The International Air Transport Association (IATA) called on governments and industry in Africa to focus on four priorities to allow aviation to drive economic and social development on the continent.
The four priorities mirror those issued to Middle East-based carriers by the aviation body.
They are: safety, cost-competitiveness, opening the continent to travel and trade, and gender diversity.
Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and CEO, said at the 51st Annual General Assembly of the African Airline Association (AFRAA) in Mauritius: “Across the African continent, the promise and potential of aviation is rich.
“Already it supports USD 55.8 billion in economic activity and 6.2 million jobs. And, as demand more than doubles over the next two decades, the critical role that aviation plays in Africa’s economic and social development will grow in equal proportion.
“With the right tax and regulatory framework, the opportunities aviation creates to improve people’s lives are tremendous.”
He continued: “Our top priority is always safety. And we must never forget that global standards have helped to make aviation the safest form of long-distance transport. There is a good example of that in the safety performance of African airlines.”
On the matter of creating a cost-competitive operating environment for airlines in Africa, de Juniac said: “African carriers lose $1.54 for every passenger they carry. High costs contribute to these losses Flying is not a luxury—it is an economic lifeline for this continent.
“That’s why it is critical for governments to understand that every extra cost they add to the industry reduces aviation’s effectiveness as a catalyst for development,” said de Juniac.