Aviation players plead with govts
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