Today marks a significant milestone for the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ), as it joins the wider African civil aviation community in commemorating the 24th anniversary of Yamoussoukro Decision Day (YD Day).
This celebration, endorsed by the 29th Assembly of the Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU) under the Agenda 2063 framework, highlights a commitment to liberalising air transport services across Africa.
CAAZ, in its press release today, emphasised its dedication to the liberalisation of both scheduled and non-scheduled air transport services within the continent, focusing on eliminating restrictions on traffic rights, capacities, and frequencies between city airports.
"The Single Africa Air Transport Market—Pilot Implementation Project (SAATM-PIP) was launched at the 23rd YD Day Anniversary on November 14, 2022, in Dakar, Senegal. Under the theme 'Acceleration of air transport liberalisation in Africa to improve continental connectivity and integration,' the project aims to double 5th Freedom Traffic Operations across Africa by 2025, boosting inter-sectoral economic collaboration and synergies," stated CCAZ.
Further, CAAZ highlighted the operationalization of the Open Skies Policy, which is being aligned with the Government's "Zimbabwe is Open for Business" initiative.
This policy has catalysed the liberalisation of Zimbabwe's skies, evident in the initiation of four new Air Services Agreements (ASA), which are compliant with the Yamoussoukro Decision with SAATM member states, which included Benin, Chad, Cote d'Ivoire, and Mali.
These agreements allow for multiple airline destinations, unrestricted passenger and cargo service frequencies, and unrestricted 5th freedom traffic rights on intra-Africa points.
"In 2023, we have welcomed several African airlines commencing direct flights to our international airports: RG Mugabe, Victoria Falls, and J.M. Nkomo. Airlines such as FlySafair, Eswatini Air, Zambia Airways, and CEMAIR have started operations, with Ethiopian Airlines expanding its direct flights and frequencies," the statement added.
The Government is also investing in key infrastructure upgrades to enhance airspace and air traffic management.
These upgrades include the installation of an advanced air traffic control communications system and a secondary surveillance radar system, both integral to achieving the Vision 2030 targets.
As Zimbabwe progresses in its air transport liberalisation efforts, these developments mark a pivotal step towards enhancing connectivity and integration, in line with the broader goals of Vision 2030.