AFRAA faces uphill struggle
The African Airlines Association (AFRAA) appears to be facing an uphill struggle in convincing African Governments to adopt a common air transport policy and implement the Yamoussoukro Decision on air transport liberalisation.
AFRAA represents the interests of African airlines and has been a vocal advocate for sweeping changes in the continent’s air transport industry, but its entreaties seem to be falling on deaf ears.
Several African Governments appear to be paying lip-service to co-operation in the African aviation industry. Some seem reluctant to take the steps necessary to implement the jointly agreed policies designed to strengthen African aviation, an economically vital sector.
It has become a yearly ritual at AFRAA’s Annual General Assembly for the association to call on African Governments and the African Union to expedite the implementation of the Yamoussoukro Decision and this year’s meeting in Ouagadougou may be no different. Furthermore, many of AFRAA’s cash-strapped members seem to be focusing primarily on day-to-day survival, rather than on planning for long-term success. Since he assumed office, AFRAA Secretary General, Christian Folly-Kossi, has urged African airlines to form larger and stronger regional and sub-regional airlines through mergers and joint ventures. This would ensure that they benefit from economies of scale and are better positioned to take advantage of the above average air traffic growth in Africa.
On the plus side, the on-going implementation of IATA Operational Safety Audits (IOSA) will help to enhance air safety in Africa, IATA’s e-ticketing initiative will help to reduce airline costs, and the increased pace of fleet modernisation on the continent will provide benefits to both operators and passengers.
Having recently signed a joint Memorandum of Understanding, with much optimism, it is now hoped that AFRAA, the African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC) and the Airports Council International-Africa (ACI) will come up with practical solutions to resolving some of their common challenges so as to achieve concrete results.
– By Nick Fadugba
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