Aviation is vital to the modern, globalised world, supporting millions of jobs and driving economic growth. But the benefits of connectivity must be protected with appropriate support from governments if the air transport sector is to help fulfil its potential as a connector of people, trade and tourism and a driver of sustainable development. These are the conclusions drawn in a new report, Aviation: Benefits Beyond Borders, issued by the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG).
Worldwide, aviation supports 62.7 million jobs and generates $2.7 trillion in gross domestic product (GDP). Not only does air transport provide significant economic benefits, but it also plays a major role in the social development of people and communities all over the globe, allowing people to travel for educational opportunities and cultural exchange, more broadly. Across Africa, specifically, air transport supports 6.8 million jobs and contributes $72.5 billion to the African continent’s GDP.
In the next 20 years, forecasts suggest that aviation-supported jobs worldwide will increase to over 99 million and GDP to $5.9 trillion. Africa is the second-fastest growing region in the world as far as international air traffic is concerned. However, the overly strict regulatory environment in the region must be simplified if Africa’s true economic potential is to be realised. For decades, industry leaders have been urging governments in Africa to unlock this potential by moving ahead with the policy of open skies in the region, allowing aviation services to flourish and continue to support growth. Industry costs in Africa, including passenger fees, are among the highest in the world. These regulatory arrangements should be improved, according to industry experts in the region.
ATAG executive director, Michael Gill, says that the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at the United Nations highlights a number of goals that the international community should strive to achieve by 2030: “We found that air transport in some way supports 14 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, from decent work and economic growth to quality education and reduced inequalities. By continuing to grow in a sustainable manner, aviation can strive to be a force for good for many years to come.”
“A significant factor in our work on sustainable development is the industry’s world-leading climate action plan. We need support from governments around the world to agree on a key part of that plan at the upcoming International Civil Aviation Organization Assembly, where we hope an agreement can be reached on a global offsetting scheme for air transport. It is a vital part of our industry’s future role in helping to support development worldwide.”
Elijah Chingoso, Secretary General of the African Airlines Association (AFRAA): “Sustainable development of air transport in Africa requires that the industry be fully liberalised, industry costs are brought down to global standards through adhering to ICAO stipulations as well as removal of constraints to the development of the industry such as monopolies and visa requirements. Reliable aviation infrastructure, efficient, inexpensive and sustainable transport services are crucial for speedy socio-economic development, regional integration and for the continent’s competitiveness in the global economy.”
Boni Dibate, Director Africa Affairs for the Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO): “As the second fastest growing region for international air traffic, Africa needs efficient, cost-effective and safe air traffic management (ATM) infrastructure to fully realise the economic benefits of aviation. CANSO is working hard with its industry partners to improve the safety, efficiency and sustainability of ATM across Africa, by improving safety through its standard of excellence; providing training; disseminating best practice; and promoting opportunities for collaborative decision-making. States have a key role to play by investing in ATM infrastructure; modernising airspace by implementing the ICAO Aviation System Block Upgrades; and liberalising air transport by implementing the Yamoussoukro Declaration.”
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Under the theme “Together we move South Africa forward”, the Department of Transport will launch its annual October Transport Month (OTM) campaign on 1 October.OTM focuses on infrastructure projects that have major socio-economic spin-offs, for all modes of transport such as road, aviation, maritime, rail and public transport.
This year, emphasis will be placed on four pillars:
- Jobs created through infrastructure and other service delivery programmes;
- Major infrastructure developments and improvements and links to local economic developments;
- Special programmes aimed at youth and women; and,
- Rallying all sectors of society to improve road safety with an opportunity to market programmes to be implemented by the Road Safety Advisory Council.
Ongoing transport projects
Key projects will include the official opening of road infrastructure projects, such as the R71 Moria Project (interchange safety improvement), Umgeni Interchange and Denneysville Sasolburg Road in Free State.Minister Jeff Radebe, the minister in the Presidency responsible for planning, monitoring and evaluation, said OTM was also an opportunity to increase road safety awareness. In addition, traffic officers will rotate work shifts for a 24-hour day to help decrease the number of road accidents.”(The) government has also developed a qualification for traffic officers from National Qualifications Framework (NQF) 4 to NQF 6 in order to further professionalise the traffic fraternity,” he said.
Gauteng’s business hub, Sandton, will take part in the Ecomobility World Festival during OTM. The aim is for a car-free CBD for the duration of the festival.”We want to close off certain streets in Sandton, our second largest CBD, to car traffic and instead use these lanes for public transport, walking, cycling and other forms of ecomobility during the entire Transport Month,” said Johannesburg Executive Mayor Parks Tau.”We want to show residents and visitors that an ecomobile future is possible and that public transport, walking and cycling can be accessible, safe, attractive and cool!”The city is providing alternative modes of transport to Sandton.
The Department of Transport, under the leadership of Minister Dipuo Peters and Deputy Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga will bring together women from across South Africa to engage in robust deliberations and formulate a solid strategy, plan and time frames regarding tangible economic transformation and empowerment opportunities for women in the transport sector during a three-day Summit that will be held in Gauteng from 20 to 22 August 2015. The Summit will take place under the theme: “Transport Sector, Moving Women Empowerment and Transformation Forward”
It will bring together professional women from across the economic and social landscape, women in rural areas who are beneficiaries and who are going to benefit from transport programmes and women from various formations across the country to engage on this critical initiative.
The delegates will deliberate and engage on women empowerment opportunities in the various modes of transport: rail, roads, aviation, maritime and public transport.
The Ministries of Women, Small Business Development, Communication, Telecommunications and MECs for Roads and Transport and Police and Community Safety and Liaison from all provinces will be among some of the dignitaries attending the Summit.
Department of Transport
South African Transport Minister Dipuo Peters has urged other African countries to join the eleven (including South Africa) that, in January, decided to liberalise air transport between them and create a single air transport market by 2017. She did so in a speech officially opening the recent Aviation Stakeholders Convention, which was delivered on her behalf by Department of Transport director-general Pule Godfrey Selepe. “This [agreement] is a massive achievement for the aviation industry on the continent as a whole,” he read. “Africa is big enough for all member States benefiting from joining these eleven countries.”
Peters expressed an understanding for those countries that wished to protect their national airlines, but pointed out that this was damaging air transport in Africa as a whole. “Liberalisation can lead to increased service levels and lower fares.” In turn, these would facilitate trade, tourism and enhance economic growth and development. She highlighted how those African countries which had already liberalised air transport on a bilateral basis had benefited as a result. These included South Africa, Ethiopia, Kenya and Zambia. Liberalisation of the South Africa–Kenya route in the early 2000s had, for example, increased air travel between the two countries by 69%.
She also pointed out that agreements which allowed low-cost carriers to operate between African countries had, in particular, led to fare reductions. However, within the Southern African Development Community, some countries were maintaining closed air transport regimes.
Peters also highlighted the importance of air safety. “South Africa remains committed to supporting safety initiatives. . . . South Africa is a key member and participates in regional air safety groups and initiatives.”
Peters was seconded by Director of Civil Aviation in the South African Civil Aviation Authority Poppy Khoza in her subsequent address to the convention. She also argued that Africa needed to liberalise its air transport sector. “We need to implement the Yamoussoukro Decision as a matter of urgency.” The decision mandates the liberalisation of the continent’s aviation sector. Implementation of the decision will stimulate development, economic growth, investment and employment across the continent and should be done speedily, she argued.
“States do need to remove trade barriers [between] each other,” she stated. “It has become clear that Africa will have to focus on benefiting from the forecast [economic] growth.” Yet, while not one African country has fully implemented the Yamoussoukro Decision, 23 have signed ‘open skies’ agreements with the US.
Because the implementation of the decision has been slow and limited, its benefits have not yet been realised. “In Africa, we have the greatest number of landlocked countries in the world,” she pointed out. “This increases the need for air transport.”
Moreover, the continent’s middle class, currently about 200-million strong, will continue to grow. “Africa has long remained an untapped source of aviation growth.” It is essential that the African aviation sector benefits from this situation. But, currently, 82% of intercontinental traffic to and from Africa is carried by non-African airlines. “We have only 18% market share.”
“There is a growing need for fast, efficient transport between countries, especially in Africa,” she said. “If we could unite in our efforts to open up Africa, we could offer competitive [ticket prices]. As a continent, we still need to work on cheap transport.”
This need for cooperation was another theme of her address. “Strong partnerships are indeed essential,” highlighted Khoza. “I would encourage each country to reach out to the continent with its particular strengths.” She observed that a lot of progress had already been made, including through the International Civil Aviation Organisation and its regional bodies, councils and seminars. She also cited South African technical support and specialised training for the aviation sectors of other Southern African countries. “There is a strong need for us, as an industry and a continent, to collaborate.”
The Aviation Stakeholders Convention was held at Emperors Palace, at OR Tambo International Airport, east of Johannesburg.
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The importance of aviation to Africa was highlighted by International Air Transport Association VP: Africa Raphael Kuuchi at the recent Fourth Aviation Stakeholders Convention. “Aviation plays a vital role in Africa’s economic, social and cultural life. Aviation is often the best and sometimes the only option to link this vast continent.” Aviation in Africa has helped create 5.8-million jobs and $46-billion in gross domestic product across the continent. Last year, airlines carried 70- million people into, out of and across Africa.
And the opportunities are vast. “The economics and demographics of fast-growing African countries will lead to tremendous demand for aviation,” he pointed out. “But African operators will need to be ready.” By 2034, there will be another 41-million passengers flying in Africa each year.
The African aviation sector suffers from a number of weaknesses and, currently, only few of the continent’s airlines are profitable. “There are fundamental issues that must be addressed for African aviation to seize the opportunities,” he affirmed. “Africa’s aviation development needs partnerships that are genuine and complementary to home-grown effort.
“Safety is the number one priority,” he stressed. “It is heartening to see improvements in Africa. In 2014, there were no jet hull losses in Africa. The best African airlines are equal to the best in the world.” But losses of other types of aircraft remain high. IATA has already developed, and is helping airlines implement the International Air Transport Association (Iata) Operational Safety Audit (Iosa). But the association has realised that there is a need for a specific programme for operators of smaller planes across the continent. Accidents involving smaller operators worsen Africa’s aviation safety statistics. Consequently, Iata will launch a Standard Safety Programme in Nairobi in June, which is designed to allow the operators of smaller aircraft to benchmark their operations against international standards.
Kuuchi also highlighted the importance of the Yamoussoukro Decision for the liberalisation of the African air transport market. “The African Union is playing a leading role through its advocacy to implement the Yamoussoukro Decision,” he said. “Iata is fully supporting this process. An Iata study last year showed that an extra five-million passengers a year would be generated by liberalising air transport between just 12 African countries.”
At the same conference, South African Airways acting CEO Nico Bezuidenhout called for improved cooperation within Africa’s aviation industry. “This year’s theme, Building and Sustaining Strong Partnerships, is more relevant than ever,” he stated. He also highlighted the role of aviation in uniting the continent and stimulating its development. Road and railway development will not be as rapid as the development of aviation across Africa.
“Passenger growth in Africa is forecast by aircraft manufacturers as being among the world’s fastest,” he reported. The development of aviation infrastructure has had a “profound impact” on the movement of goods and people.
A key question, he said, is whether the African aviation industry has cooperated properly and whether its members have worked with one another. Liberalisation of Africa’s air transport market will have its effects. “Our market will undoubtedly be an area of focus for international operators,” he noted. “How ready are we?
“Events such as [liberalisation] serve to foster cooperation.” Such cooperation would support the creation of a more connected Africa and develop more efficient African airlines. “We have a real opportunity to place Africa’s aviation industry on an upward and sustainable trajectory,” asserted Bezuidenhout. This would benefit the people of Africa.
The development of a sound air transport system for Africa has the support of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (Icao), which is a specialised agency of the United Nations. This was highlighted at the convention by Icao Eastern and Southern Africa Office regional director Barry Kashambo.
He pointed out that sustainable and affordable air transport aids development and benefits the public. ICAO fully supports the complete implementation of the Yamoussoukro Decision. Removing the current restrictions in the market would open “a new era of air transport in Africa”, he said. But the industry must be open. “Transparency is a factor we must take into consideration as we forge ahead.”
“The next two decades are poised to be exciting ones for African aviation,” affirmed Kuuchi. The Aviation Stakeholders Convention was held at Emperors Palace, at OR Tambo International Airport, east of Johannesburg.
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While there have been undoubted improvements in aviation safety in Africa, much remains to be done. This was highlighted last week by International Civil Aviation Organisation (Icao) regional director : Eastern and Southern Africa office Barry Kashambo at the recent Fourth Aviation Stakeholders Convention. African countries set targets for the improvement of aviation safety at a Ministerial conference in Abuja, Nigeria, in 2012. These are known as the Abuja safety targets.
In 2012, runway-related accidents occured in Africa at a rate of 0.59 per million sectors; this had reduced to 0.39 during 2014. However, the Abuja target is a 50% cut in the 2012 figure by the end of this year. The controlled flight into terrain accident rate was 0.17 per million sectors in 2012, falling to 0.11 in 2014. Again, the target is a 50% reduction in the 2012 rate by the end of this year. Loss of control in flight accidents and serious incidents took place at a frequency of 0.17 per million sectors in 2012, but had only reduced slightly to 0.16 last year.
Yet again, the target is a cut of 50% by the end of this year. It was also agreed at Abuja that all States would provide the resources and support the implementation of Icao State-specific plans aimed at addressing safety concerns and do so by July 2013. In fact, most of the States were yet to either implement or update these Icao
State-specific plans. Every country was also meant to implement State Safety Programmes by the end of this year.
However, out of 48 States, none has achieved Level 4 implementation of its safety programme. Only 14 have started the implementation of their pro- grammes and the highest imple-mentation level yet reached is Level 2. All international aerodromes in Africa were to be certified by the end of this year. So far, 45 international aerodromes in 12 countries have been certified: 28% of the total.
All African airlines were required to obtain International Air Transport Association (Iata) Operational Safety Audits (IOSAs) by the end of this year. So far, no African country has required any operators to undergo an IOSA. However, 20 airlines have gone through IOSA training in an Iata-sponsored programme and seven of these had been added to the IOSA registry by the end of December last year.
Slow progress has also been observed in other areas of aviation safety. These include the creation of fully autonomous, properly funded, civil aviation authorities (CAAs) as well as establishing regional safety oversight organisations and regional air accident investigation organisations. “African States should, as a matter of urgency, provide the political and financial com-mitment to make aviation and aviation safety one of their national strategic objectives,” argued Kashambo. “They should provide the resources to enhance and strengthen institutional capacity in the aviation sector.
They should promote the estab-lishment and strengthening of regional safety and accident investigation organisations (there is currently no regional air accident investi-gation organisation in Africa). They must work effectively to reduce the accident rate to levels below the global average. They must establish and strengthen well-funded CAAs. “Strong countries must help weak ones,” he stressed. He cited as an example, and praised, South African support and assistance to Zambia.
Source: Engineering News
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Cape Town – In a period where international airline safety has been under serious scrutiny due to a number of major devastating aviation accidents in 2014, South Africa’s kulula.com has been recognised as one of the safest low-cost airlines in the world, coming as a welcome reassurance for South African flyers.
The Aviation website AirlineRatings.com has just released its annual list of the world’s 10 safest airlines, as well as the world’s top 10 safest low-cost airlines, under which kulula is recognised.
Other low-cost airlines awarded alongside kulula include, in alphabetical order, Aer Lingus of Ireland, Alaska Airlines of the US, Icelandair of Iceland, Jetblue of the US, Jetstar of Australia, Monarch Airlines and Thomas Cook of the UK, TUIfly of Germany and WestJet of Canada.
Airline Ratings elaborates on the recognition saying, “unlike a number of low cost carriers, these airlines have all passed the stringent International Air Transport Association Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) audit and have excellent safety records.”
In the safest airline category, Australian airline Qantas grabbed the top spot again. The other 9 safest airlines are, in alphabetical order, Air New Zealand, British Airways, Cathay Pacific Airways, Emirates, Etihad Airways, EVA Air, Finnair, Lufthansa and Singapore Airlines.
The AirlineRatings.com rating system takes into account audits from aviation’s governing bodies and lead associations as well as government audits and the airlines’ fatality records.
The system also examines the airlines’ operational histories, incident records and operational excellence.
Source: Traveller 24