The African Airlines Association (AFRAA) and the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in Cairo for the development of a safe, reliable, efficient and environmentally sustainable air transport system in Africa.

Under the framework of the MoU, signed by Abderahmane Berthé, Secretary General, AFRAA, and Kanayo Awani, Executive Vice President, Intra-African Trade Bank, Afreximbank, AFRAA and Afreximbank will coordinate activities, joint projects and programmes, exchange of information and data, and best practices to facilitate the achievement of shared objectives, says an official release.

The key areas of collaboration include:

*Aviation safety and security

*Environmental sustainability initiatives

*Air transport liberalisation – implementation of SAATM joint prioritised action plan

*Economic sustainability of air transport – cost reduction, taxes and charges

*Airline consolidation

*Human capital development and capacity building

*Facilitation of trade, business and tourism; and

*Exchange of statistical data, information and best practices

“AFRAA and Afreximbank share a common goal to support a sustainable air transport system in Africa and thereby effectively contribute to the continent’s socio-economic development, trade and integration," says Berthé. "Signing this MoU will facilitate the mobilisation of necessary financial resources to undertake projects that will benefit African airlines.

“Traction on collaborative actions is on-course. For the first time in Africa, trials for the free routing flights became a reality on November 2, 2023, thanks to the funding by Afreximbank and technical support by aviation experts. Flights ET935 and KQ 508 operated safely outside the existing routes, directly from Addis Ababa to Abidjan and Nairobi to Accra, respectively. Implementing the Free Route Airspace (FRA) will bring significant cost savings to airlines, shorten travel times for passengers and put less CO2 emissions into the environment. The trials, which started in November 2023, will continue to provide critical data to accelerate the FRA implementation in the entire African Airspace, improving air navigation efficiency."

Awani adds: "AFRAA and Afreximbank shared a common goal of promoting the development of a safe, reliable and environmentally sustainable air transport system in Africa in order to effectively contribute to the continent’s socio-economic development, trade and integration."

The implementation of FRA in Africa will contribute towards ensuring an efficient aviation market to support intra-African trade and tourism, which was critical to the full realisation of the objectives of the AfCFTA, she added.

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