With domestic air travel in Africa set to double by 2040 and new aircraft orders on the continent expected to exceed 1000 units by that time, the African Airlines Association (AFRAA) has revealed some of its key priorities for 2024.
During AFRAA’s 55th Annual General Assembly (AGA) held at Speke Resort Munyonyo in Kampala earlier this week, the association's secretary general, Berthé Abderahmanen, said that addressing the safety challenges and aviation opportunities remains the association’s key priority for next year.
He noted that African airlines’ chief executive officers and key stakeholders are to gather next year for an aviation safety summit in Ethiopia to focus on continental aviation safety strategies.
"This summit seeks to bring together the stakeholders in the industry to discuss, strategise and collaborate on shaping a safer future for African aviation." Abderahmane said.
Route development and connectivity will also be a major 2024 focus.
Currently, 85% of intra-Africa flights are direct while 15% are connecting.
Only 21% of the direct flights are operated under fifth freedom traffic rights, which facilitates scheduled or non-scheduled air transport services in a determined geographical area.
According to Abderahmane, despite the African Union’s (AU) Single African Air Transport Market project (SAATM), access to markets and connectivity remains challenging.
The SAATM, which is backed by the International Air Transport Association, aims to ensure that aviation plays a significant role in connecting Africa, promoting its social, economic and political integration and boosting intra-African trade and tourism.
He highlighted that in collaboration with other stakeholders, including the Airports Council International Africa (ACI Africa) and the African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC), AFRAA will prioritise aviation inter-connectivity and routes development on the continent.
The AGA was held under the theme, "Strides to Transform Aviation for Development.”
It was attended by over 500 high-profile delegates from the aviation industry in Africa, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and North America.
Abderahmane implored the African continent to focus on aviation as a critical socio-economic development driver.
"AFRAA intends to play a pivotal role in navigating African airlines by charting a sustainable path in support of rejuvenating the continent's aviation industry through specific support measures," he said.