The International Air Transport Association (IATA) releasednew data showing that the air transport sector in South Africa provides immense value to the people and economy of the countrysupporting some490,000 jobs including tourism-related employment and contributing US$12 billion or 3.5% to the country’s GDP.
“The study confirms the vital role of air transport in facilitating over US$110 billion in exports, some US$140 billion in foreign direct investment and around US$9.2 billionin inbound leisure and business tourism for South Africa.With the country now in a recession it’s time to re-double efforts to promote South Africa as a destination for business, trade and tourism,”said Muhammad Ali Albakri, IATA’s Regional Vice President for the Middle East & Africa, who is making his first visit to Africa in his new capacity.
Infrastructure, Ease of Travel and Cost Competitiveness Are Vital:
➢ According to executives surveyed by the World Economic Forum forthe study, South Africa’s transport infrastructure quality score places the country1st out of 37 African countries surveyedand 48th globally
➢ South Africaranks 19thout of 37 African countriesfor visa openness
➢ It ranks 17thout of 37 for cost competitiveness in the air transport industry, based on air tickettaxes, airport charges and VA
Around 390,000 aircraft land and take off from one of South Africa’s main airports every year. Johannesburg’s O.R. Tambo International Airport is the country’s busiest in terms of passengers with over 18.5 million travellers passing through the airport in 2014.
“Affordable, safe and reliable air transport is crucial to economic growth. It promotes skills development and is a catalyst for jobs. We urge the South African Government to remove any impediments, including unnecessary red-tape and policies that hinder air connectivity and the trade, investment, tourism and job opportunities it facilitatesand stimulates,” added Albakri.
During his visit toJohannesburg, Mr.Albakriis meeting key industry stakeholders from South Africa’s government, the South African Civil Aviation Authority, Airports Company South Africa, Air Traffic Navigation Services, IATA member airlines in the country and IATA’s sub-regional sister organization, the Airlines’ Association of Southern Africa.