Aminat Isah, Abuja
The President of the African Development Bank (AFDB), Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, has decried the high cost of air travel in Africa as he disclosed that air travel was recording growth with a better growth projection as air travel in Africa remains exorbitantly high.
Adesina disclosed this on Tuesday while rejoicing with Nigeria for it’s various achievements in the aviation sector, especially for the hosting of the third ICAO world aviation forum (IWAF) which he described as a clear mark of confidence in government.
On the issue of aviation infrastructure, Adesina noted that the state of aviation infrastructure in Africa is poor but can be better sustained if the taxes would allow travel fares to reduce and enable more people travel.
” I stated that air travel was recording growth and projecting even more growth but that on the flip side, the cost of air travel in Africa remains exorbitantly high.
“The cost of aid travel is 200% more than costs in the European Union and 250% higher than in India for similar distances. ”
“A big part of this is the very high taxes, fees, and levies that are charged in Africa. For example, it costs $128 to fly between London and Rome, but $597 to fly between Abidjan and Niamey, a shorter distance. And just to go from Johannesburg in South Africa, to next door neighbor Lilongwe in Malawi, the cost is $406. ”
He further stressed that, “much shorter distance than from London to Rome if you require another example of this serious imbalance, consider for a moment that taxes paid for a Lagos to Kinshasa ticket amounts to $397 which is 300% higher than the total air travel costs between London and Rome and that’s just the taxes alone!”
“You can begin to understand why this is a challenge and a burden for the passenger, for businesses, and ultimately the growth and development of the aviation sector! ”
“Aircraft departure fees alone in Africa are 30% above the global average, while taxes, fees and charges are 8% higher. Given lower per capita incomes in Africa, high fares essentially tax the poor out of the air. We may have an open sky policy, but then end up with empty skies.”
Adesina further averred that Africa needs safe skies and that the numbers were not looking good.
“Africa is the riskiest of skies to fly in. While Africa accounts for only 3.4% of all flight departures, it represents over 9% of all air accidents and 37% of total global air fatalities. Among the 200 airlines blacklisted by the EU, more than 50% are African! These are shocking and non-acceptable numbers. ”
“The reasons are several: old, poorly maintained and inefficient aircrafts, poor safety standards, weak navigation systems, traffic management and generally weak inspection and oversight, and non-compliance with safety audits.”
Also speaking, President Muhammadu Buhari, stated that the key to achieving aviation development is through collaboration with private sector, with a financial arrangement that would aid their developments.
Represented by the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, the President explained that already there are financial partnerships with the African Development Bank (AfDB) that is currently yielding fruit developmentally but called for more to aid the weaker countries in the ‘No country left behind’ initiative.
“The growth of aviation in Africa is a group for intra Africa trade, will be growth for African integration will be growth for African economies everyone agrees that aviation growth is good but the is little commitment to financing the industry beyond mere words.”
In his remarks, the Minister for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, stated that US$ 775bn is required to develop Nigeria’s transportation infrastructure over the next 30years, while African Develop Bank (ADB) On another hand estimates US$35bn/year (2010-2020), to focus on four broad sectors; Transport and transport infrastructure , electricity and rural access, water, sanitation and ICT.
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