The Wicks Group (TWG) Partner and Vice President Roncevert Almond, Senior Advisor Cornelia Wilson-Hunter, and Attorney Andrew Orr recently published an article in Aviation & Allied Business Journal, a journal on the development of aviation in Africa. Their work was featured in the August/September edition of Aviation & Allied Business Journal and focused on the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) initiative.
According to the authors, the SAATM initiative promises to bring about the liberalization of Africa’s air transport market and meet the developing demands of 21st century Africa. Some of the benefits of SAATM, identified by the authors included savings on fares, increases in routes and capacity as well as new direct connections between African nations. The SAATM initiative, a flagship project of the African Union Agenda 2063, is an initiative that aims to create a unified air transport market in Africa and promote economic integration through the liberalization of civil aviation.
In their recent article, the authors highlighted the importance of increasing direct connections between African countries, pointing to the time savings made possible by replacing “multi-stop service, including north-south traffic via Europe or the Middle East” with direct flights. They also pointed to the economic benefits of liberalization, pointing to expected gains in tourism, trade and investment.
Along with these benefits, the article highlighted several challenges to implementation of SAATM. The most significant obstacle identified by the authors was the protectionism. Pointing out that while “many African governments support their own national airline,” they are in many cases propping up what would otherwise be a profit losing business.
Another obstacle identified, based on global experience with liberalization, was the potential for the consolidation or collapse of existing African air carriers. In response to these obstacles, the authors offered that benefits of liberalization, including expansion into newer African markets and lower fares outweighed these costs. The last obstacle to SAATM’s implementation identified by the authors was lack of political will. Presently, only 26 countries have signed on to the agreement, while 44 were signatories to its predecessor, the Yamoussoukro Declaration.
TWG has extensive experience within African aviation, including the implementation of civil aviation best practices and conduct of aviation market analyses. For more information, please contact Ronce Almond at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 202-457-7790.