The continued financial challenge facing the aviation industry in Africa which has been worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic is one of the major issues focused on in recent high-level industry deliberations in Africa. Governments, multilateral aviation and finance institutions, and private operators in Africa have unanimously called for improved financing for African operators to enhance service quality and aviation safety. This is alongside their strong demand for implementation of ICAO-backed COVID-19 travel policies that will not unduly restrict air travel, importantly, in Africa.
At this critical phase of the aviation industry, poor financing could further impact on core aspects of the industry including quality of personnel, regulatory capacity, infrastructure, and aircraft capacity, which could impede air interconnectivity and economic integration in Africa. Already, according to AFRAA, African airlines would continue to make losses in 2021, which indicates their difficulty in meeting their obligations of driving Africa’s economies.
Given these challenging scenarios evident in all aviation subsectors, we believe that making aviation financing a priority in Africa would enable the continent create innovative and workable solution to poor financing in Africa, with measurable timelines. African finance institutions must rise to the challenge of building up local capacity to address the huge financing needs in Africa’s air transport industry.
Most importantly, we encourage the African Union (AU), African Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and individual governments to strengthen ongoing interventions to review downwards taxes, charges and fees, and urgently improve the cost of aviation operations in Africa.
As the industry strives towards recovery in the unusual COVID-19 pandemic circumstance, African operators must now imbibe a new spirit of cost-saving collaborations in domestic and regional operations, while embracing smart operations that enhance sustainable safety and service quality.
Africa has in recent years improved its safety record. To preserve this trend, we urge for efforts that would reduce the cost of strengthening the key pillars of safety and efficiency, such as training and safety audits. We encourage regional institutions including ICAO, International Air Transport Association (IATA), the Airports Council International (ACI) and the African Airlines Association (AFRAA), among others, to strengthen their commitment in Africa, in this regard.
Our lead articles in this edition x-ray topical issues on Aviation Finance and Insurance in Africa. The edition also serves you exclusive insights from high-level public and private sector aviation experts on new efforts to revive aviation in Africa under the pandemic. Also, read up latest news from around Africa, and interesting updates on the Nigerian aviation industry.
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Capt. Edward Boyo