Boom time for Africa’s passenger air traffic
16 April 2012
Financial Mail - 16 April 2012
It should spell boom times for airlines but as things now stand few are benefiting, says Comair CEO Erik Venter.
“Comair would fly all over Africa if it were possible,” he says. “There is 20%- 30% under capacity on most routes.” But with few exceptions Africa’s skies are closed to competition, he says .
To obtain the right to fly between countries requires bilateral agreements at government level and this is easier said than done. “Protectionism is rife and the general policy in Africa is to protect domestic carriers to keep fares high,” Venter says.
The picture is different for foreign airlines flying international routes. “Few African airlines fly internationally so this is not seen as competing against domestic carriers,” says Venter.
Dubai-based airline Emirates is among the international airlines enjoying success in Africa. “Including SA, we fly to 22 cities in 18 African countries,” says Emirates Southern Africa regional manager Fouad Caunhye.