Avi­a­tion play­ers plead with govts

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Business - Leonard Ncube in Vic­to­ria Falls

THE 48th Africa Air­lines As­so­ci­a­tion ( AFRAA) An­nual Gen­eral Assem­bly ended here on Tues­day with air­line ex­ec­u­tives and part­ners in the avi­a­tion in­dus­try calling upon govern­ments to come up with mea­sures to as­sist in the re­cov­ery of air­lines’ blocked funds.

This comes at a time when air­lines have ex­pressed con­cern over the ex­tent to which they fail to ac­cess rev­enue, which is re­port­edly with­held in coun­tries they op­er­ate in.

Air­lines price and sell tick­ets in lo­cal cur­rency of the coun­try they are sold and due to drop in oil and other com­mod­ity prices, some African govern­ments are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing short­ages of for­eign cur­rency re­sult­ing in some air­lines fail­ing to con­vert rev­enue into their lo­cal cur­ren­cies and the funds get blocked in those coun­tries.

The three-day con­fer­ence, which started on Sun­day, re­solved to im­plore coun­tries to ap­pre­ci­ate the plight of avi­a­tion play­ers as well as ex­pe­dite im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Mon­treal Pro­to­col of 2014, which speaks of safety and se­cu­rity in avi­a­tion.

“Re­al­is­ing the ne­ces­sity for air­lines to re­ceive funds due to them to fi­nance their oper­a­tions and fa­cil­i­tate so­cial and eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment through bet­ter con­nec­tiv­ity, we re­solve to call upon states to recog­nise and ap­pre­ci­ate the crit­i­cal so­cial and eco­nomic value of avi­a­tion and air trans­port ac­tiv­ity,” said AFRAA sec­re­tary gen­eral Dr Eli­jah Chin­gosho, as he read the res­o­lu­tions.

The sum­mit also re­solved to “urge states to give pri­or­ity to the avi­a­tion sec­tor when al­lo­cat­ing the lim­ited for­eign cur­rency and to li­aise and col­lab­o­rate with air­lines to find in­no­va­tive so­lu­tions to the chal­lenge of blocked funds when they oc­cur.”

“We call upon states to re­spect ex­ist­ing pro­vi­sions on Air Ser­vice Agree­ments that pro­mote the repa­tri­a­tion of funds from other states,” read the res­o­lu­tions.

“We also re­solve to rat­ify the Mon­treal Pro­to­col of 2014, which speaks of un­ruly pas­sen­ger be­hav­iour, in­ci­dents, which air­lines said were now sig­nif­i­cant thereby jeop­ar­dis­ing safety and se­cu­rity.

“There­fore we urge mem­ber states to ex­pe­dite and pri­ori­tise the rat­i­fi­ca­tion of the Mon­treal Pro­to­col in or­der to strengthen in­ter­na­tional de­ter­rent [mea­sures] against un­ruly and dis­rup­tive be­hav­iour on in­ter­na­tional flights.”

More than 550 del­e­gates from the avi­a­tion sec­tor at­tended the con­fer­ence, which was held un­der the theme: “Man­ag­ing sur­vival and mar­ket re­cov­ery of African air­lines.”

Rwanda Air chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Mr John Mirenge is the new AFRAA pres­i­dent tak­ing over from Air Zim­babwe chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Cap­tain Rip­ton Muzenda. Rwanda will host the 49th ses­sion next year. The sum­mit also elected new of­fice bear­ers go­ing into the next con­fer­ence. — @ncubeleon

Dr Eli­jah Chin­gosho

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