The Vice President of Uganda Jessica Alupo has challenged aviators in Africa to use this year’s Africa Airlines Association General Assembly sitting in Kampala to find solutions for obstacles in the aviation industry in Africa.
Alupo who opened the 55th general assembly at Speke Hotel in Munyonyo, Kampala is concerned with limited intra-African connectivity which makes air transport expensive and time-consuming.
Over 500 aviation delegates from 35 African countries are converging in Munyonyo for the 55th Annual General Assembly of the African Airlines Association (AFRAA) organized under the theme of “Strides to Transform Aviation for Development”. The Assembly is aimed at addressing challenges that are curtailing the growth of the aviation business in Africa which is lagging. Jenifer Bamuturaki, the AFRAA president and CEO for Uganda Airlines, says despite industry growth, Africa only contributes 2.1% of the world aviation business due to intra–connectivity on the continent.
Aviators are concerned with the slow pace at which African states are ratifying the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) protocol, which was agreed upon in 2018 to open up African Skies to promote economic growth. The slow progress according to aviators has made the business more expensive.
Kamil Al-Awadhi the International Air Transport Association- IATA vice president for Africa and the Middle East decried heavy taxes levied by African countries on the Aviation industry which have made aviation business in Africa more expensive than in Europe. He warned that by failure for African Countries to support the aviation business they are making a mistake that will limit economic growth.
Gen Katumba Wamala the minister of works and transport expressed a need for African countries to phase out all visa and other travel restrictions for all Africans. He also called for more liberalization of the aviation industry.
Vice President Jessica Alupo who opened the general assembly as a chief guest challenged aviators to stop lamenting and use this platform to find solutions to all obstacles impeding the growth of the airline’s business. She wondered why all the 54 general assemblies went without providing solutions to primary impediments of air transport.
Alupo noted that the deficit in intra-African connectivity is so embarrassing, wondering why flights meander across continents to connect back to African destinations which are expensive in cost and time.
Munyonyo is a spot for Airline CEOs and other key sector prayers up to tomorrow, with exhibitions and discussions on the development of Air transport in Africa and the development of opportunities for African airlines.