The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has lauded the African Union union’s initiative to open up the continent’s airspace.
A deal that puts in place a single air transport market for Africa is to be given a push during the Heads of State summit in Ethiopia that would be held in Ethiopia early next year. This, according to African Airlines Association Secretary General, Abderahmane Berthe.
Out of the 55, 20 African nations have already endorsed the African single air market. Berthe remarked that a single air transport market is a weighty goal of AU’s Agenda 2063, which seeks to unify the continent through better linkage to augment trade within the continent.
IATA Director General and CEO, Alexandre de Juniac has praised the move and described it as timely, as it would make Africa’s airline industry more competitive and lucrative.
“We urge African governments to continue prioritizing aviation as an economic enabler,” the IATA boss said in a statement.
De Juniac however, stressed that aviation infrastructure needed development in Africa to cater to the ever-growing demand for flights on the continent.
African airlines’ traffic rose 7.5% year-on-year in October, a jump up from 3.6% in September.
The Africa region is projected to support a growth demand of 8% next year, slightly surpassing the initial capacity expansion of 7.%.
IATA though, said that the mix of low utilization and expensive fixed costs keep airlines from making a solid profit.
“Stronger economic growth will help in 2018, but Africa’s governments need to ensure increased connectivity to stimulate intra-African travel, access to markets and economic growth,” IATA said in the statement.