Leaders from the African Airlines Industry conclude the 46th AFRAA AGA and Summit with a call for stakeholders to play their part towards the single African aviation market
Leaders from the African Airline industry concluded the 46th Annual General Assembly and ummit of the African Airlines Association (AFRAA) in Algiers with a resolve to embrace the opening of African skies and the development of intra-African connectivity. To facilitate this, all stakeholders were urged to play their part towards the single African aviation market before it is too late.
Held under the theme, "Winning Together through Innovation and Collaboration", the 3-day conference was convened under the high patronage of His Excellency Abdelaziz Bouteflika, the President of the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria and brought together over 360 high profile delegates from 45 countries across the continent.
Opening the 46th AGA and Summit, Honourable Ammar Ghoul, the Minister of Transport of the Republic of Algeria, called upon African airlines to forge strong partnerships amongst themselves in order to broaden their networks in the face of stiff competition. He encouraged airlines to develop intra-African networks and added that the Government of Algeria on its part was fully supporting its national carrier, Air Algérie, in its Strategic Development Plan 2013/2017 under which Air Algérie was in the process of acquisition of 16 new aircraft as part of its objective to develop its African network to cover more destinations in the near future such as South Africa, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Chad.
Aviation potential and major
Acknowledging how far air transport has come over the past decades, ICAO expressed optimism in the industry's future growth prospects. In his speech, Mr. Mam Sait Jallow, ICAO Western and Central African (WACAF) Office Regional Director said that according to ICAO's Global Air Transport Outlook, passenger and cargo traffic in Africa is forecast to grow at an average rate of 5.3% over the next two decades. Whereas total cargo traffic, almost exclusively international, is projected to grow at 5.6% per year. Mr. Jallow conveyed ICAO's ongoing mission to support and enable a global air transport network that meets the social and economic development and broader connectivity needs of global businesses and travelers.
The Assembly discussed the challenges that stand between African aviation today and its potential to drive growth and development. Dr. Elijah Chingosho AFRAA Secretary General called upon leaders of African aviation to play their part to ensure the realisation of the AU Agenda 2063 for an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens in which a safe, viable, efficient air transport is a key driver. He said, "Connecting Africa through aviation and other transport infrastructure is critical to integration, intra-Africa trade, as well as to tourism, economic growth and development. Air transport is an important creator of jobs and critical skills." He added that the aviation sector is strategic for the implementation of AU Agenda 2063.
On his part, Mr. Mohamed Salah Boultif, the 2014 President of AFRAA and the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Air Algérie urged States to contribute to infrastructure development and to participate in the lowering of operating costs of airlines by reducing taxes, charges and fees on passengers, fuel and other services which remain the highest in comparison to the world averages. With policies in place for the reduction of industry costs, Dr. Chingosho was confident that African aviation will grow at double digit levels for the foreseeable future.
Opening up African skies
Welcoming delegates to the Assembly, Mr. Boultif, expressed confidence in the development of intra-African air transport, noting that, "African airlines can successfully intensify intra-African connectivity as long as they commit to implementing policies for free and voluntary cooperation amongst themselves." He urged the stakeholders to accelerate the pace of the implementation of the Yamoussoukro Decision while at the same time promote a community-convergent approach towards the implementation of realistic and effective mechanisms capable of guaranteeing the airlines that they will be the main beneficiaries of the liberalization process.
IATA renewed its call for African Governments to fully open up their skies. In his speech on behalf of Mr. Tony Tyler, IATA's Director General and CEO, IATA Vice President, Middle East and Africa, Mr. Hussein Dabbas noted that over recent decades the understanding of the damaging effect of the lack of connectivity has been increasingly understood by African governments but a lot still needed to be done. "One of aviation's greatest potential markets is Africa. Economically, Africa is the second-fastest growing continent, set for average growth of more than 6%," he said. Mr. Dabbas cited the findings of a research commissioned by IATA on the benefits of liberalization on 12 African countries which revealed that the additional services generated by liberalization between just these 12 key markets--Algeria, Angola, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Tunisia and Uganda—will provide an extra 155,000 jobs and $1.3 billion in annual GDP. He added that IATA was keen to work with the industry and governments across the continent to make this a reality.
In her speech, the Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy - African Union, H.E. Dr Elham Mahmoud Ahmed Ibrahim, recapitulated the profound impact of liberalization in speeding up integration of Africa and accelerating socio-economic development. She reaffirmed that in collaboration with AFRAA and the Executing Agency of the YD, AFCAC, the AU had recently completed the elaboration and validation of the regulatory and institutional framework for the YD to ensure clarity in the operational environment to all State Parties in the course of the implementation of the YD. She reaffirmed the AUC Chairperson's ambition to ensure that the Yamoussoukro Decision is fully implemented as early as possible in a reasonable period and at the same time Africa should move to establish a Single Air Transport Market in the continent.
Global safety standards are critical for the growth and development of African aviation. According to Dr. Chingosho, this was the reason why AFRAA encourages all airlines to adopt IOSA by 2015 as stipulated by the Abuja Declaration of 2012. Dr. Chingosho urged all stakeholders to play their part to ensure global safety standards as well as for States to ensure stringent safety oversight.
AFCAC Secretary General, Ms. Iyabo Sosina, in her speech stated AFCAC's devotion to addressing the challenges facing Air Transport in Africa, specifically in the area of Safety and Security. She said, "AFCAC has been working assiduously to ensure that African Airlines can have a most conducive environment in which to operate on the continent in order to thrive." She added that AFCAC in partnership with industry partners and stakeholders and using among others, the vehicle of the AFI-CIS Project, has succeeded in reducing the number of States with Significant Safety Concerns (SSCs) by more than 50%.
Host of the 47th AGA
The African Airlines Association would like to inform all its valued members, partners, sponsors and industry stakeholders that it will hold its 47th AGA from 01-03 November 2015 in Brazzaville, the capital of the Republic of Congo. The 47th AGA will be hosted by ECAir, whose Chief Executive Officer, Mrs Fatima Beyina-Moussa, was elected the 2015 President of AFRAA.
Appointment of Officers
The 46th AGA elected Mr. Monwabisi Kalawe, CEO of South African Airways as Chairman of the Executive Committee while Mr. Abdehahmane Berthe, CEO of Air Burkina and Mrs. Saloua Essghaier, Chairman and CEO of Tunisair elected First and Second Vice Chairmen respectively of the Executive Committee. The AFRAA Executive Committee has oversight responsibility for the Association and crafts policy as well as oversees implementation of projects and programmes by the Secretariat.
The Assembly also elected three new members to replace those whose term of office on the Executive Committee expired at the close of the 46th AGA. Mr. Yissehak Zewolde, CEO of - ASKY was re-elected to represent the West/Central Region, Mrs. Saloua Esghaier, Chairman and CEO of Tunisair was elected to represent the Northern Africa region, while Mr. Edmund Makona, CEO of Air Zimbabwe was elected to represent the Southern Africa Region. The three members will serve for a term of 3 years each up to the close of the 49th AGA.
Airline of the Year Award: Ethiopian Airlines was crowned Airline of the year for outstanding results in 2013, consistent profitability and strategic win-win partnerships with regional airlines.
Distinguished Service Award: Two individuals were recognized for their distinguished service to the airline industry in the continent. Mr. Oscar Haro Manager, IATA Airline Training Fund (IATF) was recognized for distinctive efforts in capacity building for aviation personnel and promotion of safety culture in Africa while Mrs Souad Meziane, former Head of Industry Affairs at Royal Air Maroc was recognized for distinguished efforts, dedication and contribution to the development of African aviation and support of AFRAA activities during her tenure in Royal Air Maroc.
AFRAA Annual Awards are dedicated to recognizing professional supply chain delivery and management in the industry in Africa and recognize the excellence in service delivery, innovation and competitiveness in best service providers to the African aviation industry.