By Kenneth Ehigiator, Addis Ababa
The African Airlines As sociation (AFRAA)Â Â has painted a bleak furure for carriers on the continent unless urgent steps were taken by African governments to address problems confronting the airlines.
Outgoing Secretary_General of the group, Mr. Christian Folly-Kossi, who expressed concern about the present state of African airlines at the 15th leadership conference organised by Nigeriaâ€™s Aviation and Allied Business in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, particularly fingered global liberalisation and globalisation as critical twin problem that have held down airlines on the continent.
According to him, the aviation market in Africa had been dominated for too long by foreign airlines that the market had become narrowed for African carriers.He said major carriers of the world had, through global liberalisation, formed an effective bulwark against African airlines, blaming African governments for also granting multiple designations, uncontrolled landing rightsÂ and multiple flight frequencies for foreign airlines to further dominate their local counterparts.
â€œWe have covered a lot of grounds, but the battle continues.Â We are confronted by a lot of challenges and in the short term, there is the problem of global liberalisation and globalisation, two phenomena we are yet to embrace.
â€œThe industry may not grow in Africa if the trend is not reversed.Â The aviation market in Africa is still dominated by foreign airlines; there is uncontrolled granting of landing rights, which make it impossible for African airlines to compete,â€ Folly-Kossi said.
He regretted the fact that African governments have yet to implement the Yamoussoukro Accord signed by them as far back as 1992 to integrate the air transport industry in Africa .
He also expressed displeasure about the fact that African Union (AU) had not been able to prevail on governments on the continent to implement the decision.The Yamoussoukro Decision was designed to promote intra_African air travel, to stave off connecting flights among African countries through Europe .Folly-Kossi said:Â â€œIt is very unfortunate that we have not been able to implement the Yamoussoukro Accord in Africa .Â The more we talk about it, the less we take practical steps to implement it.â€
He, however, lauded the efforts of such African carriers as Ethiopian Airlines and Kenya Airways at connecting countries on the continent.On brain drain on the continentâ€™s aviation industry, the AFRAA scribe said the issue had become a clear and present danger for Africa , blaming it for manpower problem in the industry.
He said the poaching of the best of hands by airlines in other parts of the globe has had negative consequences on the industry in African, and noted that safety was closely intertwined with quality personnel.