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Addis Ababa Agreement 2015

African Open Skies Agreement

This is despite the launch of the African Single Air Transport Market (SAATM) programme by the African Union (AU) in January 2018, which is part of its Agenda 2063 master plan for the continent. If all this sounds familiar to you, it`s because we`ve been here before. The main foundations for the creation of an open skies for Africa were laid in the run-up to the Yamoussoukro Declaration of 1988 and the Yamoussoukro Decision of 1999, which was signed by 44 AU members. The opening of the African skies will benefit more than the airlines and their owners, governments or others. Aviation in Africa brings $55.8 billion a year to Africa and provides 7.5 million jobs. It is money that goes into households and supports families. For this reason alone, SAATM should be strongly encouraged. However, it is also true that there has been little noticeable progress since the AU held its fourth meeting of the Ministerial Working Group on SAATM in Togo in May 2018. Even more worrying, as IATA notes, by the end of April, only half of these 28 SAATM signatories had signed an implementing memorandum of understanding in which they committed to putting the agreement into practice in their countries. Aviation has the potential to make a significant contribution to economic growth and development in Africa. An IATA survey suggests that if only 12 major African countries opened up their markets and increased connectivity, an additional 155,000 jobs would be created and an annual GDP of around $1.3 billion would be generated in these countries. “Ghana is continuing its open skies policy and signaling to the international aviation community that we are open for business,” he said, adding that his aviation ministry has granted 5th freedom rights to most of the airlines that have applied.

Raphael Kuuchi, IATA`s vice president for Africa, said the agreement represented a crucial step towards greater intra-African connectivity, but warned that the continent would only realize the full benefits of aviation if implementation was effective and more countries committed to SAATM. “Kenya is also committed to the full implementation of the African Union initiative, in which Africa will develop together to become an aviation market,” President Uhuru Kenyatta said at the opening of the conference. Productivity is also increasing as air transport promotes the economic development of the national and regional economy by attracting businesses to these regions and encouraging investment in small and medium-sized enterprises. This fosters innovation and knowledge transfer as more and more markets open up. In November 1999, a group of African airlines met in Côte d`Ivoire to negotiate an agreement on the integration of commercial aviation across Africa. The result was the Yamoussoukro decision, a document supporting the liberalization of commercial aviation in Africa. SaaTM aims to create a single aviation market in Africa, liberalize civil aviation and promote economic integration. It aims to eliminate the need for separate bilateral air services agreements between countries, with all current or future air services agreements between one or all Member States complying with the Decision or meeting certain requirements regarding aviation freedoms, tariffs, schedules and recognition of the powers and functions of the African Civil Aviation Commission as an executive agency. The aim is to establish safety standards for African air carriers, harmonize dispute settlement rules and create a Board of Appeal and an Arbitration Tribunal to protect consumer rights.

The Yamoussoukro decision was a treaty that allowed open skies between most African countries. The decision was endorsed by 44 members of the African Union in 1999 and became binding in 2002. [1] Despite the many benefits of implementing a full open skies regime, only 28 African countries are currently implementing amla. So far, the turnkey elements of the SAAC, such as an independent dispute resolution function, uniform competition rules or the protection of consumer rights, have not yet been established. Nor is there a harmonised regime of airport taxes and charges. Those who criticize ASAC point to practices that bring unfair financial advantages to some existing actors and disadvantage private companies, such as. B, the more favourable tax and financial conditions available to state-owned enterprises. Indigenous airlines also complain of discriminatory practices that favour non-African airlines. These practices include some countries that open their skies to carriers from other continents, but not to other African airlines. With African air traffic expected to reach 6% per year over the next two decades, with faster growth than any other region, the opening of skies will play a key role in how the continent taps into a sector that is now seen as the next frontier for Africa`s economic recovery. Another alternative is to focus on existing regional blocs where there is already a commitment to cooperation. An example of this is the northern corridor airspace block.

The States of Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan and Uganda agreed to facilitate the establishment of the Airspace Management Initiative with the aim of creating transparent airspace operations and developing safe and cost-effective travel. Similar integration projects could be carried out in West Africa and other parts of the continent that are already considering other regional infrastructure integration projects. Although it is very beneficial to achieve open skies in all 54 countries in Africa, small steps may be taken first in the different regions. With a population of more than 1 billion people and a land mass larger than the combined areas of the United States, India and China, Africa represents a significant opportunity for the aviation industry. The African Single Air Transport Market (“SAATM”) was launched in 2018 with the aim of developing air services and harmonizing related regulations in Africa and boosting the flow of private capital into the industry. The full implementation of AMAC by all African countries could bring enormous economic benefits. However, in the absence of a clear implementation framework, the Open Skies Treaty faces major challenges. Alternatives to full liberalisation are being explored as existing airlines seek alternative routes to access the market. “Our position is that we are not comfortable with the Nigerian government`s decision because we cannot compete favorably with African airlines when our skies are completely open,” Captain Nogie Meggison, president of the AON, said at the time. While the Africa Cup of Nations may have united the continent through football, can Africa`s long-awaited domestic aviation market succeed in uniting the continent`s skies? In fact, african ministers responsible for civil aviation themselves recognized this in 1999 when they adopted the Yamoussoukro resolution, named after the Ivorian city where it was agreed. It obliges its 44 signatory states to deregulate air services and promote regional aviation markets open to cross-border competition. It followed the Yamoussoukro Declaration of 1988, in which many of the same countries accepted the principles of air services liberalization.

In 2000, the decision was endorsed by the Heads of State and Government of the Organization of African Unity and became fully binding in 2002. The African Union Commission believes that the implementation of the Open Skies Policy will pave the way for other flagship projects such as the African passport and the free movement of people. People who promote SAATM say it won`t. They say improved connectivity, increased passenger numbers, uniform regulations and free access will benefit all airlines. One of SAATM`s driving forces is Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda. Yaw Kwakwa, Acting Managing Director of Ghana Airports Company Limited (GACL), acknowledges that some AU Member States appear to be delaying the full opening of SAATM even after it has been signed, but “Ghana is fully committed to its achievement and success”. “SAATM has the potential for a remarkable transformation that creates prosperity while connecting the African continent,” Raphael Kuuchi, IATA Vice President for Africa, said three years ago. .

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