AFRAA SG intervention at ACI Africa Regional Conference in Cairo, Egypt, 26 Feb 2024


Mr. Abderahmane Berthé, Secretary General of the African Airlines Association (AFRAA) participated in a panel session at the 2024 ACI AFRICA Regional conference in Cairo, Egypt on 26 Feb on the theme: “Unlocking the Potential of Aviation in Africa”.

Aviation is a core enabler of economic growth and development in Africa, connecting countries, people and goods with enhanced air connectivity, facilitating tourism and trade, and contributing to the social wellbeing and education of the communities. The panel session will examine why the aviation sector in Africa is yet to reap these benefits, being hampered by several systemic factors, including geopolitical and internal political situations, protectionism, and other restrictive policies and practices.

Mr. Berthé made emphasis on addressing the following key issues to unlock the potential of Aviation in Africa

  • Low income and low purchasing power of African citizens
  • High cost of operations / High Fares / Affordability
    • Fuel: globally, 25% average operating costs; Africa 30-40%.
    • Taxes, charges and fees: higher compared to other regions
  • Market access restrictions Many African states still deny traffic rights to African Airlines, affecting Intra-Africa connectivity.
  • Ease of visa restrictions
    • 50% of travelers need a visa before travelling
  • Release of blocked funds impacting airlines’ performance

In his intervention, Mr. Berthé further elaborated the status updates on the roadmap implementation of the first African aviation industry laboratory for the sustainability of air transport in Africa that was hosted by AFRAA in 2022.

Aviation industry stakeholders who developed the roadmap for the sustainability of the African air transport industry committed to coordinate efforts to:

  1. Increase the number of fifth freedom city pairs in Africa to enhance intra-African connectivity.
  2. Develop guidelines and economic regulatory framework for rationalization of taxes, charges, and fees.
  3. Achieve competitive and affordable air travel to boost trade and tourism in Africa.
  4. Reduce the taxes on fuel and abolish custom duties on spare parts and aircraft in line with the relevant provisions of the ICAO Convention.
  5. Streamline and automate the flight permits acquisition processes across Civil Aviation Authorities (CAAs).
  6. Boost flight operation efficiency in African airspace to attain productivity gains for airlines and air navigation service providers.

Traction has been made with tangible outcomes reported on the implementation of the Free Routing Airspace in Africa ongoing trials and the increase of 5th freedom city-pars within Africa from 14.5% to 19% as at 2023.

The panel comprised of the following panelists and was moderated by Mr. Emanuel Chaves, President, ACI Africa.

  1. Abderahmane Berthé, Secretary General, African Airlines Association (AFRAA)
  2. Olivier Baric, Aviation Consultant
  3. Mohamed Fala, President of El-Nakhil Tours Company
  4. Jihad Boueri, Vice President, Transformation, SITA, Middle East & Africa
  5. Mohamed Elsherbeiny, General Manager, International Offices Department – Egyptian Tourism Authority