Events    |    AASA AGA 2018    |    Press releases

Where: AVANI Victoria Falls Resort, Livingstone, Zambia
When: 11 to 14 October 2018

Press releases 

Airlines call on SADC governments to remove blockages slowing economic growth

October 12, 2018. AASA news. Linden Birns, Plane Talking. 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 

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.