The minister of Aviation, Mrs. Stella Oduah has called on the government of African States to give full autonomy to Civil Aviation Authorities (CAAS) in various countries to enable them discharge their duties effectively.
The minister was speaking at the 18th Aviation and Allied Business leadership conference with the theme; ‘Rethinking Africa’s Air Transport Strategy; organized by Landover Company in Windhoek, Namibia.
The minister who was represented by the Director- General of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority [NCAA], Dr Haroed Demurm said that giving autonomy to the regulatory bodies and funding them adequately would help to significantly curb the frequent air accidents that occur in the continent.
‘African CAAS must be autonomous and well-funded. Safety procedures must be fully entrenched. Our airlines need assistance for them to continue to be in business. Cope town conversion must be fully implemented’, she said.
The Namibian president, Mr Hifikepunye Pohamba who declared the conference open said African aviation was largely untapped, pointing out that aviation in all parts of the world played a central role in the development of economies.
The president who was represented by the minister of works and transport, Mr. Erkki Nghimtina lamented that only very few African airlines could sustain their operations in the region and the world at large.
He explained that the fortunes of African airlines were dwindling and called on the continent’s carriers to always understand the conditions that could boost and sustain their operations and make them profitable and competitive.
Many speakers at the conference called for the adoption of Yamoussoukro Decision [YD] which would open Africa’s airspace for its airlines, remove visa restriction and promote interconnectivity so that it would reduce the number of days to fly from one part of Africa to another.
The secretary- General of African Airlines Association (AFRAA), Elijah Chimgosho said that airlines operating in Africa were over- taxed, adding that the high cost of aviation fuel had made it difficult for airlines to operate on the continent.
He enjoined African governments to liberate the air transport market and ensure that the airlines complied with the safety standard of international civil Aviation Authority (ICAO).