Tap aviation potentials to drive Africa's economic growth, says IATA

Lagos, Nigeria (PANA) - The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has called on public and private aviation stakeholders to tap potentials in that sector with a view to driving economic growth in Africa.

Mr. Tony Tyler, the IATA Managing Director, made the call in Lagos Tuesday while speaking at the opening of a two-day Aviation Day Africa conference with the theme: ``Safety, infrastructure and capacity building''.

He said that “Aviation supports 6.7 million jobs and some US$ 68 billion of economic activities in Africa," adding ``Those numbers are impressive but I am convinced that aviation has an even bigger role to play in providing the connectivity that drives economic growth and development.”

Tyler said that Africa was poised for rapid development and great changes owing to its population and economic potentials.

``Half of the top 20 fastest growing economies over the next five years are expected to be on this continent. Aviation’s part in driving growth and development will become even more prominent,” he said.

However, he said, "for this to occur, Africa must address major challenges in safety, infrastructure and liberalization."

Tyler, who stressed that safety was IATA's top priority, also lamented that Africa’s performance was well below what was achieved in the rest of the world.

``In 2012, African airlines had one accident (with a Western-built jet aircraft) for every 270,000 flights. Globally, the industry average was one accident for every 5 million flights," Tyler said, disclosing that "No IATA member experienced a Western-built jet hull loss accident last year and that includes the 25 member airlines based in Africa.''

According to him, none of the 384 airlines on the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) registry, including those carriers based in Africa, had a hull loss with a Western-built jet.

“It is clear that IOSA is making a difference -- not just in Africa, but in safety globally,” said Tyler, who advised African airlines, yet to key into the Abuja Declaration, which was endorsed by the African Union Summit early this year.

He said that the declaration sets out a comprehensive approach for airlines to reach world-class safety levels by 2015 and urged African governments to make IOSA mandatory for their airlines.

He pledged that IATA would be sponsoring 10 airlines on in-house training to achieve IOSA registration.

On fuel transportation, he said that the fuel transportation from Apapa Terminal to the airport is in desperate need of urgent attention.

He warned: ``We need to find a sustainable long-term solution to this long-standing problem. The vandalised pipeline is no longer in use and trucking fuel through dense traffic for storage on site is inefficient and costly.

He said that IATA was working with the oil industry to find a solution and called for government's political will to help things happen in the industry.

``Ensuring fuel reliability is critical to the future of Lagos as a hub for connectivity across South West Africa,'' he said.

Also speaking, Capt. Fola Akinkuotu, the Director-General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Agency (NCAA), said that the aviation industry had come to stay in Africa .

He linked this to demographic growth, robust economic development and the emergence of middle-class air travellers.

He, however, urged African airlines to gain independence from foreign airlines by adopting and domesticating international standards in their operations.

Such standards, he disclosed, had moved the rest of the world forward in the aviation sector.
-0- PANA ADA/VAO 17Sept2013

17 september 2013 19:25:25

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