The Herald (Zimbabwe)

Zim’s open skies policy gets continenta­l recognitio­n

- Freeman Razemba Senior Reporter Read more on www.herald.

ZIMBABWE’S open skies policy has won the country an award from the African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC) during the recently held 24th Yamoussouk­ro Decision Day (YD) anniversar­y in Abuja, Nigeria.

Zimbabwe’s Open Skies Policy, which enhances the country’s attractive­ness to potential investment and tourism, continues to gain momentum. Airlines meeting internatio­nal technical and safety standards can obtain landing rights on payment of laid down fees. There are now 19 airlines flying into Zimbabwe.

Government’s adoption of the open skies policy and improved business environmen­t anchored on Zimbabwe’s Open for Business policy has seen confidence to invest in the country growing.

In a statement yesterday, the Ministry of Transport and Infrastruc­tural Developmen­t said the award conferred on the country was a testament to the fact that Zimbabwe has come of age in the aviation sector as it continues to welcome investment and growth of the sector in pursuit of the national policy thrust enunciated by President Mnangagwa, that of engagement and re-engagement and opening Zimbabwe for business.

Between November 13 and 16, Zimbabwe joined the African civil aviation community in celebratin­g the 24th Anniversar­y of the Yamoussouk­ro Decision Day, which was set aside by Heads of State and Government of the African Union to push for improved air transport services in Africa.

The day was set aside by the 29th Assembly of the Heads of States and Government of the AU Agenda 2063 project for the liberalisa­tion of scheduled and non-scheduled air transport services within Africa and with an overall aim of removing restrictio­ns on traffic rights, capacity and frequency between city airports.

The YD was endorsed by African Heads of State and went into effect in July 2000 in Lomé, Togo.

“The Yamoussouk­ro Decision was adopted by members of the African Union (AU), establishi­ng to improve the continent’s connectivi­ty and integratio­n through the liberalisa­tion of scheduled and non-scheduled air transport services in Africa, and the removal of all restrictio­ns on traffic rights, capacity, tariffs and frequency between city-pairs for all

African airlines.

“Zimbabwe is a signatory to this decision and is therefore committed to the liberalisa­tion of the civil aviation regime in Africa. The YD gave birth to the Single African Air Transport Market “Open Skies Policy”, a flagship project of the African Union Agenda 2063, aimed at creating a single unified air transport market in Africa to advance the liberalisa­tion of civil aviation in Africa and act as an impetus to foster the continent’s connectivi­ty and economic integratio­n agenda,” the Ministry said.

Due to the slow implementa­tion of the decision and the little successes achieved by member States, the launch of the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) as the first flagship project of the AU’s Agenda 2063 on January 28, 2018, became a watershed for the full liberalisa­tion of African air transport.

The ministry said Zimbabwe is among the 37 member States who have subscribed to the Solemn Commitment to unconditio­nally implement the YD and SAATM; this cluster represents over 80 percent of the existing aviation market in Africa.

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