TENERIFE, Spain – An event dedicated to the development of the African aviation industry will take place next month in Tenerife (26-28 June) to encourage the launch of new air services to, from and within the African continent.
Routes Africa 2016 will help to improve African connectivity by bringing together airlines, airports and tourism authorities to discuss future air services. Around 250 route development professionals are expected to attend the forum which was founded ten years ago to stimulate growth in the industry.
African aviation currently supports 6.9 million jobs and generates more than $80 billion in GDP. It is crucial to the development of Africa’s economy but growth has been slow due to the vastness of the continent and a lack of infrastructure.
Progress has also been hampered by the regulation and protectionism in some African markets. The Yamoussoukro Decision was reached in 1999 to deregulate air services and encourage transnational competition among 44 countries, but the agreement was not properly implemented and liberalisation failed to materialize.
However, International Air Transport Association (IATA) figures show that the industry’s future is optimistic. IATA predicts that the African market will grow by 4.7% to 294 million passengers a year by 2034, and that seven of the ten fastest growing markets will be in Africa (Malawi, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Central African Republic, Tanzania, Uganda and Ethiopia).
By bringing together senior decision makers from the aviation industry to plan African services, the organisers of Routes Africa hope to harness the potential for growth. Some of the leading airlines that have signed up for the event include South African Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, ASKY Airlines, Binter Canarias, Iberia and Norwegian.
Katie Bland, director of Routes, said: “Routes Africa will help aviation professionals to capitalise on the predicted expansion of African markets. They can take the initiative by making the case for new services to their destinations.”
Routes Africa 2016 will be held in Tenerife following a successful bid by Tenerife Tourism Corporation which has support from the Canary Islands Government. Just 300 km off the coast of Morocco and closer to the African continent than the European mainland, Tenerife aims to become a connecting aviation hub between Africa and the Americas and Europe.
Carlos Alonso, president of the Tenerife Government, said: “Tenerife’s long-term aim is to become a logistical stepping stone to Africa, building on our strong historical ties with the continent. Routes Africa is an important part of our activities to strengthen our economic and transport links through new aviation services.”