The gradual re-start of the aviation industry in Africa and other regions is expected to drive interconnectivity especially for Africa, which will stimulate economic activities and recovery in Africa as the continent continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects. The global guidelines provided by the ICAO for the safe re-restart of the industry are also expected to provide States with uniform protocols for safe re-opening of air interconnectivity. In addition to these bold steps, financial and regional institutions have continued to work collaboratively to provide financial support to cushion the negative effects of the pandemic and help accelerate recovery among African economies.
As we applaud the initiative to provide financial support to Africa’s economy, we call for the prioritization of the air transport industry, particularly African airlines, in the disbursement of available financial package. We also urge for prompt distribution of the financial support to give airlines and the aviation industry the much needed take-off support as they strive to revive their operations sustainably and prevent collapse.
While the efforts to revive air transport and economies continue, the challenge of the barring of air travellers from various global regions by the European Union (EU), as well as the barring of travellers from some African States by a number of other African States in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic, pose new headwinds.
African States must strive to resolve these frictions to enable airlines, passengers and the general economy benefit optimally from the re-opening of the economies and cross-border flight services. Safe and unfettered flow of intra-Africa traffic strengthens the implementation of the Single African Air Transport Policy (SAATM) and the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), both of which are now at their infant stages, and essential for sustainable air transport and economic development in Africa.
As the industry strengthens safety and efficiency in air interconnectivity amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Africa must equally seize the opportunity to resolve other pre-existing challenges namely very high taxes, charges and fees as well as the generally poor operating environment which hamper African airlines’ growth and contributions to the continent’s economic development.
As the industry battles the COVID-19 pandemic, this edition of the Aviation & Allied Business Journal, which focuses on policy ad regulation, looks at the progress of the SAATM and AfCFTA; challenges amidst re-start of cross-border flights; as well as using aviation to combat illegal wildlife trafficking. You will also read incisive interviews from ICAO WACAF regional Director, and Embraer’s Vice President – Europe, Middle East & Africa on the Africa’s aviation industry. Also read the excitement and expectations as international airlines begin flights to Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, among other stories.
Capt. Edward Boyo