Nigeria has joined 22 other African nations to sign the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM).
The treaty which creates a free market environment for commercial airlines, relaxes aviation rules and regulations.
The SAATM was inaugurated on Sunday at the on-going African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
A free market is an idealized system in which the prices for goods and services are determined by the open market and consumers, in which the laws and forces of supply and demand are free from any intervention by a government, price-setting monopoly, or other authority.
In a free market, prices at which products are offered are determined by demand and supply.
Following the development, eligible airlines from these 23 countries can extend operations to participating countries.
“The SAATM has the potential for remarkable transformation that will build prosperity while connecting the African continent,” Raphael Kuuchi, vice-president for Africa at the International Air Transport Association, said.
“Every open-air service arrangement has boosted traffic, lifted economies and created jobs. And we expect no less in Africa on the back of the SAATM agreement.
“We commend the 23 states that have signed up to SAATM. It is an important step forward. But the benefits of a connected continent will only be realised through effective implementation of SAATM—firstly by the countries already committed and also by the remaining 32 AU member nations still to come on board.”
On his part, President of AU, Paul Kagame of Rwanda, believes the new Single African Air Transport Market will connect Africa and promote the free movement of people across the continent.
A survey carried out by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), revealed that if only 12 key African countries opened their markets and increased connectivity an extra 155,000 jobs and US$1.3 billion in annual GDP would be created in those countries.
Meanwhile, the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) had moved against the implementation of the treaty.