In March 2022, the African Union Commission (AUC) announced that Morocco has signed the Revised Constitution of the African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC) and the Memorandum of Implementation (MoI) of the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM). This brought to 35 the number of AU States that have signed the SAATM.
These 35 States notably with a total population of more than 800 million people, account for 61% of the population in Africa, AUC said. Moreover, by this, “89% of intra-African air transport market have joined SAATM and have opened up their markets to each other.”
Thus, Africa is poised to deliver its regional and global economic goals relying to a large extent on the support of air transport. However, the high cost of operation for African airlines still remains a challenge. Therefore, Africa must equally take more resolute steps to address issues in the operating environment, especially taxes and other costs that affect the performance of African airlines.
The aviation sector in Africa already provides millions of jobs, enhances tourism, and needs to be positioned to support Africa’s achievement of economic transformation under the AU’s Agenda2063, and the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs) Agenda 2030.
At the global level, the aviation industry is providing strategic support to the achievement of the SDGs through defined aviation activities and programmes. According to ICAO, “to ensure that air traffic development is managed safely, efficiently, and securely, ICAO has established five Strategic Objectives (Sos): Safety, Air Navigation Capacity and Efficiency, Security and Facilitation, Economic Development of Air Transport and Environmental Protection.” With airlines at the core of these programmes, governments should ensure that costs associated with airline operations are meaningfully managed to enable African airlines effectively drive Africa’s economic goals.
Specifically, AFCAC has made important recommendations to enhance economic regulation and resolve the high taxes, charges and fees experienced by African airlines on the continent. We call on States to implement these cost-cutting recommendations and ICAO guidelines to make African airlines become more sustainable. While IATA and AFRAA continue advocacy for cost reduction for African airlines, it is heartwarming that Airports, through ACI-Africa, show willingness to collaborate with African airlines to reduce airline charges.
For airlines and the aviation industry to effectively support the achievement of the Agenda 2030 SDGs and Africa’s Agenda2063 economic targets, States must also continue to make aviation infrastructure renewal a priority. We salute the efforts of His Excellency President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria who commissioned the new terminal of the Murtala Muhammedu International Airport, Lagos, recently, with plans to provide more effective road and rail access to the airport.
Lastly, we congratulate Ato Girma Wake, the former Managing Director of Ethiopian Airlines, on his new appointment as Chairman, Board of Management of Ethiopian Airlines Group, as well as Mr. Mesfin Tasew appointed new CEO of Ethiopian Airlines. Ato Girma Wake laid the foundation for the tremendous growth of Ethiopian Airlines, and these two appointments are significant for Ethiopian Airlines and Africa’s airline industry.
This edition focuses on Aircraft, Engines and Maintenance, Repair & Overhaul (MRO), and presents you fresh articles and analyses. You will also gain new insights from our industry CEO interview with Capt. President Dlamini, CEO of Eswatini Royal National Airways, among other features.
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Capt. Edward Boyo