- Re-open regional air transport services to spur intra-EAC trade
Saturday, 1st August 2020, Arusha, Tanzania: – The East African Business Council (EABC) calls for an East African Community (EAC) coordinated approach on the resumption of regional air services to spur intra-EAC trade and revive the tourism and hospitality sector heavily hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The East African Business Council congratulates Kenya and Rwanda as they resume international flights today, 1st August 2020. Tanzania resumed international flights on the 18th of May 2020. These are important steps towards the recovery of the aviation and tourism sectors, however, the differences emerging in regional air transport services among some partner states are set to adversely affect the rebound of business in the region.
Intra EAC trade stood at $5.98 billion in 2018 (EAC Trade and Investment Report). With the unprecedented impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the economy, regional trade is expected to decline by 50 percent this year. According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the EAC Partner States will potentially lose upwards of US$5.4 billion of tourist local spending for the year 2020 under scenarios of protracted closures and restrictions of seaports and airports. The impact of COVID-19 has led to a decline in the number of air passengers hence appx. US$0.54 billion revenue loss was projected in Kenya risking 137,965 jobs while US$20.4 million base revenues loss, risking 3,000 jobs was projected in Rwanda.
The re-opening of regional air transport services will integrate the regional logistics value chains for increased exports of fresh produce, regional tourism and enable service providers to tap into the larger EAC market. This is set to bolster business continuity and resilience to sustain livelihoods and jobs.
The East African Business Council urges, the EAC Partner States to prioritize and fast-track the unconditional re-opening of regional air transport services and agree on an EAC coordinated approach on the opening of the regional aviation sector, in line with the World Health Organisation guidelines and measures.
In addition, the EAC Partner States should consider temporarily granting the Yamoussoukro Decision (YD) 5th to 9th Freedom rights to effectively increase capacity, reduce inefficiencies and costs; waive landing fees, excise duty on aviation fuel, navigation, landing, parking and COVID-19 related fees to reduce operating costs; and the reduction of permit and fees for service providers from the EAC region.
Hon. Dr. Peter Mathuki, Executive Director /Chief Executive Officer
East African Business Council (EABC)
9th Floor Mafao House | Old Moshi Road | Arusha | Tanzania
P.O. Box 2617 | Tel: +255 27 2520162
EABC – The Voice of the Private Sector in East Africa