African Union leaders meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia have launched the Single African Air Transport Market, which among others will liberalise air transport on the continent.
Calling it a major step forward for transportation, the incoming Chairperson of the African Union and also President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, commended the leaders at the AU Summit on the Launch.
Kagame said freedom of movement of people in Africa is important and it is achievable in 2018. He added that by committing to break down barriers sends a “tremendous signal to Africa and beyond that it is no longer business as usual.”
It is envisaged that the single African air market will evolve into a common aviation area, which will result in abolition of bilateral service agreements between states and airlines, and instead have airlines flying intra-African routes based on economic and financial considerations of the market.
It would also result in revision of visa requirements to enable free movement of Africans in the continent.
The Heads of State and Government have been meeting for the 30th Ordinary Session of the African Union under the theme, ‘Winning the fight against corruption: a sustainable path to Africa’s transformation’.
The Single African Air Transport Market is a flagship project of the African Union Agenda 2063 and was adopted by the Assembly in 2015.
Ngora Woman MP Jacquiline Amongin, one of the Ugandan Pan-African Parliament legislators, believes that this is a positive step to quality aviation services in Africa. She argues that liberalised air transport would bring about improved safety, cheap fares and increased traffic within the continent.