IATA has said the Mauritian government must continue to focus on aviation as a strategic enabler of economic and social development in the country.
During his keynote speech at Aviation Day Mauritius—marking the Indian Ocean island's 50th year of independence—IATA Director General and CEO praised the state, but also called for more progress on connectivity by adopting a comprehensive aviation strategy.
"The leaders of Mauritius have always understood that air connectivity is vital. As we celebrate the first half-century of the country’s success, let’s keep in mind the critical role that aviation plays as a pillar of the economy," he said.
"And let’s look to the next fifty years with a comprehensive strategic focus on maximizing the benefits of aviation for this island nation."
Mauritius is well-placed to grow its footprint in Africa... Could [it] evolve as a one-stop hub, efficiently connecting Southern African markets to points in Asia-Pacific?
Any strategy, De Juniac noted, would include a firm commitment to IATA's Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) by recognizing it in the country's safety oversight regulatory framework, and joining The Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) to help reduce carbon emissions.
"The goal of a comprehensive aviation strategy is to enable aviation to drive economic and social development," he explained.
De Juniac also said that, despite enjoying a lofty ranking in many categories of the World Economic Forum’s Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report, Mauritius had some way to go when it came to price competitiveness, which suffers from ticket taxes, airport charges and fuel costs.
Alongside praise for the post-independence success of the nation, the IATA Director General and CEO also wondered whether Mauritius could emerge as a future one-stop hub connecting Africa with Asia.
"Mauritius is well-placed to grow its footprint in Africa. And the Single Africa Air Transport Market creates the potential for even broader connectivity," De Juniac noted.
"For sure Africa’s development will demand increased air connectivity with Asia’s important markets. Could Mauritius evolve as a one-stop hub, efficiently connecting Southern African markets to points in Asia-Pacific?"