STRONG CALLS CONTINUE to go to African governments to take full advantage of aviation industry as catalyst for growth and development. African continent has the greater potential for aviation growth, then elsewhere.  The continent is ranging a billion people spread across 20 percent of the world’s land mass. Aviation is, obviously, well placed to contribute, along with other long-term goals, to the development of Africa.

Alexandre de Juniac, Director-General and Chief Executive Officer, IATA, Monday, in Rabat, Morocco, at the 50th Annual General Assembly, AGA, of African Airline Association, AFRAA, urged governments in Africa to maximize positive social and economic power of aviation, by working together to promote safe, sustainable and efficient air connectivity in the continent.

“African aviation supports $55.8 billion of economic activity and 6.2 million jobs. To enable aviation to be an even bigger driver of prosperity across the continent, we must work closely with governments. It is clear that progress is being made. But more needs to be done. We urge governments to recognize the IATA Operational Safety Audit, IOSA, in their safety oversight programs”,  Juniac stated in his address to the assembly.

Juniac said: “With IOSA carriers performing three times better than airlines not on the IOSA registry, we have a convincing argument. Similarly, states must push forward greater adoption of ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPS)”.


IATA boss touched on safety as a positive example of progress through collaboration. He said Africa recorded no jet hull losses for two years running and was for two years free of any fatalities on any aircraft type. Juniac said 24 African countries comply, at least, 60 per cent of ICAO SARPS which is not good enough.

To enhance closer cooperation with governments, IATA boss called for Aviation Agenda that would focus on improving competitiveness, developing effective infrastructure, modernizing regulatory framework, focusing on global standards and connectivity; and ensuring  well-trained and diverse workforce.

Airlines in Africa, according to Juniac, on average, lose $1.55 for every passenger carried. He stressed the establishment of competitive cost structures that would enable growth and reduce blocked funds.  He said this was essential to improve competitiveness of African aviation.

Juniac’s words: “Africa is an expensive place for airlines to do business. There is no shortage of examples illustrating the heavy burden that governments extract from aviation. Jet fuel costs are 35 per cent higher than the rest of the world. User charges, as a percentage of airlines’ operating costs, are double the industry average. And taxes and charges are among the highest in the world. On top of that, $670 million of airline funds are blocked”.


He said many African governments view aviation as luxury rather than necessity. “We must change that perception”. Aviation infrastructure problems in Africa were in two extremes –  sometimes overbuilt and expensive or deficient, and cannot meet demand, he added.

Juniac said dialogue between the industry and government was necessary to ensure sufficient capacity to meet demand.  It would ensure that airline technical and commercial quality standards are met and that the infrastructure is affordable. Achieving that would create platform on which aviation economic and social benefits could be maximized.

He expressed strong support for Single African Air Transport Market, SAATM, initiative. “The low density of the African intra-continental network makes it impossible to realize the potential benefits of a connected African economy.  SAATM – if implemented – gives Africa the potential for economic transformation”.

IATA Boss said: “History has shown that opening markets leads to rapid advances in connectivity. To date, 27 African governments have committed to SAATM and IATA encourages the remaining 28 African Union member states to come on board quickly to enjoy the potential benefits of a connected African economy”.