrick Schoenmaker

Patrick Schoenmaker

Dangerous Goods
Jan Smeitink

Jan Smeitink

Accident & incident investigation
Jacques Sol

Jacques Sol

Ground operations & safety
Jan Dirk Steenbergen 2

Jan Dirk Steenbergen

Airworthiness & engineering
Rosanne Blijleven

Rosanne Blijleven

Airport wildlife management
Philippe Carous

Philippe Carous

Air Law
Ralf Overduyn

Ralph Overduyn

Aircraft marshalling
Martin Griffin 2

Martin Griffin

Air Navigation Services management
passport_photos female


Aviation or foundation support?

Annual report

Our annual report to our partners gives an overview of our activities in the past year.

Annual report 2020

Do you want to contribute to our story?

Have a look at our volunteering page and get in touch.