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Single Air transport market, a step for African integration

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Jul 17, 2019 ,

By Alex Luyimbazi

The Secretary general for International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), Fang Liu revealed that, aviation traffic will be doubling in the next fifteen years, where Africa’s annual growth shall be at 4.3% and 3.8% for passengers and cargo respectively. It’s upon such a background that Fang tipped African states to seize such opportunity for political and economic integration by forming a Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) where aircraft can freely move from one state to another. Fang made the remarks during the sixth ICAO Africa and Indian Ocean (AFI) aviation week which was held at Speke resort Munyonyo, in Kampala. The ICAO boss applauded Uganda’s performance in regard to implementation of ICAO standards, key of which, is safety and security. She noted that, the projected aviation traffic increase, is an enabler to promote tourism, trade and other economic activities in Uganda and Africa as a whole.

From right; Minister Monica Azuba, ICAO Secretary General Fang Liu, AFCAC Secretary General Tefera Meconnen during a grand opening of Aviaiton week at Imperial resort Munyonyo

Liu however, did not forget to point out the human and infrastructure challenges in the aviation industry, hence urged African governments to highly invest in the same. Uganda’s minister of works and transport Monica Azuba acknowledged a need for a single African air transport market, also noting that Uganda recently signed bilateral air service agreements with Canada, Israel, and Switzerland. “We have so far concluded forty seven bilateral air service agreements of which, twenty five have already been operationalised which is an indicator of our commitment to open new air routes and to attract more air operators to Uganda,” intimated minister Azuba. She however said, the country ought to assess its stand in regard to Uganda’s airline, before signing a solemn commitment towards a single African air transport market(SAATM).

In his remarks, David Kakuba the managing director of Uganda’s civil aviation authority intimated that Uganda Airlines will be accorded preferential treatment like free office space and exemption from parking charges. Kakuba pointed out several infrastructural developments being carried out at Entebbe airport among which is a US$325m project of expanding the airport. Another project pointed out, is the automation of airport operations with a US$9.5m grant from the republic of South Korea, saying this will see easy traffic flow at Uganda’s only international airport.

Fang-Liu (left) the ICAO secretary general displaying sovenier in form ofUgandas crested crane awarded by minister Monica Azuba during the opening ceremony of the Aviation week in Kampala

Edward Ndawula the CAA’s chairperson for board of directors reassured continuous partnership in implementation of strategies aimed at improving aviation safety and security in the region. He pointed out the prestigious ISO 9001:15 quality management system certification recently attained by CAA and Entebbe airport.

AFI Aviation week

The sixth Africa and Indian ocean (AFI) aviation week event which was hosted at Speke resort in Kampala, brought together director generals of Civil Aviation Authorities, safety and security representatives among other international and regional organisations. The main objective of the conference was to engage all participants on current challenges and to suggest solutions or mitigation measures to such challenges. Another on the day’s agenda was to identify opportunities to improve the effective implementation of critical elements of safety and security oversight systems, and deliberate on emerging issues. The meeting also discussed provision of opportunities to highlight the benefits of aviation as an enabler to economic development, promote development of national aviation plans, raise awareness on air connectivity in Africa through the single African transport market.

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