Next year will potentially see the launch of Africa’s first single air transport market as part of the African Union’s (AU) mission to connect Africa through aviation and boost tourism, economic growth and development in the continent.
The initiative is seen to be a game-changer for growth prospects in the continent as current air-transport in Africa is on average twice as expensive as in the rest of the world.
“Africa has become the most expensive air transport market in the world because of individual nation’s policies and regulations which hinder air connectivity”, said Head of the Transport and Tourism Division at the AU, David Kajange.
The initiative is not the first to be pipelined. An African ‘Open Skies’ vision has been in talks since the 1980s leading to the continent’s current air-market strategy. However, between 2004 and 2014 an estimated 58% market-share drop was seen by African airlines in the continent’s air market.
Simply put, the move could place the air transport market for the continent back in local hands and thus greatly diminish airline costs around the continent.
The initiative will also attempt solve the issue of mass youth unemployment in certain areas, however political instability in countries such as the DRC and Gabon could lead to potential hindrances.
For the moment 20 out of 55 AU member states have subscribed, with an estimate of over 40 signatures to be ready by January 2018.