In recent times Africa has witnessed sweeping changes brought in by regional and global development banks including the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation in the early 2000s, which has flourished accountability and transparency along with foreign investment thereby ending several decades of under-investment and mismanagement as well as poor safety records in air transportation.
At the IATA Africa-Middle East Aviation Day in Nairobi, director general of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Tony Tyler highlighted the true potential for growth across the continent, stating that aviation, supporting 6.9 million jobs and $80bn in GDP, is the “lifeblood of Africa”. He also acknowledged the challenges and troubles that remained such as poor safety oversight, restrictive
air-service agreements, ill-conceived regulation and inadequate and costly infrastructure.
This year, that potential was officially recognized by the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between IATA and the African Airline Association (AFRAA), with the two committing to work together to deliver capacity building projects, encourage data exchange among aviation stakeholders and promote regional air connectivity – all with the view to advance the sector.
New Addis Ababa International Airport
Africa’s flagship aviation project is currently developing in Ethiopia, where a brand new $4bn airport is being built in the capital city Addis Ababa.
The New Addis Ababa International Airport will be built at a still unknown location but with four runways, it aims to be bigger than London Heathrow and serve as many as 120 million passengers every year. It is estimated to complete in 2024.
The new airport while turning Ethiopia into a major aviation hub for East Africa, is also hoped to consolidate the market position of the country’s most profitable airline Ethiopian Airlines.
Bole International, the city’s current airport is also currently undergoing a $350m restoration and is expected to be ready later this year.