Africa’s air traffic liberalisation journey continues, after 30 difficult years

In November 1988, the Ministers responsible for civil aviation in 40 African countries agreed a declaration on a new African air transport policy. This was immediately designated the Yamoussoukro Declaration, after the city in which it was adopted (the capital of Ivory Coast). Among other things, the declaration stated that the Ministers, “Convinced that air transport is an important tool for the promotion of social good and economic development in Africa and in the world, … Considering the need for African countries to exchange traffic rights in a liberal manner in order to develop air services among themselves, … Recognising the fragility of the present air transport industry in Africa and the smallness of its market, … Strongly resolved to considerably restructure African air transport in order to make it contribute more significantly to the national development of African States and to the continent’s social and economic integration, Agree to commit ourselves, individually and collectively, to promote a climate of cooperation and solidarity which is necessary for the safeguarding and development of international air transport activities in Africa ….” This would be done in accordance to guidelines contained within the Declaration, which covered matters such as the integration of airlines, costs and tariffs, improved management, the financing of air transport operations, computerised reservation systems, and aircraft noise.