IATA's Vice President, Raphael Kuuchi, spoke at a ceremony to celebrate Camair-Co's IATA Operation Safety Audit (IOSA) accreditation, on the economic contribution of air transport in Cameroon and Central-West Africa
Kuuchi commented on the importance of air transport in Africa, and congratulated Camir-Co on joining IATA.
“Today in Africa, aviation supports over 6.9 million jobs and contributes $80 billion in GDP. Air transport helps bind our incredible land together. Therefore, it gives me great pleasure today, in front of Cameroon’s strongest aviation advocates, to officially welcome the country’s flag carrier Camair-Co to IATA.”
As Camair-Co met the safety standards, Kuuchi focused on the importance of safety within aviation.
“Achieving IOSA accreditation is a significant milestone not only for Cameroon’s national carrier but the safety of the wider aviation industry in Africa. The safety performance of the 32 Sub-Saharan airlines on the IOSA registry is 3.5 times better than non-IOSA operators in terms of all accidents and incidents.“
Camair-Co has had an established relationship with IATA, as Kuuchi explained: “The achievement is doubly welcome as the airline was one of the initial ten African carriers sponsored by IATA, the African Airlines Association and the United Nation’s International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) as part of the Abuja Declaration Project. I would like to recognise the role played by the authorities to ensure that airlines and travel agencies in Cameroon have access to IATA’s Billing Settlement Plan and the IATA Clearing House.”
Kuuchi moved on to speak about the importance of aviation in Cameroon, and the potential the country has with a developing aviation industry.
“The IMF forecasts the country’s GDP to grow by 5.5% annually over the next 5 years. This should drive an average annual passenger growth rate of 8.4% per year, compared with the African average of 4.6%. This equates to an extra 5.5 million passengers by 2035.”
The industry still has many challenges to face, in spite of this positive forecast.
“Challenges remain for Cameroon– not least the slump in oil-prices and the rise in security-related disruptions. As a result, it is imperative for governments to promote the growth of aviation.”
“Cameroon cannot realise the full value of aviation without support from its neighbours. I would challenge the government to look at the strategic development of pan-African aviation. Enhancing air connectivity would stimulate competition, make air travel more affordable and thereby enable much higher volumes of trade, tourism and commerce between Cameroon and the rest of Africa.”
To close his speech, Kuuchi looked forward to the future of Cameroonian aviation.
In order for the country to realise its full potential, it is necessary to adopt policies and take steps to promote infrastructure investment, the development of harmonised business-friendly policies and a renewed and constant focus on safety. We urge the adoption and implementation of a market-based measure to meet the industry’s 2020 goal of carbon-neutral growth, to be discussed at the 2016 ICAO Assembly.”