The International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the African Airlines Association (AFRAA) announced that AFRAA is joining the Focus Africa initiative.
Focus Africa aims to maximize the contribution of aviation to development across the African Continent by better serving passengers and shippers. Under Focus Africa, private and public stakeholders are committed to delivering measurable improvements in six critical areas - safety, infrastructure, connectivity, finance & distribution, sustainability, and skills development.
“AFRAA strengthens the Focus Africa coalition as we work to increase aviation’s role in Africa’s development. This has enormous promise. The continent is home to the world’s most rapidly growing population but accounts for just 2% of air passenger and cargo transport activity. The road to realizing aviation’s potential will be long. But with the strong partnerships committed to Focus Africa, we can, and we will realize the needed change,” said Kamil Al Awadhi, IATA’s Regional Vice President for Africa and the Middle East.
“AFRAA and IATA share a common vision – the development of a safe, secure and sustainable aviation industry in Africa that facilitates business, trade, and tourism and contributes positively to Africa’s economic growth and development. AFRAA fully supports and encourages collaboration in tackling the challenges and threats to the sustainability of Africa’s air transport sector. By joining IATA and the other Focus Africa partners we can help propel this initiative which will deliver widespread social and economic benefits,” said Abderahmane Berthé, AFRAA Secretary General.
IATA and AFRAA are also enhancing their collaboration by renewing a joint work program which includes:
Promoting regional air connectivity by working together with governments to support the implementation of the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM). This work aims to (1) see the 23 countries committed to SAATM ratify the accord and (2) encourage more countries to join the SAATM.
Liberating airline funds blocked by governments from repatriation by advising governments on best practices to clear backlogs. Since 2018, a significant amount of blocked funds have been repatriated from Angola, Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria, and Zimbabwe through working with the respective governments. Currently $1.5 billion in airline funds remain blocked across the continent.
Improving operational safety through a data-driven, collaborative program to reduce safety incidents and accidents. This includes improving data sharing, prioritizing the accurate communication of aeronautical information, timely accident and incident reporting, and promoting IATA safety auditing programs including the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) and IATA Standard Safety Assessment (ISSA). With all IATA members on the IOSA registry and all AFRAA members on the IOSA or ISSA registry, this effort will focus on encouraging governments to adopt the use of IOSA in their safety oversight programs.
Achieving reasonable levels of taxes and charges by focusing governments on the long-term social and economic benefits of aviation. Infrastructure in Africa comes with a high price tag; user charges across the continent are 8% higher than the industry average. Infrastructure charges must be set at levels that are fair, justified, and reflective of a value service proposition for airlines and passengers. Efforts in this area have resulted in charges reductions in Chad, the Ivory Coast and Zambia over the last five years.
Supporting compliance with the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA). CORSIA is a key element of the commitment to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050 agreed to by the industry and governments. Twenty-five African countries are ready and participating in its initial carbon emissions data capturing and reporting phase.