African nations must consult on ATM investment

IATA is calling on African governments to avoid air traffic management re-fragmentation following the move by Rwanda to leave the Dar-Es-Salaam Flight Information Region (FIR) and South Sudan to leave the Khartoum FIR.

“ASECNA, COMESA and the EAC upper airspace initiatives improve the efficiency of air traffic management by working together. I urge Rwanda and South Sudan to reconsider their decisions,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and CEO, in a keynote address delivered on his behalf by Raphael Kuuchi, IATA vice president, Africa, to the 49th African Airline’s Association Annual (AFRAA) General Assembly in Kigali, Rwanda.

IATA also urged industry consultation on air traffic management investment decisions to ensure alignment with airline operational needs and avoid over-investment.

“Investments must improve safety and efficiency from the user’s perspective. If not, they are just an additional cost burden,” said de Juniac who added that the ICAO Collaborative Decision Making (CDM) framework is a practical guide for such consultations.

“Africa is the region with greatest aviation potential. Over a billion people are spread across this vast continent. Aviation is uniquely placed to link Africa’s economic opportunities internally and beyond. And in doing so, aviation spreads prosperity and changes peoples’ lives for the better. That’s important for Africa. Aviation can help in achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, including the eradication of poverty and improving both healthcare and education,” said de Juniac.

“Africa also faces great challenges and many airlines struggle to break-even. And, as a whole, the African aviation industry will lose $1.50 for each passenger it carries. Governments should be aware that Africa is a high-cost place for aviation. Taxes, fuel and infrastructure charges are higher than the global average. Additionally, insufficient safety oversight, failure to follow global standards, and restrictive air service agreements all add to the burden that stands in the way of aviation’s economic and social benefits,” he added.

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