While discussions between the African Union, African Airlines Association (AFRAA), International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the many African states could see progress made with the introduction of the Yamoussoukro Decision, Ethiopian Airlines’ chief executive officer, Tewolde GebreMariam said much more needed to be done to balance the Continent’s aviation sector and reduce the split that now sees around 80 per cent of intercontinental travel in and out of Africa being provided by airlines from outside of the Continent.
In a panel session on the ‘State of the Industry’ at the World Routes Strategy Summit in Durban, South Africa, GebreMariam said that while there are “good signs” of progress towards a more liberalised viewpoint, a basic open skies arrangement opening African skies for African airlines “would not be enough” to support the industry.
He called for the African Union to act as a block like the European Union and develop an agreement whereby all African nations can benefit from the removal of bilateral agreements or the easing of restrictions to serving international markets.
As part of this he called for African nations to be allowed to designate any airlines to be its de facto national carrier should they not have a strong enough business capable to competing in international markets. “Some countries in Africa, if they are not able to have a national carrier, or a designate carrier, they should be able to designate their neighbour’s carrier to fly to Europe [or elsewhere] on their behalf,” he said.
You can view more on this subject from this clip from the World Routes Strategy Summit panel discussion, below: