Posted by: africanpressorganization | 10 January 2009

EAC welcomes fly 540 inaugural flights to KIA / Commends the aviation sector for leading the way



EAC welcomes fly 540 inaugural flights to KIA / Commends the aviation sector for leading the way


ARUSHA, Tanzania, January 10, 2009/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The East African Community Secretariat has commended the aviation sector as one of the key sectors that is leading the way in harmonizing regional policies geared towards the creation of one common market, tourism and investment area in the region. While launching the inaugural flight of Fly 540 Airline from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to and out of Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA) on January 9, 2009, the Director of Planning and Infrastructure at the EAC Secretariat, Mr. Philip W. Wambugu welcomed the new Airline and disclosed that “to date, we are the only region in Africa to have harmonized our civil aviation regulations covering personnel licensing, aircraft operations, airworthiness, aviation security, aerodromes and heliports operations and currently embarking on the harmonization of air navigation regulations”.


Mr. Wambugu, who was representing the Secretary General of the East African Community, Amb. Juma Mwapachu, hailed the Governments of the United Republic of Tanzania and the Republic of Kenya for particularly enabling the expansion and utilization of aviation capacity at KIA. He said Airports only make money upon utilization of facilities that they offer and for a long time KIA had the right facilities, but low aviation activities and it is, therefore, a happy New Year start for KIA with the addition of Fly 540 scheduled flights.


The Director of Planning and Infrastructure said that the growth of aviation sector is intrinsically intertwined with the pace of regional integration at the Community. He said the roads and railways infrastructure between the five Partner States has continued to lag behind in terms of connectivity and expansions, making the aviation sector an important modal choice for travel between the capitals and business centers.


Mr. Wambugu noted that the contributions of the aviation sector in horticultural development, tourism, international trade, disaster alleviation, employment, and regional visibility among others cannot be underestimated.



Mr. Wambugu disclosed that the regional civil aviation safety oversight agency; the EAC Civil Aviation Safety and Security Oversight Agency (CASSOA) temporarily hosted in Arusha, is soon to relocate to its permanent Head Office in Entebbe, Uganda and urged stakeholders in the aviation industry in the region to work closely with it (CASSOA).


The Director disclosed that the implementation of Yamoussoukro Decision on Air Transport Liberalization has remained largely un implemented in many parts of Africa due to lack of airport and safety oversight capacities, and to some extent countries fearing that opening their air transport markets will drive their national carriers out of business. However, he said within the EAC, the drive towards liberalizing the air transport is anchored at the highest levels of policy making and hence airlines such as Fly540 have been able to launch services and penetrate a number of regional international airports like Kilimanjaro and Zanzibar.


Mr. Wambugu congratulated Fly540 for inaugurating the Flights to KIA and Zanzibar and urged it to expand its operations to other destinations in East Africa in order to bridge the transportation service gaps in the region.


Mr. Wambugu noted that whereas competition is necessary in the aviation sector to ensure that consumers get value for their money, the service providers need to constantly and persistently enhance their service efficiency as it could be wasteful and sometimes negatively impact on the business. He disclosed that during the 1st Tripartite Summit of the Heads of States of COMESA, SADC and EAC held in Kampala, Uganda in October 2008, a Joint Competition Authority (JCA) was launched purposely to oversee aviation competition in the sub regions. He said as the regions open up their aviation markets, the tendency to engage in cutthroat and dangerous competition that results in dominant carriers flooding the markets with unnecessary capacities or charging fares way below the cost of the service to drive rivals out of business, or engaging in cartels cannot be ruled out. It is in this context that JCA will be enforcing competition regulations that will ensure that aviation operators observe positive business ethics, asserted Mr. Wambugu.



Directorate of corporate communications and public affairs



SOURCE : EAC secretariat – Directorate of corporate communications and public affairs


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