Original Research

The role of African airlines in air transport liberalisation

Tabisa N. Tshetu, Rose Luke, Jackie Walters
Journal of Transport and Supply Chain Management | Vol 17 | a925 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jtscm.v17i0.925 | © 2023 Tabisa N. Tshetu, Rose Luke, Jackie Walters | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 08 March 2023 | Published: 30 October 2023

About the author(s)

Tabisa N. Tshetu, Department of Transport and Supply Chain Management, College of Business and Economics, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Rose Luke, Department of Transport and Supply Chain Management, College of Business and Economics, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Jackie Walters, Department of Transport and Supply Chain Management, College of Business and Economics, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa

Abstract

Background: The African aviation liberalisation process began in 1988, following the liberalisation processes in Europe and the United States (US). However, by 2023, Intra-Africa air services are still reliant on the Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) by which international traffic rights are exchanged in terms of the 1944 Chicago Convention, a multilateral treaty. These impose restrictions on intra-African connectivity and are obstacles to liberalisation. African multilateral initiatives, such as the Yamoussoukro Declaration, have varying levels of implementation by African states. While liberalisation efforts have major impacts on airlines, thus far these have been led by government structures.

Objective: The main objectives of the study are to determine the involvement of airlines in African liberalisation development and the likely impact of the liberalisation initiatives on airline operations.

Method: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 12 intra-Africa airline executives from four Regional Economic Communities (REC), which would be impacted by liberalisation.

Results: The study finds that airlines do not fully participate in the development of liberalisation initiatives. Although sometimes consulted, their associations are usually only granted observer status at deliberations and negotiations. The likely impacts of the initiatives to airlines include direct connectivity, and harmonised African air transport access.

Conclusion: The lack of airline participation may be a key reason for the slow progress towards liberalisation and full deregulation in Africa.

Contribution: This study contributes to the body of knowledge, by being the first study to consider the role of airlines in the development of liberalisation initiatives.


Keywords

Africa; airlines; deregulation; liberalisation; air connectivity

JEL Codes

K23: Regulated Industries and Administrative Law; K33: International Law; L93: Air Transportation; L98: Government Policy; N17: Africa • Oceania; N47: Africa • Oceania; N77: Africa • Oceania

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure

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