in Air Transport / People / ATM & Regulatory
Aviation Africa: The challenges facing Open Skies
No Open Sky agreements have been signed between African countries, but several have been signed between African countries and other regions.
The consequence has been a limitation on the growth of Africa's airlines, efficiency reductions and higher costs, leading to a negative impact on economic development.
On this basis a panel discussed delays to the implementation of the Yamoussoukro Declaration and the challenges facing regulators in the growing market.
The Yamoussoukro Declaration (YD), signed in 1999 called for the liberalization of African skies for African airlines, and aimed to establish a single African air transport market by avoiding market restrictions imposed by bilateral air service agreements.
The panel, moderated by Victoria Moores, bureau chief, ATW – “Air Transport World” and “African Aerospace”, comprised Dr Mohammed Rahma, undersecretary international and Internal Affairs, Ministry of Civil Aviation, Egypt; Juan Carlos Salazar, air transport advisor, GCAA, UAE (pictured); Hennie Marais, Executive ATM, ATNS-Air Traffic and Navigation Services, South Africa; and Abdulai Alhassan, Director General, Ghana Civil Aviation Authority.
So will we see YD implemented widely by 2017?
Abdulai Alhassan said that the intention is to implement standards across many countries in Africa. “We are appealing to all countries to adopt these and sign up to the agreement,” he said.
Dr Mohammed Rahma said: “We recently had a meeting about open skies and very few attended. If more states had been there we would have been better placed to move forward.
“Many countries want to sign, but their heads of states have not been briefed and they are afraid to sign. We know that a lot of states wish to join and there is an imminent need for more open air traffic.
“This would inevitably result in more air traffic in Africa, which must be a good thing.”
Victoria Moores said that showing governments the economic benefits to be gained with an open skies agreement can make a big difference.
Juan Carlos Salazar said that all African nations are welcome to come to the UAE to learn about how Dubai's liberalisation contributed to its economy.
“This has been very much a contribution to Dubai's financial success story,” Salazar said.