Small African airlines have once again been urged to merge or join African alliance groups to withstand stiff competition from across the globe.
“We now have to push for consolidation and investment,” the general secretary of African Airline Companies Association (AFRAA), Mr Christian Folly-Kossy, suggested on Monday in Ouagadougou.
“The consolidation will generate economies of scale which will increase with a good participation in the negotiation project with AFRAA on fuel, computer equipment, the service on land,” he said.
Mr Folly-Kossy was speaking at the opening of the 40th General assembly of the organization in the Burkinabe capital, Ouagadougou, where more than 300 delegates and observers from the five continents are attending the conference.
Mr Folly-Kossy deplored the penetration of foreign companies into the African market, which, he said, would make small airlines, which are already too weak to withstand competition, even more fragile.
African states, he said, had to abandon the logic of “national flags” and encourage their economic operators to invest in Africa beyond boundaries. “It’s up to the states, the African Union and to the regional communities to see to it that the instruments are not sacrificed on the altar of a dyed-in-the-wool liberalism harmful to our companies.”
The general secretary of AFRAA urged African ministers in charge of civil aviation to immediately form a sub-committee to engage in negotiations with third parties, namely the European Union and countries of the Gulf, and make the common stand of Africa known.
He congratulated Senegal and Madagascar for rescinding their decision to leave the Agency for the Safety of Air Navigation in Africa and Madagascar (ASECNA). “The airline companies consider the community framework of ASECNA as a guarantee for safe air navigation in the air space of member states,” he said.
He urged African companies to defend the air transport business and expressed the hope that African heads of state would hold a summit exclusively devoted to air transport.