The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has launched a new initiative called “Focus Africa” to strengthen aviation’s contribution to African development. The initiative aims to bring together public and private stakeholders to improve connectivity, safety, and reliability for African passengers. The goal is to close the gap between Africa and other regions in terms of aviation development, so that Africa can benefit from the connectivity, jobs, and growth that aviation enables.

The initiative will align private and public stakeholders to deliver measurable progress in six areas, says an official release.

“Africa accounts for 18 percent of the global population but just 2.1 percent of air transport activities (combined cargo and passenger). Closing that gap, so that Africa can benefit from the connectivity, jobs and growth that aviation enables, is what Focus Africa is all about,” says Willie Walsh, Director General, IATA.

Infrastructure constraints, high costs, lack of connectivity, regulatory impediments, slow adoption of global standards and skills shortages affect the customer experience and are all contributory factors to African airlines’ viability and sustainability, the release added.

“The limiting factors on Africa’s aviation sector are fixable. The potential for growth is clear. And the economic boost that a more successful African aviation sector will deliver has been witnessed in many economies already. With Focus Africa, stakeholders are uniting to deliver on six critical focus areas that will make a positive difference. We’ll measure success and will need to hold each other accountable for the results,” said Walsh.

One of the key areas of focus for the initiative is improving connectivity. This includes increasing the number of direct flights between African countries, as well as improving connections between Africa and other regions.

Another area of focus is safety. The initiative will work to improve safety standards across the continent, including training programs for pilots, air traffic controllers, and other aviation professionals. This includes improving the quality of aircraft maintenance and repair, as well as ensuring that airlines have access to the latest technology and equipment.

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