This opens up incredible economic opportunities for the continent’s 54 nations.
Mr Richard Aisuebeogun, Former Managing Director of Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria, said by transporting 70 million passengers annually, aviation already supports 6.9 million jobs and $80 billion of economic activity on the continent.
Mr Aisuebeogun was speaking at the 12th Edition of Akwaaba African Market Tourism Conference held on the topic: “State of Aviation in Africa and Why Airlines Fail”.
The three-day event is aimed at transferring knowledge covering travel, hospitality and aviation sectors from globally rated experts.
He said a survey report carried out in May, 2016 indicates that over the past 12 years nearly 37 airlines were launched in Africa and almost all of them had failed out of which of them 25 were from Nigeria.
“Today only about 12 Africa Airlines have inter-continental operations,” he said.
The Former Manger Director said the more African countries realize that the airline business was not a luxury but a necessity in their remote villages and hub cities, the more change could be effected.
He said sustained efforts are needed to be made to ensure that airlines were supported and developed for the accelerated development of their economies and improvement of their livelihoods.
Mr Aisuebeogun said the potential of the aviation industry in Africa is under-utilized as there abound enormous opportunities for the airlines to thrive.
“Therefore, for the continent to realize its full economic potential, aviation – particularly, commercial air transport – must be prioritized,” he said.
Mr Aisuebeogun said Africa has the potential to be a significant force in aviation on the back of robust economic growth forecasts, with Africa having among the fastest growing economies worldwide.