The 50th Annual General Meeting (AGM} of African Airlines Association (AFRAA) kicked off in Rabat, Morocco on Monday with calls on African Governments to reduces taxes and charges threatening the viability of airlines on the continent.
AFRAA Secretary General Abderahmane Berthe said it was pitiable that African air traffic currently accounted for a meager three percent of world traffic yet the continent carries 16 per cent of the world population.
He said besides high costs imposed by Governments, inadequate infrastructure in many countries, restriction of market access, blocked funds in some countries and control rules inherited from archaic bilateral air agreements were hurdles that must he cleared for the industry to sail smoothly.
“Weak performance is making it difficult for most of our airlines to effectively finance their fleet to compete well internationally” ,rued Mr Berthe who has held forte for one year since taking over from long Dr Elijah Chingosho last November.
He noted that all was not doom for African aviation industry that 6.2 million jobs in spite of the hurdles, thus creating opportunities valued at over US$ 55.8 billion.
Mr Berthe said Air transport in Africa was expected to grow at 4.9 per cent per year in the next two decades despite the head winds.
“African air traffic is expected to double in the next 15 years courtesy of population growth and economic rates,” he predicted.
He described the single African air transport market launched in Addis Ababa in 2018 as a sign of good things ahead in the continent’s aviation industry.
He said AFRAA had grown to 40 member airlines representing 85 per cent since its launch in Accra Ghana in 1968 by 15 founder airlines, six of which are still active members.
The assembly held under the patronage of King Mohamed V1 was officially opened by Morocco’s Tourism, Air Transport and Social Economy Minister Mr Mohamed Sajid.