By JOE OMBUOR, The Standard
African Airlines Association (Afraa) Secretary General Elijah Chingosho said countries that treat jet fuel, aircraft landing fees, visas and others as cows to be milked dry stand to lose out in the competitive airline and tourism industry.
“It is high time African states emulated those in Europe, Asia and other parts of the world where lower taxes and levies attract higher passenger traffic with resultant greater revenues,” said Dr Chingosho.
“Single entry visas for regional blocks such as East Africa are the way to go instead of expensive visas for single countries. It eases movement and attracts more visitors and ensure adequate revenues,” he noted.
Dr Chingosho made the remarks while briefing the media on the third Aviation Supplies and Stakeholders Convention at Afraa headquarters in Nairobi. A meeting is scheduled for May 4 to 6 in the Kenyan capital city.
Chingosho said the three-day convention would bring together about 300 participants consisting largely of operators, suppliers and service providers. He disclosed that delegates from more than 40 countries have already been registered, many of them coming to Kenya and East Africa for the first time.
On co-operation between carriers, the Afraa Secretary General said it serves the twin role of reducing costs and enabling smaller airlines to stay afloat as they grow bigger.
He commended Kenya Airways for the co-operation with Tanzania’s Precision Air, saying it should be emulated by other leading airlines in the continent.
He decried the attitude by some African countries that tend to favour foreign airlines to operate in their air space as opposed to African ones and gave the example of Angola where Emirates flies more times than any African carrier. “Kenya Airways flies to Luanda twice a week and Ethiopian three times. We would appreciate an increased frequency of African carriers to African capitals,” said Chingosho.
“Such attitude has partly contributed to the unfortunate scenario whereby 80 per cent of all international air traffic to and from the African continent is done by non African carriers. We are talking to the African Union over the matter,” he disclosed.
Dr Chingosho cautioned that though Africa is being touted as the continent of the future, it is bound to lose out to other continents if its aviation industry does not position itself for the rapid growth and expansion expected from new minerals and oil and gas discoveries.
He said air safety standards have improved within the continent over the years to meet the International Air Transport Association safety requirements.