Tuesday, April 30, 2013

■ CONGO (KINSHASA): FlyCAA boss decries heavy taxation in the DRC as discouraging a safety-first mentality amongst airlines.

Jean-Marc Pajot, the Director of Congolese domestic and regional operator, FlyCAA (a tie up between CAA - Compagnie Africaine d'Aviation (FPY), and flyCongo (EO)) says the DRC's heavy taxation of aircraft and related sundries seriously discourages and impedes airlines from pursuing a "safety-first" mentality.

A CAA A320
A CAA A320 (CAA)
Mr Pajot suggested a tax reform of some sort to help encourage investment, and therefore growth, in the industry while at the same time putting in place a culture that places added emphasis on safety, something the DRC has a poor reputation for.

He explained that added taxes, in addition to a 16% fuel surcharge, are then transmitted to the customer in the form of expensive air fares, which Mr Pajot said, was also justified on some routes owing to their low traffic.
To support his assertion, Mr Pajot says that as the Congolese market size is relatively small (1'700'000 passengers for international flights and 700'000 for domestic flights), this could justify the purchase of new aircraft. In addition, he argues that the 20% import tax on equipment, as well as expenses related to the import of spare parts, do not encourage this kind of investment. He thereby suggested a tax reform push to help the Congolese airline industry become more competitive.

On the thorny issue of air safety, Mr Pajot suggested an audit of the Congolese civil aviation authority, L'Autorité de l'Aviation Civile du Congo (AAC), by the ICAO which, in his opinion, would only meet 16% of basic ICAO recommendations. He also added that an improvement in services provided by the Regie des Voies Aériennes (RVA), the authority responsible for running the DRC's airports, as well as an  improvement in the quality of infrastructure and greater passenger safety awareness is required if the DRC is to pull itself out of its quagmire.

Despite the recent crash in Goma of a Fokker 50 (MSN 20270 | 9Q-CBD) belonging to CAA - Compagnie Africaine d'Aviation (FPY) Mr Pajot says that all precautions have been taken to ensure that the company secures its IATA certification by December 2014.