The African Airlines Association (AFRAA), a trade association of airlines from the member states of the African Union (AU), in partnership with Moroccan national carrier, Royal Air Maroc, has concluded the 50th Annual General Assembly (AGA) in Rabat, Morocco.
The meeting was held under the High Patronage of His Majesty the King Mohammed VI. The Assembly, which brought together 463 delegates from 61 countries under the theme “Strengthening African aviation in a liberalized environment”, called upon African States and aviation stakeholders to enhance their efforts for the implementation of the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) and address various challenges facing African aviation to realise its potential.
Speaking as Chief Guest, Hon. Mohammed Sajid, Minister for Tourism, Air Transport, Handicrafts and Social Economy of the Kingdom of Morocco, made the event’s keynote and official opening remarks.
“Liberalization of the air transport market in Africa ought to be supported by all the relevant stakeholders, so that it may translate into to accelerated development, enhanced competitiveness and a better service offering in the sector. It would also help to remove the many restrictions confronting the sector, whether in terms of regulations, tariffs, airport services, or any other areas,” he said.
Commenting on the same, Mr. Abdelhamid Addou, President of AFRAA and CEO of Royal Air Maroc Group, stated that the 50th edition of AFRAA’s AGA was held at a time when the African air transport sector is at “the cusp of a great revolution.” He added that the shift “will undoubtedly signal an important turning point in the history of air transport in our continent.”
“We hope that the political will currently expressed for the establishment of a Single African Air Transport Market will allow us to fulfill our common destiny, to see all African states remove protectionist barriers, leading to air traffic growth on our continent, carried mainly by African companies, in the interest of the economies of our countries and our fellow citizens,” Addou continued.
“Aviation is a critical economic driver; therefore, it is incumbent upon all stakeholders to ensure the sector realizes its full potential,” said AFRAA Secretary General, Mr. Abderahmane Berthe.
“Key to this is unlocking the immense potential of our able and youthful workforce. In this regard, our assembly has called upon the global aviation sector in Africa to discuss existing barriers for gender equality in aviation and to share best practices, programmes and initiatives aimed at overcoming these barriers. The Assembly also called African Governments to facilitate youth development in aviation through affordable training and education for a safe and secure aviation in Africa, and encouraged member Airlines to prioritize youth development through their actions and put in place necessary programmes to bring this about,” Berthe added.
In line with its the resolutions, the Assembly has called upon African governments to reduce taxes, charges and fees especially those related to fuel and passengers and avoid imposing airport development levies on passengers. AAFRA believe that these moves will be a significant step in eventually achieving their goals.