IATA has called on governments and industry in Africa to focus on four priorities to enable aviation to drive economic and social development on the continent, enrich people’s lives and enable the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
The four priorities highlighted by IATA are: safety; cost-competitiveness; opening the continent to travel and trade; and gender diversity.
“Across the African continent, the promise and potential of aviation is rich. Already it supports US$55.8bn in economic activity and 6.2 million jobs. And, as demand more than doubles over the next two decades, the critical role that aviation plays in Africa’s economic and social development will grow in equal proportion. With the right tax and regulatory framework, the opportunities aviation creates to improve people’s lives are tremendous,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and CEO.
IATA highlighted three priorities for improving aviation safety in Africa. According to the association, more states need to incorporate the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) into their safety oversight systems, smaller operators should consider becoming IATA Standard Safety Assessment (ISSA) certified, and African states need to implement ICAO standards and recommended practices in their regulations.
IATA stressed the need for a cost-competitive operating environment for airlines in Africa, calling on African governments to: follow ICAO standards and recommended practices for taxes and charges; disclose hidden costs such as taxes and fees and benchmark them against global best practice, and eliminate taxes or cross-subsidies on international jet fuel.
The association also called on governments to follow treaty obligations and ensure the efficient repatriation of airline revenues at fair exchange rates. Currently funds are blocked in 19 African states.
Opening the continent to travel and trade
IATA called on governments to liberalize intra-Africa access to markets and urgently implement three key agreements that have the potential to transform the continent. These are: the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), the African Union (AU) Free Movement Protocol, and the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM).
IATA also called for the industry to do more to improve its gender diversity and for airlines in the region to support the recently launched ‘25by2025’ campaign, a voluntary program for airlines to commit to increasing female participation at senior levels to at least 25% or to improve it by 25% by the year 2025.