The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has urged African countries to embrace and implement the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM).
The African Union Agenda 2063 flagship project, SAATM is designed to create a single unified market for air transport in Africa. Once fully implemented SAATM aims to allow significant freedom and access to air transport in Africa.
As African states prepare to resume scheduled commercial passenger services, the IATA has called for the accelerated implementation of SAATM.
“The International Air Transport Association (IATA) calls for harmonized adoption across Africa of the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) Take-Off guidance for safe operations amid the COVID-19 crisis. Safely re-establishing the continent’s air connectivity is essential to re-building battered economies. IATA also urged African governments to take a giant step forward in connecting Africa by accelerating the implementation of the Single Africa Air Transport Market to further boost the post-COVID economic recovery,” IATA said in statement.
Muhammad Albakri IATA’s Regional Vice President for Africa and the Middle East said “This is a positive start, but we are far from restoring the economic catalyst that only aviation can provide. ICAO’s Take-off measures are the bedrock for ensuring safe operations and re-building passenger confidence. Africa’s governments need to make urgent implementation their top aviation priority.”
IMPLEMENTATION OF SAATM
Africa stands to benefit immensely from the implementations of SAATM. To date Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Ghana, Mozambique, Niger, Republic of Congo, Rwanda, The Gambia and Togo are the only countries that have fully implemented SAATM.
Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo Brazzaville, Cote d’Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea (Bissau), Guinée, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Mali, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Sénégal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Swaziland, Chad, Togo, Zimbabwe have all signed up to SAATM.
The benefits of implementing SAATM include the increase in direct services between various city pairs creating greater connectivity, shorter travel time due to more airlines operating on more routes and lower fares as a result of increase in African carriers operating intra-African routes.
Further benefits of SAATM are enhanced mobility, convenience and freedom through increased city pairs and frequencies and competitive fares.
Flying in Africa is often expensive and prolonged due to poor intra-Africa connectivity. Implementation of SAATM seeks to address these challenges. “Africa needs to move from the current situation of low choice, high fares and step into a new age of affordable and accessible air transport,” added AFRAA Secretary General Abderahamane Berthe.
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