Liberalisation of air transport can bolster countries’ GDP by $1.3b, says IATA
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has disclosed that Nigeria and 11 other nations in Africa may earn at least $1.3billion as Gross Domestic Product (GDP) annually if they implement the liberalization of air transport in the continent.
According to IATA, Yamoussoukro Decision is the agreement for liberalisation of air transport for the West African region reached at a regional conference in 1999. The implementation of this agreement has however been slow due to lack of political will by African leaders, it noted.
Other factors militating against the implementation of the policy, according to the body include unnecessary restrictions on establishing air routes and the penetration of African skies by foreign carriers through obnoxious air agreements.
The Director-General, IATA, Mr. Tony Tyler said that potential five million passengers annually are being denied the chance to travel between these markets because of unnecessary restrictions on establishing air routes.
Statistics presented by IATA indicated that Nigeria would have additional 17,400 employments with $128.2m annual GDP.
Algeria is expected to generate about 15,300 jobs with revenue potentials netting $123.6m, while Angola is to generate about 15, 300 jobs with over $137.1m contribution to its GDP.
On its part, Egypt would be expected to generate over 11,300 jobs and $114.2m contribution to its GDP and Ethiopia to generate over 14,800 jobs and $59.8m GDP, Ghana would be expected to generate over 9,500 jobs and $46.8m contribution to its GDP, while Kenya, to generate about 15,900 jobs and $76.9m annual GDP.
“This report demonstrates beyond doubt the tremendous potential for African aviation if the shackles are taken off. The additional services generated by liberalisation between just 12 key markets will provide an extra 155,000 jobs and $1.3bn in annual GDP.
Tyler said: “A potential five million passengers a year are being denied the chance to travel between these markets because of unnecessary restrictions on establishing air routes.
“Furthermore, employment and economic growth are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the benefits of connectivity. Aviation is a force for good, and plays a major role in helping to reach the African Union’s mission of an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa”, he added.
Tyler noted that aviation already supports 6.9 million jobs and more than $80 billion in GDP across Africa, adding that the InterVISTAS research demonstrates that liberalisation would create opportunities for further significant employment growth and economic development.
He insisted that the study clearly highlighted the crucial role air transport plays in driving economic and social development in Africa through enhanced connectivity .
He urged government in the continent to support the growth of the industry by fully liberalising African skies as intended by the Yamoussoukro Decision, while providing other facilitator assistance like implementing global standards in safety, security and regulations, reducing high charges, taxes and fees and removing visa requirements for ease of movement across the continent.
“Africa represents a huge potential market for aviation. It is therefore unfortunate that African states are opening their aviation markets to third countries but not to each other, which does not promote the spirit of the Yamoussoukro Decision”, he said.