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IATA identifies concerns in Africa that must be addressed for a better aviation system

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has pegged a steep rise in the size of Angola’s air transport market.

IATA says that by the year 2036, Angola’s aviation market would be catering to 7.1 million passengers. The figure is projected from the annual growth rate of 6.7%.

The IATA said that faster growth could still be even attained if Angola would open its market and prioritize participation in Africa’s efforts for better connectivity, unblock funds, consults with the industry to enhance infrastructure and comply to world class safety standards.

“Aviation is vitally important to Africa. It currently supports 6.8 million jobs and contributes $73bn in gross domestic product (GDP) across the continent. It connects people and businesses, enables trade and tourism, reunites families and friends, carries products to markets and vital medicines and aid to communities where they are needed,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO, during the industry body’s aviation day held recently in Luanda, Angola.

“Angola needs to work with industry to ensure that it is prepared to reap the future benefits of increased air connectivity,” de Juniac added.

De Juniac cited four urgent concerns in Angola and Africa, which governments and industry stakeholders must work to address in order to forge a healthy and strong aviation system.

Blocked funds

Blocked funds and denied access to foreign exchange in Africa is an increasing problem. In nine African countries, foreign carriers are unable to repatriate their foreign currency earnings, while domestic airlines have trouble making on-time foreign currency payments to their suppliers and business partners.

“Angola and other countries blocking funds are undergoing significant economic challenges. But blocking airlines’ funds is not the answer. It is in everybody’s interest to ensure that airlines are paid on-time, at fair exchange rates and in full,” remarked de Juniac.

Connectivity

The second priority is developing connectivity. Better connectivity would drive demand and competition, thus making air travel more affordable. Doing so would enable higher volumes of trade, tourism and commerce between Angola, its sister nations and the rest of the world.

Efficient infrastructure expansion

Updated infrastructure is important for aviation to provide its economic and social benefits. Luanda’s new international airport would play a key role.

Safety

Safety is of the essence. However, achieving it has always been an uphill climb for Africa. With governments and industry collaborating with one another, significant improvements have been achieved.

A notable example would be in 2016, there were no fatal accidents or hull losses involving sub-Sahara African scheduled airline services. To keep this going and make more improvements on this safety performance, more efforts that are founded on global standards and best practices is needed.

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