Routes Africa Opinion
Following my recent attendance to Routes Africa event hosted in Mombasa, Kenya earlier this month, I witnessed the shared optimism surrounding the future growth of Africa’s aviation sector among the participants and the wider aviation community.
Although my relationship to Africa is not new; having previously worked with numerous airlines in the region in a Leasing capacity, it was my first time to attend this particular event. This forum unites key decision makers, facilitates dialogue regarding existing and future air services, provides insights to the latest developments in the sector and enables networking opportunities with industry influencers. Across the two days, over 250 delegates from 40 airlines and airports actively engaged, each one reaffirming their desire to contribute to the development of Africa’s aviation sector.
The potential growth opportunities that exist within the African Aviation sector are well documented as are the challenges it’s facing however, the underlying message is that Africa is forward thinking, embracing new ideas and more importantly open for business.
A clear example of the African countries vision for the future of the African aviation sector is the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM). As of July this year, 28 African States joined forces together to expedite the full implementation of the Yamoussoukro Decision, which envisages a gradual liberalisation of the aviation sector within Africa. IATA fully supports this initiative which will open up Africa’s skies and promote the value of aviation throughout the continent.
While the African aviation industry generates $55.8 billion in economic activity, connectivity still remains a real challenge on the continent. I believe through knowledge transfer, domestic and international dialogue as well as building trustworthy relationships will ultimately translate into positive developments.
Technology is the great enabler which will assist Africa’s large and increasing population shape the aviation industry of tomorrow. Despite the vast number of frameworks and systems readily available in combination with recommendations provided by organisations such as ICAO, it is clear that the African States still need to find a way to collaborate, develop current relationships and as a continent globally market Africa as both a holiday and business destination.
I believe continuous education and Africa’s young generation will be key to the success of this industry and my team and I look forward to assisting the aviation community in Africa in any way possible.