African govt’s to open aviation markets to address poor intra-African air connectivity
It’s high time to address the ‘embarrassingly low’ level of intra-African air connectivity which is depriving the continent and its people from reaching their full potential, an airline body chief has said.
Addressing the recent annual general assembly of the Airlines Association of Southern Africa (AASA) that was held in Luanda in Angola, the airline body’s CEO, Aaron Munetsi, urged the SADC (Southern African Development Community) governments to remove the obstacles hindering the industry’s expansion and connectivity. It has also called on African governments to open aviation markets and allow for more routes and more flights where regulatory impediments were blocking growth. AASA represents most of the airlines in the SADC. The AASA meeting has highlighted that poor intra-Africa airline connectivity, inadequate infrastructure and unclear policies, inconsistent regulations and rising aviation taxes and other statutory charges are preventing African economies from reaching their full potential.
The trade body called on regional governments to open access to their markets and allow more routes and more flights where regulatory impediments were blocking growth. AASA also cautioned that without a clear coordinated strategy for the development, production and supply of Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF), of which the SADC region will need at least 15 billion liters a year by 2050 — and improvements to airspace management to streamline traffic flows, the region’s airline industry would fail to meet the global net-zero 2050 carbon emissions target. As remedies, AASA has put forward a number of proposals, including that authorities permit the establishment of at least 200 new intra-Africa city pairs by 2030; ensure airports in the region are operationally fit-for-purpose, cost-efficient and subject to industry service level agreements; and also, for example, that governments make intra-Africa travel visa-free for all passport holders.