In an address to attendees of the recent Airlines Association of Southern Africa conference, International Air Transport Association Director General and CEO Tony Tyler touted the necessity of partnership in elevating South Africa’s aviation sector. Tyler reached this conclusion after poring over data from a study IATA conducted with Oxford Economics.
Aviation, which accounts for 2.1 percent of South Africa’s ZAR51 billion GDP, could be a very lucrative sector for the African nation, IATA officials found. Unfortunately, African carriers are projected to post losses of a whopping $100 million in 2012.
It’s why Tyler endorses the need for new aviation policies. “A strong partnership between government and industry across Southern Africa is needed to provide a solid foundation for success,” he told conference attendees. “Making the world a better place for airlines to do business drives economic growth and enriches nations with prosperity — both material and of the human spirit.”
Tyler outlined a four-pronged approach to fortify South Africa’s aviation sector, with safety as the primary element. Africa, which leads the world in airline accidents, has an incident record that is 12 times worse than any other continent, he revealed. Joining the IATA Operational Safety Audit registry could improve these statistics, Tyler explained.
He also discussed security methods, the necessity of cost-efficient infrastructure improvements and environmental sustainability. The latter topic was of particular importance to AASA members, as South African officials are planning to include aviation in their economy-wide carbon tax. This is an idea Tyler vehemently opposes.
“This will be a competitive disadvantage for South African carriers and add to double-counting of emissions under conflicting measures including the EU [emissions trading scheme] proposals, as well as the environment-related departure taxes that are imposed in the UK, Germany, Austria and elsewhere,” he stated. “This is yet another reminder of why a global approach through [the International Civil Aviation Organization] is the way forward.”