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24-Nov-2014 4:49 PM

Ethiopian Airlines: African govts’ failure to implement single air transport market damaging sector

Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde GebreMariam, speaking at the CAPA World Aviation Summit, said (21-Nov-2014) African governments’ collective failure to implement a single air transport market is damaging aviation growth on the continent. He said indigenous African airlines’ market share of international traffic in and out of the continent was currently 20%, a drastic decline from around 60% during the 1980s. He said: “We don’t have a single market regulatory system, it’s a big problem. He said an agreement had been ratified but not implemented referring to the so-called Yamoussoukro Decision, which was signed by ministers back in 2000. He said he hopes that the African Union Summit in January will announce the full implementation of this agreement, to be established by the end of 2015. The biggest beneficiary of this would be Fastjet, he said, and potentially other low cost carriers (LCCs), although there are “other problems for the LCC model in Africa”. He added that African governments are not investing enough in infrastructure, while treating aviation as a luxury to be heavily taxed. Meanwhile fuel prices remain some 21 per cent higher than world average, he said, noting: “In 28 African countries fuel prices have not changed since oil was $110 a barrel, even though the price is now close to $80". Nevertheless he said “we see hope and change,” and cited Ethiopian Airlines’ 20% compound annual growth over the last decade as a reflection of this. On which countries were leading the way in aviation, he cited several including South Africa, Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria and Ethiopia. On the other end of the spectrum, he noted: “The Democratic Republic of Congo has an estimated $70 trillion of mineral wealth, but it’s not connected by air – and the most accident and safety issues are in this area.”

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