Indigenous African carriers urgently need to focus much more on co-operation than competition, if they are to arrest their declining shares of the air traffic market, the Chief Executive Officer of Ethiopian Airlines, Tewolde GebreMariam has said.
In an interview at the 12th Route Africa, GebreMariam explained that all indigenous airlines operating on the continent put together are only able to carry 20 percent of the traffic between Africa and the rest of the world.
The remaining 80 percent of the traffic between Africa and the rest of the world is carried by non-Africa carriers.
“This ratio of 20:80, not only is it small and unfair today, but it has been declining for the last 20 to 30 years,” he said.
GebreMariam opined that the ratio of 50:50 would be the right traffic carrier share of African airlines.
He noted that this is the consequence of protectionism practiced by African countries.
“Because we are not supporting each other, we are not making successful airline operate as much as they want and provide much needed air connectivity in the continent.”
Due to the protectionism, some declarations that have been signed and ratified, such as the Yamoussoukro declaration, among others, are not fully implemented.
30 years ago Africa airlines were carrying 60 percent of this traffic from which it has dwindled 20 percent and still declining.
“Maybe 10 years from now there will be no indigenous African carrier, due to the continuous decline of market share,” GebreMariam stated.
However, estimates by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) suggest that by 2036 the size of Africa’s aviation will be 400 million total number of seats to or from and within Africa per year.
Presently the total number of seats to or from and within Africa is 210,767,770, constituting about three percent contribution to global aviation.
By Joshua W. Amlanu