WINDHOEK: African states have been called upon to consider prioritising opening up their markets to African airlines to encourage the growth of such airlines in the face of rising competition from foreign carriers.
In a communiqué on the 18th Aviation and Allied Business Leadership Conference which took place in Windhoek on Tuesday, top-level air transport leaders called on states on the continent to develop policies and strategies to improve air transport on the continent and in order to raise the industry’s contributions to the Gross Domestic Product GDPof the various states.
The leaders also called on the European Union EUto work closely with Africa to rectify identified safety challenges in Africa, as opposed to the punitive banning of African states and airlines by the EU.
In addition, the leaders urged African air transport experts to develop effective strategies to improve inter-connectivity and encouraged governments to take action to realise seamless inter-connectivity amongst African regions.
Although an increasing number of bilateral air service agreements have been signed by African states, more efforts need to be channeled into “the liberation of African skies for African airlines,” the communiqué stated.
“Air transport infrastructure should be improved using public-private partnerships PPP), while states should include PPP as part of their policy framework for economic development,” the leaders resolved.
They also encouraged African airlines and airports to work more collaboratively, saying airports should develop other viable means of generating revenue in order to reduce taxes and duties on airlines and thereby, encouraging more people on the continent to fly.
The leaders then called on foreign donors and partners to support air transport training in African universities to boost technical capacity development in the aviation industry.
Air transport leaders including aviation ministers, aviation experts and partners from Africa, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and the United States of America USA), as well as representatives from international multi-lateral organisations including the International Civil Aviation Organisation ICAO), International Airlines Association AFRAA), New Partnership for Africa’s Development NEPAD), the US Federal Aviation Administration FAA), aircraft manufacturers, airport companies and airlines, amongst others attended the meeting.