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East African Community: Air transport liberalisation progressing well, despite challenges

29-Jan-2013 4:37 PM

East African Community (EAC) secretariat principal aviation officer Eng Ladislaus Matindi said (24-Jan-2013) the liberalisation of air transport in the EAC is progressing, despite some challenges. Eng Matindi noted that the development of the framework for the implementation of the Yamoussoukro Declaration on the full liberalisation of air transport in EAC was progressing well and the EAC Council was expected to consider a draft of it by the end of May-2013. The liberalisation framework and the application of the EAC common market protocol will be able to eliminate all economic restrictions in the aviation sub sector related to capacity, frequencies, city pairs, cabotage and designation of airlines. Some African states with small and weaker airlines are concerned that full liberalisation may lead to the disappearance of their airlines as a result of anti-competitive behaviour such as abuse of dominant position by the bigger airlines. As a result, partner states have been granting rights among themselves, with emphasis placed on bi-lateralism, reciprocity and protectionism. Eng Matindi noted that the second layer of challenges were issues related to the current low level of EAC regional and international airport capacities, safety oversight and security concerns. [more - original PR]