Malawian Airlines has expressed its delight following decision by the African Union (AU) to liberalize the air transport market.
AU by end of this month will liberalize and unify the African air transport markets to ease flight connections by member states.
And Malawi Airlines Publicist, Joseph Josiah has told the local media that the arrangement will allow airlines from other countries to operate in other members’ countries without complications.
“Our customers will be the biggest winners as this will offer them more direct connectivity than is the case now,” explained Josiah.
“This means, for example, Malawi Airlines will be able to uplift passengers from point A and drop them at point B in the same country. To the airline, perhaps the only benefit is that the Saatm [Single African Air Transport Market] offers us a rare chance to participate in other markets.”
Josiah has since urged governments to pay due consideration to other trade barriers such as tariffs, taxes and the issue of free-visa travel for a smooth implementation of this initiative.
Ministry of Transport and Public Works, spokesperson James Chakwera described the development as good move as it will give the air passengers a wider choice, adding there is a need of having proper institutions to regulate the market.
Government recently expressed its reservations on the initiative, arguing it will create an abuse by richer countries.
Chakwera said that the market in Africa is not big compared to European Union markets where liberalization of markets has worked well, pointing out that African air industry is still thin and most of the airlines are struggling.
“In Africa, we can easily count the number of airlines that seem to be doing well. If we open a market, for instance, like Lilongwe-Lusaka, the ones likely to come there would be those airlines doing well but those in teething stages such as Malawian Airlines would also want to take the share of the same market,” he said.
Saatm was adopted at the 24th session of the AU assembly which was held in January 2015 in Ethiopia. It is aimed at accelerating the achievement of the main goals of the AU Agenda 2063 for an integrated, people-centred, prosperous, peaceful and stable Africa.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :