Aviation is the lifeblood of Africa, supporting 6.9 million jobs and $80 billion in GDP.

“It sends African goods and its people out into the world and brings in economic investment, tourism, trade and aid,” says Tony Tyler, IATA director general and CEO. “Without aviation, Africa would be a more fractured and constrained continent; with aviation, it can better realize its ideals of regional integration, peace and prosperity.

“IATA’s 20-year passenger forecast shows plainly that Africa is set for strong expansion in air connectivity. We expect passenger growth to average 4.4% between now and 2034. Seven of the top 10 fastest growing markets over this period will be in Africa. And yet despite this, I still feel that Africa will have unfulfilled potential. Asia-Pacific growth is set to average 4.8% over the same period.

“For aviation to truly thrive here, the recipe we know brings success must be followed exactly. Half-measures will not be enough. We all know when we have prepared a meal that missed a crucial ingredient—it does not taste as good as it should have. So it is with aviation policy.

“A good dish is best shared. And as we move forward with this vital agenda for African aviation, I am heartened by the close relationships IATA has formed with governments and important institutions such as AFRAA, the AU, and the African Development Bank. Since IATA was first formed 70 years ago, building partnerships for the mutual benefit of the industry have been a key objective. We’ve also strengthened our links to the airline industry as it has grown through the years. We now stand at 260 members, and more join us every year. This year, I’m delighted to say, RwandAir, AeroContractors of Nigeria and Air Cairo from this region have joined us.

“AFRAA is in a similarly strong position. Strong aviation associations are a backbone of the industry, helping ensure airlines have the right fiscal and regulatory environment in which to do business. If we can persuade governments to follow that recipe, then I am certain that African aviation will be well-placed to give Africa’s citizens wings,” he concludes.