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Cyril Ndegeya

Ethiopian wins the Best Airline in Africa

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The aviation industry has proved to be an essential component in the worldwide economic sectors;taking tourism as an example, aviation represents 13.8% world’s GDP & accounts for 3.6% all jobs.

There is a significant opportunity for social and economic growth simply by the fact that passenger numbers are set to double over the next two decades by 4.6 billion of passengers in 2019 to 8.2 billion passengers by 2037 according to IATA forecast.

Though this growth is still held by some travel barriers where for instance in 2013, destinations around the world was requiring on average two thirds of the world’s population to obtain a visa prior to departure especially relevant given that a large percentage of passenger growth is from emerging economies.
Even today emerging economies continue to be more open than advanced ones,South-East Asia, East Africa, the Caribbean & Oceania remain the most open areas, while Central and North Africa and North America are the most restrictive sub regions.

Another barrier to consider is the airports capacity constraints,where according to IATA estimates,most of the 100 biggest airports by passenger volume need major infrastructure development in the next decade to keep pace with projected growth but given the timelines for these projects and the relative scarcity of funding, it is unlikely that airports will expand as required within the timeframe.

For all these concerns IATA suggests two main strategies one being to open borders where states have to be encouraged to revisit their visa regimes by using data to for interactive API(Advanced Passenger Information) systems,promote the removal of traditional visa and non interactive eVisa in particular.

If eVisa are introduced they should be linked to iAPI so airlines are certain
that the traveler has the proper authorization to travel to the country of destination said Nick Careen, IATA Senior Vice President for Aiport , Passenger, Cargo and Security during the 75th IATA Annual general meeting in Seoul-Korea.

Another need is the promotion of interoperable solutions:where for example an automated border control (ABC) systems that read ePassports allow the processing of more passengers than the ABC based on “known traveler programs” as those are usually country specific (few interoperability). Smart Automated Border Control gates with integrated customs declarations also provide efficient alternatives as well as including the travel facilitation as part of bilateral and regional trade negotiations.

The second strategy would be the automation and advanced screening which could provides for instance self check in, bag drop, immigration, self-boarding . IATA’s Fast Travel addresses the future of travel, with more self-service options,more choices for passengers, and lower costs for the industry.

Passengers heading to their transfer gates in Brussels airport.Photo:Cyril NDEGEYA

Passengers might also benefit from a more efficient process through airports whereby they will be able to transit from the curb to the gate without ever having to show a paper passport or boarding pass.This requires the use of biometric recognition technology and the collaborative
and integrated identity management solutions to allow various stakeholders to exchange information while for security controls, One ID might be adopted or come as a modern solution to improve border, aviation and airport infrastructure security. In this regard,reduced possibilities for individuals to cross borders under a false identity, and thus help combat human trafficking and other cross-border criminal activities, it could also Contributes to elimination of queues and crowds in airport landside areas as well as enabling the possibility of risk-based assessment and differentiated handling at border and security checkpoints, but for all this to come into place it would require new global standards to facilitate collaboration between airports, airlines and governments when checking traveler identities.

The role of IATA in all this is to identify the key elements of
interoperability,brought through harmonization of some concepts and recommended practices and standards.

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