The International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the African Airline Association (AFRAA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to deepen their cooperation.
IATA said on its website on Sunday that the agreement was signed by its Director-General, Mr Alexandre de Juniac and AFRAA’s Secretary-General, Mr Abderahmane Berthé, on the sidelines of the 74th IATA Annual General Meeting in Sydney.
De Juniac said under the MoU, IATA and AFRAA would exchange information, expertise and capabilities and work jointly to enhance safety.
The organisations hope to achieve this by assisting airlines to successfully implement the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA), IATA Safety Audit for Ground Operations (ISAGO) and IATA Ground Handling Manual (IGOM), he said.
According to him, both organisations will promote regional air connectivity by working jointly with governments to support the implementation of the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM).
He said they would encourage data exchange among aviation stakeholders to improve the passenger experience and enhance security through capacity building.
De Juniac said they would also work to liberate airline funds blocked by governments from repatriation by advising governments on best practices to clear backlogs and achieve reasonable levels of taxes and charges.
This will be done by helping governments to focus on the social and economic benefits of aviation.
“Africa is full of potential. Unlocking the economic and social benefits of aviation is a critical element of the continent’s development.
“Achieving Africa’s potential, however, will not happen by chance. Continuous improvement in safety, an effective regulatory framework, and fit-for-purpose infrastructure are essential.
“To achieve that; strong partnerships are key. This MoU will strengthen IATA’s already close relationship with AFRAA and help ensure that global standards and best practices form the backbone of Africa’s aviation growth,’’ he said.
On his part, Berthé said the agreement paved the way for further development in African aviation, adding that air transport already supported 6.8 million jobs and generated 72.5 billion dollars of economic activity on the continent.
“AFRAA and IATA share a common vision — the development of a safe, secure and sustainable aviation industry in Africa that facilitates business, trade and tourism and contributes positively to Africa’s economic growth and development.
“This MoU with IATA will commit both our organisations to work together even closer on the main priorities for African aviation.
“In particular, we count on IATA to provide the requisite technical support across a number of areas such as improving aviation infrastructure and capacity building with national regulators,’’ he said. (NAN)