EABC calls for regional single air transport agreement to spur trade

Friday, January 27th, 2023 08:40 | By
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FILE PHOTO: Kenya Airways planes are seen at the Jomo Kenyatta international airport in Nairobi, Kenya August 1, 2020. REUTERS/Njeri Mwangi/File Photo

The East African Business Council (EABC) has called for a single regional air transport agreement to lower the cost of air transport, create employment and increase the region’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Chief executive John Kalisa said that EAC open skies agreement would invigorate tourism, trade inbound investments production and employment through low air passenger and cargo tickets, leading to creation of 46,320 additional jobs and $202.1 million (Sh25.1 billion) per annum in GDP.

The EABC boss spoke yesterday during a validation webinar for the study on air transport services liberalisation in the region. It was organised by EABC in partnership with TradeMark East Africa (TMEA). According to Kalisa, limited liberalisation of air transport contributes to high flight ticket rates while visa restrictions limit the movement of non-residents into the EAC region.  He listed limited infrastructure, lack of standardised regulations and high air transport costs among the challenges affecting the air transport sector in the region which could be resolved through the single air transport agreement.

“The EAC should consider replacing the existing Bilateral Air Services Agreements (BASAs) with a single air transport services agreement for EAC to lower the cost of air transport in the region,” said Kalisa. He appealed to the EAC Heads of State to agree on offering preferential and national treatment to regional airlines.

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