BY YESMAN ANTOH-
NEW AFRICA BUSINESS NEWS, Accra, Ghana- THE VICE President of Ghana, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, has lamented the lack of international flight arrangements between countries in Africa stressing that with the coming into force of the African Intercontinental Free Trade Agreement, the ‘open skies’ policy of the African continent need to be implemented without any further delay.
Addressing the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Regional Aviation Forum at the Marriott Hotel under the theme Aviation: Business for Regional Prosperity,’ the Vice President questioned why a business person from Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone has to travel for two days to go to Banjul, the capital of Gambia, often through a third country for a journey which a straight line flight would take only one hour.
“The cost of travel is so much higher on the continent, yet we all know what we need to do. We have known it for quiet a while, what do we need to do to over these challenges. We have talked about an open skies policy, we have talked about a single African air market and we have been doing a lot of talking but less of the doing, and this challenge has bedeviled us,” the Vice President said.
“It is time for us to really look at how we are going to bring this into a reality,” Dr. Bawumia pointed out.
Dr. Bawumia charged the aviation industry players to use the two-day forum to develop strategies that can help shape up the sector in African in order to increase the capital share of Africa in the aviation sector.
“Let us advance ourselves a bit further in coming up with solutions. There is the need to strengthen coordination and harmonization in regional policies and therefore the regulations of access to air transport markets as recommended by the Yamusukrom decision of November 1999,” the Vice President stated.
The Minister for Aviation, Mr. Joseph Kofi Adda in his welcome address said his ministry will continue to make Ghana attractive to international airlines across the countries of the world.
He added that he was very optimistic that the forum will come up with new ideas that would ultimately lead to the development of the aviation industry on the African continent.
The Chief Economist of IATA, Brian Pearce; Managing Director of the Ghana Airport Company Limited (GACL), Mr. Yaw Kwakwa,; the Director General of the Rwanda Civil Aviation Authority, Mr. Silas Udahemuka and the Minister for Finance and Economic Planning, Mr. Ken Ofori-Atta, are amongst the resource persons who will be leading the deliberations at the forum.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is the trade association for the world’s airlines, representing some 290 airlines or 82% of total air traffic.
IATA supports many areas of aviation activity and helps formulate industry policy on critical aviation issues. Its vision is to work together to shape the future growth of a safe, secure and sustainable air transport industry that connects and enriches the world. IATA’s mission is to represent, lead, and serve the airline industry.
Leading the airline industry for over 70 years, IATA has developed global commercial standards upon which the air transport industry is built. IATA’s aim is to assist airlines by simplifying processes and increasing passenger convenience while reducing costs and improving efficiency.
BY YESMAN ANTOH, NEW AFRICA BUSINESS NEWS, BUSINESS & POLITICS, GLOBAL CORRESPONDENT
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