The Airlines Association of Southern Africa (AASA) is set to hold its 52nd Annual General Assembly this year in Cape Town, South Africa from 13-16 October 2022.
The theme of the conference is “My African Dream” which is a call to African aviation to share in the same dream of a dynamic, resilient, and sustainable aviation industry. AASA’s CEO, Aaron Munetsi speaking on the VA Tourism Podcast said the meeting will provide a unique platform for stakeholders of the aviation industry to share their aspirations for the industry beyond the horizon of full recovery in order to start making commitments to enable the realization of our collective dream.
“When you think about the situations that we have been through; not only COVID, even before COVID, it is no secret that most of our African airlines were struggling. Some had gone into business rescue, some had collapsed completely. Sadly when one looks back, you will see a deathbed of African airlines that have not made it through these challenges. Our AGA is therefore the perfect rest opportunity where we acknowledge that what happened in the past is in the past, lessons must be learned. More importantly, we are encouraging the industry to introspect and determine what we see when we look forward, we are saying this is the perfect opportunity to crystalise our dreams, our hopes, and our aspirations.
“We have put together a programme with the enabling environment where the airline CEOs, the regulating authorities, and the overseers who are government ministers and so forth are engaged; everybody is going to be under one roof. Everybody is going to be given the opportunity to say, what is their aspiration and dream,” he emphasized.
Of particular interest and focus in these deliberations are what Munetsi described as the 3Cs – Cooperation, Collaboration and Commitments.
He averred: “The first thing is to say what does it take for the airlines and the regulating authorities and everybody else involved in travel and tourism to cooperate? The second thing we are going to emphasise is to zero in on collaboration. Some people say cooperation and collaboration are one and the same, but they are very different. So we are going to see how we differentiate between collaboration and cooperation.”
On commitment, the CEO maintained that it was of interest because for years, airlines, government, and aviation stakeholders on the continent have always been meeting at these events and they talked about cooperation without making serious commitments.
“This has been always the story since even before we started talking about the Yamoussoukro Decision. Now we are talking about The Single Africa Air Transport Market and the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, both particularly important AU flagship projects of the Agenda 2063. However, the third element which has been missing in all of these discussions that we are going to emphasise focus on is commitment.” If anything, Commitment is the missing critical success factor.
The Annual General Assembly, Munetsi hinted, will also put a spotlight on the opportunities for collaboration between tourism and aviation stakeholders while also delving into ways by which they can firm up their engagements within Southern Africa to ensure air travel is enhanced seamlessly at affordable rates.
With a current membership of 14 airlines and 38 associate members, AASA continues to work very closely with all the relevant stakeholders in Southern Africa as it executes its mandate of advocacy with leaders of the aviation industry and senior public and government officials on policy, regulatory, planning, operational, safety, security and financial matters affecting the overall profitability of the airlines and their continued sustainability. In Southern Africa, AASA is actively involved in all matters that involve the airline industry including airline positions on airport, airspace management and civil aviation issues.