South Africa has created enough air capacity to handle the growing visitors in the next 10 to 15 years, its Department of Transport said earlier this week.

“We are comfortable that our agreements provide enough capacity for growth of 10% a year for the next decade,” civil aviation chief director Anwar Gany told Business Day.

The agreements, which take a more liberal approach compared to scheduled international flights, will see SA’s skies open up to competition.

Mainly driven by the Airlift Strategy, they aim to create capacity ahead of the expected demand and allow room for future bilateral negotiations.

The latest agreement that the country has completed is with Canada which allows three frequencies from this year, increasing to five in 2012 and eventually daily flights in 2015.

Whilst no airlines have taken up the routes yet, Gany believes it will give South African Airways (SAA) and Air Canada an opportunity to code-share on routes between the two destinations.

The next challenge now will be opening up competition on the continent according to chief negotiator Vuwani Ndwamato.

“Our aim is to open up the continent country by country. We have made substantial process in west, east and north Africa” he said, “However, the Sadc region remains problematic.”
Similarly, the Department of Transportation said talks with the European Union are another big challenge.