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An aviation sector investor told CNC TV here on Monday there was great potential for Africa’s aviation sector growth to exceed global average in the very near future.

Speaking in an interview during the opening day of the ongoing three-day Routes Africa 2018 conference, Yildirim Ören, Airports Director for SUMMA Airports, observed that Africa’s aviation industry was growing at a faster rate, hence the decision of his company to invest in airports around the continent.

“The aviation sector in Africa is booming and has very good light for the future and we are very much excited about this. We are also excited to commit these investments in African countries because we believe in the growth of the sector. We will do our best to support the aviation sector in Africa and we will continue in this business,” Ören stated.

Being in business on the continent already for the next 25 years and 30 years, the SUMMA official expressed the confidence that the company would be able to secure a lot more airport contracts in the coming years.

SUMMA operates the Dakar Airport in Senegal while also constructing the Niamey Airport in Niger and Khartoum Airport in Sudan, all under Build Operate and Transfer (BOT) contracts of between 25 and 30 years operating periods.

Ören added that intra-African travels would be more critical in the further expansion of the sector on the continent.

“But I believe intra-Africa traffic is the more key factor of this because intercontinental traffic will not support. It is needed but intra-Africa traffic is very important. For this, the infrastructure should be very strong and also the airline companies should be very strong.”

He projectedin Africa would be more than the world’s average with very bright prospects in the future.

“The most critical factor is tourism. The main traffic is based on tourism so tourism should be developed.”

From just five million in 1970, air traffic has grown to more than 50 million passengers in sub-Sahara Africa as of 2017, according to the World Bank Group.

Director General for the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) Simon Allotey said the West African Sub-Regional bloc ECOWAS had seen this potential and so was working hard to harmonize tariffs and charges to enhance traffic and ensure the sector grew per its potentials.

“At the moment, our policies on air transport are not harmonized country-to-country; the tax regimes are different so many issues will crop up with the regulatory framework if we do not start.

“There are relatively high charges, taxes and fees in the aviation industry, not only in Ghana but also in the entire West African Region. So the ECOWAS Commission is developing a common policy to be adopted by all West African states on the charges and fees for aviation services.”

If adopted, Allotey said the new harmonized policy would ensure a reduction in the various taxes, charges and fees across and thereby lead to a reduction in air fares which could stimulate travels.

“Tourists, for instance, do not want to pay very high for air tickets and if taxes alone are higher than the actual cost of the ticket, you are depriving a number of potential travelers from visiting your country, so we are hoping that once we adopt the common policy, we will be able to review some of our charges without compromising on the provision of infrastructure and service,” he added. Enditem

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