Focus Africa: Driving the Development of African Aviation

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The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has reaffirmed its commitment to the development of African aviation by organizing a forum called Focus Africa. This forum, scheduled to take place in Addis Ababa from June 20 to 21, 2023, aims to bridge the gap between Africa’s population and its air transport activities. With the participation of the African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC) and the Airlines Association of Southern Africa (AASA), Focus Africa seeks to strengthen aviation’s economic contribution to the continent and address key challenges hindering its growth.

Addressing the Disparity

Africa, accounting for 18% of the world’s population, currently represents only 2.1% of global air transport activities. To close this gap, Focus Africa aims to create opportunities for Africa to benefit from aviation’s connectivity, jobs, and growth potential. Willie Walsh, Director General of IATA, highlighted the limited infrastructure, high costs, lack of connectivity, regulatory hurdles, slow adoption of global standards, and labor shortages as factors hampering the viability and sustainability of African airlines.

Six Key Areas for Progress

Focus Africa seeks to engage public and private sector stakeholders to drive measurable progress in six crucial areas:

1. Safety: Collaborative, data-driven programs will be implemented to reduce safety incidents and accidents both in-flight and on the ground, improving operational safety across the African aviation sector.

2. Infrastructure: Facilitating the growth of efficient, safe, and cost-effective aviation infrastructure will enhance customer experience and operational efficiency, laying the foundation for sustainable growth.

3. Connectivity: Promoting the liberalization of intra-African market access through the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) will enhance connectivity within the continent, fostering economic integration and development.

4. Finance and Distribution: Accelerating the implementation of safe, efficient, and cost-effective financial services and modern commercial standards will enhance the financial viability of African airlines and streamline distribution channels.

5. Sustainability: Focus Africa will support the African aviation industry in meeting the “Net Zero by 2050” emissions targets set by the UN International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), ensuring a more sustainable future for the industry.

6. Future Skills: By promoting careers in aviation and ensuring the availability of skilled talent, Focus Africa aims to meet the industry’s future workforce needs, contributing to long-term growth and development.

To tackle these obstacles and foster progress, Focus Africa will engage private and public sector stakeholders in aligning their approaches across six key areas

IATA’s Partnership with AFCAC and AASA Strengthens Aviation’s Economic Contribution on the Continent

The partnership between IATA, AFCAC, and AASA is instrumental in driving the success of Focus Africa. AFCAC, as the African Union’s civil aviation agency, will support the initiative by developing harmonized rules and regulations to enhance air transport connectivity within the continent. AASA, representing airlines in Southern Africa, recognizes the urgency to address rising costs, unemployment, trade constraints, inadequate infrastructure, and skills shortages. By standing together with IATA and other Focus Africa partners, AASA aims to take immediate action to address these challenges.

The IATA Focus Africa Conference, hosted by Ethiopian Airlines in Addis Ababa on June 20-21, will bring together leaders and decision-makers from airlines, airports, air navigation services, government agencies, aircraft manufacturers, industry suppliers, and other stakeholders. The conference will provide a platform to address the six priority areas in detail and foster collaboration towards a sustainable and thriving aviation sector in Africa.



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