The vice president of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) on Wednesday warned against protectionism and urged African countries to open up their airspace.

Some African countries have a protectionist approach as they try to protect their local airlines, said Raphael Kuuchi, vice president of IATA, at the Aviation Aero Political Forum, organized by IATA annually at the closure of African Airlines Association (AFRAA)’s annual general assembly.

The single African air transport market was endorsed earlier this year during the 29th AU summit as part of the African Union’s Agenda 2063. It is aimed to open African skies to connect Africa through aviation and other transport infrastructure.

The countries were given the year 2018 as implementation timeline. But by July 2017, only 20 African countries out of 55 had subscribed to it.

“This has not been implemented simply because some African countries want to protect the local airlines in their markets,” he said.

“They think if they open up their markets other airlines in Africa will come and take passengers and their local airlines will not survive.”

Citing Rwanda, he pointed to advantages of open skies such as job creation, lower fares, and tourism growth.

According to him, Rwanda has achieved a lot such as increase in traffic coming into the country as well as the growth of the national flag carrier Rwandair after opening up its skies to airlines from other countries. Enditem

Source: Xinhua/


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