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Uganda to Join Africa Single Air Transport Market By End Of June :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Uganda to Join Africa Single Air Transport Market By End Of June

The SAATM is a project of the African Union to create a single market for air transport in Africa. The single market is supposed to allow significant freedom of air transport in Africa to and among member states, advancing the AU's Agenda 2063 (Sustainable, inclusive growth and development strategy over fifty years.
Minister Byamukama, Commissioner for Transport Wisnton Katushabe and UCAA's Ronny Barongo the director security, safety and economic regulation

Audio 3

Uganda has committed to join the continental arrangement for a joint air transport market by the end of June.

The commitment was made by Transport and Works State Minister Fred Byamukama on Monday at the opening of a meeting on the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) at Golf Course Hotel – Kampala.

The meeting convened by COMESA (Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa ), the European Union, the Africa Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC), IGAD, and the East African Community attracted twelve countries from Eastern and Southern Africa.

Byamukama said that Uganda has not yet signed to SAATM but by the end of June, after the Cabinet’s full consideration of the matter, the country will ratify to partake of the benefits of the single market.  

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The SAATM is a project of the African Union to create a single market for air transport in Africa. The single market is supposed to allow significant freedom of air transport in Africa to and among member states, advancing the AU's Agenda 2063 (Sustainable, inclusive growth and development strategy over fifty years.  

The African Civil Aviation Commission, an organ of the African Union (AU) drives the SAATM agenda, part of whose overall objective is to promote the movement of goods and people across the continent that is pursuing a common market (Africa Continental Free Trade Area). 

Byamukama said the launch of Uganda Airlines five years ago was just in line with the AU’s 2063 agenda and SAATM’s removal of restrictions will spur growth.  The minister said the Uganda Government’s commitment to developing the aviation industry was unwavering.  

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The SAATM pursues the removal of restrictions by member states against air operators from each other’s countries.  Many of the restrictions are commercial but others extend to security and politics. 

Eng Ronny Barongo, the Director of Security, Safety, and Economic Regulation at the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA) said that there was no need for worry as some capacity has been built, in addition to mitigations like code-sharing.  Code sharing allows two or more air operators to jointly use a code and share air routes as agreed. 

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Emmanuel Butera Mwesigye, the AFCAC consumer protection specialist, disclosed that of the fifty-six African countries, only thirty-seven are signed to SAATM currently, and even then, not all those signed are implementing the commitments they made.

He said the Commission was continuing to sensitize the different states about the benefits of a single African air transport market to get them on board.

ICAO Eastern and Southern deputy regional director Athermon Ndikumaana whose office oversees Eastern Africa and the Indian Ocean said the removal of restrictions is the one that can help the air transport industry grow.  He also underscored the need to harmonize regulations to facilitate SAATM fast-tracking.

The workshop was the second following one for Western Africa in 2022 following which officials say, a continental workshop bringing together five economic blocks from across the continent will be convened.

IGAD Director for Integration, Dr Osman Mohamed observed that Africa was dominated by road transport and the continent annually spent US $ 85 billion to construct road infrastructure and there was a need to think about what this meant environmentally and otherwise.