Seychelles Considers Joining Single African Air Transport Market

Seychelles is still evaluating whether or not to sign an agreement to be part of the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM), an initiative of the African Union (AU), said a top government official on Tuesday.

The Single African Air Transport Market seeks to promote connectivity, boost intra-African trade and tourism, and enhance economic integration among African countries.

“One of the reservations we have is that we are protecting our aviation industry, including Air Seychelles. We want to ensure that when we do sign this agreement, we will protect Air Seychelles, and at the same time we will do all that is necessary to expand as a regional airline,” said the Minister for Transport, Anthony Derjacques, at the opening of a two-day workshop.

The workshop taking place in Seychelles is being organised by the Department of Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine in collaboration with the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).

More than 30 African nations have formally endorsed the SAATM as the knowledge cut-off in September 2021, while the full implementation and realisation of its advantages are continuing activities.

The African Union’s Agenda 2063, which envisions a wealthy and interconnected Africa, includes SAATM, which was introduced in January 2018.

The aim of SAATM is to remove obstacles to flying, like high taxes, regulatory constraints, and restricted market access by encouraging more airlines to fly to and from Africa. This will in return increase flight frequency, bringing down ticket prices, and enhancing air connectivity throughout the continent.

By gradually opening up the African skies, SAATM will enable airlines from member nations to freely access each other’s markets.

The aim of the workshop in Seychelles is to sensitise nations that have not yet signed the agreement by giving a better idea of the SAATM plans, with the hope of convincing them to be part of the project.