|At the 53 rd AFRAA Annual General Assembly and Summit which concluded today, air transport leaders and decision-makers established a roadmap for the transformation and economic development of air transport in Africa. The event took place under the sponsorship of the Angolan government under the theme:
“Path to Africa’s Resilient Travel Ecosystem ”.
The AFRAA AGM is the largest gathering of African airline CEOs and high profile aviation leaders in Africa and the world. This year’s event was sponsored by TAAG Angola Airlines in virtual format. The Assembly brought together more than 400 delegates from 51 nationalities around the world, including decision-makers and aviation leaders. International and regional air transport associations, including the African Union, IATA, ICAO, AFCAC and ALTA, were also represented at the event.
The guest of honor, the Honorable Ricardo de Abreu, Minister of Transport of the Republic of Angola, said in his opening speech that: “this AGM is the perfect opportunity to look to the future of African aviation and strengthen stakeholder engagement to enable all sectors of our economies to reap the multiple benefits. Failure is not an option, together we will succeed. He underlined the various measures and initiatives taken by the Angolan government to improve the aviation sector and make Luanda an efficient hub ”.
Mr. Abdérahmane Berthé, Secretary General of AFRAA, said in substance that: “This year’s Assembly gives us the opportunity to rethink our sector and develop a resilient and sustainable perspective for the airline industry. AFRAA will remain true to its mission of promoting and serving African airlines and defending the African aviation sector – Better skies for Africa – which remains the backbone of all our actions ”.
Regarding the recovery, Mr. Berthé stressed that the ingredients for a successful restart are: measures for safe travel, removal of travel restrictions, financial support for airlines, technology to shape the “new normal”, the reinvention and redefinition of airline business models, cooperation between African airlines and passenger confidence.
In his remarks, AFRAA President for 2021, Mr. Rui Carreira, said: “This AGM provides a unique forum for airlines and stakeholders to discuss, share ideas and explore solutions that can be implemented for the rapid restoration of the aviation sector. African airlines must take this opportunity to emerge stronger and more resilient from the crisis in order to meet the challenges of the sector. Cooperation and collaboration among African airlines through initiatives such as network coordination and joint cost containment are all initiatives that will enable airlines to quickly overcome the effects of the pandemic. ”
Positive trends towards recovery
An in-depth analysis of the industry outlook made during the Assembly indicated that airlines are on a positive recovery trajectory, as African airlines reopened 81.3% of their international routes by October 2021. and that the recovery in Africa and the Middle East has been smoother and more consistent than in Europe and Asia. However, in Africa, sub-regional growth is varied and driven by different market dynamics.
The analysis further revealed that African airlines have increased their regional fleets since 2020, resulting in deeper market penetration and better flow. African freight capacity has increased by 33% since 2019, and cargo load factors have improved 9% from pre-pandemic levels. The dawn of recovery is a watershed moment in redefining strategic plans for the next five years.
The Assembly ended with the adoption of three (3) resolutions to advance the cause of African aviation:
- Resolution on the protected reopening of borders
Recognizing that the secure reopening of borders in a harmonized manner is essential for the effective restart of African aviation, the Assembly called on African governments to remove border restrictions and open their markets for the revival of the sector with the assistance of standards and guidance documents for the sector restart plan. The Assembly also called on African governments to accelerate the rapid deployment of vaccines on the continent in order to facilitate the restart of economies and air transport.
- Resolution on Financial Support to Airlines
Recognizing the importance of financial support for the revival of the air transport sector, the Assembly appealed to African governments to provide much needed financial support and assistance for African airlines and for the African aviation sector in general.
- Resolution on Conceptual Laboratory Approach to Achieve Sustainability of African Airlines
Recognizing the importance of addressing the issue of sustainability and competitiveness of air transport in Africa, the Assembly called for a laboratory bringing together all relevant stakeholders for a transformative opportunity for the economic development of air transport in Africa . The AFRAA Secretariat, in consultation with the African Union Commission (AUC), the African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC) and the African Airline Industry Group (AAIG), will organize the laboratory prior to the end of March 2022.
Association officials for 2022
The 53rd AFRAA AGM elected Mr. Ibrahima Kane, Director General of Air Senegal, as President of the Association for the 2022 fiscal year. Captain Pascal Kasongo Mwema, Director General of Congo Airways, Ms. Yvonne Makolo, Director General of RwandAir, and Mr. Mohamed Khalifa Biyah, Managing Director of Mauritania Airlines, were re-elected respectively President, First and Second Vice-Presidents for the same fiscal year.
Host of the 54th AGM
Air Senegal will host the 54 th Annual General Assembly to be held in November 2022 in Dakar, Senegal.