Sunday, December 16, 2012

● IATA: African governments shooting themselves, and each other, in the foot: Tyler

Whilst Africa is becoming an international point of focus, African airlines themselves, are only expected to breakeven in 2013 - unchanged from the previous year's forecast and from 2011, says the International Air Transport Association's boss Tony Tyler in his industry financial outlook for the rest of 2012 and 2013. 

Corroborating this, the Secretary General of the African Airlines Association (AFRAA), Dr. Elijah Chingosho, in his report presented to the AFRAA's 44th AGM in Johannesburg, stated that "the intercontinental market to and from Africa is currently dominated by non-African carriers taking 75% market share," with African governments themselves "often providing foreign carriers with more frequencies, including 5th Freedom traffic rights, whilst denying them to fellow African carriers."

A former AFRAA Secretary-General, Christian Folly-Kossi, speaking in relation to the nascent Central African regional carrier, Air CEMAC, noted that international carriers, which have long dominated African skies, do not have specific interests in developing Africa's transportation infrastructure.
"The mega carriers are not there to link up Africa, yet that is what we need to develop trade in Africa," Folly-Kossi told PANA in an interview in Nairobi.
Source [grioo]

Africa Unite
South African Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, Air Cemac and FastJet to name but a few, have all lamented the difficulties they have experienced in trying to penetrate the underserved and yet highly protected African regional market. Fastjet infact, have had to employ the wily tactic of investing and buying out small time regional carriers (fly540 and possibly 1Time) as a vehicle to help it acquire priceless AOCs, thereby helping them skirt rigorous, and often time consuming, investment laws.

With each nation viewing its national carrier (more often than not, a poorly run parastatal permanently dependent on government - Zimbabwe, South Africa, Tanzania, Malawi, Cameroon to name but a few) as some sort of prize pig worthy of protection at any cost, they are in fact, only shooting themselves (and their brothers) in the foot.  

By sustaining these inefficient entities that lack the drive or initiative to want to expand and to improve (case in point: Air Tanzania and Precision Air) their product and services, we are only nurturing a culture of mediocrity and incompetence. Is it any wonder why then, at the end of the day, our continent then suffers from a massive brain drain?