Liberalisation of air space would drive down travel cost in W/Africa – Tourism Drive Panel

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The cost of travelling by air within Africa and particularly, West Africa could significantly reduce through increased traffic flow as a result of free air space.

A free air space would also boost connectivity as more airlines start and increase their operations. This is according to panelists on the Tuesday, 9th September, 2021 edition of the Tourism Drive show on Okay Fm.

Hosted by Abeiku Santana, discussion was on “Challenges and opportunities for connecting Ghana and West Africa through air travel,” with Commercial Aviation Expert and Director, Centre for Aviation Policy and Development (CAPDI-Africa), Richard Kyereh, Country Manager, ASKY Airlines, Worlanyo Afadzinu and Managing Editor, AviationGhana.com, Dominick Andoh as guests.

“To be able to reduce the cost of travelling by air in West Africa, we need to harmonize our air space and taxes on airfares. The average tax component on an air ticket is close to half of the amount of the ticket. An air ticket from Accra to Lagos alone, has almost $70 tax for a ticket that costs $150 and that is why we are calling for the swift adoption and implementation of Single African Air Transport Market to make travelling affordable and increase connectivity,” said Richard Kyereh.

Dominic Andoh believes that regulatory processes in the acquisition of operational license also dissuade many airlines from extending their operations beyond their hubs. He added that governments should support respective airport operators in the area of financial engineering to develop airport and aviation infrastructures.

“With the might of the government, loans can be secured at low interest rates and given to the airport operators to build the requisite airport facilities,” he said.

On the local Ghanaian front, the discussants agreed that although the country had developed its airport infrastructure to appreciable levels, there ought to be conscious interventions to increase traffic flow.

“In general, aviation is driven by traffic, when you go into airline operations, it’s purely business. Operating an airline is not kids’ play because it is highly capital intensive. The goal is to break even or make a little margin out of the business. Over the period, we’ve not paid attention to these facts.

“So far, it’s only African Airlines that is doing well in this respect. We need to build the traffic through the actions of government and institutions. This can be done through the creation of economic hubs. There should be a deliberate effort to create economic activities in areas with airport facilities to increase domestic air travels,” Worlanyo Afadzinu maintained.

A second part of the show comes off next week on Okay 101.7 FM at 4pm.

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