Over the next 20 years the South African market could more than double in size if key policies are implemented.

Reforms to immigration policies, a reduction in charges affecting business, and making air transport central to economic planning can help aviation in South Africa thrive over the next 20 years.

That is according to the latest study on the economic value of air transport and aviation in the country, published recently by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

In 2017, 20.9 million passenger journeys were made to, from and within South Africa, with aviation and tourism representing $9.4 billion in gross value added. It accounts for 3.2% of South Africa's GDP and supports 472,000 jobs. 

The results of the study are a reminder that air transport creates jobs, facilitates tourism, supports international trade and is an engine of economic activity

IATA says that over the next 20 years the South African market could more than double in size, resulting in 23.8 million additional passenger journeys, over 372,000 more jobs, and a total of $20.2 billion in GDP by 2037.

“With more than 20.9 million passengers departing and arriving from airports in South Africa every year, there is good reason to be proud of all that aviation has achieved here,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

“The results of the study are a reminder that robust air connectivity unlocks significant economic and social benefits. I call aviation the business of freedom. Air transport creates jobs, facilitates tourism, supports international trade and is an engine of economic activity.”

However, improvements on immigration policies, business taxes and charges, and economic planning are key to any possible future growth.

“We are concerned by the respective Q1 2019 4.4% and 3.6% contractions in the transport and tourism sectors, which reflect uncertainties and diminished confidence,” added de Juniac.

“Government policy reforms to promote business, trade, investment and tourism are essential to make the most of air transport to the benefit of the South African people and economy.”

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