Seventeen African nations have agreed to the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) initiative, which aims to create the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM).
The IATA said that launching new routes should be easier and without the need for mutual services, and 17 African countries have now agreed to test the initiative, out of a total of 35 signatories, representing 80 percent of the current aviation market in Africa.
The 17 countries are: Kenya, Ethiopia, Rwanda, South Africa, Cape Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon, Ghana, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Senegal, Togo, Zambia, Niger, and Gabon.
These 17 airlines will open their air transport markets to each other as part of a “New SAATM Implementation Pilot Project,” according to reports.
Kenya Airways will target corporate travel on a new route between Ghana and Senegal, starting December 11.
The trial routes come as more steps are being taken to create a new continental airline following an agreement between South African Airways and Kenya Airways.
The air transport plan could eventually generate US$ 4.2 billion in additional gross domestic product, 600,000 new jobs, a 27 percent cut in wages, and contribute to achieving the United Nations’ sustainable development goals, according to reports.
For example, some routes between neighboring African countries currently include connecting flights to major international hubs nearby.
The unified African air transport market was established in 2018, and is considered a step towards the complete liberalization of the air transport market on the continent.