AU set to launch Single African Air Transport Market to improve Africa’s air connectivity #SAATM

The Single African Air Transport Market will be formally established and launched on the 28 January 2018 on the margins of the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Eligible airlines of the 23 countries are, effective this season, are entitled to conduct their business into the markets and fully operate the traffic rights provided for in the Yamoussoukro decision. The launch event brings together the aviation industry in Africa and airline manufacturers to forge ahead the effective implementation of SAATM.

The Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) is a flagship project of the African Union Agenda 2063, an initiative of the African Union to create a single unified air transport market in Africa, the liberalization of civil aviation in Africa and as an impetus to the Continent’s economic integration agenda.

The Declaration on the establishment of a Single Africa Air Transport Market, as a flagship project of the AU Agenda 2063 was adopted by the African Union (AU) Assembly in 2015. Eleven AU Member States have made a commitment to implement the Yamoussoukro Decision of 1999 that provides for full liberalization in terms of market access between African States, the free exercise of traffic rights, the elimination of restrictions on ownership and the full liberalization of frequencies, fares and capacities.

The third meeting of the Ministerial Working Group on establishment of the SAATM took place from 5 to 8 December 2017 and a number of activities were agreed to mark the launch of the Single African Air Transport Market. It is envisaged that airlines from the 23 SAATM countries would each be able to put up an exhibition during the launch.

To date, the number of Member States that have adhered to the Solemn Commitment has reached twenty-three (23), namely: Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Swaziland, Togo and Zimbabwe.

According to information made available by the AU information division, some of the benefits of implementing the Single African Air Transport Market include sir space connectivity, 25% lower fares, integration between African countries, convenience, time saving, inter-African trade, over 200,000 direct new jobs, and tourism.