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‘Prioritise Challenges Facing African Airlines’

Abdérahmane Berthé

SECRETARY GENERAL of the African Airlines Association (AFRAA), Abdérahmane Berthé, has called for operational challenges facing African airlines to be prioritized and addressed.

He made the call in his opening remarks of the 52nd Annual General Assembly (AGA) of AFRAA, which assembly was held virtually from November 9-10, 2020.

“This is a pivotal moment in our history as we aim to reposition the African air transport market towards recovery and sustainability. Now more than ever, operational challenges faced by African Airlines have to be prioritized and addressed, especially the high taxes and charges that hinder the growth and recovery of carriers on the continent,” he said.

According to him, AFRAA has launched an interactive capacity sharing portal to provide access to market-leading services to African airlines and developed a recovery plan revolving around nine pillars of interest to the sector and a comprehensive strategic plan geared towards helping the industry to meet its aspirations.

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Ricardo de Abreu, Transport Minister of Angola, who was the chief guest, explained that “We are conscious of the enabling role that aviation plays in facilitating trade and growing our economies.”

The AGA was hosted by TAAG Angola Airlines and held under the theme: “Redefining Air Transport for a New Era”.

The Assembly brought together top African airline CEOs, industry partners, leaders of international and regional air transport associations including the African union, IATA, ICAO, AFCAC, TIACA and more than 400 delegates from 76 countries across the globe.

A comprehensive analysis of the industry’s outlook for 2021 and beyond that was presented in AFRAA’s annual report, which revealed that recovery of traffic in Africa was expected to start with domestic markets.

Intra-African routes are projected to follow suit, while international traffic is expected to take more time to reach pre-crisis levels due to a challenging operating environment, according to the report.

Also, an appeal was made to governments and development financial institutions to continue supporting the industry as a means to secure the continent’s social and economic recovery, given the sector’s strategic contribution to national GDP.

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TAAG Angola Chief Executive Officer, Rui Carreira, observed that “Although we foresee a slow recovery, we are currently implementing key measures that will restore passenger confidence and optimize our operations for a more affordable and successful industry.”

The 2020 summit saw the expansion of AFRAA’s fraternity with two new members including: Overland Airways Limited and Syphax Airways; bringing the association’s membership to 47 African airlines.

BY Melvin Tarlue

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