Momentum is building behind the Single African Air Transport Market, or SAATM, a flagship project designed to create a single unified air transport market in Africa, organized by the International Air Transport Association.
New routes should be easier to launch without the need for reciprocal services, and 17 African countries have now agreed to test the initiative, out of a total of 35 country signatories (which represents 80 percent of the existing aviation market in Africa.)
They are: Kenya, Ethiopia, Rwanda, South Africa, Cape Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon, Ghana, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Senegal, Togo, Zambia, Niger and Gabon,
The 17 airlines will now open their air transport markets to each other as part of a new “SAATM Project Implementation Pilot.” According to reports, Kenya Airways will target corporate travel in a new Ghana-Senegal route, starting December 11.
The pilot routes come as more steps are being taken to create a new continental airline following a pact between South African Airways and Kenya Airways. Earlier this month a long-term business proposal was struck, which includes migration policies and trading privileges.
The air transport plan could eventually generate $4.2 billion in additional gross domestic product), 600,000 new jobs, a 27 percent reduction in fares and make a contribution to United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, according to reports. For example, currently some routes between neigboring African countries involve connecting flights to nearby major international hubs.
The Single African Air Transport Market was established in 2018, and is considered as a step towards the full liberalization of the continent’s air transport market.