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Mutorwa: Time to concentrate on airport integration

2024-06-26  Maihapa Ndjavera

Mutorwa: Time to concentrate on airport integration

Works and Transport minister John Mutorwa has stated that Namibia must concentrate on creating seamless integration of her airport infrastructure as the foundation for economic activity. 

“The aviation industry must
endeavour to form genuine partnerships that will improve regulatory oversight of aerospace management, consumer protection and airline safety,” he urged last week during the Aviation Development (Aviadev) Africa Conference in the capital.

Last week’s three-day annual forum brought together influential
stakeholders, including airline leadership, airports tourism boards, government officials and industry experts to foster collaboration, forge strategic partnerships and explore opportunities to deliver new air routes across Africa. 

The event was hosted by the Namibia Airports Company (NAC) in Windhoek, and attracted 35 airlines and 400 participants.

The NAC stated that air travel is critical to its success, as it unlocks untapped opportunities. 

Conference participants agreed that boosting growth and development of Africa’s aviation industry is one of the continent’s most critical integration drivers.  Better-connected African countries and regions through a successful air transport industry can be a driver for increased commerce, trade and tourism.

Meanwhile, Mutorwa said the expansion of the aviation sector
necessitates new collaboration, coordination and cooperation that must not only allow for a faster recovery from the devastating and destructive effects of Covid-19, but also provide a voice for and contribute to economic development by creating opportunities for investment, employment and skills development.

“At the continental level, African states must continue to honour our collective commitment to prioritise aviation development on our rich continent through collaborative efforts to establish a Single African Air Transport Market, with the African Continental Free Trade Agreement serving as a critical enabling instrument to accelerate much-needed intra-Africa trade and economic growth,” he said. 


Unserved routes

Meanwhile, also emanating from the aviation conference in Windhoek, global aerospace and aviation leader Airbus released an analysis, detailing several key unserved African routes that could provide greater connectivity for travellers, drive economic growth in local economies, and provide a significant boost in revenue for airlines. 

The company highlighted data on Africa from its latest Global Market Forecast (GMF). Several of the top unserved routes identified in the analysis are concentrated in cities such as Lagos, Cape Town, Nairobi, Dakar and Douala. 

Airbus touched on strategic recommendations to capitalise on the opportunities of a more connected continent, as well as their capabilities to help realise this potential.

“Despite significant traffic between certain city-pairs, some identified routes still lack regularly-scheduled non-stop flights. Factors such as restrictive bilateral air service agreements, economic variables and challenges with capacity, frequency and operating cost-efficiency contribute to these routes remaining unserved,” said Geert Lemaire, market intelligence and consulting director of Airbus.

“With our capacity to make analyses about route and network development potential in-house, Airbus remains committed to partnering with airlines across Africa to identify optimised fleet solutions inline with network development requirements that further stimulate the continent’s air transport industry
growth, and improve connectivity for travellers.”

The forecast, meanwhile, predicts a 4.1% growth overall in air traffic over the next 20 years, resulting in an anticipated need for 1 180 new aircraft by 2043. 

Moreover, Airbus expects the continued growth of the aviation sector in Africa to result in 3.3% real GDP growth on the continent, well above the 2.6% global average. 

This growth is ratified by data from Airbus’ Global Services Forecast, which estimates that Africa will need to introduce 15 000 more pilots, 20 000 technicians and 24 000 cabin crew to meet the surge in air travel demand.

2024-06-26  Maihapa Ndjavera

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