A progressive lessening of restrictions seeking to create a single unified air transport market in Africa, is building as 17 African countries have agreed to test the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) initiative, out of the total of 35 country signatories that represents 80 percent of the existing aviation market in Africa.
The flagship project designed and organized by African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC) will make it easier for new routes within the intra-African borders to launch without the need for reciprocal air services.
The exciting announcement means SAATM inches forward. The countries that have agreed to implement this initiative include Kenya, Ethiopia, Rwanda, South Africa, Cape Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon, Ghana, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Senegal, Togo, Zambia, Niger and Gabon.
The 17 countries will now open their air transport markets to each other as part of a new SAATM’s Project Implementation Pilot and as a result Kenya Airways will re-introduce flights in a new Ghana-Senegal route, beginning December 11.
The Single African Air Transport Market was established in 2018 and is considered as a step towards the full liberalization of the continent’s air transport market.
If fully implemented the air transport plan could eventually generate $4.2 billion in additional gross domestic product, create about 600,000 new jobs in addition to a 27 percent reduction in fares and make a contribution to United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, according to reports.
AFCAC Secretary General Ms. Adefunke Adeyemi, highlighted the SAATM PIP in the opening session of the 1st Project Steering Committee (PSC) held in Dakar, Senegal for Implementation of the Single African Air Transport Market and called for collaboration amongst key stakeholders.