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IATA Partners With AASA & AFCAC As ‘Focus Africa’ Drive Gains Momentum

Stakeholders continue to collaborate for the further development of African aviation. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has partnered with the African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC) and the Airlines Association of Southern Africa (AASA) to promote the Focus Africa initiative.

The initiative, launched in April, is expected to enhance aviation’s contribution to Africa’s socio-economic development through improved connectivity, safety, and efficiency. As it gains momentum, AFCAC and AASA have come onboard to ensure its success.

Partnering for aviation development

A number of challenges faced in the continent are uniquely African and require African solutions. Focus Africa will see private and public stakeholders work toward developing safety, infrastructure, connectivity, sustainability, and finance and distribution.

The initiative focuses on establishing a network of partners to deliver a set of air transport solutions for the benefit of the continent and its people. Through partnerships, stakeholders can effectively share resources, research, experience, and funds to support the enhancement of these six critical areas.

The continent has great potential to significantly contribute to international air travel. With strategic plans and exemplary leadership, the continent’s potential can be unlocked, giving it a more meaningful role in the global market. IATA Director General Willie Walsh said;

“The combined contributions of AFCAC and AASA will be critical to Focus Africa’s success. Africa accounts for 18% of the global population but less than 3% of global GDP and just 2.1% of air passenger and cargo transport activity. With the right interventions, those gaps will be closed, and Africa will benefit from the connectivity, jobs, and growth that aviation enables.”

The right time for action

Sustainable intra-Africa and intercontinental connectivity are critical for creating investment opportunities through trade and tourism. Many sectors rely on aviation to create jobs and revenue and move people and resources worldwide.

The African aviation sector has almost fully recovered from the pandemic, with certain regions surpassing pre-COVID figures. Airlines are expected to return to profitability after 2023, but some African carriers like TAAG Angola Airlines started posting net profits as early as 2022.

Travel-related revenue is expected to triple over the next twenty years, supporting millions of jobs. The continent’s population is also expected to increase by over a billion by 2050. Socio-economic development is crucial to sustain a population of that size. AFCAC Secretary General Adefunke Adeyemi said;

“For this to be sustainable, economic opportunities must be created. As other regions have demonstrated, air transport connectivity unlocks broad prosperity. As the African Union’s civil aviation agency, we will support Focus Africa through our work developing a set of harmonized rules and regulations designed to make this connectivity a reality and drive our strategic objectives.”

Stakeholders involved

AFCAC is a specialized agency of the African Union (AU) meant to mobilize African states in creating a safe, reliable, and sustainable aviation sector. It is also an executing agency of the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) on the Focus Africa agenda.

AASA is the leading representative airline organization in Southern Africa, working with airlines, airports, governments, and regulatory bodies to ensure the profitability and sustainability of its carriers.

AFCAC is headquartered in Dakar, Senegal, while AASA is in Johannesburg, South Africa. Although the two are physically distant, they have joined IATA in implementing Focus Africa, highlighting the importance of all African regions. This encourages states to open their skies, as distance or borders do not restrict aviation. AASA CEO Aaron Munetsi said;

“Time is not on our side as AASA’s members and the communities they serve face rising costs, unprecedented unemployment, obsolete constraints on trade and market access, inadequate infrastructure, and a looming skills shortage. These demand urgent action so we do not get stranded on the runway. It is why we have no hesitation in standing with IATA and other Focus Africa partners.”

Airline leaders, decision-makers, and various stakeholders will gather for the IATA Focus Africa Conference, hosted by Ethiopian Airlines in Addis Ababa on June 20, to address the six critical areas.

Source : Simpleflying