The impact of high charges and air fares amidst poor airports infrastructure in Africa came under evaluation at the 15th Akwaaba Africa Travel Market held in Lagos September 9-11, 2018.
Discussants at the Aviation Day segment under the theme “Is Aviation In Africa Making Progress Or In Decline?” examined among other issues, the challenge of profitability for African carriers, the role of infrastructure and passenger growth as well as relationship between infrastructure and passenger growth in the continent.
“It is 45% more expensive to fly around Africa than to fly to other parts of the world from Africa. Every additional tax makes the difference in determining whether or not a passenger will fly,” said Ms. Adefunke Adeyemi, Vice President, International Air Transport Association (IATA), Africa.
“Airlines’ fare costs are always determined in line with the value of currency of the country involved. So, as long as the value of the country’s currency continues to drop when compared to the dollar, the fares will remain high since the industry transactions are made in dollars,” said Richard Aisuebeogun, former Chief Executive Officer, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).
He added that when tools for operating efficiently in an airport are not available, it is difficult for an airline to charge low fares.
“Airports that lack required safety facilities such as perimeter fence, IT infrastructure, seamless baggage check-in processes, Common User Terminal Equipment System (CUTES) and so on, cannot attract airlines. If the airlines decide to come, they will definitely charge exorbitant fares,” explained Aisuebeogun.
“Bulk of the air fares charged in Nigeria go into the various charges paid to agencies, leaving the airline with so little,” said Steve Isokariari , CEO, Dial Travel & Tours.
Discussants agreed that governments in Africa should put policies in place to drive down airlines’ operating costs such as jet fuel prices while the facilities that ensure safety at airports such as screening equipment should be upgraded to attract more airlines to the airports and drive down the charges that all build up to eventually discourage Africans from air travel.
The 15th edition of the Akwaaba Africa Travel Market featured discussion sessions on issues around travel and tourism, as well as exhibition by organizations and countries such as South Africa, Gambia, Ghana, Dubai, among others.
The Publisher of Africa Travel Quarterly, and organizer of the event, Mr. Ikechi Uko said the event was informed by the fact that Africa is the largest area with free movement, but gets the least number of tourists because there’s no relationship between one country and the other as all the 15 countries are 15 tourism silos.