South Africa’s aviation has proved its resilience, flexibility and competitiveness in the face of multiple challenges facing the sector globally. In a world that is seemingly caught up in a “boom and bust economy cycle”, this resilience makes the South Africa aviation attractive.
Given the growth and complexity of the sector, safety and security has become a serious concern. However in terms of global compliance, “South Africa’s level of effective implementation of security and safety standards is currently rated at 84% by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), a United Nations body tasked with the global administration of civil aviation. South Africa’s 84% rating is significant when compared to the world’s average of 60%” says Poppy Khoza, Director of Civil Aviation at the South African Civil Aviation Authority
Air travel in South Africa has grown above 10% per year over the past six years, “due largely to the proliferation of low-cost airlines following the deregulation of the industry in the early Nineties and the increased volume of international traffic flowing into the country”, says Dipuo Peters, South Africa’s Minister of Transport.
However some low-cost airlines have fallen by the wayside. Javed Malik, co-chair of Skywise argues that South Africa is still a long way from achieving real transformation in the domestic aviation sector. “So far the road to transformation in South Africa has been extremely bumpy and tough. It has left scores of casualties along the way – casualties that would have made a huge difference had they been included in meaningful economic activities”. Perhaps a sentiment shared by some operators who accuse the State of protectionism in favour of the State owned Airline, SAA.
Chris Zweigenthal, CEO of Airlines Association of Southern Africa outlines the state of aviation in Southern Africa.