The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has hailed the launch of the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) initiative opening up Africa’s skies to improve intra-African air connectivity.
“The SAATM has the potential for remarkable transformation that will build prosperity while connecting the African continent. Every open air service arrangement has boosted traffic, lifted economies and create jobs.
And we expect no less in Africa on the back of the SAATM agreement. An IATA survey suggests that if just 12 key African countries opened their markets and increased connectivity an extra 155,000 jobs and USD1.3 billion in annual GDP would be created in those countries,” said Rapahel Kuuchi, IATA’s Vice President for Africa.
SAATM is a flagship project of the African Union Agenda 2063, an initiative of the African Union to create a single unified air transport market in Africa, the liberalization of civil aviation in Africa and as an impetus to the Continent’s economic integration agenda.
Twenty-three African Union Member States signed onto the Single Air Market, whose implementation will increase the number of routes, reduce the cost of air travel and contribute to the expansion of intra-African trade and tourism.
“It is an important step forward. But the benefits of a connected continent will only be realized through effective implementation of SAATM – firstly by the countries already committed and also by the remaining 32 AU member nations still to come on board,” said Kuuchi.
80% of airtravel from #Africa to the world is controlled by non-African Airlines. To fix this, today, 23 countries, including #Nigeria, South Africa, #Ethiopia & #Kenya, agreed to a “Single African Air Transport Market”. It’s about time. We have been discussing this for years. pic.twitter.com/Yi6JtMSIHO
— Zemedeneh Negatu (@Zemedeneh) January 29, 2018
President Paul Kagame who took over as the African Union chairperson said: “By committing to breaking down these barriers, we will send a tremendous signal in Africa and beyond, that it is no longer business as usual.”