World-class safety, smart regulation, a low cost environment, appropriate infrastructure, and sustainability are the recipe to ensure African aviation growth.

A continent that saw the loss of Metrojet flight 9268 on 31 October, safety was better in 2014 with zero hull losses in Africa. However, the all-accident rate for the region last year was 11.18 for every one million flights, far higher than the global average of 1.92. And as of October, only 17 out of 54 African States complied with 60% or more of the ICAO standards and recommended practices.

To help with safety, the IATA Standard Safety Assessment allows the smallest carrier to benchmark its safety performance. This program was unveiled in Africa in June 2015 and two workshops have taken place since.

“We would like to see national civil aviation authorities given greater resources and operational independence, and where necessary, rely on regional pooling initiatives across the continent to promote safety,” said Tyler, speaking at AFRAA in Brazzaville on 9 November.

The smart regulation Tyler referred too includes market liberalization, as set out at the African civil aviation ministers meeting in Yamoussoukro in Côte d’Ivoire in November 1999 – known as the Yamoussoukro decision. IATA studied what such liberalization could mean for 12 key markets across Africa. It found that intra-African liberalization between these 12 markets would provide 155,000 jobs and $1.3 billion in annual gross domestic product. “A potential five million extra passengers a year would have the chance to travel,” Tyler told the AFRAA meeting.

A low cost environment on the continent is also important for IATA because of all the taxes that African states can apply to airlines. These include, jet fuel taxes, passenger taxes, solidarity taxes, tourism taxes, fiscal stamp taxes, value-added taxes, sales taxes, and transportation taxes.

Taxing fuel contributes to it being about 30% of airlines’ costs. African taxation makes fuel 20% more expensive than anywhere else. Tyler also pointed out in his speech that governments across Africa levy some 15% of all the aviation taxes worldwide. Airport charges on the continent are also among the highest in the world.

Tyler told the AFRAA meeting: “IATA’s 20-year passenger forecast shows plainly that Africa is set for strong expansion. Seven of the top 10 fastest growing markets over this period will be in Africa. And yet despite this, I still feel that Africa will have unfulfilled potential. How much faster could growth be in Africa if we tackle these issues that I have outlined today?”
 

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