Welcome to the Airlines Association of Southern Africa (AASA)

The Airlines Association of Southern Africa (AASA), is an organisation which was formed in 1970 to represent the mutual interests of its Members. Membership is open to all airlines based in countries south of the equator, including the Indian Ocean Islands. There are currently 19 Airline Members. In addition, Associate Membership is open to airline partner organisations. There are currently 35 Associate Members, including infrastructure service providers, several oil companies, major aircraft manufacturers, engine manufacturers, ground handling companies, service providers, other industry associations and partners.

AASA is the representative airline organisation within Southern Africa working together with the leaders of the aviation industry and senior public and government officials on matters of policy, legislation, regulation, planning, operational efficiency, safety, security and finance, affecting the overall profitability of the airlines and their continued sustainability. AASA also leads and coordinates the airline industry position on airport, airspace and civil aviation issues, as well as consumer legislation, environmental and tourism matters, and provides media response to important industry issues. AASA’s responsibility includes the representation of SADC-based airlines on the SADC Civil Aviation Committee as the Airline Consultative Member. AASA is also a regular participant and contributor to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and International Air Transport Association (IATA) initiatives in the region.

With AASA’s focus concentrated on any issue impacting the airline business, the regular liaison and good working relationship with its Members and partners is highly valued.

Press releases 

Airlines call on SADC governments to remove blockages slowing economic growth

October 12, 2018. Linden Birns for AASA news. Airline industry leaders and government officials are meeting to discuss responses to an array of pressures threatening the competitiveness and sustainability of carriers in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region.

More than 200 delegates are participating in the Airlines Association of Southern Africa’s (AASA) 48th Annual General Assembly, which takes place at a time when global, regional and local political uncertainty, market turbulence and rising costs are taking their toll on trade, tourism and economic development.

While the global air transport sector is on track to return a USD33.8 billion profit in 2018, AASA predicts airlines across SADC will report a collective USD300 million loss for the year, with individual carriers experiencing fluctuating fortunes.  

"Tourism, along with trade, is a powerful lever of growth. But they are being stunted by uncertainties. As one of the most capital-intensive sectors and a vital enabler of economic activity, the airline industry needs Southern African governments to clarify their local economic reform policies so they do not spoil the appetite for much needed trade and investment in the region,” said AASA CEO, Chris Zweigenthal.

According to AASA, demand for air transport is set to increase slowly by two to three percent annually over the next 5 years, reflecting weak GDP performances in the region.

“For the aviation industry to expand and fulfil its potential in supporting jobs and enabling economies to become stronger, passenger growth must return to levels greater than five percent. To accommodate the volumes, we will need to operate more flights. This will require appropriate investments in modern aircraft, in airports and in airspace management infrastructure and systems,” explained Mr Zweigenthal.

To be competitive, Southern African airlines – and the destinations and economies they serve – must differentiate themselves through excellent customer service, efficiencies and value-for-money travel, trade and tourism propositions. The entire value chain must work together to keep air travel safe, contain (and reduce) costs, create hospitable visa and immigration regimes, mitigate and reduce our impact on climate change and establish stable, safe and secure physical and cyber environments.

AASA identified other handbrakes applied by governments which impede air travel, tourism and their ability to deliver growth. These included airlines’ inability to repatriate their revenues from a handful of African countries, including Angola, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. Laws on cybersecurity and personal data protection was another. Few African states have drafted or promulgated cyber and data protection legislation. Those that had been passed were inconsistent, while airlines in Southern Africa were now also required to comply with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulations if they sold or marketed services and products to EU citizens and residents.

About AASA

AASA was established as a non-profit industry body in 1970, initially representing the common interests of airlines in South Africa. After the country’s readmission to the international community in 1994, AASA's mandate was expanded to represent carriers domiciled across Southern Africa and its name was amended to reflect its wider role. AASA was registered as a non-profit company in February 2016.

AASA works closely on a continental basis with the African Airlines Association (AFRAA) and in collaboration with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) on industry-wide matters.

AASA represents 19 airlines. Its 34 associate members include the major aircraft and engine manufacturers, airports, air navigation services, meteorological services and other partners to the air transport industry. AASA’s day-to-day business is managed by a secretariat with guidance from a Board of Directors and an Executive Committee comprising member airline CEOs.

Media contact:  Linden Birns, Plane Talking, PR Advisor for AASA. Email linden@icon.co.za 

SAA to host AASA's 48th AGA: Enabling African Airline Service Excellence

October 1, 2018. AASA news. South African Airways (SAA) is the host airline for the Airlines Association of Southern Africa’s (AASA) 48th annual general assembly, which will focus on customer service. 

The assembly, at the AVANI Victoria Falls Resort in Livingstone, Zambia from 11-14 of this month, has attracted around 300 delegates, comprising leading airline industry executives and government policy makers from Southern Africa’s airlines, airports, air navigation services, regulatory bodies as well as aircraft and engine manufacturers, ground handling service providers and associated businesses. 

“The Africa Union’s initiatives to establish the Single Africa Air Transport Market to complement the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) requires political will and muscle; but it will be irrelevant unless travellers, importers and exporters are provided with an end-to-end air transport system and user experience that is smooth, seamless, stress-free and affordable,” explains AASA’s CEO, Chris Zweigenthal. 

“As an industry, we are concerned with closing those gaps between customers’ expectations and their experiences. Hence the assembly’s theme: “Enabling African Airline Service Excellence”. The gathering will provide the forum for the stakeholders in governments and industry to jointly examine the areas that impact customer experience and opportunities to improve them at all points from start to end, from the keyboard, via the kerbside, at the airports and in our skies,” he added.

AASA is a non-profit industry body mandated to represent the common interests of its 19 member airlines in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) region. It works closely with the African Airlines Association (AFRAA) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to lobby and work with governments, regulators and service providers on industry-wide matters. 

AASA’s associate members include the major aircraft and engine manufacturers, airports, air navigation and meteorological services and other partners to the air transport industry. 

How loss-making regional airlines buck the global trend
October 15, 2018. Neels Blom for Business Day. 

Livingstone, Zambia — The aviation industry in Southern Africa is expected to report a collective $300m loss during 2018, while the industry in the rest of the world is likely to return a $33.8bn profit over the same period, AASA said on Friday. Demand for air transport in Southern Africa is expected to increase slowly by 2% to 3% a year over the next five years, reflecting weak GDP performances in the region, according to AASA projections.  AASA CEO Chris Zweigenthal told delegates to the association’s annual general assembly that the airline industry needs Southern African governments to clarify their local economic reform policies “so they do not spoil the appetite for much-needed trade and investment in the region”. This article was first published in Business Day.

Restrictive policies impede African airlines
October 24, 2018. Tessa Reed for Travel News Weekly (TNW). 

While airlines will report a profit of $33,8bn (R486bn) globally, African airlines overall will lose hundreds of millions for the same period. In Africa, airlines are expected to lose about $100m (R1,44bn) , and in Southern Africa the projected loss is even more at $300m (R4,32bn). AASA CEO, Chris Zweigenthal, shared these sombre projections by IATA in his opening address at this year’s AASA AGA. He emphasised that tourism and trade, both reliant on aviation, were powerful growth levers, but said these were being stunted by uncertainties. “As one of the most capital intensive sectors and a vital enabler of economic activity, the airline industry needs Southern African governments to clarify their local economic reform policies so they do not spoil the appetite for much needed trade and investment in the region,” he said. This article was first published in TNWDownload the October 24 issue AASA feature on pg 8 & 9

Air Namibia's West Africa route opens the intra-African sky
July 6, 2018. AASA news. 

Namibia's national carrier, Air Namibia has launched new flights to Ghana and Nigeria. With Windhoek as the hub, and Lagos and Accra the destinations, the new route opens up intra-Africa travel and trade between Southern Africa and West African countries. 

The new route will also transport passengers and cargo from Lagos-Accra-Lagos, made possible by the fifth freedom traffic rights granted to Air Namibia by the Ghanaian and Nigerian governments, as contained in the existing Bilateral Air Service AgreementsRead more... 

IATA, AFRAA sign MoU to Advance Aviation in Africa 
June 3, 2018. IATA news. 

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the African Airline Association (AFRAA) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to deepen their cooperation.  The MoU was signed by Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s DG and CEO and AFRAA’s SG, Abderahmane Berthé at the 74th IATA AGM held in Sydney. Under the MoU, IATA and AFRAA will exchange information, expertise and work jointly to: 

  • Enhance safety by assisting airlines to implement the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA), IATA Safety Audit for Ground Operations (ISAGO) and IATA Ground Handling Manual (IGOM).
  • Promote regional air connectivity by working jointly with governments to support the implementation of the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM).
  • Encourage data exchange among aviation stakeholders to improve the passenger experience.
  • Enhance security through capacity building.

November 2018 IATA Air Passenger Market Analysis 
Another month of solid RPK growth, but the trend has moderated. Read more...  

November 2018 IATA Air Freight Market Analysis 
Air cargo volumes lost momentum towards the end of 2018. Read more...

IATA & ICAO aviation training: No Country Left Behind
August 14, 2018. AASA news. 

The theme of AASA's 2017 AGA, Building Human Capital for African Airlines, highlighted the skills development and training challenges facing the African aviation industry. Addressing that AGA, Chris Zweigenthal, AASA'S CEO, issued a dire warning that if governments did not invest and focus on basic and tertiary education, particularly in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields, airlines in Africa face a calamitous future; and Mandi Samson, AASA's Chairperson, emphasised the scarcity of skills, especially in technical areas, must be addressed with a commitment to world-class training in order to ensure the safety of African skies.  

IATA and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) are stepping up their efforts to address skills development and training in Africa and developing nations by offering a network of global training centres and industry-standard aviation training courses and programmes; and are committed to sustainable skills development and training by ensuring training is more accessible and affordable to developing nations. IATA has announced a 30% discount on more than 350 courses to developing nations,  reaffirming IATA's commitment to ICAO's No Country Left Behind (NCLB) initiative, whose goal is to ensure all States have access to the socio-economic benefits of safe and reliable air transport. Read more...

SADC's airport projects and aerotropolis developments 
August 17, 2018. AASA news. 

There is no disputing that Africa presents massive economic development, growth opportunities and travel potential - the key to unlocking this potential is an efficient and effective airport, essential to the growth and success of any country. On the African content, airports are undergoing expansion to cater for rapidly growing passenger and cargo traffic volumes. Many airports are in a state of much needed upgrading, and African governments have given the green light to for restoration and development...Read more...

The future of the air transport industry 
June 27, 2018. AASA news. 

What drivers of change could shape the future landscape of the air transport industry?  We address this question by offering insights from IATA's Future of the Airline Industry 2035 study and the Bombardier Commercial Aircraft 2017 - 2036 Market Forecast report; sharing a video of the future of the airline industry by Gil Michielin, Vice-President of Thales Avionics; and track down some web articles that shed light, predictions and ideas about where the industry is heading in the decades to come. Read more...

CORSIA standards: endorsed by ICAO and hailed by industry
August 20, 2018. AASA news.  

The aviation industry has praised the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) for the approval of a set of standards, recommended practices and technical rules on how to measure and report carbon emissions to ensure airlines comply with the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) initiative. The ICAO Council approved the Standards and Recommended Practices (SARP) at a meeting held in Montreal, Canada in June. Read more...

Clean Energy Wire: Emission-free aviation is technically feasible - DLR Researcher 
May 1, 2018. Sören Amelang for Clean Energy Wire. 

Josef Kallo, director of the Institute for Energy Conversion and Storage at Ulm University and coordinator of the Research Group Energy Systems Integration at the German Aerospace Center (DLR), says electric flight is not just a distant vision. He sees hybrid electric motors in combination with fuel cell technology as a promising place to start. But the sky’s the limit as far as future development goes – this is just the beginning. Read more...

Swiss-Belhotel expands into Africa
June 18, 2018. Times of Oman news.

Swiss-Belhotel International, one of the world's largest hotel management groups with hotel-footprints in Australia, Bahrain, China, Indonesia, New Zealand, Qatar, Turkey, UAE and Vietnam are targeting investment in Africa. The group recently signed an agreement with Zanzibar Crown Hotel and Resort Ltd to operate the Swiss-Belresort Zanzibar - opening for business in 2019.

Talking about the potential Africa holds for the hospitality industry, Laurent A. Voivenel, Senior Vice President, Operations and Development for the Middle East, Africa and India stated, “Africa is an exciting market because it is still in its infancy and there is plenty of room for growth. The tourism industry has been strengthened by both domestic and inbound travellers. The increase in intra-Africa travel is of particular interest to the hospitality sector because at least four out of every 10 travellers in Africa are from within the region." 

Read the original article here...

SADC Travels   |   Kavango Zambezi (KAZA) Transfrontier Conservation Area

Image credit:  Joachim Huber, Switzerland (Victoria Falls, Zambia) [CC SA 2.0 (creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], Wikimedia Commons.

Image credit above Lencer [GFDL (www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC 3.0 (creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons. 
Image credit below Harvey Barrison, Massapequa, NY (Victoria Falls_Zambia 2012 05 23_1441) [CC SA 2.0 (creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], Wikimedia Commons

Planning a trip to Southern Africa? Be sure to consider a visit to the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA) situated in the Kavango and Zambezi river basins. Roughly 520 000 km² and including 36 protected areas such as national parks, game reserves, forest reserves, community conservancies and game/wildlife management areas. Jewels in the KAZA crown include the 15,000 km2 Okavango Delta (the world's largest inland delta); and Victoria Falls (a World Heritage Site and one of the seven natural wonders of the world).

KAZA is situated in region where the borders of five countries converge. It includes a major part of the Upper Zambezi basin and the Okavango basin and Delta, the Caprivi Strip of Namibia, the southeastern corner of Angola, southwestern Zambia, the northern wildlands of Botswana and western Zimbabwe. The centre of this area is at the confluence of the Chobe River and Zambezi River where the borders of Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe meet.  The KAZA initiative was created in cooperation with the Peace Parks Foundation and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)

Visit the website for more information.

Sources: wikipedia.org/wiki/Kavango-Zambezi-Transfrontier-Conservation-Area & peaceparks.co.za/Kavango Zambezi  & Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area: Tourism Without Boundaries