Aviation Industry vital for growth and development
South Africa’s Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe has stressed the importance of the aviation industry in supporting economic growth and development.
Officially opening the 69th International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) Annual General Meeting, and the Air Transport Summit, this past Monday in Cape Town, South Africa, Motlanthe told delegates that the importance of the aviation industry for supporting growth and development is indisputable.
He said not only is the industry important for tourism and travel but it is also an important contributor to socio-economic inter-connectivity and trade in an increasingly globalised world, adding that the constant innovation in the aviation industry carries catalytic opportunities for growth domestically, regionally and globally.
“As a result, improvement of Africa’s aviation is amongst one of the most important drivers of Africa’s development through trade between Africa and the rest of the world, driven in the main by the trade in agricultural and perishable goods,” Motlanthe said .
The South African deputy president argued that it is hard to imagine that African countries can transform their structural growth without a concomitant improvement in Africa’s aviation industry. “Indeed most of Africa’s growth and development is hinged on the ability to improve intra-Africa trade and Africa’s trade with the rest of the globe,” he said.
He pointed out that Africa offers the most viable growth potential for the aviation industry in a world where developed economies are producing at close to saturation growth levels with marginal growth coming from services and consumption sectors.
Motlanthe, however, cautioned that this growth potential cannot be realised if African governments do not improve collaboration with the aviation industry.
“African states must play their part in improving aviation policy by providing the necessary public infrastructure and support programmes associated with cushioning the high initial capital investment necessary for assisting the industry grow.”
He said that the provision of an integrated air transport networks for the world requires to some extent government intervention to ensure that appropriate infrastructure is available to meet the increased demand in air transport services.
“Amongst the roles that governments must play is air traffic management, safety regulations and creating operational efficiencies,” Motlanthe added.