Meet the 15 African countries that have agreed to merge their aviation industries and pilot a single air transport market scheme – what you should know: Africa has taken a step closer to economic integration following the launch of a pilot scheme to create a single unified air transport market.
The African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC) announced the pilot implementation of the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM), with 15 of the 35 signatory states aiming to pilot the scheme.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA), which has long championed the scheme, said: “Open air arrangements boost traffic, drive economies and create jobs.
“SAATM will ensure aviation plays a major role in connecting Africa, promoting its social, economic, and political integration and boosting Intra-Africa trade and tourism as a result.”
These countries have agreed to launch SAATM flights between their territories.
The airlines have signed a strategic partnership framework, which aims to cut costs and increase the size of the available fleet at their disposal.
According to a study by the African Union (AU), signatories’ economies would gain $4.2bn in GDP, as well as 596,000 new jobs and a 27% reduction in airfares if the agreement was fully implemented.
The AU has highlighted the lack of harmonization of health protocols at airports, as well as high taxes and charges that raise the cost of air transport.
Kenya Airways and South African Airways have been proposing to create a joint airline that will have unlimited access to key markets on the continent.
The deal would connect more destinations from South Africa to other African airports, including Nairobi and Mombasa in Kenya, as well as Dar-es-Salaam (Tanzania) and Entebbe (Uganda), while Kenyan flights would have access to Cape Town, Durban, and Harare (Zimbabwe), improving passenger and cargo links.