Thursday, January 15, 2009

EAC: African gov’ts scared of liberalised airline market

APA-Dar es Salaam (Tanzania), 14/01/2009

Most of African states have not fully embraced liberalisation of their air transport markets for fear that the measures would drive their national carriers out of business, APA learnt here Wednesday.

This was in addition to the fact that many countries, including those within the East African Community, were signatories to the Yamoussoukro Decision on Air Transport Liberalisation, Phillip Wambugu, EAC director of Infrastructure and Planning, told APA on the telephone from the northern Tanzanian town of Arusha.

He said the protocol was aimed at encouraging African states to liberalise their air transport sectors by eliminating capacity and frequency restrictions between city pairs to ease intra-African travel.

Wambugu was in Arusha during the inaugural the flight of Fly540, a Kenyan-based budget airline which has started scheduled flights to various destinations in Tanzania.

Due to such fears and other factors, he said, the Yamoussoukro pact has remained largely unimplemented in many parts of Africa.

He added that the Yamoussoukro decision has also not been fully implemented in much of the Africa continent due to lack of airport capacities and safety oversight capacities.

"The matter has gone to an extent of some countries fearing that opening their air transport markets will drive their national carriers out of business" he said.

The pact also has not been fully embraced within the EA region, although the matter is already anchored at the highest level of policy making in the Community.

"I believe that airlines such as Fly540 have been able to penetrate a number of regional city pairs as a result of the substantial implementation of the Yamoussoukro Decision in the region" he said.