African governments must remove taxes on aviation fuel to create jobs, help carriers grow and make air travel more affordable, Tony Tyler, Director General and Chief Executive Officer of International Air Transport Association (IATA) has said.
The IATA boss said governments should also speed up a plan, known as the Yamoussoukro Decision, to open their airspace to local carriers by 2017. The plan was signed in 1999 by 44 States.
“At the moment Africa punches below its weight in terms of connectivity with the rest of the world through African airlines,” he said on the sidelines of an aviation conference in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi.
When implemented, Yamoussoukro could create 155 000 jobs and fly five million extra passengers a year around Africa, a recent IATA study of potential benefits in 12 major nations found, Mr. Tyler said.
He said the cost of fuel, which comprises nearly 30 per cent of an airline’s costs, is more than 20 per cent higher in Africa than elsewhere, and called on authorities to cancel aviation fuel taxes in line with the rest of the world.
“The opportunity here is for governments to cancel these unnecessary and penalising taxes,” Mr.Tyler told a news conference, noting that the benefits of increased air travel would outweigh the short-term loss of fuel tax revenue for states.
Mbuvi Ngunze, Chief Executive Officer of Kenya Airways, said the taxes varied from one country to another and that poor energy transport infrastructure also drove up costs.