Ethiopian Airlines has advocated for implementation of Single African Air Transportation Market (SAATM) to boost intra-Africa trade.
Mr Tewolde Gebremariam, Group Chief Executive Officer of Ethiopian Airlines, made the call in an interview with journalists on Friday in Abuja.
According to him, such move will tremendously promote African aviation industry globally.
“Ethiopian Airlines has been advocating for the implementation of the Single African Air Transportation Market (SAATM) per the Yamoussoukro Decision.
“So far, a number of African countries have signed SAATM which, once implemented, will drive down airfares by allowing carriers of signatory countries to freely access each other`s airports.
“SAATM is one of the flagship projects of the African Union`s Agenda 2063. It will ensure that aviation plays a major role connecting Africa in order to achieve social, economic and political integration,“ he said.
Gebremariam said that SAATM was launched by the African Union Heads of State and Government in January, 2018.
He said unrealistic fear that the established airlines like ET, Egypt Air, Air Marco would take advantage of SAATM at the expense of new national carriers was baseless.
“African Union has competitive rules that prohibit any practice that negatively affect the liberalisation of intra-Africa air transport services and which has its object or effect the prevention, restriction or distortion of competition.
“Air transportation service in Africa is one of the underserved, compared elsewhere; African carriers, all combined, cover less than 3 per cent of the world`s air transportation.
“Similarly, African carriers` market share in their home market, Africa, is only less than 20 per cent while the remaining is being taken up by the non-African carriers,“ he said.
He said, similarly, SAATM had advised African countries to open up their skies for African carriers to ensure burden on Africa national carrier got ease via motivating the countries.
On corporate social responsibilities, he said Ethiopian Airlines granted free air ticket to people in need of medical assistance overseas.
“Under its fly Greener initiative, Ethiopian has been planting a tree per passenger it carries, in cooperation with partners. We also sponsor different initiatives which benefit societies such as sport oversea,“ he added.