The IATA said the initiative would boost air travel in the continent which currently has the lowest global market share in aviation.
The IATA’s Director General, Alexandre de Juniac, was quoted to have said at the 50th Annual General Assembly meeting of the African Airline Association in Morocco that “The low density of the African intra-continental network makes it impossible to realise the potential benefits of a connected African economy. SAATM, if implemented, gives Africa the potential for economic transformation. History has shown that opening markets lead to rapid advances in connectivity.”
The SAATM was inaugurated on the margins of the 30th African Union Summit in January, and is expected to liberalise air transport in the continent.
The IATA stated that to date, 27 African governments had committed to SAATM and encouraged the remaining 28 African Union member states to come on board quickly to enjoy the potential benefits of a connected African economy.
The association said there would be a quadrupling of passengers over the next two decades in Africa, adding that this would require an expanded labour force.
Junaic said governments also needed to maximise the positive social and economic power of aviation by working together to promote safe, sustainable and efficient air connectivity.