By Abdi Ali
Published January 29, 2018
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has welcomed the launch of the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) initiative by the African Union (AU) saying the move shall open up Africa’s skies and improve intra-African air connectivity.
Twenty-three out of 55 AU member states have signed up to SAATM whose enhanced connectivity IATA says will stimulate demand, improve the competitiveness of the African airline industry, and make air travel more accessible.
“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 created jobs,” says Raphael Kuuchi, IATA’s Vice President for Africa. “Today’s decision is momentous. SAATM is a decisive step towards greater intra-African connectivity and delivers the framework on which to achieve it. Now it’s time to get down to the work of implementation. Greater connectivity will lead to greater prosperity. Governments must act on their commitments, and allow their economies to fly high on the wings of aviation.”
IATA says that one of the main obstacles to the implementation of previous open skies pledges has been the absence of an underpinning regulatory text.