African Premier Airways (Pty) Ltd. (“APA”) is an evolution that began in 2005 to meet the growing demand of the African community’s increased need for air travel consistent with high international safety, efficiency and comfort standards. Recognizing that there is an increased need for an air transport system that meets the daily demands of contemporary African life, a platform was devised that would allow for the connection of African capitals in a manner that would transform air travel and improve customer service, air system efficiency, and transpose the African air transport system into a world class operation. Complaints from frequent travelers seeking to travel from one part of the continent to another showed that businesspersons, in particular, with limited precious time, were having to overnight in either direction, thus losing valuable time. Other travelers with limited resources were similarly required to expend meager resources to afford lodging while awaiting a continuing flight. The overall effect of this pattern operated to limit continental commerce, growth and development, and further reinforced the perception of Africa as having a third world aviation transport system.
Despite this less than acceptable standard of air travel, independent sovereign nations were eagerly championing aviation objectives under independent nationalist colours, as opposed to working towards an integrated air transport system that adequately connects African destinations and liberalizes African air transport. Therefore, a system needed to be devised that would take advantage of the spirit of the Yamoussoukro Decision ---a meeting where African civil aviation ministers pledged to liberalize African aviation in a manner that would remove the restrictive nature of the present system. The necessity of bilateral agreements for scheduled passenger service between two countries has operated to stifle competition and inhibit the growth and expansion of air service across the continent.
Safety issues have also plagued African aviation. Several crashes have pointed to poor aircraft maintenance, an aging aircraft fleet, outdated and malfunctioning navigation systems, non-existent navigation systems, as well as a poor and dilapidated airport infrastructure. The combination of these effects has been the veritable lack of public confidence in the African aviation system, as well as international reluctance to endorse the African aviation system. This is the backdrop against which APA was formed, and represents the challenges confronting the new airline in an effort to distinguish itself as a new model for African aviation.