IATA Urges African States To Harness Opportunities In Aviation

IATA’s Regional Vice President for Africa and the Middle East, Hussein Dabbas Pix Source: www.arabaviation.com
IATA’s Regional Vice President for Africa and the Middle East, Hussein Dabbas
Pix Source: www.arabaviation.com

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has called on African governments to prioritise and harness the development of aviation nationally and at a pan-African level to bolster economic growth and development.
IATA’s Regional Vice President for Africa and the Middle East, Hussein Dabbas, said this at IATA African Aviation Day with the theme, “Driving African Economies through the Power of Aviation’ in Abuja, Nigeria.

He stated that Africa is set to be one of the fastest-growing aviation regions over the next 20 years, with annual expansion averaging nearly 5 per cent, adding that this opens up incredible economic opportunities for the continent’s 54 nations.
Dabbas stated that African countries by transporting some 70 million passengers annually, aviation already supports some 6.9 million jobs and $80 billion of economic activity on the African continent.
According to him, “Aviation has the potential to be a much greater strategic catalyst for growth if governments would stop milking the industry for taxes and enable it with smarter regulations focused on safety and the development of connectivity. The commitments are already there with the Abuja Declaration and the Yamoussoukro Decision. It’s time to achieve them in partnership with industry”.
On his part, Nigeria’s Minister for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika stated that aviation connectivity is very important to the progress and transformation of a country and that studies have shown there is link between and economic performance.
He stated that apart from the fact that connectivity attracts inward investment, which according to him enables access to export markets and opens countries up to competitive forces
According to him, “Enhanced Air Transport Connectivity is unarguably the key condition for any state’s progress and transformation. Studies have shown that there is clear correlation between connectivity and economic performance. In addition, improved connectivity attracts inward investment, which enables access to export markets and opens countries up to competitive forces. Air transport is a facilitator of international business and trade. Improved connectivity means more access to cities, markets, business and people as well as the integration into global supply chains, an important factor to attracting inward investment into any country”.
IATA stated that safety in Africa is top priority and that governments have committed to achieving world-class safety levels in the Abuja Declaration, adding that while safety has improved, Africa had the highest air accident rate among regions in 2015, at 7.88 accidents per million sectors.

IATA’s Operating Safety Audit (IOSA) has shown the power of global standards underpinning safety operations and that the 32 sub-Saharan airlines on the IOSA registry are performing 3.5 times better than non-IOSA operators in terms of accidents.
The international airline body called on African governments to improve safety oversight and adopt IOSA together with ICAO’s safety-related Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) and the end of January 2016, only 21 African countries had at least 60 per cent SARPs implementation.
On connectivity, IATA welcomes the recent signing of a ‘Solemn Declaration’ by 21 African heads of state re-affirming their commitment to breaking down the artificial barriers obstructing air transport service expansion between African nations by implementing the Yamoussoukro Decision.
IATA urged African nations to expedite its implementation, which will stimulate economic growth and development with at least 5 million more passenger journeys a year on the continent.
On infrastructure development, IATA said that cost-effective and appropriate infrastructure development is critical to the sustainability and expansion of African aviation and that consultation and collaboration among airlines and their infrastructure partners during planning and development is crucial.
IATA said that no one knows better than the airlines the level of airport charges that enable a route to be viable and the kind of amenities they need to support their passengers and aircraft efficiently, adding that all too often in Africa there is no real engagement with the airlines prior to development. This leaves airlines burdened with paying for excessive and unsustainable development costs.
The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), IATA said has very clear guidelines on infrastructure funding and that development should be guided by principles of non-discrimination, consultation, transparency, cost-benefit and no pre-financing.
IATA stated that it was concerned about the viability of some planned airport developments, including Ndjamena in Chad, Addis Ababa in Ethiopia and Dakar in Senegal, calling on the on the governments in these countries to take the lead in consulting the users of the infrastructure to ensure that the end product provides maximise benefits and rationalizes costs for all.
At the opening session of the Aviation Day were senior government and industry leaders including Nigeria’s Minister of State Senator Hadi Sirika, the Director General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority Captain Muhtar S. Usman, the Deputy Regional Director of ICAO, Mr. Gaoussou Konate, the Secretary General of the African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC), Ms. Iyabo Sosina.