African Airlines Association looks to the future


(eTN) – The upcoming African Airlines Association (AFRAA) annual general assembly, scheduled for November 21 to 23 in Addis Ababa, has added a broadly-based strategy session to their agenda. Key decision makers, experts, and aviation analysts have been invited to join hands and minds while discussing the challenges African airlines have to meet in the face of growing competition by non-African airlines; the economic climate; challenges to secure financing for state-of-the-art aircraft; the brain drain – many international airlines are aggressively recruiting pilots, technicians, and other personnel trained by African carriers; and the growing demands on aviation safety and security.

Issues like crumbling infrastructure at airports across Africa, a thin navigational beacon network, ATC challenges and often poor communications, and ongoing non-tariff barriers among African countries should also feature during the talks, as will undoubtedly the ongoing bans by the EU against several African countries over safety concerns.

According to International Air Transport Association (IATA), air traffic across Africa has grown on a year-by-year basis by well over 13 percent, seemingly impressive but yet less than the traffic growth of Dubai International Airport alone, which on a year-on-year comparison has once again gone up by nearly 15 percent.

The cost of air travel is often cited as a constraining factor preventing many potential travelers from flying, relegating them to busses, or where available trains, and one reason given by airlines is often the cost of regulatory charges; airport taxes; navigational, landing, and parking fees; the high cost of fuel; and, due to long distances, the cost of maintenance and crew training.