African governments have been urged to facilitate the sustainable development of the aviation industry, as well as recognise and appreciate the critical social and economic value of the industry.
Speaking at the African Airlines Association (AFRAA) 48th annual general assembly on Wednesday, Dr Jorum Gumbo, the Zimbabwe Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Development, said the aviation sector is critical to the continent’s development efforts.
Dr Elijah Chingosho, the African Airlines Association (AFRAA) secretary, called on governments to open up skies to ease cost of operation and facilitate the growth of the industry on the continent. According to Chingosho, this will help boost connectivity and enhance intra-Africa trade and, therefore, help foster sustainable development on the continent.
“The move will spur the development of African aviation which currently accounts for less than 3 per cent of global traffic,” he said at the meeting in Victoria Falls, Zimbamwe, adding that intercontinental traffic is dominated by non-African carriers.
“African governments should, therefore, remove non-physical bottlenecks to the movement of people and goods, such as restrictive visa regimes and tedious customs clearance procedures,” he said.
The expert noted that there is also need for policies that will help reduce the high industry costs, protect the continent’s rich bio-diversity, as well as promote infrastructure development to cope with the growing needs of the airline industry and the realisation of a single African air transport market next years.
Rwanda was selected to host the 49th African Airline Association annual general assembly in November 2017. The two-day conference and exhibition is expected to attract up to 500 delegates from across Africa.