The 54th Annual General Assembly (AGA) of African Airlines Association (AFRAA), in Dakar, Senegal in December 2022, highlighted the imbalance in Africa’s share of the global air transport market in relation to the population of the continent. With about 17% of the world’s population living in Africa, Africa’s meagre 1.9% of global air transport is grossly inadequate.
Some of the reasons adduced are longstanding. These include poor infrastructure, lack of liberalization, inefficient air connectivity, restrictions on free movement of persons within the continent, and of course weak economies. Others are multiple charges and taxes resulting in high cost of air travel.
Of these challenges, lack of liberalization and inefficient air connectivity stick out as sore thumbs. The fresh impetus by the Secretariat of the African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC) to drive the implementation of SAATM in Africa through the new SAATM PIP platform is therefore apt and timely. SAATM should be supported by the air transport industry in Africa to succeed. Together, SAATM and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) present huge opportunities for the economic development of Africa.
We urge African states, regulators and airline operators to work collaboratively to ensure the speedy and continent-wide implementation of the SAATM. Furthermore, governments must work to reduce charges and taxes which continue to stifle the growth of the industry.
In Africa, Air Transport must be seen as an enabler of economic prosperity just like other parts of the world. As the African airport stakeholders gather in Kigali, Rwanda in February 2023 for the 69th Airports Council International (ACI) Africa Board Meeting and Regional Conference, it is our expectation that, in additional to adopting innovations for convenient, safe and secure airports across Africa, the meeting should consider, as a matter of urgency, resolutions and strategies for a win-win airline-airport relationship as a worthy basis for a fair and balanced development of the industry.
With the recent upsurge of COVID-19 infections and considering that only 36% of the continent’s population are vaccinated, we urge African health and air transport authorities to maintain utmost vigilance and take proactive measures to mitigate the further spread of the pandemic in the continent.
The February-March 2023 edition of the Aviation & Allied Business Journal focuses on the Airport sector in Africa. It features interviews with leaders in the industry including the Group Chief Executive Officer of Africa’s largest airline, Ethiopian Airlines, Ato Mesfin Tasew and the General Director & Chief Executive Officer of LAM Mozambique, Engr. Joao Carlos Po Jorge. We also have features from Embraer, a leading regional aircraft manufacturer, reports on the 54th AFRAA AGA and an article from the European Safety Agency, EASA.
We thank our advertisers and esteemed readers for your support in 2022 and hope to work with you again in 2023 to position our industry in its place of pride. We invite you to visit our website: www.aviationbusinessjournal.aero and social media handles for news updates.
We wish you a very fulfilling New Year 2023.
Capt. Edward Boyo