Aviation in Africa is growing and today accounts for 3% of the world’s air traffic.
The Africa continent has strengths and excellent opportunities; namely a global population of one billion; a strong GDP growth of 7% for 2012; tourism potential; extensive mining and oil industries, and great cargo opportunities.
However, there are serious challenges and realities that require focused effort and energy by stakeholders at all levels, from government, to regulatory bodies to aerospace management, airport authorities and airlines.
The OR Tambo International Airport is the only airport in Africa that is listed among the Top 100 world airports. The challenges facing the industry include poor airport infrastructures, lack of resources and skill development; high accident rates; lack of control of foreign currencies and inadequate market liberalisation; very limited connectivity; transit visa restrictions, and lack of transit facilities.
Interference from regulators and/or governments is particularly a major challenge in Africa, as the day-to-day running of the airline business is truly a science, and the role of aviation experts who understand the challenging dynamics that face the aviation world today cannot be overemphasised.
Successful airlines around the globe understand these phenomena. Government’s role lies in ensuring that safety, security, environment protection, consumer protection and air traffic management policies are structured, implemented and adhered to.
Liberalisation will contribute positively to the country’s GDP because when you grow your airline, you ultimately grow your country; grow the airline, resulting in job creation, investment and long-term sustainability.
For Africa’s aviation industry to succeed, strong and reliable partnerships are imperative. There is huge potential for growth. However, strong commitment by both governments and the private sector must be made to address the above-mentioned challenges.
Glass Slipper Communications
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