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Expensive airfares hurting Africa’s aviation sector – Report

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According to a BBC report, the cost of travelling across Africa is far high adding that taxes and tickets remain on an uptick for travellers.

As a matter of fact, travelling to another continent has become less expensive compared to travelling within Africa.

The exorbitant fares, the report said, make doing business in Africa expensive and difficult because travelling by air is usually the most preferred route to the continent as a result of poor road networks and train systems.

“For a quick comparison, flying from the German capital, Berlin, to Turkey’s biggest city, Istanbul, will probably set you back around $150 (£120) for a direct flight taking less than three hours.

“But flying a similar distance, say between Kinshasa, capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Nigeria’s biggest city, Lagos, you will be paying anything between $500 and $850, with at least one change, taking up to 20 hours,” the BBC report noted.

The international trade body overseeing 83 percent of world air traffic, International Air Transport Association (IATA) has estimated that if only 12 important African nations cooperated to increase connectivity and open up their markets, it would generate around 155,000 employment and increase the GDP of those nations by more than $1.3 billion.

“Aviation contributes directly to the GDP in every country while it generates work and activates the economy,” said IATA’s regional vice president for Africa and the Middle East, Kamil al-Awadhi.

Awadhi added that another reason is governments’ reluctance to work together, where “each state thinks they know how to handle it better and will stick to their remedies even when they are not very effective.”

“In the end it’s a business and there is a level of protectionism that starts to hurt the aviation industry. Then there is no benefit to having your own national carrier.”

Meanwhile, state-owned Ethiopian Airlines is making the effort to change the narrative and generate millions of dollars in hard currency for the country.

Growing from being one of the poorest countries in the world to being one of the fastest growing economies, the global chairman of US-based investment firm Fairfax Africa Fund, Zemedeneh Negatu, attributed one of Ethiopia’s development to its airline.

“Ethiopian Airlines generates millions of dollars in hard currency for the country, and it makes every Ethiopian proud that they have been able to create one of the most successful indigenous African-owned, African-operated, multinational companies,” he noted.

The Ethiopian-American suggested a “coherent strategy by Africa to address the issue of its poor air service if they want to transform Africa’s economies”.

 

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

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