Africa looks to share hard-pressed transport aircraft

African Union nations are looking at developing an air transport sharing mechanism (ATSM) to improve the organisation’s airlift capability.

Colonel Kais Sghaier

Colonel Kais Sghaier: “It’s every African’s dream to see an African aircraft providing relief and support to Africans.” Picture USAF.

The ATSM is intended to enhance African Union strategic lift capability, including medical evacuation, non-combatant evacuation, and humanitarian action and natural disaster support.

It would operate through a new Africa air mobility command centre (AAMCC) – a multi-national African airlift unit operating under the authority of the African Union.

Speaking during a recent conference hosted by US Air Forces Africa and the Botswana Defence Force in Kasane, Brigadier Collen Mastercee Maruping, acting deputy air arm commander, Botswana Defence Force, explained: “We need to come up with mechanisms of optimising the use of the very limited resources available to us.”

Major James Johnson, a southern Africa regional desk officer with US Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa (USAFE-AFAFRICA) described the ATSM as: “A dependable, organised, readily available, effective and efficient air transport operations system on the continent to carry persons and cargo in support of common national and regional peace and security requirements.”

And Colonel Kais Sghaier, commander of the Tunisian Air Force 11th Air Unit, summed up many feelings when he said: “I think it’s every African’s dream to see an African aircraft with all African flags across its tail, flying across the continent providing relief and support to Africans.”

Jon Lake

Jon Lake

Jon is defence editor for both Arabian and African Aerospace magazines.