AFRAA to join Focus Africa Initiative

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the African Airlines Association (AFRAA) has announced that AFRAA is joining the Focus Africa initiative.

Focus Africa aims to maximize the contribution of aviation to development across the African Continent by better serving passengers and shippers. Under Focus Africa, private and public stakeholders are committed to delivering measurable improvements in six critical areas – safety, infrastructure, connectivity, finance and distribution, sustainability, and skills development.

“AFRAA strengthens the Focus Africa coalition as we work to increase aviation’s role in Africa’s development. This has enormous promise. The continent is home to the world’s most rapidly growing population but accounts for just 2% of air passenger and cargo transport activity. The road to realizing aviation’s potential will be long. But with the strong partnerships committed to Focus Africa, we can, and we will realize the needed change,” said Kamil Al Awadhi, IATA’s Regional Vice President for Africa and the Middle East.

“AFRAA and IATA share a common vision – the development of a safe, secure and sustainable aviation industry in Africa that facilitates business, trade, and tourism and contributes positively to Africa’s economic growth and development. AFRAA fully supports and encourages collaboration in tackling the challenges and threats to the sustainability of Africa’s air transport sector. By joining IATA and the other Focus Africa partners we can help propel this initiative which will deliver widespread social and economic benefits,” said Abderahmane Berthé, AFRAA Secretary General.

IATA and AFRAA are also enhancing their collaboration by renewing a joint work program which includes promoting regional air connectivity by working together with governments to support the implementation of the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM).

IATA and AFRAA also said liberating airline funds blocked by governments from repatriation by advising governments on best practices to clear backlogs. Since 2018, a significant amount of blocked funds has been repatriated from Angola, Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria, and Zimbabwe through working with the respective governments. Currently US$1.5 billion in airline funds remain blocked across the continent.

The organisations said improving operational safety through a data-driven, collaborative programme to reduce safety incidents and accidents is one of the goals.

This includes improving data sharing, prioritizing the accurate communication of aeronautical information, timely accident and incident reporting, and promoting IATA safety auditing programs including the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) and IATA Standard Safety Assessment (ISSA). With all IATA members on the IOSA registry and all AFRAA members on the IOSA or ISSA registry, this effort will focus on encouraging governments to adopt the use of IOSA in their safety oversight programmes.

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