Namibia ready to start flights under trial single-aviation African market

January 17, 2023 1865

Namibia is ready to start piloting the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) and has started talks with other African countries to begin flights into the country.

The country is among 18 of the 35 signatory states, namely Kenya, Ethiopia, Rwanda, South Africa, Cape Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon, Ghana, Morocco, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, Togo and Zambia that have resolved to launch a cluster to pilot the scheme which when fully implemented, is expected to see a 27% reduction in air fares, create close to 600,000 jobs and add US$4.2 billion to the continent’s gross domestic product.

“Namibia is ready to implement the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM). Namibia has during the International Civil Aviation Negotiation Event approached other countries in the Pilot Implementor Project to start negotiations to start flying under SAATM,” said Cynthia Haimbodi Deputy Director for Transportation Policy in the Ministry of Works and Transport.

Quizzed on the implementation timelines for Namibia, Haimbodi said, “African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC) in collaboration with all the stakeholders would proceed with clear actions and timelines to achieve SAATM implementation,” adding no determination had been made of the duration of the project.

She said an engagement process with local airlines about SAATM and what will be expected from them under the pilot project will be undertaken.

“With assistance from AFCAC, plans are underway to engage stakeholders to sensitise stakeholders on activities of SAATM,” Haimbodi said.

The Transportation Policy Deputy Director was quick to point out the projected direct economic benefits for Namibia under SAATM.

“SAATM will have significant benefits to consumers and the economy alike such as: fare savings, passengers are expected to benefit from fare reductions, increased consumer welfare; full SAATM implementation also results in additional passengers travelling who previously were unable to do so, due in part to the lower cost of travel, greater connectivity, greater convenience, time savings; new routes and greater frequencies will shorten the flying time between many cities and increased revenue for tourism, trade, GDP etc,” she said.

The launch of SAATM as the first flagship project of the African Union Agenda 2063 in 2018, is considered as a turning point towards the full liberalisation of the air transport market on the continent.

African skies have remained largely closed, with countries opting for bilateral air services agreements.

At only 1.9% of global traffic in 2019, Africa’s aviation contributed US$63 billion to the continent’s GDP and 7.7 million jobs, half a million of them being direct.

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Last modified on Wednesday, 18 January 2023 19:38

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