By Aminat Bakare
The Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) project spearheaded by the African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC) led by its vibrant Secretary General Ms. Adefunke Adeyemi has recorded successes in its implementation as the AFCAC Secretariat has reported new 5th Freedom Traffic Rights routes across Africa.
According to the AFCAC report, West Africa region leads in new 5th FTRs routes with five new 5th FTR routes, and is closely followed by East Africa with four while the Central Africa recorded 2 and North Africa and South Africa recorded 1 respectively.
This cheery report validates AFCAC’s current focus of increasing the granting of “5th Freedom Traffic Rights (FTRs) to stimulate the market in a different way as it enables access to new markets”. Additionally, since the launch of SAATM PIP in November 2022, AFCAC says it has new fifth freedom routes with more opening soon.”
AFCAC has continued to make measurable progress in its dual target of increasing 5th freedom traffic rights operations across Africa from 14.5% to 30% by 2025 and to increase inter-sectoral collaboration and synergies between air transport institutions and other sectors of the economy.
Essentially, driving the bite-sized implementation through the SAATM PIP Roadshows is noteworthy. Notably, AFCAC has held Roadshows in Nigeria, Ethiopia and recently in Namibia.
These meetings with practitioners and stakeholders have the effect of fostering more understanding of the concepts of SAATM, and bringing to the fore the social and economic benefits of improved air connectivity to each country and Africa in general.
These increased engagements are the way forward for the continent as experts are unanimous that implementing SAATM holds significant benefits for Africa including fare reduction, traffic growth, connectivity and job creation, otherwise, the Secretary General warns that Africa stands to lose up to US$4.2 billion in new revenues in a few years’ time.
Also significant is that the stakeholder engagements are opportunities to air grievances relating to its implementation, not essence, in certain climes and affords the advocacy task force including AFRAA valuable inputs for their interactions with concerned governments and stakeholders.