NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
African Airlines Association (AFRAA)
on Friday expressed joy at the Single African Air Transport
Market (SAATM) expected to be launched on Sunday.
Abderahmane Berthe, the Secretary General of AFRAA, said the
establishment of the SAATM will tremendously benefit African
"With the operationalization of the SAATM, intra-African
connectivity will develop and in turn, aviation’s role as an
economic driver will grow significantly," he said in a statement
issued in Nairobi.
Berthe urged the 23 member countries of the SAATM to go a
step further to ensure they create an enabling operating
environment for airlines so that they may realize the maximum
potential of the SAATM and take advantage of the benefits that
He appealed to the remaining African states to join and help
in the realization of the far-sighted vision of a Single African
Air Transport Market that will help spur the development of
The association said SAATM is a flagship project of the
Agenda 2063, an initiative to create a single unified air
transport market and the liberalization of civil aviation in
Africa, and as an impetus to the continent’s economic
According AFRAA, the pursuit of full liberalization of
African skies received a major lift in 2015 when 11 African
leaders made a solemn commitment to the implementation of the
Yamoussoukro Decision (YD) towards the establishment of a single
African air transport market by 2017.
Yamoussoukro Decision (YD) calls for the full liberalization
of the African aviation industry by removing all restrictions on
access, price, frequency and capacity in intra-African air
"Significant strides have been achieved thereafter through
the advocacy activities of International Air Transport
Association (IATA), AFRAA, the African Union Commission through
the African Civil Aviation Commissions (AFCAC), the
International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the members of
the Ministerial Working Group and other industry stakeholders.
The number of countries that have signed the Solemn
Commitment increased from 11 to 23.
These include: Benin, Burkina Faso, Botswana, Capo Verde,
Republic of Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana,
Guinea Conakry, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria,
Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Swaziland, Togo and
"These Member States have been requested to implement a
number of key steps towards ensuring the full implementation of
the YD, the initial condition for the establishment of the
Single Market. A number of the remaining African States are
embracing the YD through Bilateral Air Services Agreements (BASAs),"
It said traffic volumes and airport infrastructure and
airlines within the twenty-three countries account for more than
80 percent of the intra-African traffic.