An African single air transport market will be launched in January 2018 with 40 plus countries expected to be signatories by then. So far 20 African countries out of 55 have subscribed to African single air market. The statement was made by David Kajange, Head of Transport and Tourism Division, Department of Infrastructure and Energy at African Union (AU) on Sunday at a press conference on the sidelines on the ongoing 29th AU summit being held from June 27-July 4 in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa. A single air transport market is one of the goals of AU’s Agenda 2063, aiming to connect Africa through aviation and other transport infrastructure to achieve integration and boost intra-Africa trade. The single air transport market also aims to boost African nations’ tourism, economic growth and economic development.
Kajange says Africa became the most expensive air transport market in the world because of individual nations’ policies and regulations that hinder air connectivity. According to Euroavia International, a firm specializing in consulting services for airports and aviation industry, air transport in Africa is on average twice as expensive as the world average. An African Open Skies vision has been there since 1980s, culminating in the adoption of the Yamassoukro Decision of African Heads of States of November 14, 1999. However, between 2004 and 2014, despite sustained economic growth on the continent, an increasing business and tourism sector and growing middle class, the market share of African airlines has dropped dramatically. The loss of market share by African airlines has been estimated by the AU to have been from 60 percent to below 20 percent.