Investors urge East Africa to liberalize air transport services to boost trade

Ugandan airlines. Photo file

Liberalization of air services in the EAC region will increase traffic volumes, improve connectivity and reduce air transport fares

Nairobi, Kenya | Xinhua | The East African Business Council (EABC), a regional trade lobby, on Wednesday urged partner states in the East African Community (EAC) to liberalize air transport services to boost intra-regional trade.

The EABC is the regional private sector umbrella body in the EAC member states of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda and South Sudan.

John Bosco Kalisa, CEO of EABC, said the domestic air transport sector remains protected, reducing accessibility and increasing costs of air travel to the detriment of potential users.

“The liberalization of air services in the region is expected to increase traffic volumes, improve connectivity and reduce air fares. This in turn will increase trade and tourism, foreign investment and productivity growth, ”Kalisa said in a statement.

According to the findings of the latest EABC guidance document, Costs and Benefits of ‘Open Skies’ in the EAC Region, liberalization of air transport is expected to reduce flight costs by 9% and lead to an increase of 41%. % of flight frequencies.

The guidance document recommends that EAC partner states provide subsidies to the aviation industry in the form of direct financial support, loan guarantees, corporate bonds and tax breaks.

“By removing foreign restrictions, EAC partner states will be able to attract private sector investment. This will open up access to capital and allow investment in modernizing infrastructure and expanding the capacity of regional airports, ”Kalisa added.

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Xinhua

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