Hoteliers call for faster adoption of Open Sky policy

Kenya Airways plane taking off./COURTESY

Mombasa,KENYA:Tourism Stakeholders in the region have called for a faster adoption open skies policy.

This comes ahead of the launching of the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) scheduled for the 28th of January in at at the AU summit Addis ,Ababa Ethiopia.
The implementation of the SAATM is expected to reduce the cost of air travel in Africa and increase airtravel routes .

Speaking on Monday, Hasnain Noorani the Managing Director of the Pride Inn group of hotels said the faster adoption would drive up hotel bookings in the region.

“Reducing air access limitations related to air travel will be imperative in attracting more global visitors. To accelerate sustainability of tourism development at the Coast, the government ought to open up skies in Mombasa so that airlines from across the world can operate flights to Moi International Airport,” said Mr. Noorani.

The Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) will be attained through the implementation of 1999 Yammousoukro decision which provides for the full liberalization of intra-African air transport services in terms of market access, the free exercise of first, second, third, fourth and fifth freedom traffic rights for scheduled and freight air services by eligible airlines.

According to the Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy at the Africa Union Commission H.E. Amani Abu-Zeid ,Fifth traffic freedom rights would permit African carriers to fly between two other African countries with flights originating or ending in its own country.

Kenya is among 23 African states that had signed commitment to implementation of the decision by December 2017 .

Other African countries that have signed the commitment include Benin, Botswana, Capo Verde, Republic of Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Mozambique,Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Swaziland, Togo and Zimbabwe.

In his new year message , the chairperson of the AU commision Mousa Fakii Mahamat called on the 17 African countries that have not signed a commitment to the decision to join the initiative so as to facilitate the launch in January.