THE International Air Transport Association (IATA) says it will seek Zimbabwe’s endorsement of a study that looks at the advantages of freeing up African skies when regional airlines converge in Victoria Falls next week.
Global aviation industry experts will also be part of 250 executives who will attend the conference during the IATA Day on May 18, according to Raphael Kuuchi, the body’s vice president for Africa.
“During the event, IATA will be looking to secure endorsement by the government of the Republic of Zimbabwe for the study prepared for IATA in partnership with AFCAC and AFRAA,” said Kuuchi.
AFRAA is the African Airlines Association, whose president is Air Zimbabwe (AirZim)’s acting chief executive officer, Edmund Makona.
AFCAC stands for African Civil Aviation Commission.
The IATA study is titled Transforming IntraAfrican Air Connectivity: The Economic Benefits of Implementing the Yamoussoukro Decision.
“This is flowing from the 24th session of the assembly of heads of State and government of the African Union held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 30th to 31st January 2015. Clear decisions were taken to establish a single African air transport market in Africa by 2017 and (there was a) solemn commitment made by 11 African Union member States to ensure the implementation of the Yamoussoukro Decision towards the establishment of a single African air transport market by 2017,” a statement from IATA said.
Completed in July 2014, the study said reluctance by governments to open up to foreign competition has undermined growth of African economies.
It said closed markets limit access to the region, as well as prolonging the time that goods arrive to destinations.
In 1999, African governments made bold moves to deal with these shortcomings at a conference in Yamoussoukro, Ivory Coast.
But even after 44 countries committed to liberalise their skies, this has remained a pipedream 17 years on.
IATA said this would come under the spotlight in Victoria Falls.