28 AFRICAN COUNTRIES HAVE NOW SIGNED ON TO #SAATM BUT HAS IT MADE A DIFFERENCE
(Posted 11th May 2019)
The signing of the African Union’s SAATM initiative by both Nigeria and Burkina Faso has brought the number of member states – ostensibly – committed to implement SAATM and incorporate it in their aviation policies, legislation and regulations, to now 28. Fourtyfour AU member states did vote for the establishment of SAATM but 16, many of they hugely important and influential as far as air transport is concerned, are still sitting on the fence.
Most of the national objections come over competition issues but few have spoken out so vigorously against the immediate implementation of SAATM as Kenya Airways CEO Sebastian Mikosz did, almost dictating terms to the Kenyan government how to handle open skies, or rather how not to handle them.
SAATM, like the Yamoussoukro Declaration 20 years ago, has so far shown little impact on opening the African skies and the misguided drive to establish new, or revive moribund national airlines, is further complicating SAATM’s implementation as those countries are almost bound to protect their costly upstarts and re-starts given the combined billions of US Dollars being poured into these (ad)ventures.
Countries which have signed on to SAATM, like Nigeria and Burkina Faso, are technically required to lift all restrictions and non tariff barriers from bilateral air services agreements and other regulation bodies. It also means that full implementation of SAATM would have to start immediately but that objective – SAATM was launched in January 2018 – is still a long way off.