“Airlines need to start talking with airports to boost tourist traffic in Africa.”
These were the words of Aeron Munetsi, Director, Government, Legal & Industry Affairs, African Airlines Association (AFRAA), while speaking at the Aviation Day of AKWAABA African Travel Market held in Lagos.
He said it does not make sense for an airport built with $140 million to be receiving only two airlines per day.
“Such airline is charged arm and leg and is overburdened with fees and charges by the airport until it goes out of business and traffic drops,” he said.
Munetsi said until airports begin to see airlines as partners in boosting tourist traffic, the traffic may not grow as expected.
“An airport should be able to give airlines the frequency, availability, time and capacity to operate so that traffic can grow,” he said.
In addition, he called for a review of policy that requires Africans to pay for visas to travel to fellow African countries.
Munetsi’s position was further amplified at a different forum by the Vice President, Sales & Marketing, Cabo Verde Airlines, Raul Andrade, emphasizing that airports should work with airlines to boost traffic.
He said airports should not just sit and wait for airlines to come but should rather, move to attract airlines. He said high airport taxes do not translate to opportunities, describing opportunity as the offer of incentives for airlines to come.
He attributed the prevailing situation to the public service status of most African airports which has made them non-business minded. Andrade called for a change to policies that would encourage airports to offer incentives, support, etc.
He wants airports and tourist boards to contribute to marketing of destinations for airlines when they come and help create awareness on such airlines’ country of origin.