Why African governments must embrace SAATM–Munetsi, AFRAA chief

Aaron Munetsi stressing a point on Tuesday at the event while Bar. Child Ogeah, vice president, SAHCO and Sean Mendis, CEO, African World Airways  look on


…says Authorities must provide facilities for it to thrive



Posted by Sade



Aaron Munetsi, director of government, legal and industry affairs, African Airlines Association (AFRAA), has harped on the need for African governments to key into the new initiative known as the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM), proposed to enhance liberalisation of air transportation on the continent.



The Single African Air Transport Market is a project of the African Union to create a single market for air transport in Africa. Once completely in force, the single market is supposed to allow significant freedom of air transport in Africa.



Presenting a paper on the ‘Impact of Airport development and airlines on tourism growth’ on Aviation Day at the 15th edition of Akwaaba African Travel Market which held at the Eko Hotel and Suites on Tuesday, he said the implementation of the SAATM is the only way out of capital flight and stunted traffic plaguing African aviation.



He noted that currently, Africa has the market but foreign airlines are enjoying the benefits because there is no cooperation among African countries in terms of air connectivity.



Munetsi disclosed that only Morocco and South Africa could boast of high traffic in 2017, adding however that they are still low compared to what we should be getting when there is full cooperation among Africans and liberalisation of air transportation.

From left: Bar. Chike Ogeah, Vice president, SAHCO; Sean Mendis, CEO, African World Airways, Ikechi Uko, organiser, Akwaaba African Travel Market; Aaron Munetzi, Director of government and legal affairs, AFRAA and Chris Aligbe, CEO, Belujane Konzult at the Aviation Day programme on Tuesday


“…during this period, only Morocco and South Africa realized more than 10 million passenger traffic each . In terms of revenue for international tourism in 2016, Africa realized $36.2 billion and the top ten table for 2017 tourism revenue shows that Morocco leads with $11.3 million while South Africa follows closely with $10.3 million but do you know how many passenger pass through Dubai in just a week?



“The reality is that we have a long way to go, only 19 percent of African trade is done within Africa while we are trading away 81% to foreigners, Africa should wake up or else, the European countries will continue to grow from what they take from here. Now, it is not because we don’t have what it takes, it is because we don’t do what it takes, we have to embrace the change that is here, SAATM is the bedrock of African trade with each other, SAATM will help us, 21 countries have signed, we are looking forward to the day others will follow suit.



“It is sad today that only 16 countries in Africa have facilities for Visa on arrival, I don’t know why we should not open up our countries to enhance tourism, trade and revenue”, he said.



He advised Authorities to also put in place facilities and policies that will allow SAATM to thrive on the continent when implemented.



“SAATM will take effect when our airports are efficient and effective, an airport should be able to give airlines the frequency, capacity and time to operate, authorities should consult with airlines on its vision when building or developing airports because right now, airlines are overburdened with charges that are sending them into extinction, we must open up our airports to the extent that airlines are attracted to them”, he added.




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