It claims more routes will boost the economic and social development of the continent.
“Africa is set to be one of the fastest-growing aviation regions over the next 20 years, with annual expansion averaging nearly 5%. This opens up incredible economic opportunities for Africa," says IATA's director general, Tony Tyler.
"But aviation faces considerable challenges, and for its potential to be realised, correct policies must be developed.
"Smarter regulation, and a focus on delivering the safety and connectivity commitments of the African Union, will be crucial to establishing Africa as a global aviation powerhouse."
Tyler made his remarks at the IATA Africa and Middle East Aviation Day in Nairobi, Kenya.
The event is bringing together key stakeholders under the theme ‘Connecting Africa’ focusing on the development of frameworks to promote connectivity in regulations, commerce, and operations.
In his speech, Tyler identified key challenges needing to be addressed.
“Safety must always be our first priority. Africa experienced zero jet hull losses in 2014, an excellent result. The all-aircraft accident rate, however, remains considerably higher than the global average," Tyler told delegates.
"The Abuja Declaration commitments by African governments must be followed up with action to increase compliance with ICAO standards.”
He also called for 'smarter regulation' to enable better aviation connectivity; and the provision of 'appropriate infrastructure', offering the right capacity at the right price to ensure the growth of sustainable air services across Africa.
In addition he urged African governments find workable solutions that would ensure the industry meets its environmental target of carbon-neutral growth from 2020.